Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 94: February 2005

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Interview: Stephen Briggs and the Discworld.
6. Competition
7. Terry's Universal Appeal at the BA.
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 94. 2005 looks like it could be a fun year for events. We have Bernard's do at the end of April, WyrdFest (if you can get to Germany) in June, Clarecraft in July, Wadfest in September and Bernard's again in December.

If you haven't ventured out to any of these events before, they really are excellent fun and give you a wonderful opportunity to meet up with other Discworld fans.

And of course we have Terry's next novel Thud! to look forward to in October. I am really looking forward to discovering what goes on in the Lemonade factory.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Magic Master)

2. News

The BBC's radio adaptation of MORT, produced by Claire Grove, is being rebroadcast by Radio 4, starting on Tuesday 25th January at 23.00 GMT, continuing at the same time on February 1st, 8th and 15th. Some news on translations:

Finland. Karisto are taking licences for MEN AT ARMS and SOUL MUSIC

Norway: Tiden Norsk are taking LORDS AND LADIES

France: L'Atalante have just published Patrick Couton's translation of THE AMAZING MAURICE

Germany: Piper will be publishing ERIC in both illustrated and unillustrated formats, as well as issuing The Science of Discworld 2 and 3

Russia: Eksmo will be publishing THE UNADULTERATED CAT. (It was last published in Russian in 1994, jointly by Vagrius (Moscow) and Belvagrius (Minsk)

Terry will be the writer Guest of Honour at the 40th annual Minicon Science Fiction convention. During the three day convention Terry will be participating in opening and closing ceremonies, panel discussions and autograph sessions. Minicon is held Easter weekend, March 25-27, 2005 in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Early registration deadline is March 7, 2005. For more information visit the Minicon40 website at

Nullus Anxietas, The Australian Discworld Convention, is still alive! Over the last two months, they've been hit with more than their fair share of web servers dying or disappearing, or backup files corrupting, but they're back online and taking membership applications - so head on over to and help breathe some life into their new server.

Liz Thompson writes: The hardback Discworld books in the Unseen University bindings can be obtained from and they have recently issued Moving Pictures, Reaper Man and Witches Abroad. They aren't cheap at 19.99 GBP a volume or 39.99 GBP for the set, but do make a nice collection.

The Silverhorde galleries ( are growing steadily and have recently been updated so people can vote on their favourite pictures and add their own comments.

If you have your own Discworld photos and want them hosted in this permanent repository email Mad Hamish on

Full credits will be given for any photos published on the site.

Discworld Dates...

This section will contain events that you need to keep in your diary. Entries will remain until they go out of date. New entries will include the word [New] next to them. If this section gets too large we will start pruning entries.

The New Dawn Theatre Company, Sponsored by Rowland's Music (Swansea) will be presenting Wyrd Sisters at the Theatre Elli, Llanelli, Wales on the 9th, 10th 11th February 2005. Doors open at 7:30 and tickets cost 5.00 GBP.

[New] Wakefield Little Theatre are performing Masquerade at the Theatre Royal & Opera House in Wakefield, West Yorkshire from the 22nd to 26th February. Tickets cost 5 - 8 GBP. [Unfortunately we were not supplied with any contact information - Ed]

[New] On Wednesday 2nd March from 7.30pm there will be a reading for a new production of Maskerade which will take place during April in Downham Market. If you would like to audition for a part or help out call Peter on 01366 383535 during the day or 01366 388188 in the evening.

[New] Moot House Players will be performing their first Discworld production, Wyrd Sisters, on the 17th, 18th, & 19th March at 8pm.

The venue is Moot House Hall, The Stow, Harlow, Essex

Tickets cost 6 GBP or 4.50 GBP (OAPs, Unwaged and those in full-time education) and can be obtained from the booking office on 01279 639170, 01279 425959 or 01279 726047.

For further information e-mail:

The Westoning Players, located 2 miles east of Junction 12 off the M1, will be staging a production of Mort on 31st March, 1st and 2nd April 2005.

For more details visit their website at

[UPDATED] Unseen Theatre Company will be performing Interesting Times from March 17th to April 2nd (Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm)at the Backhouse Theatre, 255 Angas St. Adelaide. Tickets cost 15 AUD for Adults, 12 AUD for Concessions, 10 AUD for groups of 10 or more or 30 AUD for the Thai Hutt Dinner Deal (meal and ticket).

