Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 80: December 2003

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review - Maskerade Live
6. Competitions
7. Review - Mort Live
8. Librarian's Corner - with Bookworm Baz.
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 80. On Friday 21st November 2003 my wife Lisa gave birth to our second, child Lucy Anne Anthony. Lucy's birth weight was 6lb 13oz. Mother and baby are doing well while Dad is trying to work out what has happened to his life.

Earlier this month I was busy transferring our web site over onto our own domain. From now on please visit

If you have us in your favourites or you link to us on your web site please update your links to point to our new location. Also if you come across any web sites that are linking to the old location please let them know about the change.

If you find any problems with the new site please email me at

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Il ne regrette rien)

2. News

News from Colin Smythe - Terry's agent:

F.A.Thorpe have just published a large print edition of THE TRUTH under their Charnwood imprint - ISBN 0-7089-4963-0

The Russian publishers Eksmo have acquired a licence for JINGO, and licences for a number of double volumes - THE COLOUR OF MAGIC with THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, GUARDS! GUARDS! with MEN AT ARMS, and WITCHES ABROAD and LORDS AND LADIES. I believe that PYRAMIDS with SMALL GODS and MORT with REAPER MAN have already appeared, though I haven't yet seen these.

Tiden Norsk are acquiring Norwegian rights to WITCHES ABROAD and SMALL GODS.

The Polish publisher Proszynski are going to issue SOURCERY and WYRD SISTERS in hardcover format. Hitherto the books have only been available in paperback.

I've just been sent copies of the French (L'Atalante), Polish (Proszynski), Czech (Talpress) and Bulgarian (Vuzev) editions of THE LAST HERO, so they should be available in the relevant countries soon.

Keep your diaries clear for December 6 and 7 because Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson is hosting his annual Hogswatch Extravaganza. Be sure to visit Wincanton where many activities will be taking place and remember to contact Isobel if you wish to reserve a place at the traditional sausage supper.

More information about this event can be found at

ISIS Publishing are releasing the audio book version of Monstrous Regiment on the 1st December 2003. It comes on 9 cassettes for 19.99GBP + Postage or 10 CDs for 26.99 GBP + Postage. Postage is 2.50 GBP for one book or 3.50 GBP for two or more. We will include a review of the new recording in a future issue. In the meantime you can order your copy from ISIS on (01865) 250333 or visit

If you enjoy participating in the BBC game Celebdaq you might want to join in a set of Discworld Leagues that can be found at

Currently there are 12 leagues each with approximately 30 players ranging from the dizzy heights of Cori Celesti to the lowly scum of the Plumbers Guild.

There are only a few spare spaces in the leagues so be quick to sign up.

Latest News From The Discworld Movie from Karen Sloan of Snowgum Films.

Well, the time has come for principal photography to be wrapped for Troll Bridge (the Discworld's first ever live action film), and we felt it was time for an update. Shoot Day 4 (and also Day 3, since we last let Discworld Monthly know where we were up to) has been completed with photos and reports on the website - and by the time you receive this issue we'll be industriously shooting Day 5 - and from there we leap into post-production. Please don't forget us, and be sure to check out the latest photos and updates on our website:

The More Pork Players will be performing Guards! Guards! at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) from the 25th to the 29th of November. Details are at


Well, no, not quite. But the Studio Theatre Club's nude fundraising calendar _does_ feature many of the players who've featured in their Discworld shows. These include the actors who played the Footnote, Lord Vetinari, Mr Pin & Mr Tulip, Perdita X Nitt and Wuffles.

The calendar has been sponsored by such Discworld luminaries as Transworld, Isis, Gollancz, Clarecraft and even Colin Smythe. It features fifteen discreet but nude poses inspired by the plays of Shakespeare and would make an ideal Yuletide gift!!

The calendars cost 7.00 GBP each, plus 80p for UK P&P. You can order by sending a cheque (payable to 'STC') to Stephen Briggs at PO Box 147, Oxford, OX2 8YT.

5.25 GBP from every calendar sold goes to Cancer Research UK."

Small Ads....

Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We *strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who
follow up any of these contacts.

Pat Allan writes: As a follow-on from a message I put in here a few months ago about the option of having an Australian Discworld Convention, I've now created a forum for people to discuss plans for it, get something set in concrete. The address is - if you're interested, please check it out.

3. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters or comments, please email them to

We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters in a slap hazard and half hearted way.

It is vitally important that you don't pass off other people's work as your own. If you use information from other resources please let us know so we can give proper credit.

