Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 109: May 2006

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Who's Who: Lady Sybil Ramkin
6. Competition Result
7. New Games Store in Reading, Berkshire - Eclectic Games.
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 109. Last month we included a request from Bernard Pearson for Discworld fans with their own costumes to take place in an audition to be extras in the new Hogfather movie. Unfortunately for various reasons the offer of having fans on set was regrettably withdrawn.

With unerring timing, the wizard robes I purchased in the hope to get a place in the Hogfather movie arrived on the same day as the withdrawal.

However, now that I have the robes expect to see me in my robes at Wincanton. I have foolishly agreed to take part in the cricket match that is being arranged for the Wincanton weekend, so that should be a laugh.

Rob Wilkins has included some photos from the set of Hogfather on the Paul Kidby website

I have been having more problems with Yahoo Groups. If you know of a mailing list host that would be willing to take over the hosting of DWM (preferably for very little or no money) please let me know.

I am currently looking at as an alternative to If you have any experience with Google Groups good or bad, please let me know. If I don't have too many objections I will try to port over to some in the middle of the month, so the first Google Groups Discworld Monthly email would be Issue 110.

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

2. News

News from Colin Smythe [Terry's agent]: I've been informed that the German Sektoberfest planned for 1-3 September (the same weekend as Wadfest) has been cancelled. This means the first German Discworld convention will be the Scheibenwelt-Fest, which is taking place at Freusburg zu Siegen from 23-25 February 2007. Their website address is Terry has told me that he will not be there as it clashes with an American convention which he promised to attend over eighteen months ago, and the only way he would be able to attend the Fest would be if that convention was cancelled. Stephen Briggs, Trevor Truran, Bernard Pearson and others plan to be there.

Bookonear are adapting Pyramids as a German language audio play (in the same format as their production of Guards! Guards!) for release in early May They also plan to issue a similar production of Lords and Ladies.

News from Rob Wilkins [Terry's PA]: Terry's touring plans for this year include: a visit to Moscow & St. Petersburg at the end of May/early June. Visits to Bern, Berlin and Vienna in mid-September. A number of UK dates in late September and early October and a US tour, probably about twelve days in length, starting mid-October.

The TES (Times Education Supplement) in shops until Thursday 6th April included a full-size pullout poster of Terry in the Teacher pullout, with teachers' notes on teaching about Terry's life and works.

Wintersmith the third Tiffany Aching novel, will be released in the UK on September 28th and around the same time in the US.

The blurb from the US cover makes very interesting reading:

At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland

At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil.

At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're thirteen...

But the Wintersmith isn't exactly a boy. He is Winter itself - snow, gales, icicles - all of it. When he had a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever.

Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She'll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They - Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She'll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland - whether she wants it or not.

It's going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn't survive until Spring - Spring won't come.

You can pre-order Wintersmith now from using this link: 0385609841/87

Unshelved (the world's only daily comic strip set in a public library) included a reference to the Colour of Magic in a recent issue. See

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] Waterside Theatre Company will be performing Guards! Guards! At The Waterside Theatre, Holbury, Nr Southampton from May 18th - 20th 2006.

Tickets 7.00 GBP and 6.00 GBP concessions available on 023 80841533

[UK] The Stockport Garrick Theatre will be performing Lords and Ladies from the 10th-17th June. Tickets cost 7.50 GBP (6 GBP for concessions).

More information can be found at

[AU] Unseen Theatre Company will be performing Jingo from June 28 to July 15. More details can be found 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] 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] Nullus Anxietas: The Australian Discworld Convention, Melbourne 2007 - For the latest information on the con, please check out the new version of our website -

[DE, New] The first German Discworld Convention "Scheibenwelt-Fest 2007" will take place at a real castle near Siegen in Germany from February the 23rd till the 25th.

The organisers claim they will try to entertain you with a broad range of different workshops, shows, guests of honour and other events at this Uberwald-themed festival.

