Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 128: December 2007

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Making Money Live
6. Competitions
7. Results of Eve Smith's Discworld Questionnaire
8. Article: An Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 128. As we get to the end of another year I am really looking forward to getting away to Wincanton for the traditional Hogswatch celebrations at the end of November.

So as we head on to the end of the year I would like to wish everyone of you a very happy festive celebration. Here's to 2008 - may it bring all that you wish for!

I would like to pass on my best wishes to Gareth and Margaret, both of whom are long-term Discworld fans. Recently Gareth was involved in a near fatal road accident when he crashed his trike. Gareth has had to have many operations to rebuild his many broken bones and is currently amazing doctors with his speedy recovery (original estimates suggested that Gareth would be in hospital for 18-24 months). Hopefully, by the time this issue goes out Gareth will be resting back at home. So I am sure you will all want to join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Last month we received a letter from Daniel McGrath asking people to write to HarperCollins about UK audiobooks. It should be noted that HarperCollins are not affiliated with UK audiobooks, only US ones. The UK unabridged audiobooks are published by ISIS Publishing.

Remember to take a look at our competitions in section 6. This month Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson has arranged a nice little prize.

Also new from Bernard is his Cabinet of Curiosities located at

Don't forget, if you visit a play or a talk and would like to let the world know about it, please feel free to email your review to and we will consider it for publication.

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Bored Games Consultant)

2. News

Pablo Jaime Conill Querol is the sole owner of a newborn Spanish Role Playing Game company called Demonio Sonriente (Smiling Demon).

Pablo has made a Spanish language Discworld RPG based on the free FUDGE system available as a free download from:

It looks like some Russian inventors might be Pratchett fans - they have now invented a robot luggage that follows its owner. Unfortunately gone are the hundreds of dear little feet to be replaced with wheels.

I'm pretty sure this one won't do your laundry for you either.

For more information visit:

The First North American Discworld Convention Official Announcement!

The First North American Discworld Convention will be held September 4-7, 2009 (Labor Day weekend which includes a Monday holiday) at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in downtown Tempe, Arizona (near Phoenix). It will be a celebration of the Discworld universe created by our Guest of Honor Terry Pratchett. Other guests will include Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, and Esther Friesner, with more to be announced. During the weekend we will have many panels, presentations, readings and other activities for Discworld fans. We are also planning to have a Maskerade, a Banquet, a Marketplace (dealer's room/art show), a Charity Auction to benefit the Orangutan Foundation, a Hospitality Suite, and other activities for attendees. The North American Discworld Convention is being sponsored by Leprecon, Inc., an Arizona non-profit volunteer corporation.

Our additional guests are fans of Terry's work and good friends of Terry's. They are also excellent convention guests in their own right and we're looking forward to having them join us.

Diane Duane and Peter Morwood have written many novels, comics, and screenplays, both singly and as collaborations. They co-wrote The Ring of the Nibelungs miniseries (aired in the U.S. on SciFi as Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King), and each has several new novels and projects in the works.

Esther Friesner is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for her humorous stories and anthologies (such as Alien Pregnant by Elvis and the Chicks in Chainmail series) and her fantasy novel series (Majyk, Demons, New York by Knight, and Gnome Man's Land). She's recently embarked on a young adult series featuring a young Helen of Troy with Nobody's Princess and the upcoming Nobody's Prize.

We will be hosting other guests with connections to Terry and Discworld in addition to those above and will announce them as they are confirmed.

The convention will run from early afternoon on Friday, September 4th to late afternoon on Monday, September 7th. There may be some limited activities available for pre-registered members on Thursday night, September 3rd, depending on the travel schedule of our guests. Tentative plans for major events include a special event on Friday night, the Maskerade on Saturday night, and a Banquet in the early evening on Sunday. We will have special panels with our guests including a spotlight talk/interview with Terry Pratchett, probably on Saturday afternoon. Outside of the major panels and events we plan to have more discussion panels, presentations, readings, demonstrations, games, and other activities that will make this a fun and memorable weekend for everyone.

The Charity Auction will benefit Terry Pratchett's favorite charity, the Orangutan Foundation, and will likely be held on Sunday afternoon. There may be some additional fund-raising activities during the weekend as well.