The best letter of the month will receive a Kiss the Cook print supplied by Bonsai Trading. Bonsai Trading is the Discworld store that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries & calendars, Thud and much more.

* From: "Fox McCloud"
I noted a few editions ago that someone was mentioning what parodies a few of Terry Pratchett's book's covers obviously were. I just wondered if anyone had pointed out that the cover of Soul Music was possibly a parody of Meatloaf's album Bat out of Hell.

Just thought you might wanna know, Jacob.

* From: "Garth Randal"
Has anyone else noticed that the picture of Carburundum (Jade) on the cover of Monstrous Regiment appears to have 2 right hands? One right hand is holding the flag staff, and the other is holding a club. Is it me, or is it a weird drawing? Garth

* From: "Andrew Frame"
I've only been reading the Discworld books since the start of the year, but Terry's genius caught me from the first paragraph. Thirteen books later I'm enraptured. His ability to be so funny and smart and beautiful one minute, then as serious as a heart-attack the next is phenomenal. The Watch books compete and beat any Clancy or Cussler in terms of action, but the humanity also shines so brightly. Who cannot see themselves as Vimes, Carrot or Angua? Who doesn't know people like Colon or Nobby? Why can't all politicians be like Vetinari? And wouldn't there REALLY be less crime, if Sgt Detritus patrolled the streets? Or maybe it's just us, the readers. From the first page of each book our minds leave our part of the multiverse and step out of the ether onto the cobbles of Ankh-Morpork and the Discworld. There is no other author who can give such full-sensory experience and pleasure solely from words. From 'The Last Continent' ("the smell after rain") to 'Thief of Time' ("A squeaky rubber elephant bounced off his head.") how else could you capture these things because it sets off your own mind's senses, memories and 'Foley' studios. May your brilliance never cease Mr Pratchett, and may our minds never do the same.

P.S. The next time any Pratchett fan is in a supermarket, could I suggest the following 'trait' that really tickled my fancy. When you're in the pet food aisle, give a squeaky toy one single, hard, squeeze and say aloud "rubber elephant". I'm sure it will give the Abbot of the Monks of History a little giggle whenever he may be.

* From: David Riffle
It will be my 12 anniversary here on Oct 31 and after much discussion on plans with my wife (and showing her these Discworld Monthlies you take time to send out) she wishes to tour the UK at a time *Any* of the Discworld plays are on during our 13 anniversary. I am saved! ... we were planning to go spend time with "The Mother-in-law" but now we will play the tourist and "see what we read".

Without your work at putting this type of information out I would not have the ammo to change her mind.


* From: "jim logan"
The title of the latest Discworld book, "Monstrous Regiment", may be another of Terry's cultural references. In Glasgow there is a statue to John Knox who in 1558 published a pamphlet called "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women".

* From: "John Blackburn"
I thought that Terry couldn't improve on Night Watch, but how wrong can you be? The guy just gets better and better. MR had me in stitches, but the philosophy bits struck home and I have to admit I shed a few tears over Sergeant(-Major) Jackrum at the end. What a roller coaster ride this book is, with surprise after surprise. Do they teach folk songs in school these days? Because Sweet Polly Oliver is a for-real folk song what we wrinklies (ie me and Terry) used to sing at school many many years ago. I wonder if Bobby Shaftoe will make it into a Discworld novel....?

* From: "Henna-Maija Aikas"
I have a few Pratchett-related questions I'm hoping somebody could shed some light on (non-Discworld, I hope it doesn't matter). Firstly, working in our local library I came across a Russian fantasy anthology and it contained a story by Terry called 'The sea and little fishes'. And since my Russian isn't THAT good could somebody please tell me what the story is about and how could I get my hands on an English version? Secondly, I'm sure you've all read the book The Unadulterated Cat...? So if you have it conveniently at hand could you please check for me the second last chapter about the potential cat breeds? The third cat is what I'm interested about. The Finnish version refers to a former president (Manu's low profile lapcat), his trade mark haircurl and huge hands. I'm sure that Terry knows nothing about any Finnish presidents so I'd really like to know who he was originally referring to. Thanks a bunch!

* From: "Joe Marsden"
I have just finished reading the latest Kathy Reichs novel "Bare Bones". In the final chapter when the central character is relaxing at the beach in North Carolina with her love interest, a Canadian Detective called Ryan, she comments that "Ryan returned to his Terry Pratchett".

So we have an American author paying homage to PTerry. Having finished that book, I have just started on the Monstrous Regiment which was recently delivered by Amazon to me out here in Italy. I must admit to not having seen any of Pterry's books out here, I must look more closely, it might be interesting to read them in Italian since I have already read them all in English!

