Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 86: June 2004

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Truckers - ISIS Audio Book
6. Competitions
7. Librarian's Corner- with Bookworm Baz.
8. Convention Update
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 86. We have noticed that we haven't been getting many articles from our readers. If you have something that you would like to share with the Discworld Community feel free to forward them to us for possible inclusion. In the past we have had some very interesting articles such as Librarian's Corner and the wonderful take on Disney does Discworld.

A new alternative to eBay called eBid is beginning to make an impact on the auctions market. Being smaller than eBay means that some of the items sell for a lot less as there are less people bidding on them. There have been some great Discworld bargains available recently. For more information use our affiliate link Link removed as no longer valid

If you want to chat live to other Discworld fans, don't forget that there is a thriving community on AOL's Instant Messenger system AIM. Simply invite yourself to a room called "The Broken Drum" to chat. You can also get to The Broken Drum (as well as links to download AIM) by visiting Link removed as no longer valid

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Fridge Worshipper)

2. News

The Longueville Little Theatre Company is producing Wyrd Sisters at the Jennie Lee Theatre in Bletchley, Milton Keynes from 24th to the 27th November 2004. Tickets are available from the box office tel. no. 01908 613145, and cost 6.50 GBP each. Further details are available on

Elton Murphy at is holding a 25% off sale on Discworld items. Hurry though, as the sale ends on Monday 31st May.

Also located on this site is a highly entertaining forum, which has sections that include Discworld Chat, Collectors Chat, Polls and Anything Goes! [Well worth a look if you get the chance - Ed]

Bursar Vixen have produced Brian's Magic Mug from the new book, A Hat Full of Sky and it is available on their web site for a limited time - until 7th September 2004. For more details visit

Bursar Vixen are also going to be at Worldcon in Boston, where their full range of Discworld products will be available. Worldcon can be found at

Colsterworth Music and Drama society are performing Wyrd Sisters on 12th and 13th November 2004 at their spacious village hall. Tickets will be on sale in September. You can pre order tickets by e-mailing - any other queries can be sent to the same address.

Derby Players, based in Ormskirk, Lancashire is intending to perform Carpe Jugulum next January. Casting will take place in June, and rehearsals will start in September. They are looking for local people who would be interested in taking some of the smaller roles in this play. This is an ideal way to become involved in amateur theatre, and it's good fun too!

Anyone interested should contact Kevin Green as soon as possible on or visit

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.

Susan_sto_helit <> writes: I have recently started to collect the 'Unseen Library' version of Discworld books, in cloth and leather binding. However, I have only been able to get the first six so far, and can't find the others anywhere. So if anyone knows if there are others out yet, or due to be published soon, I'd be really grateful. Thanks.

Pik Kolesky <> writes: Do you have any info as to where I can order the Unseen Library leather bound editions of the Discworld series? Apart from e-bay... Who publishes them?

W. G. T. Walker <> writes: There's a 90-minute audio interview with PTerry (dated 10-10-2003) at

Jojo Ollegrieze <> writes: To all Dutch or Belgian readers of DWM: Pratchett novels are not a common item in second hand bookstores, I guess it is because everyone who ever bought a Discworld book hangs on to it. I made a huge mistake in the past: I did not buy the Dutch translation of Good Omens but contented myself borrowing it from the library. And now the library hasn't got it anymore, but it's not on sale anymore either. So if there is anyone out there who has bought two copies (mistakes do happen) would you consider selling one of them to me please?

Donovan Porter <> writes: Several times I've tried to organise a get together of Pratchett fans in Cape Town, South Africa but to no avail. A monthly or quarterly shindig at the local pub/coffee shop/seedy joint shouldn't be too difficult, surely? So I'm gonna try one more time - mail me if you're interested.

The previous times weren't totally unsuccessful - I've corresponded with a few like-minded souls but sadly lost contact. I'd be keen to see what they are up now.

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 until the paper goes yellow with age.

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: "Vivian MacRae" <>
PTerry's new book was reviewed today (Friday 30 April) in The Independent Arts & Books Review. A detailed and positive account of the book and its place in the Discworld series, I particularly liked this sentence: 'A great Pratchett strength is the sense that if the jokes (and the wonderfully recognisable British comic supporting characters) were dropped, there would still be a good, engaging fantasy thriller here.' Praise indeed!

* From: "Amy Smith" <>
I am a great fan of the Discworld books and have been looking out for a theatre production to go and watch but, as of yet, I have never seen one that is remotely close to where I live. I live in Scotland, near Glasgow and I was wondering if anyone out there knows of any that I may be able to go and see. Hopefully someone out there will make me very happy and have some info for me.

