Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 85: May 2004

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. A Hat Full of Sky - Terry Pratchett book signings
6. Competition
7. Convention Update
8. Who's Who: Albert
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 85. Last month I reported that Amazon and WH Smith had two different release dates for A Hat Full of Sky. I have been informed that the original release date was due to be the 5th May but it was brought forward a few weeks ago to the 29th April. Which hopefully means you should all have copies by now.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Under Lesser Sub Deputy Assistant Editor)

2. News

The website for ARENA Arts & Entertainment Inc. is now up and running and can be found at:

ARENA are also very proud at being able to present Monstrous Regiment in July (see last month's issue or the web site for full details).

Discworld Beer: Special Offer

Bursar Vixen have slashed the price of their Discworld beer, Old Kingdom. For a limited period, they are offering this unusual beer, brewed with coriander to a 3,000-year-old recipe, at a 25% discount. This beer's label features a wonderful image of Teppic by Paul Kidby.

More details from:

Hilton Amateur Theatrical Society will be performing Mort on June 18th and 19th 2004. The venue is Hilton Village Hall, Back Lane, Hilton, Derbyshire. Tickets will be on sale from the end of April priced at 4.50 GBP (adult) and 4.00 GBP (concessions). Details at

Terry Pratchett Archive on Display by Colin Smythe.

As it was becoming too large and bulky for me to keep at home, about two years ago I gave my main collection of Terry Pratchett's books (in about 30 languages), together with publicity and merchandise material to the University of London Library in Malet Street, where it is known by the rather cumbersome title of "The Colin Smythe Terry Pratchett Archive" and continues to grow as I add new publications, etc. to it.

One of the librarians, Margaret Blackburn, has been cataloguing the archive (on a part-time basis) for the past 18 months, and the Library has now put on display a 'taster' preview of some of the material from the collection. This Pratchett Preview will be open to the public until 5 June 2004.

Mrs Blackburn has so far catalogued nearly eleven hundred of the books in the collection, and has also started work on the models, alcoholic beverages, audio and video material, games (computer and otherwise), t-shirts, jewellery, jigsaws and other Pratchettiana.

Information on how to get to the display in the Senate House, the catalogue and some pictures can be found at the following address Clicking on the images leads to relevant pictures.

I hope a much larger exhibition will be shown in the Library's main display area next year.

The Unseen Theatre Company will be performing Maskerade at Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St Adelaide, Australia from April 30 to May 15 Wed. to Sat. at 8pm. (Preview Night April 29 - all tickets 10 AUD) for other performances Adults 15 AUD, Concession 12 AUD, Groups of 10 or more people 10 AUD.

For bookings call Betty on 82962004 (7am to 7pm, 7 days) or BASS 131246

More Information:

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.

Sheila Perry writes: I'm looking for help assembling copies of some of Mr Pratchett's more obscure pieces, particularly his pieces in the Discworld 2002 Convention Programme Book and the Hillcon III/Beneluxcon programme book.

Vicki Pimlott writes: Last month I emailed to advertise some Discworld items I had for sale.

Well since then it has been a nightmare. I am currently sat in my local library and have had to register for a new email account, and I will be conducting all my sales from this very chair.

My sincerest apologies to those who emailed me, especially if you got caught by the virus (W32/Netsky-Q). All those with anti-virus run it now!! It has caused me nothing but grief.

However, those of you who are still interested I would be very grateful if you could email me at this new address, which I can assure you is virus free. It would be helpful if you could let me know what kinds of things you are interested in. I have books, figurines and even a jigsaw! (My old address was

Bradfield, Mel (Aspire)" writes: I wondered if anyone knows where I can purchase 2 Jigsaw puzzles: Discworld Mapp & Reaper Man. They were made by Spears Games.

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 and stare blankly into space waiting for inspiration.

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: "DLLU - Dansk Ludo & Lancier Union"
I just thought you guys might like to know that the Discworld Novels are now beginning to be released in Danish! Until now they were only available here in English - which I really don't mind, 'cause they are so difficult to translate, and I prefer to read books in the original language whenever possible (i.e. English, German, Norwegian or Swedish for me...). The Danish versions (of so far TCOM and TLF) aren't that great either, but still, if Terry's genius can reach an even bigger audience that way and perhaps make more Danish readers interested in giving the English versions a go, then by all means carry on...