* From: "Andreas Kristiansen"
The Harper Collins page about Pratchett informs us that he won the British Fantasy Award for Pyramids in 1989. On the BFAs home page there is no record of this award - it rather says it went to Ramsay Campell for "The Influence." I have never heard about Pyramids being given an award either. Is the information wrong or did it receive another award?

* From: "Nick Hemburrow"
I just wanted to update you that the new issue of ink magazine (out on the 13th November in WHSmith and all usual outlets) contains an exclusive interview with Terry Pratchett that I thought the Discworld Monthly readers may be interested in.

If you require any further information do not hesitate to contact me.

* From: "Hannah Stilwell"
Out of all of the Discworld books I have read (ie- all of them), there are only two that I have ever felt the need to read again practically straight after I've finished them the first time.

The first was 'Night Watch', which took me about two days to finish, and it only took me that long because I kept being distracted - a common occurrence in our house with a dog, a hamster, a step-father, a mother and two brothers.

As I read this wonderful book, I was in a little state of bliss. Firstly because I was reading a new Discworld book, secondly because it was just perfect in every way I could imagine, and thirdly because I finally had beat my dad in the race to read the books.

Normally my dad manages to buy and read each of the books before I even realise they're out in the shops. But on that occasion, I got it, read it, and got to boast about it! Ha!

The second book was 'Monstrous Regiment', which I personally have put down as one of my favourite books of all time! It has everything that I could possibly want in a book and then some. It was also a wonderful break from the usual insanity of my life (and of the books of Robert Rankin, which are currently being used for coursework in college!)

'Monstrous Regiment' has definitely been one of the best books that I have ever managed to get hold of, and is also the second book that I read before my dad (I think!).

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a signed copy, so to cheer myself up after the initial disappointment, I bought that one and new copies of 'The Light Fantastic', 'Maskerade' and 'Carpe Jugulum'.

I was very happy for the rest of the day and managed to finish the whole of 'Monstrous Regiment' before I went to bed!

p.s. I would have finished it much earlier, but they forced me to come out of my room and eat something!

* From: "Charlie Ashford"
Browsing through Amazon today on the subject of Discworld, I came across two items which interested and surprised me as I have never heard of them. Firstly, there is the 'From the Discworld' CD which apparently came out 9 years ago. Find this at


Also, there is a DVD of a cartoon series of Wyrd Sisters which is a bit more recent. This is at


The CD has very good reviews, but the DVD has two 1 stars and a 4 star rating, so I am unsure of whether to get it. Can anyone help me? Incidentally, you can get them both together at a special price on the second site. I think that I will stop writing now. Charlie Ashford, 14

* From: "James Haslam"
I would like to know if I have missed a book from my collection? I have read numerous references to Mr Hong and his fish bar on the site of the old temple in Dagon Street (Ankh Morpork), the best of which is in Soul Music which I have been rereading today, where Archchancellor Ridcully is talking to Ponder Stibbons:

".....I remember poor old Mr Hong. One minute he was dishing up an order of double cod and mushy peas, the next..."

"Kaboom?" said Ponder.

"Kaboom?" said Ridcully, forcing his way up the crowded street. "Not that I heard tell. More like "Aaaaerrrrscream-gristle-gristle-gristle-crack" and a shower of fried food....."

This has been really bugging me for ages! Can anyone help?

DWM replies: James gets Letter of the Month. You haven't missed a book, man - this is just a great instance of Terry throwing in some of that background detail that makes his stories so rich. The classic example for me has got to be the throwaway reference to the Pied Piper of Hamlyn's scam that's later revisited in full-on book form as 'The Amazing Maurice....'

* From: "Michael Dux"
Howdy, I saw the Brisbane Arts Theatre production of "Carpe Jugulum" on Tuesday 21/10/03. The place was pretty much packed.... (And that was only the second night of the run!)

An absolute HOOT... Damned fine characterisations all round but "Igor" not only 'stole the show', but also 'brought The House Down'... on several ocaissions.... Sometimes by just a "look"

The show ran for a little over 3 hours, not that you noticed at the time.....

This was the first Discworld production I have ever seen, wish I'd gotten around to seeing the previous two!

Apparently the Arts is putting on "The Fifth Elephant" next October, so stay tuned to

for details and perhaps a few piccies from the production of "Carpe Jugulum"....