* From: "Linda Slater" <>
Last month Irina wrote about Lord Vetinari being poisoned in 'Men at Arms'. He was in fact poisoned in 'Feet of Clay'. How sad am I for correcting you? Cheers and it's lovely to connect with so many other idiots, sorry, Pratchett fans! Linda

* From: "Raven" <>
I have been exploring the Internet this weekend and come across something that keeps me entertained without end: Forums. Finally I can speak my mind about everything from poetry to music and good old adventure games. There are hundreds of forums on all of these topics. The next logical step was to join a Discworld Forum (my other passion and love in life), but lo and behold instead of hundreds to choose from I can find only one. And it's only been recently started as well, not a lot of members yet. So let's go people!!! It's quite boring to talk to myself (I should know, I do it a lot) so come and keep me company:

DWM replies: As mentioned above there is a lively forum located at

* From: Elaine Stephens <>
After reading Funky's letter last month, just had to write and tell you how I discovered TP. I was at a local car boot when I found The Colour Of Magic and I found myself reading nearly the whole book in one day. I have built up my collection since and have rarely come across any of the books second-hand. Imagine my delight when I found Men At Arms in a charity shop and I couldn't have been happier ; the ultimate then occurred, I got home and screamed out loud as yes you probably guessed, Terry had signed this copy. The only downside is my name is not Janine but she might become my alter ego!!!! Elaine Stephens

DWM replies: Janine / Elaine, we understand it is quite easy to have your name changed by deed poll these days.

* From: "oliver tully" <>
In response to Irina Solomon-Dalah's letter.

Simplest things first, Vetinari is unlikely to be vampire because;

(a) He sees the un-dead as a minority, really. (b) He was shot, and in daylight. (c) He has aged since he last saw Lady Margolotta, if that's what you're suggesting. (d) And because even though he gives off an un-dead vibe, the point is that he's human. Lord Vetinari's accession to control of Ankh-Morpork is what would happen if the Bond - villain succeeded - you don't want to admit it but he runs it better than anybody else.

And you could definitely see him taking James Bond's watch first.

* From: "Bradley Hughes" <>
A bit of help.. I went to see the Guards! Guards! play at the Hackney Empire some years ago. Paul Darrow (Avon) of Blakes 7 played Vimes, but I cant for the life of me remember who played any of the other characters. Does anyone know or remember the cast list?

* From: "Kirsten" <>
While flipping through a magazine I came across an interesting advert. It seems that someone at the snazzy jewellers Bulgari is a closet Terry Pratchett fan and has convinced them to name their new fragrance Omnia! Yes really, no joke, here's the link to prove it:

Just hope it doesn't smell like religious men!!!

* From: "Sarah Ardern" <>
I thought that you'd like to know this account of enormous excitement, utter misery and wonderful contentment... When I read last month's Discworld Monthly I leapt for joy at the news (that I hadn't seen anywhere else) that the amazing PTerry was going to be in Brighton on May the 4th (be with you). At this point I should probably explain that I am a student at the University of Sussex - just outside Brighton. I jumped around my room, confirming to my roommate that I am utterly insane, explaining to her that I was going to meet the greatest living author in just a few days. To bring the story on a bit, I found one of my friends that is also a student and a Terry Pratchett enthusiast and convinced him to drive us into town on the aforementioned day. On the day we escaped from lectures early (I walked out of a chemistry class and he left his physics lab) and attempted to drive into Brighton. What we hadn't accounted for was the fact that at 5pm on a Tuesday everybody else wants to go into Brighton as well. It took nearly an hour to get into town and park the car, we arrived at WHSmiths at 6pm. At this point we saw the sign publicising the signing. It read as follows: Terry Pratchett will be signing his new book "A Hat Full of Sky" on Tuesday May 4th between 4:45 and 5:45. The horror! It was now 6 o'clock. Surely they wouldn't have been mean enough to limit the signing to an hour! we were horrified. Imagine the relief we felt when we (in the thought that we would like the book anyway) saw a queue still leading up the stairs at the back of the shop right to a table with our hero sat behind it. We literally sagged with relief and joined the queue. Meeting PTerry at last (I missed the last signing in my home town of Southampton because of A levels) was a great thing, most authors turn out to be the utter opposite of the persona they create for book covers, but as I (and I expect a lot of DWM readers) can attest that our beloved PTerry is truly the kind of person that would declare about booksignings:

