Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 130: February 2008

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: The Cunning Artificer's Silver Procrastinator
6. Competitions
7. Review: The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 130. We've been receiving a lot of mail asking about The Mob and SkyOne's adaptation of The Colour of Magic. First let me tell you that the project hasn't been cancelled as some have speculated. Unfortunately SkyOne haven't put much effort into updating their production website so I can see why you might have thought it.

Whilst nothing has been confirmed I believe that SkyOne are still planning to broadcast the adaptation this Easter.

A case, I think, of no news is good news.

After Terry's announcement last month about his illness and the subsequent flood of mail, he has provided another update on Sandra Kidby's website ( I have reproduced Terry's response below:


We have had many tens of thousands of e-mails from people and the letter flood is just beginning to bite (hilariously, spam traps here tend to pick up things like 'medication' and treat quite a lot of the mail as spam. If we switch them off, we get all the spam too - hurrah!). All this good will is appreciated, although there is no way on gods earth that I will be able to reply to even a fraction of you. I would like people to bear in mind that I have been diagnosed quite early after an MRI scan and a whole afternoon of tests. While nothing is certain, one does not have to be unduly optimistic to believe that I will be around and, hopefully, working for some time to come. My advice, therefore, is to calm down and await events. I have not actually gone, yet.

As an aside, thanks to everyone who bought Making Money making it, we understand, the best selling hardback fiction of 2007. At least that's what the figures say. It will be interesting to see if the papers say it too.

Happy Hogswatch!

I would like to repeat my request of last month. Terry knows we are all concerned for him so let's let him get on with doing what he loves best - writing books.

A couple of people have contacted me recently about Hill House's Discworld * 12 series. So far The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic have been released in this series which originally promised a new book every 4 months. The Light Fantastic was released in early 2007.

Here is what Terry has to say about about Hill House:

We are not at all happy with the situation at Hill House Publishers. We know books that have been paid for have not been published and we have our own difficulties with the owner, which at the moment largely consist of not being able to make contact with him at all. We know that the owner has been ill but that is about the extent of our information.

Terry Pratchett

We will keep an eye on the situation and let you know as soon as we discover anything new.

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 (Better Letter Editor)

2. News

From Mark (Bickaxe) official sports organizer at Wincanton events:

Now that Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson has stitched me up with the sports thing, plans are 'afoot' (How is it by the way?) to top both last years sports.

In May (24-25 May) I hope to bring you a test of agility, balance and overall skill at making a complete idiot of yourselves providing I can find room to do it. Hopefully in the beer garden of the Dolphin again. Needless to say that it won't be Dodgeball....unless that's what you all want again? Let Jason know at his private email address ;)

For Hogswatch (29-30 November) I will 'retire' from organizing them as I think four is more than enough of a treat for you all. It'll be my masterpiece if we can arrange it so expect yet another traditional football match but this time going to extremes :D

For those that haven't been to any of these events, you will find information on the sports on the stamps forum a few weeks before the event. You can sign up there.

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] St. John's Players will be presenting their production of Wyrd Sisters at St. John's Hall, Canal Street, Long Eaton, Derbyshire, at 7.30 pm, on 31st January, and 1st and 2nd February 2008. This is the production which had to be postponed from October, due to casting difficulties! Tickets are 5GBP, and 4GBP for concessions, available from Liz on 0115 9724182, or Gordon, on 0115 9732265.

[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.

February's meeting will be on Monday 11th February with a venue still to be announced so keep an eye on or e-mail

[UK, New] Terry will be appearing at the Bath Literature Festival in an event that celebrates the 25th anniversary of Discworld. The event takes place at The Forum in Bath on Saturday 23rd February, 7.30 - 8.30pm. Tickets costs 10 GBP (or 8 GBP with concessions) and are available online at or by calling Bath Festivals Box Office on (01225) 463362.