4. DiscTrivia

For the next few months we thought we would concentrate each trivia section on a certain subject. This month we have decided to ask questions about Lancre. If the answers are wrong this month you will have to blame Jason

Name every member of the Lancre Standing Army.
What is the Fool's first name?
The sun doesn't shine in this place.
What is the most famous Lancre Morris dance?
Why shouldn't you harm woodland creatures in Lancre?

The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.

5. Review - Maskerade Live

by Ben Ash

I went along to see Merrow Dramatic Society's rendition of Maskerade, on the 18th October at the Electric Theatre in Guildford. I must say I was very impressed!

Using Stephen Brigg's adaptation the performance timed in at just under three hours, and didn't seem to drag once. All of the actors performed flawlessly, many assuming several roles and making them easy to distinguish for subsequently unannounced appearances on stage.

The acting highlight of the evening was to be expected: Nanny Ogg. The actress looked born for the role. She embodied the 'randy-grandmother' stereotype. As always the role of Nanny is the comedy foil for Granny Weatherwax's straight-man role. She performed marvellously, each line delivered with perfect timing. Not a look of laughter crossed her face, even with some of the howlers she was forced to deliver. Marvellous.

A close second was Mr Salzsella, the Opera coach. The actor showed us just how dedicated to his opera Mr Salzsella was. Fine acting, clear dictation and as with Nanny, good comedic timing.

The most memorable scene was one in which several gentlemen are served one of Nanny Ogg's 'special' puddings, and are forced to embarrassingly remove themselves from the room. The audience were in tears.

The venue itself was sound. A spartan stage was ably turned into Lancre woods, Ankh-Morpork and a stage (for the Opera!!), with the placement of only a few props, and rear projected scene drawings. We were also treated to the odd special effect, including the Death of Rats (SQUEAK!), Greebo's transformation into a human, and Agnes Nitt throwing her voice to the back of the stage.

My only gripe? No cameo by Death.

In all, a good evening. I'm looking forward to my next Discworld play, wherever that may be.

(Apologies at not knowing the actors' names, but I was too tight to buy a programme).

6. Competitions

Please note that unless stated otherwise our competitions are open to all readers, regardless of where you live.

* Josh Kirby Print Competition *

Last month we asked: How much is the most expensive Josh Kirby print on the Bonsai Trading web site? When I set the question I really didn't realise the problems it would cause. Over 60% of the entries were incorrect.

The correct answer was 13GBP for Small Gods (which could be found on the second page of Josh Kirby prints).

If you need confirmation visit

The randomly selected winner of the Josh Kirby print of their choice is Alan Murphy of West Yorkshire.

Bonsai Trading is the premiere on-line store for Clarecraft Figurines, Discworld Diaries & Calendars, Isis Audio Books, Octarine Forge Jewellery and Prints. More information can be found at

* Bonsai Tankard Competition *

This month Bonsai Trading are giving away one of the exclusive new Discworld Tankards. All you need to do is look on the Bonsai Trading web site ( for the answer to the following question and then email the answer along with your postal town to by 22nd December 2003.

Q: What does the Latin on the top of the new tankards translate to?

The randomly selected winner will be announced in next months issue.

Bonsai Trading is the premiere on-line store for Clarecraft Figurines, Discworld Diaries & Calendars, Isis Audio Books, Octarine Forge Jewellery and Prints. More information can be found at

7. Review - Mort live in Oz by Rod Lewis,

The Messenger Press

Terry Pratchett's tale of Death's apprentice Mort, and his sentimental approach to his job, has been presented in many forms.

Stephen Briggs's adaptation, though, has an eye strictly for Pratchett's funniest lines, while paying patchy attention to the plot. Unseen Theatre Company is a good example of young people's community theatre having a good night out.

The production is all over the place but from the front-of-house vendors to the cheery door prize presentations and the very strange dance number from Les Miserables, there is a winning good-heartedness to the whole.

The audience responded in kind on opening night and the outing took on the tone of a family game of charades.

The huge cast negotiates its way through the gothic, labyrinthine plot of Mort without the least affectedness. Danny Sag, as the Doorknocker, manages to deliver his lines clearly despite holding the knocker in his mouth. Sam James, as Death, is so heavily bemasked in a skull mask and emerald eyes that there is genuine concern from the audience when he tries to walk through a wall and fails.

Tim Bates is accomplished as Mort, mixing incompetence and sorcerer's apprentice arrogance in equal parts. Other strong performances come from Miriam Keane as Death's daughter Ysabell, and Erin Stockie as the accidentally undead Princess Keli.

The full humour of this piece is brought to life by Andrew Dowling as Igneous Cutwell, the incompetent wizard enlisted to help Mort and Princess Keli, who squeezes every ounce of humour from his lines and makes everyone else seem twice as funny to boot.