"There will also be the usual welter of 'Good Morning, A Place I've Never Heard of' shows and, a lovely term, a number of drive-by signings." (Pterry Alt.Fan.Pratchett)

* From: "Angela White" <>
We got a rabbit two weeks ago for my birthday and decided to call him Binky after Death's horse, of course. Well I was trawling the rabbit forums when I came across "my rabbit did a binky"! I thought "Ooh yay! There are some Terry loving rabbit owners!" I was stunned to find out that 'binky' is actually a term for a rabbit jumping about when it's happy. I wonder if Mr Pratchett knew this when he decided on Binky's name... or if it's just a coincidence... Needless to say, Binky binkies alot! :)

* From: Alexander Shapiro <>
There are many allusions to Russian and soviet realities in "Monstrous Regiment".

First of all I should recall a story of Nadezhda Durova who was a Russian amazon from the Napoleonic era. She fled an unhappy home life on her favorite horse dressed as a cossack. In 1806 Durova enlisted as an "uhlan" (polish cavalry) in the Polish horse regiment, under the name of Alexander Sokolov. Her relatives used their connections to try to find her. The tsar himself took an interest in the rumour that one of his soldiers was a woman. By the time they located her she had already saved the lives of two fellow Russians in battle. One of them was an officer. So tsar Alexander I awarded her the cross of St. George and gave Durova a commission in an elite unit of hussars. Unfortunately she soon had to ask for a transfer because the colonel's daughter had fallen in love with her. She met the Russian commander-in-chief General Kutuzov on the evening Moscow burned. He recognized her and immediately granted her a position on his staff. Durova retired from military service in 1815 after nine years disguised as a man. Few of the women who led a career like Durova's had the opportunity to tell the story in their own words. After leaving the army she met the greatest russian poet Pushkin who encouraged her to publish her memoirs. Durova adapted her old journals into a volume she called The Cavalry Maiden. Her notes were a huge success in Russia. (An English translation is available at One of the most popular soviet movies "Hussar Ballad" is about Nadezhda Durova.

The word "Zlobenia" is clearly slavic. In Russian "zlobny" means malicious.

They call corporal Strappi "a politic" - an official agent of the intelligence in a regiment. In the soviet army such people were called "politruk" and "zampolit".

* From: "Susan McIlroy" <>
I recently discovered that the word for 'monkey' and the word for 'ape' are the same in French: 'singe'. As soon as I heard this I wondered how French translators got around this problem. You wouldn't want to call the librarian a 'singe' and get your head twisted off because he thought you were calling him a monkey, and you really meant ape!

* From: "nate_dog_woof" <>
Most people I talk to about PTerry's books agree that one of the creepiest images he's given us is the Fool Museum (in Men at Arms), where each clown registers their face paint by drawing it on empty eggshells to ensure no duplication. As usual it turns out that The Master was basing this on reality. The Clowns International organisation (motto "Pro Funnibono Publico". Laugh, I almost did) is in charge of the Clown Gallery in the UK. There is apparently one in the US as well and possibly elsewhere. If you have a strong stomach you can see a few images of the gallery at

The faces are frighteningly lifelike. I will be having nightmares tonight.

*From: "Nigel Isted" <>
I was tickled to see that the Hanover International Hotel is the venue for this years DW convention. Any one who hasn't been there before is in for a treat. The HI is an unusual, quirky, original building, with many unusual features, including a street of Olde Worlde shops actually in the hotel. It's the history of the building that prompted me to write.

I work in the conference industry, and live only a few miles away form the HI, and have worked there on many occasions, but never stayed over. That all changed when a friend married last year, and we stayed over after the reception. In the morning, over breakfast, my partner asked if I knew the origins of the building? I didn't and she proceeded to explain that it was originally conceived and built, to use a DEW simile, as the first legal Seamstress Guild in the country. Not only did this help explain the outlandish 30 ft statue of Neptune in reception, but the reason the mirror above the bed suddenly became crystal clear.

DWM replies: Nigel gets this month's Letter of The Month.

4. DiscTrivia

This month we start a new series of Trivia this time based on quotes. We provide the quote and you need to guess the character and novel. We would like to thank Peter McElwee for researching and organising these questions.

"Politics is more interesting than blood, your grace. And much more Fun"

"Where there is punishment there is always a crime"

"Whose life she bin living then?"

"But gods are practically unkillable, aren't they?"

"Ah right. You should have said we're after weapons that don't hurt people, right?"