For bookings contact BASS 131246 or Betty 82962004. More information at

WyrdFest, the first German Convention which takes place in June 2005, now has its own website located at

The 2005 Clarecraft Event will take place on 29th - 31st July 2005 at its usual venue of Warren Farm. The theme of the event will be Monstrous Regiment. Details will soon appear at

Wadfest 2005 will take place over the weekend of the 2nd to 5th September 2005 at a new campsite. More details can be found at the Wadfest website

The First Australian Discworld Convention will take place in Melbourne Australia from 20th-22nd January 2006. More details can be located at

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 for reasons of national security.

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:
DWM does a great job (even though there are pathetically few events on US soil), and my only complaint is about the people who make snide remarks about two things: the fact that PTerry is writing so many guards books, and Harry Potter. You can never have too much of Sam Vimes, Carrot, Nobby, Fred, Angua, Reg, and so on; and why people persist in feeling it necessary to compare any two fantasy series simply because they're fantasy is beyond me. The fact that they must go further and announce that one is "better" than the other is simply juvenile and intolerant. For instance, I personally do not care for the Rincewind novels, but I would never dream of saying there's anything wrong with them. They just don't appeal to ME. The multiverse might as well be reduced to a universe if we go around insisting that everything fall into some sort of rating system.

There. I will now bust up my soapbox for kindling.

* From: "Pamela"
This is gonna sound really stupid - but for the sake of the best author alive I will risk it! How can I find chat sites for Discworld topics? I have found a couple but they seem to have been inactive for months! Which is very strange indeed! Also which is the most user friendly cause I've found some wicked ones that you just kinda look at and go.. huh, imagine that! As well as some painfully boring chat - its like lecturers discussing TP's work and other writings as well as their writings (which while I guess is cool for them - it's not what i'm looking for) Help! I just wanna chat about what I enjoy! I know ya know where to go, so please LET ME IN! (I'm just being dramatic so you'll feel sorry for me) I hope it works!

* From: "Shadodantz"
Last month you wrote:

> DWM replies: Christopher Outen kindly provided this alternative > solution: Thallus = penis therefore Thalacephalos = dick head.

um... I think the word prefix you were thinking of was phallus, not thallus. I seem to remember a pune or play on words (from which novel I cannot site just at the moment) about a myth about this appendage being a phallusy. I did enjoy that one... Also, while given Lt. Blouse's shortsightedness and inability to discern Dick from Jane when it comes to horses, it would be both typical and amusing to have a mare named 'Dick-head'. Lt. Blouse is also given to an extremely correct and delicate turn of phrase and thinking which would prevent this. In other words, he would have no trouble with Carrot's pronunciation of "d*mn!", or understanding the reasons whereof. While funny, it just doesn't work within the context of the character.

* From:
But if signing an unsigned copy adds to the tally of signed copies therefore making the unsigned book even rarer then what of the status of the just signed unsigned copy? Surely as the original signed version of the unsigned copies then it inherently becomes more valued than a signed-signed copy or an unsigned unsigned one. After all not many intentionally unsigned copies that are signed can exist, can they? I'm confused, pass the scumble.

DWM replies: The problem would be to identify the recently signed from the original signed versions. We could ask Terry to date all signatures from now on.

* From: "Ian Dryland"
In reference to Katie Mitchell's letter in December's issue, concerning the time Terry stayed on above and beyond normal booksigning duties after arriving late at what was Hammicks bookshop in Ashford, Kent, I can confirm that it is absolutely true as I was a staff member there at the time.

The only slight mistake is that he turned up at 4pm not 6. He was due at 2, and the queue had already wound its snakelike way around every part of the store by 1pm and was rather impeding other shoppers and browsers. In fact by the time he did arrive, the queue had started to invade the rest of the shopping centre.

The scheduled signing was meant to last about an hour, but Terry absolutely refused to leave until he had signed the books of everyone in the queue. This caused a problem because as part of a shopping centre, we were not allowed to stay open to the public past 5:30, and the queue wasn't even half finished by then. We managed to get permission to stay open longer, but since the car park closed at 6 and they weren't going to back down on that rule, the public had to start dispersing or risk having their car locked up overnight and face a fine (which some customers actually considered just to be able to meet their hero...)

So instead we all gathered up the customers' books, including noting down the inscription they wished Mr P to put in, and I had to ferry all of them up to the staff room where the man himself could carry on working in comfort with a nice cup of tea and his favourite biscuit (I forget which it was his agent had requested) I had never had to haul so many books since the time I had to return the autobiographies of a certain light entertainer who shall remain 'strictly' nameless that hadn't been sold from our store opening.