Our venue is the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe, Arizona. Leprecon, Inc. has recently hosted the 2004 World Fantasy Convention and the 2006 Nebula Awards weekend at the Tempe Mission Palms and it has received acclaim from fans and pros at those events. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Tempe with a varied selection of restaurants, shopping and nightlife nearby. It is a short distance from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is accessible via the Phoenix Light Rail system, which will be opening in late 2008. Our room rates are 119 USD per night S/D, 129 USD T, and 139 USD Q with a 9.75 USD per night hospitality fee that includes airport shuttle, valet and self parking, internet access, a fitness center, and more. The online booking code and the reservation phone number will soon be available on our website.

The initial membership rate will be 60 USD for a full weekend membership, or 30 USD for a supporting membership. Children 6-11 will pay 30 USD with kids 5 and under free with an adult membership. These rates will be in effect until March 31, 2008. This rate includes all regular convention events, panels and presentations. The Banquet and a possible VIP event/charityevent will cost extra and will be announced when details are finalized. Payments can be made via the mail or online via Paypal. Full details are on our website. We are planning to cap membership in the 900 attendee range to ensure that all attendees will be able to be seated at the major functions in our ballroom.

For those wanting to mix in some tourism around the convention we will be looking into making arrangements with local touring companies for trips before and/or after the convention with the possibility for some special excursions being arranged for attendees. Keep an eye on our website for details.

We're looking forward to hosting a fun weekend for all of our attendees and our guests. Please be sure to visit our website at and join in the discussions on our message board and livejournal community.

Lee Whiteside
2009 North American Discworld Chair"

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] WADS will be performing Wyrd Sisters on 6, 7 and 8 December at 7:30pm at Testbourne Theatre Hall, Micheldever Road, Hampshire.

Tickets will cost 5 GBP or 4 GBP for concessions.

See for more details.

[UK, New] Maskerade will be performed at the Halifax Playhouse, Halifax, West Yorkshire from 8th to 15th December 2007 at 7:30pm.

Tickets and information can be found at:

[UK] The Invergordon Players amateur company will be performing Wyrd Sisters as their first ever full length play. The show will be performed on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th December 7-30pm at the Invergordon Art Centre (40 miles north of Inverness).

Tickets cost 6 GBP and 4 GBP concessions and are available from and in local shops.

[UK, Updated] The Broken Drummers is a London Discworld Group that meets once a month on a Monday evening. Membership is free - just come along. New members and visitors to London are both welcome and encouraged.

December's meeting will be at the Lahore Kebab House, 2 Umberston Road, Whitechapel, London, E1 on Monday 17th Decemberr from 7.00pm.

For more information go to or e-mail

[UK] The Discworld Convention 2008 will take place at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham from 22nd to 25th August 2008.

For more information visit:

[US] The First North American Discworld Convention will take place from September 4-7, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information 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.

Wesley Townsend writes: I have signed slipcased editions of both Wintersmith and Making Money (sealed and with exclusive Ankh-Morpork bank notes) for sale that are looking for a good home for Christmas. If anyone is interested in putting in a bid for one or both, please e-mail me. I am looking for 25 GBP + for each one.

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 heat our houses by burning the leftovers.

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 as by Bonsai Trading. Sadly Bonsai Trading is no longer trading but John Pagan has supplied me a parcel of prints to give away. As soon as I source some suitable packing tubes I will resume sending out the prints.

* From: "Catherine Lamin"
Well it's been a few years since I wrote anything for you so I thought it was about we go:

I am a primary school teacher. I teach supply in a lot of schools - sometimes there is work prepared for me to do, but often there is not. Usually I try to keep a book handy to fill the odd 'gap'. Over the last couple of years I have tried several books in an effort to get children interested in books, but none has enthused children quite as much as 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents'.

I bring this up now because in your last issue someone mentioned how the TV adaptation of Hogfather has encouraged people to read Discworld, well I wanted to point out that for some people it's not just an introduction to Terry Pratchett that Hogfather has encouraged, but an introduction to the joys of reading. As soon as I tell children that 'Maurice' is written by the same author as Hogfather they sit up and look excited. When I explain that another book (TCOM) is being made into a TV show they grin enthusiastically and when I point out that yet another book is being made into a film by the man who directed Spiderman,they visibly gasp in awe.

Now to why I find Maurice particularly good for reading aloud to children. Some children get bored easily and need a story to get going fast; for the enthusiastic readers The Wee Free Men is a fantastic and engrossing novel, but for those children who don't get caught so easily they switch off before Tiffany can crack out her frying pan, whereas with Maurice you are introduced to a wealth of characters within the first few pages.