* From: "Pamela Munt"
I would like to get on the band wagon to encourage Terry not to miss Adelaide. As Theresa Dolman says, we do plenty of Pratchett stuff here. Apart from all the stuff she does, she is right in saying that my theatre company was formed purely to produce Pratchett plays. We have produced Mort twice, Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Lords and Ladies, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Pratchett Pieces (our own adaptation of his short stories), we are doing Maskerade now and will hopefully (not quite arranged yet) be doing an Australian premiere of Night Watch in October. So why are we ignored? He's flying straight past us from Melbourne to Perth and not stopping off??????? Hardly fair!!

DWM replies: In the past when similar situations occurred we found that where Terry visits is decided by which book stores decide to invite him. I suspect that he simply wasn't invited to visit Adelaide.

* From: "David Ridgway" <
The mystery of no more Discworld diaries has been solved, put to rest etc. On the same day that I received Discworld Monthly I also found this e-mail in my inbox:

"Apart from Terry's thoughts, more important was the fact that Paul Kidby didn't have the time to work on one - he's been so behindhand on Art of Discworld which is being published a year late as result, that no way could he do the necessary artwork needed.

Colin Smythe"

Thank you Mr Smythe. So all we need now is for Mr Kidby to work faster and Mr Pratchett to think faster and then maybe a 2006 diary could appear! Please?

* From: "Steve Elliott"
Re: Discworld Diaries

Unfortunately, Terry has made it clear that in *his* opinion, there is not enough material and/or time to work on future diaries. I'd love to see some more, but on the whole I'd rather have the ones which we have which are high quality, than have a "oh, great maker, let's produce a diary to stop them moaning" publication which would not be to the same high standards.

* From: "Chris Alderton"
I have found possibly the earliest reference to Borogravia - In the Colour of Magic!

When Rincewind first meets Twoflower in the Mended Drum, he tries to talk to Twoflower in High Borogravian amongst other languages.

I'm looking forward to Terry's visit to Sydney in November

* From: "W. G. T. Walker"
Juliette Harrison started something in DWM 82 when she described Borogravia, the setting of Monstrous Regiment, as "never heard of before". In DWM 83, Rach found a mention in Carpe Jugulum, and in DWM 84, Yasmin cited the Mapp, The Fifth Elephant and Night Watch. I've spotted yet another mention in The Thief of Time where PTerry describes Ankh-Morpork 'chocolate' (brown suet-and-tallow-and- unmentionables stuff); "according to the food standards of the great chocolate centres in Borogravia and Quirm, Ankh-Morpork chocolate was formally classed as 'cheese', and only escaped, through being the wrong colour, being defined as tile grout'."

So... international food standards and 'real' chocolate made of cocoa liquor and real cream ... would that place Borogravia somewhere near Belgium on the Roundworld map?

* From: "Jim Martin"
Residing over here in North Carolina, I'd be hard pressed to attend [Bernard Pearson's - Wincanton May Event] (!), but would none the less be almost unhealthily interested in getting a book signed "to me" by the author. A paperback would be fine, and any of the Discworld books would be fine. If you can help me with this, I would of course be happy to reimburse any costs in book- acquisition, mailing the thing, etc.

As a miniature kite maker, I'd also be pleased to make you a Discworldish mini-kite, perhaps inspired by one of the several mentions of kites in the books.

* From: "Luca Ciarniello"
In response to Lynda Flanagan last month. For the UU degree you have to browse the internet site of another well-known collaborator of Pratchett: Stephen Briggs! go to

All you have to do in order to get the degree is well explained.

* From: "Sachi Schott"
Re: Jonathan Sutton's letter about Wynkyn de Worde...

Terry Pratchett seems to collect little snippets of information like that (which he then seamlessly weaves into that rich tapestry which is the Discworld) like other people collect elastic bands.

It's incredible! I've gotten some pretty withering glares and eye-rolling from my parents when, one too many times, I've turned to my younger sister in the middle of a conversation and said "Oh! Like in (insert title of Discworld book here)!" Needless to say, they've never read anything Discworld - what's wrong with them?! I never had any cause to suspect they're really alien pod beings before... Example: Here's something from a National Geographic (February 2004) article on ancient China; guess what Discworld connection came to mind? "...a remarkable device was installed in the Bureau of Astronomy and Calendar. Six feet wide, it looked like a bronze jar. Eight dragon heads were placed around its upper part. Beneath each was a bronze toad. If the jar felt an earthquake's tremor, even a faint one, a ball dropped from a dragon into a toad's mouth. The genius of this, the ancestor of all seismographs, was that the ball dropped in the direction from which the tremor came, thanks to a mechanism inside the jar." So there you have it. Terry Pratchett is either a genius (correction: more of a genius than I first suspected) or owns a time machine. Possibly both. I'm not about to rule out the chance that he's an alien pod being either.