After TP had done a brief walkaround and said goodbye to the customers, he went up to sign the remainder which as mentioned, took the rest of the evening, including signing a vast assortment of books for the store itself, though he did take some breaks to rest his wrist where he chatted with the members of staff who had volunteered to stay. I regret to say that I was not one of those who got to talk to him, as I was not able to stay the full evening, but I had left behind some items for signing and a camera which got used.

Before that day I was one of only two fans of the author among the staff, but after he left all of the rest were impressed with his friendliness and devotion to the customers and staff alike above and beyond the call of duty.

DWM replies: Ian is awarded this month's Letter of the Month.

* From: "Dianne Hughes"
We were having a Christmas drink with our new next door neighbours, when Michelle (the neighbour) noticed a tea towel my cousin from Liverpool England had sent me with Pendle Witch Country on it, and a lovely drawing of a witch. Michelle said "we're descended from Agnes Nutter a famous Witch." I thought they were joking and showed them Good Omens. "Oh yes," they said, "we've heard of that, but Agnes Nutter was our ancestor". I thought Pterry had made her up, but apparently not.

* From: "Venugopalan Ittekot"
In issue 93 of Discworld Monthly, "Egeltjes" announced the Dutch translation of The Wee Free Men, De Vrijgemaakte Ortjes. In that announcement, the Dutch title was loosely translated as "The Freemade Ears", but "Egeltjes" confessed to not understanding what the Ears had to do with the Men. Being the translator responsible for this title (as I was for the Dutch translations of the previous Discworld novels & stories), I may be in just the right position to clarify this matter. A more appropriate translation of the title might be "The Wee Freed Peas". As "wee man" is Scots in origin, the word "ortje" hails from the Northern dialects and languages in our country. Its literal meaning is "wee pea", but it is also used for a rather tiny man. The word "vrijgemaakte" does mean "made free" or "set free", but also "seceded", and in that sense it is the proud epithet of an orthodox Reformed (Calvinist) sect - not unlike the Scottish bunch colloquially designated as the Wee Free. Apparently, reader(s) "Egeltjes" missed all this, but then quite a few English readers of the original may have missed the ramifications of "wee free men", "pictsies" etc. (to say nothing of American readers).

By the way, "Egeltjes" means "wee Hedgehogs", a very Discworldly name indeed.

* From: Sophie Ann
I am a fifteen year old fan of Terry Pratchett and have been reading him since I first got scared by the dragon on the front cover of Guards! Guards! (Sorry if that's spelt wrong). Blame my mum, she brought it into the house. And my old cat Taggart, who was a clone of Greebo. (Taggart, you will live on whenever I see the scars on my arm and can smell something funny under the bed). And after reading Going Postal, I have realised that my paper round's motto is also Through Rain Snow And Glom Of Nit, We Will Deliver. No really. (sneezes)

I was just wondering whether anyone else noticed that the characters that Paul Kidby draws look like Clint Eastwood. I think it's in the eyes.

I had a quiet muse over Mike Wilson's question from Issue 93, and I think that Vetinari and the vampire might be like the thing with a werewolf in the Watch.

And has anyone noticed that Rincewind and Johnny from the Johnny Maxwell trilogy are very alike?

You know what's really scary? My dad works at the UU. No really. Isn't it supposed to be based on Warwick Uni where the lovely Mr. Pratchett holds an honorary English degree? I dunno, I only heard it as a rumour on campus.

Anyway, enough of my mad rambling. Thanks for your time. (Unless of course you've already given up and scrolled down or left the computer.)

Oh yeah, and is there any one younger than me reading this? Just idly curious.

* From: "David Woodall"
I just thought I'd draw fellow readers' attention to a book I came across the other day which may be of interest to anyone with an interest in the Ankh-Morpork Mob, or indeed anyone with an interest in the history of the English language.

It's called 'The Vulgar Tongue', by Francis Grose, and was published in 1785 (republished by Summersdale Publishers Ltd. last year at a cost of 9.99GBP) and is essentially the first ever dictionary of slang. It is of particular interest to Discworld fans because much of what it contains is 'Cant' - the street slang used by criminals, beggars and so on and taught by the languages department of the Thieves' Guild. For example - Amusers (thieves who fling dust in the eyes of the intended victim and whose accomplices, pretending to offer help, take the opportunity to steal from him) and Bus-Napper's Kenchin (a watchman).