[AU, New] Discworld Pieces Two is an outrageous collection of short stories by Terry Pratchett, performed in the crazy style of an old time radio show. And will be performed as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2008 adapted by Pamela Munt and Rod Lewis.

The shows will be performed at the Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St Adelaide from March 5 - 8 and 11 - 15 at 5.30pm

Tickets cost: 15 AUD Adults, 10 AUD Concessions with other ticket options available.

For bookings: Fringetix 1300374643, visit, call the Bakehouse Theatre on 82270505 or email

[UK, New] The Henley players will be performing Wyrd Sisters at The Kenton Theatre (Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire) from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 March at 7.45pm, with a 3pm Saturday matinee.

A flyer can be downloaded from:

More information can be found from the Kenton Theatre website.

[UK, New] The Wincanton Spring Bash will be held on the 24 and 25 May. Visit for more details.

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

For more information visit:

[UK] Wadfest 2008 will take place on the 29th - 31st August 2008. Tickets cost 15 GBP for adults with children under 16 free when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more information visit:

[UK, New] The Wincanton Hogswatch Event will be celebrated on the 29th and 30th November. Visit for more details once they have been confirmed.

[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.

Jo Kennedy writes: For Sale

I have for sale several editions of the Guild of Fans and Disciples newsletter Ramtop to Rimfall.

These editions are dated:

Also I have a Guild of Fans and Disciples badge and several car stickers featuring Nanny Ogg and a Dragon.

Also for sale is a Special Collectors Edition Instruction Book of how to play "Cripple Mr Onion".

I am open to offers on all these items, please email.

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 ROLF.

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 kindly supplied me with a reasonable supply of prints to give away.

* From: "Karen Shaw" (email address withheld)

Although I have never e-mailed this (fabulous) newsletter before; after reading the letter of Ms. Lee in December's edition I felt compelled.

Having been a bit busy of late I had mistakenly read December's issue before Novembers. After reading Ms Lee's letter I decided a look at November's letters section may be in order to see what the fuss was about.

Imagine my disappointment!

I was expecting deranged ravings of a pro-homosexual (gasp!) nature; I found nothing of the sort. The letter I read was a sensitive request backed up with personal experiences I hope I never have to go through (the deaths of 3 friends due to intolerance).

We are all discworld fans; as such I hope that we are all sensible and mature enough to deal with matters of politics and sexual persuasion in an adult manner. OK maybe some would prefer not to read what they view as "some gay guys sexual fantasy" when it was nothing of the sort - if it was he has some very tame sexual fantasies (along the lines of a group of people being portrayed in a Discworld book?!) If, however, they do take offence then I can only hope that they aren't scarred for life and can, in future, just get over it and carry on reading a newsletter which I, for one, will not decide to stop receiving (even if there was something to take offence at in the first place).

According to Ms Lee she first took offence (at an October edition letter) as she "did not agree with his viewpoints" well the world would be pretty boring if we all agreed on everything - no need to take offence. She also did not sign up to "hear other people's idiotic opinions".

Well, dear, neither did I. (and if it matters I'm straight)

DWM replies: Karen's letler is one of many that we received in support of Jamie White's letter. I am glad to see that many of our readers are happy to discuss complex topics in a grown up manner.

* From: "Rory O'Brien"
Like Nina Franklyn I have long thought that Terry deserved an honour for any one of:

* Entertaining vast swathes of the world population * Creating good humour and laughter * Increasing literacy by persuading more of us to read and look up the big words

In June John Meyn submitted a petitions to the Prime Minister's website ( to get Terry a Knighthood. It only received 2,143 votes (including mine) which seems sadly few given his readership. This petition has now closed and other petitions with a similar theme have been rejected as too similar.

The Government did respond but only in the blandest way with; "the government can assure you that your support for this suggestion will be taken fully into account" blah etc...

