Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 106: February 2006

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: The Colour of Magic - Facsimile Edition
6. Competitions
7. Review: Wings - ISIS Audio Book
8. Review: Johnny and the Bomb TV Mini Series
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 106. Last month I reported on the rumour of a Hogfather TV series due to be released in December this year. New rumours suggest that Sir David Jason will play Albert and Malcolm Mcdowell will play Teatime.

If these rumours prove correct it sounds like a very exciting project, and if the recent adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb is anything to go by, television has got to the point where adapting Discworld to the screen finally seems feasible.

It appears that Hedgehogs really cannot be buggered after all. Numbers of our spiky friends are decreasing rapidly as this report in the Guardian on-line demonstrates.,,1687999,00.html

I've just noticed that Waddy has updated his Wadfest Website visit for full details. It appears that this year's event will be called Dijabringabeeralong so expect a lot of XXXX type fun and games.
Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (IT Div Kid)

2. News

Terry is in the final stages of finishing off Wintersmith (the third Tiffany Aching book) and has as a present to himself started writing the next Discworld novel. Previously we understood this would be a story about football called Unseen Academicals but it turns out that it is now in fact a new Moist Von Lipwig story called Making Money.

I suspect that it will involve Ankh Morpork moving towards paper money. If this turns out to be true I predict that a certain real world Artificer will soon have a license to print money!

Last month we mentioned a new roleplay shop that will be opening in Reading. Unfortunately delays have meant that it is hoped the shop will open in mid February.

Eclectic Games (as it will be known) will be run by fellow Discworld fan and Thud expert Becky Ottery. It is hoped that Trevor Truran (Thud's designer) will be there to help teach you the new Koom Valley Thud rules.

The new shop will be located directly opposite Reading Station's main entrance.

A new website should come live soon.

Terry recently spent a day at the BBC on the set of Blue Peter (a long running British Children's Television Programme) to promote Johnny and the Bomb TV series. The televised interview was brief but Terry handled the rather dull questions well and apparently enjoyed the day. Photos of Terry's visit can be found at

I wonder if Terry got a Blue Peter badge for appearing on the programme? - Ed

Sam Raimi director of Spider Man will be making The Wee Free Men after he finishes Spider Man 3. It will be interesting to see if The Wee Free Men gets any further than the ill fated Good Omens and Bromeliad films.

German fans looking for transport to this year's Wadfest should look at the following site which includes car sharing details:

If this proves to be effective I am sure more events will be considered.

BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting its adaptation of Small Gods at 23.00-23.30 on 28th February, 7th, 14th and 21st March. It has been dramatised by Robin Brooks, directed by Gordon House and produced by Claire Grove. You should be able to listen to it on the web via the listen again system.

The makers of the Troll Bridge Movie have made a Windows background available of their CGI Mica on their website. The scene is available in a number of resolutions so is sure to look great whatever size screen you use. [It looks great even on my office screen that runs at 1600 x 1200 - Ed].

The February issue of 'Your Cat' magazine apparently has an article by Terry in it called "It's a Cat's Life". Your Cat has been seend in branches of Tesco and WH Smith. It also has a website at

From Colin Smythe (Terry's Agent):

This week's (the first of the New Year) Publishers Weekly lists its "Listen Up Awards" winners, and THUD! read by Stephen Briggs is one of just three category winners for SF/Fantasy (the others are THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY: THE TERTIARY PHASE by Douglas Adams, read by Adams, Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Susan Sheridan, and cast) and MERCURY by Ben Bova (read be Stefan Rudnicki, Arte Johnson, and Moira Quirk).

ISIS have licensed GOOD OMENS and it will be read by Stephen Briggs, and released during the late summer.

Vuzev in Bulgaria have published The Art of Discworld and are reissuing the illustrated edition of Eric, and Salani will be publishing an unillustrated edition of Eric.

Laguna in Serbia are licensing Interesting Times and Maskerade.

Talpress (Czech Republic) are buying Slovak rights to Mort and Sourcery.

Karisto (Finland) are buying Interesting Times.

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.

[UK] Lords and Ladies is being performed by Stephen Briggs' theatre club at Unicorn Theatre, Thames Street, Abingdon from the 7th to 11th February 2006 from 7.30 (plus 2.30 on the Sat). TICKETS HAVE NOW SOLD OUT! Box Office - visit

[UK, New] Guards! Guards! is being performed at the Questors Theatre Club in Ealing from the 14-18th March. More information at

[UK] Behind The Mask - Discworld Convention 2006. A glorious four-day weekend where fans of Terry Pratchett can get together, relax, enjoy each other's company, meet Terry and the other guests, attend some (or many) of the scores of programme events, and generally Have A Good Time...