I admit I take a great liberty with my interpretations of the characters, thus Maurice is a sharp speaking cockney, the stupid looking kid has a slow west country drawl (please don't take offence - I'm from Cornwall and reading to a class of Cornish kids and they LOVE it), Peaches of course has a very clipped and perfect, but squeaky voice. Even the highwayman brings shrieks of laughter with his list of possible 'monsters' in the coach.

Although I tend to keep Maurice for the older children (year 4+) in one school some of the younger children have asked me "When will you teach in our class because we want to hear Maurice?"

One of the best things I have found with reading this book is that quite often the classroom will have a dusty copy of the story sitting on a shelf and even the most disillusioned children will fight and argue to be the proud person who can read along with me. Many children have asked me where they can buy their own copy and let's be fair, once you've read one Discworld novel you're hooked.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that because of Terry Pratchett, more and more children want to read and are keen to learn - Channel 4 may say we're suffering from a crisis with children being unable to read, but I say, just give them the right book and children will be keen to learn anything :)

* From: "Judy Crummett"
Thought you'd like to know that TP's name happened to come up recently, in conversation with a local librarian. We live in Colorado, but she is in contact with librarians all over the US, and states that an extremely large proportion of them know and love Mr Pratchett. She also mentioned that a Discworld audio tape/CD is invariably her own first choice for a long drive, since it keeps her in a good mood. [Interesting that TP might be helping road safety, as well as entertaining the world at large.] This random conversation happened after a moderately serious meeting, and just goes to show that you never really know who you're talking to, until you find out what they read. All very encouraging.

* From: "Jamie White"
I have thought of this many times, but further to recent developments in the J K Rowling world, now might be a good time to mention it.

PTerry works with a lot of metaphor, and like the Harry Potter series, many of the books are a subtle plea for tolerance. And PTerry has never been overly graphic about sexuality, even the racier moments with Greebo as a man were quite subtle. Plus, PTerry has always recognised the eccentricities of desire - the main example I can think of is Angua's inter-species relationship with Carrot.

However, a same-sex relationship would be nice to see, and I have wondered why nothing of the kind has crept in? If I was a cadet in the City Watch, I know I'd have a massive crush on Carrot myself (as I sort of do anyway!), and it would be nice to have something like that creep in.

Maybe I'm being lefty or what, but I remember being 16 and thinking I was the only gay man on the planet who wasn't Mr Humphries or Julian Clary. That loneliness is something I wouldn't wish on anyone, and it seems such a small thing, to just mention it in passing so some teenager with a broken heart who might realise they're not the only one.

Sorry for coming across as a bit of a militant queer, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from. I know three guys who committed suicide because they were gay - in the 1990s, and literary encouragement may not help, but who knows. I believe it can't hurt.

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

* From: "Piotr Zembrowski"
I'm an avid consumer of audiobooks. Like Daniel McGrath (Discworld Monthly - Issue 127), I purchase them from Audible - an on-line retailer of audiobooks in the digital-download form. As a resident of Canada, I use the company's US site. Prompted by Daniel's letter, I've checked's catalogue and I've found out that the unabridged version of "Making Money" is not available to residents of Canada either. If this is a deliberate decision by the publisher, I find it puzzling and disappointing, not to mention discriminating. I've sent a note to the publisher asking them to make the full version available and I encourage all Canadians who read this to do so too.

By the way, although I am not visually impaired, I find Audible a godsend. In our busy lives, we often don't find time to sit down and read a book. Being able to listen to books while jogging, commuting, doing house chores etc, has made my life richer. The availability of most of Terry Pratchett's books in audio was the main reason for me to sign up with Audible.

WB replies: Just give up the jogging and household chores and you'll free up hours of time for reading and then falling asleep - works for me!

* From: "Steve"
As a long time reader and mathemagician what I'd really like to see is a collexion of the illustrated works of Leonard de Quirm and the architecture of Bloody Stupid Johnson. With sufficient warning, I'd be first in line.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking questions about Carpe Jugulum.