There are also the origins of what are now everyday phrases, like hobnobbing (originally to hob or nob - to take warm beer from the hob or cold from the 'nob' or small table; by the late 18th century "Will you hob or nob with me?" being a way of asking someone to take a drink with you at a party in fashionable society).

Overall a fascinating introduction to a highly colourful but largley lost aspect of English, and a glance into the world of one of Ankh-Morpork's greatest institutions.

* From: "Andrew Bambrick"
I was sitting with my kids and watched a TV show called "The Magic School Bus". I am not sure if it is shown in the UK as it is made in the USA, and as we live in Australia, we get stuff from all over shown on our small screens. Anyway for those that don't know the show it is an "educational" show that teaches rudimentary science. While watching it today I was struck by the similarities between the field trips taken by Miss Frizzel's class and those referred of Miss Susan's class referred to in "Thief of Time". I thought it might be of interest to some of PTerry's fans.

* From: "Nathan Rose"
In all my time reading Pratchett there's been one joke that has always niggled at me because I've never understood it. I'm talking about the eldritch / oblong gag that appears a few times. Anyone have any idea where it's coming from?

4. DiscTrivia

This month in a change to our normal triva, we have included the first five questions from a list sent in by Ninj Ninja

What is the name of Detritus's wife?

Who murdered Beano the clown?

Who summoned the Dragon to Ankh Morpork in Guards! Guards!?

What was the name of the Dwarf female that Carrot left behind when he moved to the city?

Who was leader of the dogs' guild until his untimely death in 'Men at Arms'?

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

5. Interview: Stephen Briggs and the Discworld.

Interviewed by Chris Nelson.

Terry Pratchett's phenomenally successful Discworld series has seen 33 books covering 21 years, never mind the diaries, stage plays, cookbooks, calendars, alamanacks, Clarecraft figurines, clothing and Conventions. His latest, Going Postal, was released in October 2004, with the play premiering in January 2005. Pratchett's next book, Thud, is (as always) heavily anticipated in the summer. For over 13 years now, Mr. Stephen Briggs has translated Pratchett's books for the stage. We caught up with him to ask about his amateur dramatics group, the plays and the Discworld.

In 1969 the Studio Theatre Club (STC) was formed from another adult group in Oxford. Stephen Briggs was already a member of its youth wing at the time: the Oxford Youth Theatre (OYT). His first performance was in 1970 with the STC, although at the time he was on loan from the OYT.

Today, he is the STC director, as well as an actor. The STC has performed many plays over the years, from Monty Python to Tom Sharpe's work. In 1991 he read Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters and, after receiving permission to do so, adapted it to a play. Since then, Stephen has adapted fourteen more books to plays and the scripts are available in bookstores worldwide. Within the plays, he is perhaps more famous for portraying the role of Lord Vetinari, Plato's wise dictator: The Patrician of one of Discworld's largest capitals - Ankh-Morpork. At Conventions he has been known to also assume the personage, as well as the Clarecraft Discworld figurine of the Patrician being crafted to his likeness. He's also helped Terry Pratchett construct Discworld maps, several versions of the Discworld Companion, Discworld Diaries, read for unabridged audio CDs and also sells Discworld merchandise himself. Frankly it's a wonder he has enough time to act. Royalties from the plays are all in a good cause though, as over 50,000 GBP has so far been given in support of the Orangutan Foundation, a charity committed to educating the public and actively putting pressure on government to help the plight of the Orangutan and its habitat, as currently they will become extinct within the next 20 years. Despite all this he still describes himself as "a civil servant" - his day job.

CN: Okay, an obvious question first: what is your favourite Discworld book?

SB: I don't have a favourite book, although out of loyalty I ought to say 'Mort', as it's the book which first got me into Discworld.

CN: What about your favourite character?

SB: Favourite Character? Hm. Not really, but I quite like recording the lines spoken by Lord Vetinari, Death, Vimes and Granny Weatherwax.

CN: As the STC Discworld plays are selling out quicker and quicker, do you think you will be eventually forced to show more performances? That, or get more chairs?

SB: Neither. We're amateurs and my group wouldn't do a longer run. No more seats because the Unicorn Theatre is already at capacity. A bigger venue? No guarantee we'd sell out - there are a lot of other groups out there staging the plays now - in the old days, it was only us!

CN: How do you go around adapting the book to stage play, especially as you have to fit it into an evening?

SB: I read the book a few times, leave it and then write down what I remember of the main plot. Usually, what I can't remember is stuff that can be dumped to get the thing down to length.