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

5. Review: Truckers - ISIS Audio Book

by Jason Anthony

I was pleasantly surprised on returning home last week to discover an ISIS Publishing box has been delivered in the post. I was even more surprised on opening the box to find a copy of Truckers. Although not Discworld, many fans have a soft spot for this excellent children's trilogy, Truckers, Diggers and Wings.

ISIS have once again enlisted the assistance of Stephen Briggs to read the book. Stephen has added his usual flair and talent in the recording. Stephen is a very talented reader and after ten recordings for ISIS has become, for me, the voice of Discworld.

Once again each character has a unique voice making it very easy to recognise who is talking at any time. Interestingly the voice of The Thing sounds, to me, much like Lady LeJean from Thief of Time. Girder's gibbering however is just about perfect, as is Granny Morkie's bossy voice.

A sign of Truckers being a children's book is its sudden conclusion which is unlike most Discworld novels that seem to require much more tidying up. The consequence of this means that the book fits on to five audio cassettes at a cost of 16.99 GBP or five CDs at a cost of 21.99 GBP. Delivery costs 2.50 GBP for one audio book and 3.50 GBP for two or more. Truckers has an overall running time of around five and a half hours.

For more information about this and other full and unabridged audio books from ISIS visit

6. Competitions

Last month we teamed up with Bonsai Trading to give away a Pyramid T-Shirt and a Pyramid Mug.

All you had to do was answer the following two questions.

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?

The answers were of course 10GBP and 227.96GBP respectively.

The randomly selected winner was Jackie Brown of Nottingham. Your prize should soon be on its way to you.

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

* Bursar Vixen Competition *

Bursar Vixen Enterprises (BVE) have an unspecified prize to give away to the winner of our new competition. If you would like the chance to win this unknown prize simply send the answer to the two following questions to by 21st June 2004. You must include your postal town and set the subject of your email to Bursar Competition.

BVE are going to be at Worldcon - who are the two pro guests of honour?

What is the newest addition to the range of Discworld Beers offered by BVE, currently unavailable?

Bursar Vixen are taking delivery of the new addition next week. Join BVE mailing list for advance notification and special offers. Strictly limited stock.

The randomly selected winner will be announced next month. For more information about Bursar Vixen Products visit

* ISIS Audio Competition *

To coincide with the release of "Truckers" ISIS have three prizes to give away in our new competition. The first prize is Truckers plus any one other (available) Discworld book and two runners-up prizes each of Truckers.

To enter this competition simply email the answer to the following question to by 21st June 2004. You must also include your postal town in the message and set the subject of your email to ISIS Competition.

Q. How many audio books has Stephen Briggs read for ISIS?

The randomly selected winner will be announced next month. For more information about the full range ISIS audio books visit

7. Librarian's Corner - with Bookworm Baz.


War. Huh. What is it good for? Well, when people aren't actually doing it, they seem to spend an awful lot of time writing about it. Books throng the shelves, indeed entire shops are given over to military literature, from minutely detailed accounts of famous historic battles to manuals from alleged SAS men that tell you how to dominate the entire Middle Eastern front with only a Swiss Army penknife and a length of cheesewire. I've got a few myself and, given that one of Terry's latest covers armies fighting with medieval weaponry, Napoleonic organisation and Victorian thinking, I thought I'd pluck out a few that you might find interesting. Appalling, but interesting.

Weapons, The Diagram Group (D. Harding ed.), Gallery Press, 1984, ISBN- 0861367731.

We'll start with the hardware. This book takes us from the original pointy stick all the way through to tactical nukes in a catalogue of the inventive ways people have found to kill each other over the past 7000 years. As you might expect, everything is clearly and precisely illustrated with drawings of actual weapons from the various periods and countries, supplemented with diagrams detailing their construction and use. Interesting examples include the Chinese repeating crossbow, the medieval trebuchet and some African throwing knives that were probably as dangerous to the user as the intended target. If you want to know your glaive from your guisarme, look here.

The Medieval Soldier, Gerry Embleton & John Howe, Windrow & Greene, 1994, ISBN- 1859150365.

The authors of this book have sought to illustrate 15th Century campaign life and have found very useful allies in the Company of Saynte George, who recreate the life of a Burgundian army company in jaw-dropping detail. So there is not a single drawing in the book, it's all photographs. We see exactly how medieval soldiers of all ranks were clothed, armed and how they fought, but it's in how they lived that this book really excels. It shows us the people behind the soldier, the equally important army of clerks, craftsmen, quartermasters and cooks. It also gives us some idea of the world in which they fought; the power and the politics, the religion and the everyday people.

The Armies of Wellington, Phillip J. Heythornthwaite, Brockhampton Press, 1998, ISBN 186019849X (latest edition).