* From: "Sarah Simonds"
I just wanted to let you and all the other Discworld Monthly readers know that Mr. Pratchett was mentioned in the "Who Reads What" list. A story on the list can be found at

The section on him is:

Romance novelist Jennifer Crusie called fellow author Terry Pratchett "my comfort read" and said she was so amazed by Pratchett's "Feet of Clay" that she re-read it the next day.

* From: "Murray Gauer"
The internet isn't always the answer but it does have an answer to Priya's comments in DWM Apr. I just searched on "Terry Pratchett" in and came up with 6044 used books by Terry available for sale. If you limit the search to just bookstores in Australia there were 133 TP books for sale just now. However, you don't have to limit the search to just your own country. I have purchased a number of unique books from all over the world from ABE. This works particularly well to avoid the bland USA - published paperback covers.

* From: "funky"
Last month someone mentioned how difficult it is for people in XXXX to find PTerry books in second hand book stores. Personally, I believe there must be some kind of pixie who sees us fans coming and transforms the novels into L. Ron Hubbards or something. Imagine my delight then, when I walk into a store to find a WHOLE SHELF of Discworld novels, most of which I still needed and included some rarities including American versions. But, but but heres the clincher; when I get home I open Feet of Clay to reread it but found the previous owner had scribbled on the title page. I closed the book, not daring to believe but on after getting confirmation from my mother (another dedicated Pratchett fan) I realised I had scored a book with THE AUTHOR'S SIGNATURE!!!! I still sometimes squeal with delight at the memory of seeing it for the first time. That was a good day, and I just had to tell you, my friends, about it.

DWM replies: Funky gets this month's Letter of the Month.

* From: "Dave Nicholson"
In Nanny Ogg's cookbook there is a section on etiquette. On smoking she says that where it is forbidden it is etiquette to lie on the floor and puff the smoke up the chimney. In my researches to find the wackier side of the history of Windsor Castle I found that Queen Victoria banned smoking in the Castle apart from in the billiard room. One guest, a Count Harzfeld did not want to walk to the other end of the massive castle so... lay on the floor and puffed his cigar smoke up the chimney. (Source Windsor Castle by Christopher Hibbert)

* From: "David A Harvey"
I meant to mail you about this earlier but real life got in the way (doesn`t it always). A while ago Lidl (a chain of economy supermarkets run by a German company) advertised in their weekly specials that they would be selling Scumble. Further examination indicated that this is a German wood preservative to paint on fences, sheds etc. The only thing that shows that this isn't Discworld scumble is that it comes in a metal container.

* From: "Rosa Morley Souter"
I was listening to the Sunday repeat of the News Quiz and Linda Smith pointed out that most liberal type men seem to have the same kind of beard. She went on to describe the Archbishop of Canterbury's beard as 'somewhere between Terry Pratchett and Harold Shipman'. With that comforting thought Adious.

* From: "Irina Solomon-Dalah"
I've read the idea about Lord Vetinari being a vampire. It shocked me at the beginning that anyone might think that, but your arguments are compelling.

However, I don't think he is. Here's why:

1) In 'Night Watch' there is a reference to his youth in the Guild of Assassins;

2) Somewhere (I think 'Guards! Guards!') there is a reference to his eating bread and drinking water;

3) In 'Men At Arms' he gets worse by inhaling arsenic and gets better with Jimmy Folsom's horse medicine;

4) In 'The Truth' his dog waffles shows him great loyalty (and even if a vampire would take a liking to a dog, I think all folklore is hinting to the fact that the dog would not take a linking to the vampire);

5) Less obvious, but I think that in 'Reaper Man' he would have known where all the weird phenomena come from - the un-dead in Reg Shoe's club seem to know.

I thought of a different intriguing aspect of his behaviour: would he chose his replacement, when the time comes?

He seems to know everything that is happening and "he'll tolerate everything apart from anything that will hurt the city" so it is very likely he would know when his end will come (retirement or otherwise).