What does Carpe Jugulum translate to in English?
What is the name of the family of vampires?
One of the vampires takes a liking to Agnes, what is his name?
a) Uriel
b) Lestat
c) Vlad
d) Vadim
We get to meet Scraps for the first time. What does he have two of that makes him a very happy dog?
What names does Magrat's daughter get given by Mightily Oats?

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

5. Review: Making Money Live

Review by Jason Anthony

Stephen Briggs is probably most famous for his play adaptations of Terry's books and in November the Studio Theatre Club where Stephen is a member performed his adaptation of Terry's latest novel Making Money.

Somehow, besides living only 30 miles away from Oxford, I have never been to one of Studio Theatre Club's Discworld performances even after all the wonderful reports I have heard about them.

The Studio Theatre Club's home is the wonderful Abbey in Abingdon close to Oxford. The auditorium is in a high vaulted-roofed stone room which is somehow perfect for Discworld productions. I went to the matinee performance on the final day of the production with a number of other Discworld fans.

The cast was excellent - being the penultimate performance meant that they had all had the chance to get their performances down pat and it showed. Stephen was of course excellent as Lord Vetinari, a role that he has made his own, but for me the stars of the show were Matthew Kirk as Cosmo Lavish and Nigel Tait as Mr Bent.

I found the actual adaptation interesting and some of the ideas that Stephen had added were excellent. People that didn't know the story would not have noticed the subtleties but for people familiar with the story they were very welcome.

There was also some very clever use of music - sometimes the choices were cheesy but others were inspired. The use of the Imperial March from Star Wars for Vetinari, for example, was brilliant!

I liked the way the sets were kept very simple, allowing the audience to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.

There were some interesting decisions about what parts of the story were included. A couple of bits got included that failed to be utilised later, the Glooper for example really didn't need to be in there or should have at least had its final conclusion. But, I guess had we not had the Glooper we would have lost an Igor and an Igor is always a fun inclusion.

Overall I had an excellent time and felt that the Studio Theatre Club's performance was excellent. I personally cannot wait to see what they do next - unfortunately we will have to wait until the 20-24 January 2009 to find out. For more information about the Studio Theatre Club visit

6. Competitions

A word from Benard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson:

Greetings one and all, I hope the festive season sees you in jolly good fettle. Needless to say we are girding up for the forthcoming Hogswatch celebrations, which look to be a great deal of fun. With so many of you not being able to make the journey, Isobel and I thought a little simple competition with a jolly nice prize might not come amiss.


The question is .........

Terry has worn one since 1992, where can you find them now? A clue: well, it will be in view when he autographs his books.

The prize: one for yourself, in argent of course.

The first correct answer to my dear friend Mr A, gets the thing, and a jolly nice thing it is. [Please send your answer to by 24th December - Mr A]

You might also see the other silly things we are offering to the discerning collector for this Hogswatch, and for your non-Discworld friends or family (well there might be some, poor souls) have a look at our Christmas Bazaar. And for the really strange, odd, curious, different, pop into The Cabinet of Curiosities on What is offered is mostly harmless, may contain nuts, and should provide amusement, if not a bit of seasonal magic.

There you have it,

If we don't get to see one another before, do have a very happy Hogswatch, and a jolly good new year. Which by the way is to be known as ... (FX drum roll): The Year of Three Roses. And that my friends is official, and you heard it here FIRST,

Yet another scoop for this mighty electronic organ Discworld Monthly!

Last month I had a UK signed Wit and Wisdom of Discworld to give away courtesy of the wonderful people at

All you had to do to win this book was answer the following simple question:

On PJSMPrint's October's news page who can be seen posing in front of the James Bond studio?

The answer we were looking for was either Briggso or Stephen Briggs.

The randomly selected winner is Samantha Freeman of Leeds. I'll pass on Samantha's details to PJSMPrints who I am sure will soon send the prize on its way.

7. Results of Eve Smith's Discworld Quesionnaire

I would like to thank all the people who took the time to complete my on-line questionnaire and those who e-mailed me with their support and comments or criticisms. I tried to answer all the e-mails individually, but there were a number of things that kept coming up so I thought there might be other people who wanted to ask the same things but hadn't got round to doing so and it seemed sensible to write a general explanation and apology of these things.