Location: Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK

Guest of Honour: Terry Pratchett

Other Guests: Stephen Briggs, Bernard Pearson, Trevor Truran, Colin Smythe, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, David Langford, Lionel Fanthorpe

Membership: Full attending 50GBP
Concessions: 35GBP
Supporting: 20GBP
Child: Free

Contact: Discworld Convention 2006, P.O. Box 102, Royston, Herts, SG8 7ZJ, UK

Accommodation: Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK



[UK, New] Wadfest 2006 will take place over the weekend of the 1st-3rd September. This year's event will take place again at Trentfield Farm which proved to be very suitable last year. More details at

[AU, Updated] Nullus Anxietas: The Australian Discworld Convention, Melbourne 2007 - There's now not even a month left until membership prices rise - sign up before the 9th of February to take advantage of the discounted rates. Visit the website for 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. writes: I work in a branch of Cancer Research UK and am selling on their behalf the video for Part Two of the animation of Soul Music. There is a twenty minute interview at the beginning with Terry, then the story picks up from the wizards performing the rite of Ashk Ente. The video is in very good condition. I am selling at the standard price for a video at the shop, which is 1.50 GBP (plus 1 GBP postage within the UK).

Bob Moolenaar writes: I have a large collection of TP memorabila for sale currently posted on
Type in the title search - Discworld - and click on Find Book. Then search by highest price. The book seller is Kelly's toys and books, Yarrawonga Australia.

The collection includes all novels, all three PC games, the limited edition Clarecraft Discworld figurine (only 1000 in the world), all domain maps, all illustrated comics, Discworld SFX magazine no 1, Death and Rincewind mirrors, play books, illustrated comics, all videos (Truckers, Johnny and the Dead, Wyrd Sisters, Soul Music) and a whole lot more. Everything in the collection ranges from excellent to mint condition.

I doubt if there will be a bigger collection to go on the market in any time soon.

Still a TP fan just need some space.

Suzy and Chuck Spencer write: I've got an unmarked 2003 Discworld diary (Reformed Vampire's) for sale. Although I acquired it from the U.S. based Science Fiction Book Club, the price on the back is in British pounds. I'm asking 10 USD plus postage.

Roslyn Macpherson writes: I have a spare, brand new & un-read paperback copy of Going Postal. I'd love to swap it for a copy of A Hat Full of Sky if anyone is interested. Doesn't have to be a brand new copy: a used, but loved copy would be perfectly acceptable. Please! There aren't many Pratchett fans in the wild & windy Outer Hebrides of Scotland, so you are all my lifeline to all that is Pratchettian.

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 use them as packing material.

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: "Gus the Theatre cat" <email address withheld>
I was introduced to PTerry's books when choosing a present for an avid fan and have since read a number of his books, and was browsing through the last Discworld Monthly (Dec) and saw that Going Postal was to be performed at the Bakehouse Theatre in Adelaide by the Unseen Theatre Co. Surprise as the Adelaide registered and then realized that the dates were for the following week. Dragged along an unwilling spouse (who secretly enjoyed it) who actually borrowed the book from the library to try to "be prepared". Thoroughly enjoyed the performance myself - the adaptations are brilliant and even if one hasn't read the book, the story can be followed easily. In true Gilbert and Sullivan style, its dialogue in places was relevant to current events. Several actors played more than one person and their commitment to excellence has to be commended: there was not a visible moment's hesitation and the play progressed very smoothly.

* From: "Robert Bruce"
Over the last two years I have been able to get 30 titles of the Discworld Audio from As a member I spend about 10 USD for each one. I can either put them on CD's, or move them to a MP3 player. I spend about a hour a day going to and from work so I have a hour of wonderful listening. I like the audio over the books, as the reader puts in so much color in the reading. It reminds me of the days before television when we had only the radio to listen to.

* From: "Carina Witteman"
In response to Richard Manning who is under the false impression that Dan Brown's mention of Quetzalcoatl is taken from Terry Pratchett's Quezovercoatl:

Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec god. The name means 'feathered snake'. The name is derived from the feathers of a quetzal, a small bird with long, green feathers. These are the feathers the snake wears. Sometimes Quetzalcoatl is represented as a white man with a beard. The Aztec were convinced Quetzalcoatl would one day return and end their civilization. Some say that when Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico the Aztec mistook him for the god Quetzalcoatl. Whether he was or was not makes no difference, he fulfilled the prophecy and the Aztec civilization was eradicated by the Spanish greed for gold. The fact that Terry Pratchett calls him the god of human sacrifice is because of the Maya people. They sacrificed people to this god while the Aztec did not. This is how Terry Pratchett came up with his version of this god.