He isn't the type to do anything as crass as name a successor, but he's just "dastardly" enough to manipulate his successor into position, don't you think?

4. DiscTrivia

This month I decided to try something new. I have therefore created the following word search. The words can be in any direction including diagonals and can overlap each other.



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

5. A Hat Full of Sky - Terry Pratchett book signings

30th April - 5th May 2004

Friday 30th April

1.00pm Borders, Birmingham
6.00pm Waterstones, Stratford on Avon

Saturday 1st May

12.00noon Same Day Books, Windsor
4.45pm Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

Tuesday 4th May

12.30pm Methvens, Worthing
4.45pm W.H.Smith, Brighton

Wednesday 5th May

12.45pm Waterstones, Winchester
5.00pm Ottakars, Portsmouth

6. Competition

Bonsai Trading are pleased to have added the new range of Kirby Mugs to their ever-growing range of Discworld Merchandise. To celebrate this addition, they're giving away a Pyramids Mug and Pyramids T-shirt to the winner of this month's competition. To enter just send the answer to the two questions below to by Friday 21st May 2004:

1. How much does a Josh Kirby Pyramids print cost at Bonsai Trading?
2. How much is Bonsai Trading selling the Pyramids set of Clarecraft figures for in their special offers section?

For more information about Bonsai Trading's extensive range of Discworld products visit

7. Convention Update

The 2004 Convention takes place in August 2004 at the Hanover International Hotel, Hinckley (the same hotel as the 2002 Convention).

The Discworld Conventions are great opportunities to meet up with other Discworld fans and a friendly environment and also get to meet up with Discworld celebrities such as Bernard Pearson, Paul Kirby, Stephen Briggs and of course Terry Pratchett.

You will also get the opportunity to take part in various events such as Thud tournaments, juggling workshops, a Discworld version of the Eurovision song contest, interviews with the guests, maskerades and many other activities.

The Convention hotel can accommodate around 750 members. If you are planning to visit I suggest you book soon to avoid disappointment.

For more information about the Convention visit

We hope to be able to bring you more information about the Convention over the next few months.

8. Who's Who: Albert

Albert, Death's manservant, is arguably the greatest wizard the Disc has ever seen. In the distant past he was called Alberto Malich and founded Unseen University, where a statue was erected in his honour. He has effectively achieved immortality by taking employment in Death's realm where time does not pass. As a result, he has remained 67 years old while two thousand years pass on the Discworld.

As Death's servant Albert seems to be primarily responsible for taking care of the needs of other living creatures in Death's home, such as human visitors, the bees and Binky. His main duty in Mort is to cook breakfast with an incredible amount of grease, although you don't need to worry about healthy eating in a place where you can't die or, apparently, put on weight. Pedants will note, however, that Death's daughter Ysabell enjoyed chocolates and was somewhat plump so perhaps one's body adopts the proportions indicated by one's 'morphic field' or something.

When circumstances drive Albert to return to the world in Mort, he undoubtedly relishes the chance to use magic again and generally lord it over lesser wizards at Unseen University. Taking a dislike to the statue of himself, his first act on returning to the Disc is to destroy it, leading the wizards who subsequently see him to think the statue has come to life to wreak revenge for years of graffiti and unfortunate toilet incidents.

Albert quickly discovers that his bar tab from circa two thousand years ago is still being held at the Drum - unluckily for the landlord, who is summarily turned into a toad. Needless to say, the Faculty - and probably the landlord of the Drum - are glad to see Albert reluctantly returned to his place at Death's side.

Albert only has limited time available to him on the Disc. Bit by bit he is using up this short supply, for example when he adopts the role of Uncle Heavy to assist Death in impersonating the Hogfather. Mortality is of particular concern to Albert, though, because he fears that in his days as a great wizard he made enemies who might still be waiting for him on the other side.

There is more to Albert than just a crotchety old man who loves a fry-up. At times he encapsulates that particular human state where one is trapped by one's own fear. He would love to return to 'real' life but dare not do so. Despite being the greatest wizard on the Disc, he is ultimately a tragic, or even slightly pathetic, figure, constantly living in Death's shadow without ever really facing him.

9. The End

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Discworld paperback: Night Watch 0552148997/87

Discworld hardback: Monstrous Regiment 0385603401/87

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Current Discworld Young Adult: The Wee Free Men 0385605331/87

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