Tickets cost only 47.50 GBP for both days including accommodation in the castle, breakfast and dinner.

You can find the registration and further information at:

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: Any offers for an uncorrected proof copy of Equal Rites Gollancz/Colin Smythe, London 1987. First Edition - 200 pages in pale blue/violet cover. Which I understand is quite rare and that no more than a handful of copies still exist of this advance reading copy proof.

Jeremy Prentice writes: Unfortunately for me (but great for anyone wishing to plug a gap in their Discworld collection) I am selling off my Discworld novel collection: I have most of the titles available, all soft cover and all in very good nick. Am happy to mail them wherever (at the purchaser's cost). I also have The Discworld Mapp (1995 Edn) up for grabs, or might just throw it in with a big enough order. Email me for prices (probably around $5 each +P&P) and titles available, pics if desired etc.

Plus, a brand new copy of Thud - the Boardgame (1st version, prior to box changing to incorporate the novel cover). Used twice, absolutely perfect condition (POA)

Feel free to email me any questions and I also have some other well known authors to clear off my groaning bookshelves. writes: I have a small collection of Clarecraft Discworld figures and memorabilia currently packed away in storage. I am more than willing to donate them to a worthy cause - convention raffle perhaps? - but would need someone to collect them. Is there anyone out there in the Greater Manchester/Tameside area who would be infested? Figures include Death and Granny Weatherwax playing cards, Hodgesaargh, Rincewind Running etc: no cards or boxes sorry so no use really to serious collectors.

Jim Allen writes: I am stuck for space and my books have to go. I have about 20 Discworld paperbacks plus a couple of hardbacks. I am asking for 40GBP plus postage.

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 while we look at obscure sites on the Internet.

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: "Megan Hine"
Reply to Ms. Wells' request for a website where she can purchase Wyrd Sisters scripts: has 26 scripts, new and used, for between 3 and 7 British pounds each (depending on condition), and shipping within the UK is free if you buy over 15 pounds. Here's the address:

Hope this helps, and break a leg with the production.

* From: "Charlie" email address removed upon request - February 2020
You may be interested to know that the Discworld's Clacks system has roundworld origins in a system devised by Claude Chappe which spanned 17th Century France. It encountered opposition from peasants who thought that the 'clacking' noises were demonic and burned down the towers (think Borogravians in Monstrous Regiment). The semaphore system is also mentioned in 'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexander Dumas, he of The Three Musketeers fame. You can find out some general info about the Clacks by visiting

* From: "Laura Taylor"
Possibly I was just being hugely ignorant, but I never realised the Clacks towers were actually based on...well, Clacks towers! There I was learning about the St Albans clock tower, and - voila! - "From 1808-1814 during the Napoleonic war, it was used by the Admiralty as a semaphore station. This was operated by a shutter system and could help relay a message to or from Yarmouth in 5 minutes." Exciting stuff.

* From: "Pamela Keenan"
Hi just wanted to say thanks for the information about Joe Pattison's repairs to Discworld Characters. It was a life saver. A cleaning accident with Carrot and the handle of his sword meant that he was incomplete. I contacted Joe and as quick as a flash Carrot was on his way to Joe for repair. Just as quickly and extremely reasonably in cost he was back with me complete once again.

* From: "Jaci"
I have all Discworld Games for the PC. However, I have now purchased a new PC with XP technology and they no longer work! Does anyone know how to get around this or if there are XP versions of the games?

JA replies: You *may* be able to run the game in Windows 9x compatibility mode, I don't have the games installed on my PC so I cannot test it. To try compatibility mode: Right click on each of the game short-cuts and select properties. Next select the "Compatibility" tab and click the "Run this program in compatibility mode for" check box so it now displays an X in the box. You can now select Windows 98 from the drop down list. Finally select the OK button. Good luck.