CN: Is Terry (Pratchett) involved?

SB: Not heavily. He usually asks how it's going and checks that I'm not cutting any really important scenes or characters, but I think he knows I'll remain faithful to the books and to Discworld. He always has useful comments when he comes to see the shows and I always incorporate them into the published texts.

CN: Do you think there should be a live action film, like Harry Potter?

SB: Not like Harry Potter but I don't see why Discworld shouldn't be capable of being made into a GOOD film without sacrificing its soul and without it being tediously long.

CN: If there were, would you like to play The Patrician?

SB: Defiantly.

CN: Or who would you like to see play the role, film star wise?

SB: There's no one else (laughs). Seriously, I don't know. Alan Rickman is quite like him, although he's a bit short. Iain Richardson is now too old. Rowan Atkinson too comedic... no, it'll have to be me!

CN: Which Discworld play was the most fun to produce?

SB: Monstrous Regiment. I had a good cast and I was very pleased with the outcome.

CN: Conversely: the most difficult?

SB: Jingo. It was a complicated plot and I have reworked it for publication.

CN: Can you remind how you also acquired the title of CMOT Dibbler: Merchandiser of Discworld products?

SB: By accident. Terry and I were having six Unseen University scarves done to mark the publication of the Companion. Terry mentioned this on a Pratchett conference and there was a demand for copies... then I did a t-shirt and it snowballed.

CN: Where do you see the STC going in the future?

SB: We have a history of staging plays new to the area, or new to amateur theatre and I'd hope to see that continuing.

CN: Lastly, is there anything you haven't done that you would like to do?

SB: Trek in the Himalayas, visit Australia, written a screenplay for a blockbuster film, play a Bond villain... not much really.

CN: Stephen Briggs, thank you for your time.

Currently, the STC are performing Terry Pratchett's Going Postal in January and Alan Ayckbourn's Wildest Dreams in April, both at Abingdon's Unicorn Theatre, Oxford.

6. Competitions

Well, we're now into 2005, so if you haven't got your guide for the year in the shape of the Discworld Almanak, then here's your chance to get one for free!

A specially 'ink-stamped' edition of the Almanak is available exclusively from Bonsai Trading, and for this month's competition we've got a copy to give away. To get your name in the hat, just answer this question:

How many of these copies of the Almanak have Bonsai Trading 'ink-stamped'?

Hint: You may just find the answer at

Email your answer to by 22nd February. The randomly selected winner will be announced next month. Please remember to include your name and postal town in your email.

7. Terry's Universal Appeal at the BA.

Terry has recently written a short poem in the "Poetry from the Stars" section of The BA [British Association for the Advancement of Science - Ed] web site to tie in with "universe", a competition based around the work of the famous physicist Einstein.

Budding poets are invited to submit poems on the themes of time, space and energy to this UK-wide competition. Poems may be in any style, from rhyme to sonnets, haiku to limericks, and must be no longer than 40 lines.

More information can be found at:

Terry's poem is reproduced in full below with kind permission from the BA.

"I do have worlds enough and time
to spare an hour to find a rhyme

to take a week to pen an article
a day to find a rhyme for 'particle'.

In many worlds my time is free
to spend ten minutes over tea

And steal the time from some far moon
so words can take all afternoon,

Away beyond the speed of light
I'll write a novel in one night.

Aeons beckon, if I want 'em...
...but I can't have em', 'cos of Quantum"

Terry Pratchett

Terry read his poem live recently on BBC Radio 4.

8. The End

* Contact Information *

We prefer information to be sent via email, but can accept information via fax or post at the following addresses:

Post: J Anthony-Rowlands (DWM), 20 Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, SA4 8RG

* Latest Book Information *

Discworld paperback: Monstrous Regiment 055214941/87

Discworld hardback: Going Postal 0385603428/87

Discworld Young Adult paperback: The Wee Free Men 0552549053/87

Discworld Young Adult hardback: A Hat Full of Sky 0385607369/87

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* Disc Trivia Results *

What is the name of Detritus's wife?

Who murdered Beano the clown?
Edward De'ath

Who summoned the Dragon to Ankh Morpork in Guards! Guards!?
Lupine Wonse

What was the name of the Dwarf female that Carrot left behind when he moved to the city?
Minty Rocksmacker

Who was leader of the dogs' guild until his untimely death in 'Men at Arms'?
Big Fido

* Obtaining Terry's Books *

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