DWM replies: Thanks also to Brendan Price and Mark Hughes Cobb who sent in similar replies to Richard's letter. We had however decided to give Letter of the Month to Carina.

* From: "Paul Bines"
Has anyone else noticed the similarities between the new BBC TV "Life on Mars" (produced by Kudos, the people responsible for "Spooks" and "Hustle") and Terry's "Night Watch"? Both are about a senior police officer (named 'Sam') pursuing a multiple murderer and suddenly finding themselves about 30 years in the past and having to deal with a more 'primitive' police force. I only twigged when a friend mentioned it in a casual conversation and I wondered if any other Pratchett fans had noticed it - perhaps there is a fan at Kudos?!

DWM replies: They also both ended up tracking one villain across both time zones. Still, I think coincidence.

* From: "Heleanor Feltham"
Terry Pratchett's erudition knows few bounds, which makes his books an awful lot of fun. After you've thoroughly enjoyed the story, you can re-read and see how many references you can pick up. Recently, reading a paper on the Cathars (heretical mediaeval sect), I came across the dreaded Pierre de Lancre (1553-1631) witchfinder to France's Henri IV, who claimed that in the Basque region where he did most of his witch hunting (and caused the executions of about 600 people) there were no inhabitants, from nobles to priests to peasants, who were not touched by witchcraft. Sound like anywhere we know? I must say that calling a kingdom after you chief persecutor is a little peculiar, but then it's octiron country.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I have decided to ask questions about Johnny and the Bomb. If the questions or answers are wrong then blame me - Ed.

Johnny's grandad is called _______ Maxwell.
Johnny and his gang come from what town?
Who is not a member of Johnny's gang?

a) Kirsty
b) Whopper
c) Bigmac
d) Yo-less
What year during the war does Johnny visit?
What turn of phrase does Mrs Tachyon share in common with Foul Ole Ron?

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

5. Review: The Colour of Magic - Facsimile Edition

Reviewed by Jason Anthony.

Rob Wilkins recently sent me a copy of the new The Colour of Magic - Facsimile Edition from the website. What's more, every copy sent out from the Paul Kidby website has been signed by Terry.

This review will not be about the story of The Colour of Magic (TCoM from now on) but the physical book. My first question was what is a facsimile edition? The answer is quite simple, a facsimile edition is an exact as possible replica of the original works. In this case the original first edition, first print run of TCoM as published by Colin Smythe, back in 1983. The original Colin Smythe print run was for only 506 copies. It is this rarity that makes the original so valuable - nobody knows just how many of the original print run still exist. Proper first edition, first print copies have been know to exchange hands for several thousand pounds. Although some very lucky fans have managed to pick up bargain copies at car boot sales for less than 100 GBP.

The new Facsimile Edition has been carefully created by Hill House Publishers of New York. In their attempt at being a faithful as possible to the original work, Hill House even managed to hunt down the same type of printer and paper as used by Colin Smythe over 22 years ago. One of the things that makes the original, TCoM stand out, apart from being the first, is that the cover pre-dates Josh Kirby's involvement with Discworld. Hill House have thoughtfully included both the original Alan Smith cover and also the updated Josh Kirby one that most people with be familiar with.

I've never been lucky enough to own an original copy of TCoM, so I cannot say how faithful the facsimile is, but from my understanding of how much time and effort has gone into reproducing this facsimile I expect it is very close.

The closest I can get to a comparison is with a friend's American Book Club first edition of TCoM and the covers look identical to my casual observation.

There is something quite satisfying holding what at first glance appears to be a first edition, first print run of TCoM even when you know it's a facsimile. The book gives off a certain feel of age, even though it was probably only printed at the very end of last year. Even when just having it on display in your book shelf, it manages to say look at me! I can almost imagine what it must be like to own one of the originals.

To ensure that nobody tries to pass the facsimile copy off as an original Hill House have included a small note on the copyright page stating that this is in fact a facsimile copy not the original. I have to wonder how long it will be, even with this note in place, before someone decides to try to pass one off as an original on eBay. So if you do see a rash of original TCoM's come up on eBay be sure to get a full scan of the copyright page just to be sure.