A lot of energy has gone into this high-spirited production which succeeds at delivering Pratchett at his funniest.

8. Librarian's Corner - with Bookworm Baz.

Here I am again with another literary cornucopia to improve the mind and tighten the buttocks. This time I'm taking a look at the folklore section of my library, which is rather big. Folklore is something of a hobby of mine in fact, so I'm going to deliver this one as a two-parter, one now, one in a few issues time. We'll start with the book that actually sparked my interest in the subject all those years ago. Some of you might know it; big, black, with a gold embossed picture of a fearsomely horned grimacing mask on the cover? Yes, that's the one.

Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain, ed. Reader's Digest Association, 1973, Reader's Digest Association. And none of this ISBN rubbish either...

I grew up with this and I still think it's a wonderful introduction to the subject. There are three sections:- The first explores the common themes of our folklore. The second section is a gazetteer of the British Isles, dividing it up into groups of counties and liberally dotting the map with icons for all the weird and wonderful events, traditions, stories, places and things that this country seems to do so well. The final section looks at our folk heroes, who bestride the land with bow and sword and holy hand grenade. Great stuff, and all beautifully and eerily illustrated by a variety of artists. No longer in print, but most secondhand bookshops seem to have one tucked away somewhere.

Maypoles, Martyrs and Mayhem, Quentin Cooper and Paul Sullivan, 1994, Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 0747518076

Now this book is a hoot. A day-to-day listing of odd history and the strange things we get up to throughout the year because "it's traditional". Except that some of it isn't. Some of it owes more to a few too many beers the night before in the pub actually, but they carry on doing it 'cos it's good for the tourists. So we get Dwile Flonking in Suffolk, the Haxey Hood Game in Humberside, Crying the Neck at Harvest and, of course, the one-legged satanic marsupial badger of rural Devon. Written with tongue placed firmly in cheek, in a style that will definitely appeal to Discworld fandom, the authors present hundreds of authentic British customs, plus the one they made up.

The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology, John and Caitlin Matthews, 1988, Aquarian Press. ISBN 0850306051.

One of my earliest folkloric acquisitions, and still one I turn to for a quick answer. The "Aquarian" label may put the serious researcher off - the Matthews do sort of dominate the more New-Age end of the bookshelf - nevertheless this is a solid piece of work and a good guide to ancient legends and their more modern interpretations. There's a mixed bag of Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Arthurian, Scottish and Welsh myths here, all packed into quite a small book. Do note the "Irish" component though; this means a lot of this book is filled with descriptions of ancient heroes who probably killed people by forcing them to try and pronounce their names correctly.

British Folk Tales and Legends- A Sampler, Katherine Briggs, 1983, Granada Publishing. ISBN 0586082379.

Any student of folklore will come across this name sooner or later, probably sooner. One of the giants in the field, she collected and categorised thousands of stories and tales from around these islands in her time. This sampler is just that, a very small sample, one which nevertheless shows the almost formal structure that these narratives have. We have here the Unbidden Guest, the Wandering Jew, the Sale of a Wife, The Green Children, The Miller's Eels, the Ungrateful Sons and even the Three Little Pigs among many more, all drawn from her huge 2 volume work which I will obtain some day. Some structural bracing for my bookshelves may be needed first.

A Dictionary of Fairies, Katherine Briggs, 1976, Penguin Books. ISBN 0173910054.

We'll end this half with another from Katherine, and one of my favourites. In here is everything you never knew about the Little People. And the Big People. And the Downright Scary People. From the Abbey Lubber all the way through to Young Tam Lin, we have the folk, their stories and their habits. There's the Moddey Dhoo and the Hedley Cow, the Tylwyth Teg and the Brollachan. We even have the human side represented in the authors and poets who told or collected the tales. Naturally, since this is a Briggs book, every story is classified with its type or motif, with an index and a useful bibliography at the back. An impressive scholarly work and a real joy to read.

9. The End

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* Latest Book Information *

Discworld paperback: Night Watch 0552148997/87

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Discworld Young Adult: The Wee Free Men 0385605331/87

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* Disc Trivia Results *

Name every member of the Lancre Standing Army.
Shawn Ogg

What is the Fool's first name?
Verence (after the old king)

The sun doesn't shine in this place.
A deep valley up near Slice.

What is the most famous Lancre Morris dance?
The Stick and Bucket Dance

Why shouldn't you harm woodland creatures in Lancre?
Because Granny Weatherwax may be "borrowing" in them.

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