* From: "Jordan Munday"
I don't know if this has been mentioned before and I've maybe missed it, but I was re-reading Sourcery recently and I noticed a remarkable similarity between the poetry by Creosote and several verses from the Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Written 1123 CE, translation published 1859). For example the first verse of the Rubaiyat begins,

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

and one of Creosote's poems begins,

Get up! For morning in the cup of day, has dropped the spoon that scares the stars away

It never ceases to amaze me where Terry gets his ideas from.

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

* From: "John Ritchie"
I personally was thrilled at the choice of Sam Raimi to direct The Wee Free Men. Raimi is one of the few American directors out there who will "get" Terry's sense of humour. For those in doubt, please find copies of Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. Yes, Raimi is currently making Hollywood blockbusters with the Spider-Man films. However, look at Spider-Man 2's scene in which Doctor Octavius wakes up and destroys a medical lab. Raimi has still retained his wild, independent edge. Relax, friends: our beloved book is in good hands.

* From:
I know there are a few souls in possession of this fine work, like myself.. but my question is how many of you have tried to actually make the dishes contained in the book? i had friends round for a meal, and the entire meal was based on the recipes.. the bananana soup went down well with everyone although they seemed uncertain at first lol.

* From: "Joan Cowdell"
DWM's reply to the question about Rincewind (or lack of him) was to ask whether he still has a place in the more serious Discworld books. I suddenly realised how much I miss Rincewind, and the witches too. It was the earlier more light-hearted books that got me hooked on pTerry in the first place and I would love, just occasionally, for a new book to appear in the old style. Progress is necessary but we shouldn't lose touch completely with old friends, especially as they nearly got me thrown off a train for laughing aloud when apparently alone.

* From: "Shirley MacDonald"
In response to Peter McMahon's query regarding Rincewind in issue 108 - Terry says in The Art of Discworld that "there is at least one future outing lined up for him". He doesn't say when, though.

* From: "Peter Smith"
Now I don't really want to be Mr Grumpy - it isn't (normally) my ground state - but I really, really, must pull you up about the Editorial team's comment in issue 108 with regards to Rincewind's absence and relevance to the 'modern' stories.

Rincewind is a fundamental character to the series. It is HE who introduced most of us to the delights of this special corner of the Multiverse.

It is HE who has, in his time, seen just about all of the Disc's 'specialities' at first hand. It is also HE who experienced the much feared Dungeon Dimensions - and survived. It is he who has the Life liner that gives the Grim Reaper problems in sorting out.

I could go on to tiresomely reiterate all the other incidents that Rincewind has brought to a conclusion in a most satisfactory manner and prove that he is, beyond doubt, one of the Disc's heroes - rather than a has been.

To my mind he should be allowed to develop, just as Sam Vimes did (and all the others), into something resembling a swan - rather than the ugly duckling many people seem think he is.

He deserves the opportunity to grow up, reach enlightenment, and realise his true 'niche' in life simply because he's earned it.

In fact the Discworld would not exist at all if it wasn't for the magic that Rincewind, in his own way, represents.

Grumpy from Kirkcaldy

* From: "Steve"
Can you tell me why Doubleday's website has no mention of TP or his books? I tried a search on the site and it always comes up with the usual "Sorry, we were unable to find any books that match your criteria." I searched for Thud and other titles but came up with the same. Considering Doubleday are quoted as the publishers this seems mysterious.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I have decided to ask questions about Equal Rites.

In what town was Eskarina born?
Which practitioner of midwifery delivered Eskarina?
Who transferred his power to Eskarina before he died?
a) Drum Hillet
b) Drum Billet
c) Dum Tillet
d) Dum Dum
Who was Archchancellor when Eskarina arrived at UU?
What was unusual about Eskarina joining UU?

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

5. Who's Who: Lady Sybil Ramkin

I wonder if Terry had any idea how far Lady Sybil would develop as a character when he created her for Guards! Guards! as the local Dragon expert. Several years on from Guards! Guards! and now a mother Lady Sybil is still looking after the vast majority of Ankh-Morpork's population of rather sad (highly explosive) swamp dragons

Her relationship with Sam Vimes appeared at first to be extremely unlikely. After all she is a lady and he is a drunken thief-taker. But under Terry's skilful direction their relationship has developed and blossomed into one of the more enduring features of the series. This relationship has proved time and time again to be the anchor that has prevented Sam from pushing things too far.