Perhaps the most direct way would be to run our own petition and then send the resultant myriad of support to the Ceremonial Secretariat (!) as the most direct way of saying "Give him one". See: How about if the Discworld Monthly ran a petition of its own? I propose, anyone seconding?

DWM replies: Unfortunately we just don't have the resources to run such a petition but if you would be willing to start one at one of the petition sites such as I am sure you will get a vote or two from our readers.

* From: David Rickson
As a new member I really would like to add my voice, or should I say, 01001111001010010101, to the millions of others who have enjoyed the Discworld series. I thank you for the platform enabling me to do so. I have been a struggling writer for a number of years and have now decided to give up struggling and concentrate on the writing. After I read my first Terry Pratchett novel I gave up writing for quite some time as his colossal genius threw my abysmal efforts into the pothole of obscurity. There's always someone who will spit in your Madras. But somehow it all seems worth it. I have the entire Discworld series and have read and re-read them until the pages have worn so thin I could almost read page two through page one, and so on.

It is difficult to know what to admire about his writing the most: the humour is unsurpassed, the stories are compulsive page turners and the plots are seemingly endless. He could parody any occurrence or place on the face of this planet, stick it on the Discworld and have a best seller. More power to the man.

Finally, I don't care a jot about the sexual preferences of any of the characters, for your own choice of Gods sake, there is a gender confused Golem that we've been most recently introduced to. Who cares? It's bloody hilarious.

* From: Debra Wilson
Just watched Lawrence of Arabia for the umpteenth time and finally drew the connection between it and Jingo, including a direct quote "The trick is not minding that it hurts." It made the film far more enjoyable as I tried to identify Jabba's camel amongst many other characters. Has anyone noticed any other books resemblance to other movies?

Oh! or Ook!

* From: "R BAPTISTA"
Like many others I've been a fan if Discworld for many years and the recent news of Terry's health was quite frightening. It's quite a simple fact of life to be terrified when someone you've "known" for so many years is diagnosed with any kind of disease.

True, he ain't dead yet, but I'm sure for many of us faithful readers the idea of something happening to Terry is dreadful. There's no other author who's books have developed like his. There's no other who makes fun of our society like him. There's no other like him - which makes him as unique as he can get. I would love to see him recognised for what he does, but a knighthood nowadays is given to any John Smith out there. I don't think any prize would be enough for his talent. The best we all can do for him is continue to support him and keep on buying all his books.

I look forward to the many books to come.

DWM replies: R Baptista gets this month's Letter Of The Month.

* From: "Chris Bratcher"
You wonder how Mr C.M.O.T.Dibbler's moniker might have been expressed when peddling his wares at a Roman arena.

Latin has a lovely succinct and specific verb, "iugulare" (from which we get 'jugular'), where we use a phrase, 'to cut a throat'.

"Ipse me iugulans" (I.M.I.) Dibbler would do nicely for "I'm (even) Cutting M.O.T..": or even more simply, Iugulandus Dibbler - the dibbler prone to be a-cutting.

N.B. If Throat's pitch is more on the lines of "I would be/have been C.M.O.T. (if I were to throw in that bit of sausage = 'tomaculum', or 'hillae' = smoked sausage), but hey, its Xmas/ saturnalia, etc, etc", then we are in the realm of the Subjunctive: "iugulaverim me Dibbler" is just about perfect. Latin has the inestimable advantage of preserving his initials with only the verb ending changing.

Vale ('bye') Chris

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking questions about The Truth.

According to Mr Tulip, you are OK as long as you have your _____.
What is the name of the gentleman that brings humorously shaped vegetables to the Ankh Morpork Times office?
Who is the key witness in the attempted assassination of Vetinari's servant Drumknott?
a) Gaspode
b) Wuffles
c) Laddie
d) Deep Bone
What does Otto use to generate 'Dark Light'?
What letter makes an impression on William de Worde when he is hit by the press?

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

5. Review: The Cunning Artificer's Silver Procrastinator

Reviewed by Jason Anthony.