A name that makes military buffs prick up their ears as that of an acknowledged authority on this subject, here with a work that is a lot thinner with the illustrations than the previous book but with writing to make up for it. Where possible the author lets people of the time speak their own words with numerous period quotes, building up a picture of a time not so dissimilar from our own. Chapters detail every aspect of a Napoleonic era British army, from the officers and gentlemen, through the rank and file, to the people left behind as the army marched. Also all the fun you can have when weapons technology leaves medical know how, and common sense, far behind.

Wars of Empire, Douglas Porch, Cassell & Co., 2000, ISBN- 0304352713.

Ah, that magnificent era when European powers, in the words of Eddie Izzard, "stole other people's countries with the cunning use of flags!". Britain is, of course, the usual villain when anyone uses the "E" word, but we were far from the only one. In this volume from the "Cassell's History of Warfare" series we range from 1742 right up to 1914, looking at British, Germans, Russians, French, Spanish, Portuguese... Well, the list goes on. Even the Americans got in on the act. It was almost like a vast collectible card game, economics was at the root, but ultimately it was just to stop the other players getting their hand in. A clear and concise look at an extraordinary time.

Military Blunders, Geoffrey Regan, Guinness Publishing Ltd., 1991, ISBN 0851129617.

Yup, him again. These books might not be the height of sober academic literature, but you can't help looking inside just to see what people do. The literary equivalent to "You've Been Framed" I suppose. Although it's more a case of "You've Been Caught Napping" (Fulford, 1066), "You've Been Badly Equipped" (Konnigratz, 1866), "You've Been Misinformed" (Dien Bien Phu, 1954), "You've Been Really Really Stupid" (Karansebes, 1788) and "You've Been Pointlessly Slaughtered" (Loos, 1915). Regan is a military writer first and foremost and in this book he shows us that there is no other field of human endeavour where we are more at home to Mr. Cock-up.

PS. In response to people who pointed out that I'd left the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable out of my folklore chapters, well, the purpose of these articles is to highlight books you might NOT have read or heard about. And we've ALL got our copy of the Millennium edition of Brewers with the foreword by Terry Pratchett. Haven't we?

8. Convention Update - Official news from the Convention Committee

It's that time of every other year (not counting the millennium) again: the Fourth Discworld Convention will be taking place from the 20th to the 23rd of August at the Hanover International Hotel in Hinkley.

We have an event-packed programme and so many celebrity guests that there will barely be room for the con-goers. New guests include Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe (of Fortean TV fame) and Graham Higgins, who illustrated the graphic-novel versions of "Mort" and "Guards! Guards!". Returning favourites include Bernard Pearson (the Cunning Artificer), Stephen Briggs, Trever Truran (inventor of Thud, the Discworld boardgame) and Dave Langford. If we can find time, there will be a few words from Terry, as well.

You will need a Procrastinator to attend all the events in a single lifetime. We have aphrodisiac recipes, belly dancing classes, book signings, book readings, books to buy, read and sign, auctions, plays, workshops, competitions, panel games, the Gala dinner, a Maskerade, the Great Hedgehog Race and the Leonardo de Quirm Aerial Challenge. In addition, we have children's programme events running at almost every daylight hour, so the whole family can come and take part.

If you are already a part of the Discworld community then this is the perfect opportunity to meet old friends, swap unlikely stories, flaunt your costumes and auction that dog-eared copy of Carpet People that your mum got you for your birthday one year, not realising you already had it. If you have never been to an event like this before, it's the perfect chance to make new friends, hear unlikely stories and buy valuable Discworld memorabilia at bargain prices.

The full list of programme events should be available on our website ( by the 1st of June at the very latest. Visit the site now to find maps, booking forms, details of past events and convention news.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, book a room and get ready for a weekend of duelling, carousing, feasting and, for the more devout visitors, sacrificing innocents at the Church of Om service (last item subject to availibility). We still have some places left but they are going quickly so don't miss your chance!

9. The End

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* Latest Book Information *

Discworld paperback: Night Watch 0552148997/87

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

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* Disc Trivia Results *

"Politics is more interesting than blood, your grace. And much more Fun"
Lady Margolotta, The Fifth Elephant

"Where there is punishment there is always a crime"
Vorbis, Small Gods

"Whose life she bin living then?"
Jason Ogg, Witches Abroad

"But gods are practically unkillable, aren't they?"
Dean, Hogfather

"Ah right. You should have said we're after weapons that don't hurt people, right?"
Corporal Nobby, Men at Arms

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