I was asked about the necessity of having date of birth and postcode information and the possibility that this information could be used for identity theft. From the perspective of validating that each person who completes the questionnaire is an actual person (rather than me making up hundreds of responses) something is required to identify each response as unique and the University's Ethics Committee suggested that I ask for Date of Birth and Postcode and make these compulsory questions. From the perspective of my survey and looking at reading patterns of Discworld fans the year of birth is relevant as it will allow me to calculate the age at which people may have been when certain books were published, but the postcode and exact date of birth are not. In terms of security, the data is held on a secure database hosted by the University of Bristol that can only be accessed with a password and when I access the results it has SSL protection. However, if people would like to complete the questionnaire without divulging this information the compulsory postcode field will accept "n/a" or "not telling you" as valid answers.

A couple of people felt that some of the "issues" mentioned were not really relevant. The intention was not to list themes that I thought were present and then get people to agree with me, but rather to list some of the issues that may have been in the press and on people's minds when the books were written and see which ones people picked up on. There are a couple of things that I really don't think feature particularly strongly in Discworld, but I wanted to present the option of a variety of opinions without asking people to write their own essay. I am really sorry if my choices of red herring have offended anyone.

Someone pointed out that while I asked all sorts of questions about books and newspapers I didn't ask about online sources for news and information. I probably should have done but that would have made the questionnaire even longer than it already is.

On the date of birth question I have somehow missed out 1941 and once the questionnaire is live it cannot be altered, so I would like to apologise to all Discworld fans born in 1941 for this oversight.

I have made a list of all those people who enquired about when my findings might be published and will let them know when/if any such publications become available although this is not likely to be for some time to come. However, I thought Discworld Monthly readers might be interested in some of my preliminary results.

*Who is the typical Discworld Fan?*

Of the people who completed the questionnaire 56% were female 44% male.

All age groups except the excluded under 16s were represented

22% between 16-25
31% between 26-35
22% between 36-45
15% between 46-55
8% between 56-65
2% 65+

The relatively small number of people in the older age groups may be due to the survey being done on-line but there are enough of them to indicate that Discworld is being read by all age groups.

36% were single while the others were in relationships of one kind or another.

Occupations range from unemployed to company director, from bricklayer to van driver with a fair sprinkling of students, housewives, teachers, librarians and people working in IT thrown in for good measure.

There really is no such thing as a typical Discworld fan, although anyone who has been to a Discworld convention or other gathering will know this already.

* What is the favourite Discworld Book? *

Although 44% of people completing the questionnaire listed The Colour of Magic as the first Discworld book they read only 3% listed it as their favourite book. Every book is someone's favourite (as I was watching the results come in over the first week Sourcery was the last one to be nominated as someone's favourite).

The top five favourites counting only people's 1st choice looks like this:

  1. Night Watch
  2. Guards! Guards!
  3. Small Gods
  4. Mort
  5. Reaper Man

If we include mentions in all of the 3 favourites but base the top five only on the number of mentions it looks like this:

  1. Night Watch
  2. Guards! Guards!
  3. Going Postal
  4. Small Gods
  5. Witches Abroad

If we include mentions in all of the 3 favourites but weight them in terms of preference expressed (1st favourite gets 3 points, 2nd favourite gets 2 points, 3rd favourite gets 1 point) then the top five looks like this:

  1. Night Watch
  2. Guards! Guards!
  3. Small Gods
  4. Going Postal
  5. Reaper Man

Night Watch was favourite for both male and female and for all age groups, except those over 55 (56-65 and 65+), where Night Watch was joint favourite with Guards! Guards!

* Who is the favourite Discworld Character? *

Who else, but Sam Vimes. Granny Weatherwax, Death and Rincewind also polled quite well, while a huge variety of characters were mentioned including Gaspode and the Luggage but Vimes seems to be universally popular.

Please note these are preliminary results as the questionnaire does not close until 31st December 2007, so some of these results may change. If anyone would like to complete the questionnaire who has not already done so it may be found at

8. Article: An Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett

Last month I review Andrew M Butler's Unofficial Companion, this month Andrew writes about his involvement with the project:

The Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett was a commission from Simon Mason of Greenwood Press. I'd been immersed in Pratchettiana twice before - in putting together Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature with Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn for the Science Fiction Foundation and writing the Pocket Essentials book (2003). I'd also written various articles about his novels over the years. But this seemed to be a new way of examining the oeuvre.