I wish this procrastinator worked in real life. There have been times recently when a few extra hours squeezed into a day would have come in so useful.

Bernard has taken the idea of portable procrastinators to extremes with this lovely solid silver pendant. The Discworld Emporium website suggests that you could wear it on a chain or a charm bracelet or even your key ring for use in emergencies - maybe that's why mine hasn't saved me any time yet.

I must admit being hesitant about attempting a review of this item because I find it very hard to explain. Would you expect a review of a piece of a charm bracelet?

The procrastinator is about 20mm high including the link for hanging from chain or bracelet and about 10mm in diameter. It feels surprisingly heavy for such a small item but I guess that's why silver is called a heavy metal. The procrastinator looks like a small salt or pepper pot with - to me - indecipherable oriental looking writing around its centre and very intricate characters around the base. I guess I've never really thought too much about what a procrastinator looks like. I seem to remember something about cylindrical stones but it's been a while since I've read Thief of Time.

I must admit I find it hard to get excited about this but I think that it would look quite good worn on a chain. In fact I might sort out a chain to see how comfortable it is to wear - look out for me wearing it at a future Discworld event.

Bernard has only made 50 of these procrastinators and at the time of writing this review only 16 were left. So hurry up if you want one for yourself. The procrastinator costs 19.50 GBP plus postage which is reasonable for a charm piece.

I think that wearing it might get you a few questions about what exactly you are wearing about your neck or wrist but it could be fun trying to explain!

More information about the silver procrastinator can be found on the Discworld Emporium website:

6. Competitions

Barrie "The Special Discworld Jeweller" Wakeford has generously offered one of his beautiful Discworld pendants as a prize for this month's competition. Barrie had some of these on display at the Hogswatch Bash in Wincanton in December and they look wonderful. Rather than being a flat image, Barrie has made these in the full three dimensions. The prize is one of only 88 ever made. More details can be found at the Crystal Connection website:

In order to win this wonderful prize all you need to do is answer the following simple question:

Only 88 Discworld pendants will be made but how many have been made available at the moment?

Remember to email your answer to by 22nd February 2008. The randomly selected winner will be announced next month.

7. Review: The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld

Review by Jason Anthony

The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld is a rather strange book. For a while I couldn't work out who it was aimed at until I finally realised it is really a book for getting people hooked on Discworld.

The book is a collection of Stephen Briggs' favourite snippets from each of the Discworld books. It's not a book designed to be read from cover to cover (although you could do it, but the story arc is not that great). It's more a book for browsing. You can open the book at any page and, unless you happen to hit a title page, will be able to quickly find something to make you laugh.

Unfortunately the book isn't what I was hoping for and not really what the jacket information says it should be (at least on the US version). I understand the UK version has a different cover but haven't seen it yet. I was expecting there to be a number of subjects and then examples of Terry's writing that relate to that subject, so you could have subjects such as Religion or Democracy and then quotes from Discworld about them.

I think where it will become handy is when you want to introduce somebody to Discworld, you can lend them this book and let them see if the ideas fire off their imagination - it might even make selecting where they should start in the series easier.

I do like the look of the book - the cover is designed to make it look like old leather and in the US edition the pages are quite roughly cut which a) makes it look well used and b) suggests that it could be used in they way that the inhabitants of the Ramtops use the Almanac - the paper looks nice and soft.

For the UK edition visit:

For the US edition visit:

8. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

According to Mr Tulip, you are OK as long as you have your _____.
What is the name of the gentleman that brings humorously shaped vegetables to the Ankh Morpork Times office?
Mr Wintler
Who is the key witness in the attempted assassination of Vetinari's servant Drumknott?
b) Wuffles
What does Otto use to generate 'Dark Light'?
Uberwaldean Deep Cave Land Eels
What letter makes an impression on William de Worde when he is hit by the press?
The letter 'R'.

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