Sybil is the result of many generations of producing sturdy girls suitable for marriage. Many a Ramkin lady has endured frightful conditions to ensure their husbands are properly looked after, including serving a dinner party whilst the enemy were knocking down the barricades.

Sybil must be a very lonely person (even though she has young Sam) as she spends much of her time waiting / worrying about Sam while he takes all sorts of risks with his life in his line of duty.

Whilst Sybil often shows a firm upper lip, she also has a very fragile side to her. Something which Sam Vimes often misses, for example the attempted hijack of their coach in The Fifth Elephant.

Sybil also has some bizarre senses of wifely duty that she feels she must perform and this can often be seen when she it darning Sam's socks at night (even when they could afford to buy new socks every day).

I think that Sybil would be able to do pretty much anything she puts her mind to. In The Fifth Elephant she proved to be a very talented negotiator, a very useful diplomat and is able to command attention when required.

Favourite quote:

'Oh, her,' said Vimes gloomily. 'I think I've seen her around. The one with the Whinny If you Love Dragons sticker on the back of her carriage?'

'That's her. She's mental.' said Sergeant Colon.

6. Competition Result

Last month we teamed up with HarperCollins to give you an opportunity to win a set of the new Good Omens hardbacks.

All you had to do to be in with a chance of winning was send the answer to the following simple question.

What is the latest Johnny Maxwell book to be announced on the website?

The answer we were looking for was Johnny and the Dead and the randomly selected winner was Preston Postle of Ohio, USA. Your books should soon be on their way.

For more information about Discworld in the US visit

7. New Games Store in Reading, Berkshire - Eclectic Games.

A few months ago I mentioned that a new game shop would soon be opening in Reading and would be run by fellow Discworld fan and expert Thud player Becky Ottery.

The shop, named Eclectic Games, is now set up and ready for your business. Eclectic Games is a specialist hobby and traditional board games shop that sells board games, card games, role-playing games and all the associated accessories.

So if you are in the market for a pocket chess set, a luxury backgammon set or the most recent release of Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic, this shop has all you need. Becky will also provide a special order service for any game items that you need.

But what really sets this shop apart is that it runs regular board games evenings every Monday (from 6-11pm) and also regular collectable card games such as Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Vs, Raw Deal etc. The shop will also run regular monthly gaming tournaments.

The shop is very conveniently positioned directly opposite the main entrance to Reading Train Station, and is located in what used to be a bar. It is open Monday - Saturday from 10am - 6pm.

On Saturday 20th May, Eclectic Games will be holding a Koom Valley Thud day. Trevor Truran (Thud's designer) will be at the store from 11am - 6pm to demonstrate the Koom Valley version of Thud and take part in the first ever "simultaneous" Koom Valley Thud event.

Also on display will be Watch Out and possibly the new Hogfather game to playtest.

As the shop is just starting out its new website is very basic but functional at the moment, but Becky is hoping to have a fuller website up and running very soon. Details at:

Should you wish to contact the shop you can call on 0118-959-8250 or email

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: Going Postal 0552149438/87

Discworld hardback: Thud! 0385608675/87

Discworld hardback Companion: Where's My Cow? 038560937X/87

Discworld Young Adult paperback: A Hat Full of Sky 0552551449/87

Pre-Order: Wintersmith NOW 0385609841/87

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* Disc Trivia Results *

In what town was Eskarina born?
Bad Ass

Which practitioner of midwifery delivered Eskarina?
Granny Weatherwax

Who transferred his power to Eskarina before he died?
Drum Billet

Who was Archchancellor when Eskarina arrived at UU?

What was unusual about Eskarina joining UU?
She was the first female student at UU.

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