There already was, of course, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs's The Discworld Companion, which has come out in various editions over the years. Obviously there was no point in simply reproducing that in our own words - and it has the imprimatur of the author of the source material. But what struck me is that it acts as an encyclopaedia of and for an imagined world, so there is no acknowledgement that, for example, Rincewind shares his name with a character used by humorist Beachcomber. Or of how Pratchett's fiction draws upon a knowledge of the real world for many of its jokes.

This sense of stepping back a bit began to tie in for an editorial request for meatier articles alongside 200 word entries on characters and imaginary locations - I wanted notations on films, musicals, opera and pop music. These would be a combination of white knowledge on, say, the history of music hall, and noting as many of the references as we could fit in. In a similar vein it was worth exploring Australia, China, Egypt and so on as locations which have been refracted through the Discworld prism.

Pratchett didn't just come to fruition as a major comic writer in a vacuum - he was influenced by other comic writers and other forms of comedy. Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse are frequently cited names, and it follows in the tradition of the styles of humour pioneered in 1066 and All That (history being what you think you remember rather than what happened) and the British series of Carry-On films. There's also a lengthy list of collaborators to examine, Briggs I've already mentioned, but also Jack Cohen, Neil Gaiman, Gray Jolliffe, Ian Stewart and the various artists: Josh Kirby, Paul Kidby, David Wyatt...

Pratchett has been adapted for television, theatre, comics and cartography, but he has also inspired webpages, fan clubs, merchandising, conventions. All of this needed acknowledging at the very least, but there is so much of this now that I fear we have only scratched the surface. My apologies if we've overlooked you. It wasn't personal, honest.

And then there were the meatier entries: the themes and genres. It has been my contention all along that Pratchett is not just a comic writer - and that he would not have continued to have been so successful without having something to say. Fluff only lasts so long. So, what does he have to say about feminism, racism, sexism and war? How are real-world politics reflected through his fiction? I don't mean in a crude party political way of second-guessing which way Pratchett puts his cross in the polling booth, but the sense of there being a set of issues which are broadly speaking political.

The early Discworld novels were dominated by male characters, with few female speaking roles - certainly male narratives were being told. By Equal Rites Pratchett is addressing this and has a female wizard trying to enter the bastion of male privilege, the Unseen University, where only men can sign up and all women are below stairs. Within a couple of books he takes Granny Weatherwax and puts her in a social context of other witches, and is making jokes about the sexual politics of dwarfs.

Arguably it is in the children's books that these issues come most to the fore - notice how each volume of the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy is connected to a specific war: the First and Second World Wars, and the first Gulf War. They also explore sexism and racism. Naturally I needed to look at the children's fiction too, so you'll find them discussed alongside the explicitly adult Discworld novels, and the pre-Discworld fiction.

Rereading everything by Pratchett I was struck by the consistency of - what? his moral tone? That's not quite the right word. That's too, um, serious. Many of the City Watch novels feature a threat to the current power structure of Ankh-Morpork - the restoration of the lost monarchy, the threat of war, the troubles of civil insurrection. Regicide - regime change by assassination - is a crime, and you need a man of the law to sort that out. Anyone who wants to have power is to be suspected, because power corrupts, and anyone who has power has to use it wisely. That's why Carrot and Tomjon don't become kings. That's why, in a series of books featuring wizards and witches, your actual magic is pretty rare. Much better to persuade someone than to magic them. Which is not to say that the Patrician is the best of all possible rulers - nor that Samuel Vimes doesn't have to be careful in his application of the law. The latter looked rather different when viewed from a side angle in The Truth. There are things worth dying for - but many more that aren't. The trick is to work out which are which, of course.

All of this naturally risks looking po-faced. At the end of the day the book is a navigation device, a pointer towards ways of enjoying and admiring the considerable achievements of Terry Pratchett in his fiction, and the industry that surrounds this. Whether you come to the book as a newcomer to his writings in search of a means to orientate yourself, or as an expert looking for an opinion to challenge, there is something in this book for you. It can't be complete of course: such a book would need an L-space to fit into. But it is stuffed full of information and facts and ideas and opinion - and admiration for one of Britain's comic geniuses.

9. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

What does Carpe Jugulum translate to in English?
Seize the Throat
What is the name of the family of vampires?
The Magpyrs.
One of the vampires takes a liking to Agnes, what is his name?
c) Vlad
We get to meet Scraps for the first time. What does he have two of that makes him a very happy dog?
What names does Magrat's daughter get given by Mightily Oats?
Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre

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