Hill House do sell copies of TCoM Facsimile Edition from their website at for 40 USD but the postage to anywhere outside of the US and Canada is 40 USD the same price as the book. Readers in the UK would be better off taking advantage of as their copies cost 40 GBP including postage to the UK and are all signed by Terry.

This is a fantastic chance to own what appears to be one of the rarest Discworld books ever. Having seen how much effort has gone into this Facsimile Edition I strongly recommend it to any discerning Discworld fan.

6. Competitions

This month we have teamed up with the very nice people at to give you chance to win a signed copy of The Colour of Magic: Facsimile Edition.

All you need to do be in with a chance to win this book is answer the following simple question:

When was the original The Colour of Magic first published? (Hint, the date may be found on the PaulKidby website!)

Simply send your answers to by Tuesday 21st February 2006. The randomly selected winner will be announced next month.

For more information about the complete range of Discworld products offered by visit their website at

7. Review: Wings - ISIS Audio Book Reviewed by Jason Anthony.

Last month when I received a copy of Thud! on ISIS Audio Book I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of Wings. As you will know Wings is the third (and final) instalment of the Bromeliad series.

Wings runs parallel with the events that take place in Diggers and follows Masklin, Angalo and Gurder on their mission to get to Florida (where the orange juice is) and beyond.

Having thoroughly enjoyed both Truckers and Wings on ISIS Audio I was really looking forward to listening to Wings. Having previously read the other two Bromeliad books, Stephen Briggs has already had the chance to perfect the voices of the characters. With Wings Stephen continues this high standard. Characters are instantly recognisable and the Thing is suitably smug.

Unfortunately there is very little I can say about ISIS recordings that I haven't already said in previous reviews. Stephen has truly established himself as the voice of Discworld and the recordings are well worth listening to.

Wings comes on either three cassettes for 15.99 GBP or four compact discs for 20.99 GBP and can be purchased direct from their website located at

8. Review: Johnny and the Bomb TV Mini Series

At the time of writing the first two episodes of Johnny and the Bomb have been aired on BBC Television, with the third and final episode due to be aired on Sunday 29th at the earlier time of 4:10pm.

Johnny and the Bomb was the first book I ever wrote a review of and probably part of the reason why I eventually started writing Discworld Monthly. Strangely I haven't read the book again since it was originally published back in 1996 so my memory of the story is somewhat lacking.

The basic premise is that Johnny and his friends discover a time travelling device (a shopping trolley full of what appear to be dustbin sacks) and get transported back to May 1941. According to history the night they arrive a German bomb lands in Paradise Street but luckily everybody gets out before it can explode. Unfortunately, due to their actions in the past the gang affect history and 19 people get killed in the explosion (including Johnny's grandmother). Now Johnny and the gang have to go back again to put things right.

The cast in this adaptation include: Zoe Wanamaker as Mrs Tachyon (the time travelling bag lady), Keith Barron as Sir Walter and Frank Finlay as Johnny's grandfather Tom. Johnny is played by newcomer George Mackay. Most of the acting is top notch but if I was to be critical I think that Jazmine Franks' portrayal of Kirsty is a little wooden, but not enough to distract too much.

In order to appeal to a more current audience a bit of licence has been taken with the adaptation, including a reference to Harry Potter and giving Big Mac a mobile phone- the phone causes no end of confusion to the police in 1941.

I think one thing that makes the programme feel real is the attention to detail. There is a noticeable difference in look between 1941 and the present. There appears to be a reasonable effects budget and episode 2 even included a bit of bullet time ala the Matrix.

Johnny and the Bomb has been getting an impressive amount of advertising on the BBC - it's nice to see them taking Terry's works seriously. The makers of the series, Childsplay Television, have created a website to go with the series. The site includes lots of background information about the cast and characters including short video snippets and interviews. There is also a VIP section where, if you sign up (for free), you will get even more content. The side also mentions that the series will eventually be released on DVD. Visit for more details.

I am really looking forward to the final episode next week - the sneak peak at the end of episode 2 looks very exciting. After that I think I will go back and re-read the book to see how it compares.

9. The End

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Discworld paperback: Going Postal 0552149438/87

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* Disc Trivia Results *

Johnny's grandad is called _______ Maxwell.

Johnny and his gang come from what town?

Who is not a member of Johnny's gang?

What year during the war does Johnny visit?

What turn of phrase does Mrs Tachyon share in common with Foul Ole Ron?
Millennium hand and shrimp.

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