Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 143: March 2009

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Wyrd Sisters: The Director's Cut
6. Competition
7. Review: Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimers
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 143. It looks like US fans will finally get to see The Colour of Magic on Television when ION Television broadcast the full four-hour adaptation on Sunday 22nd March at 7/6c.

On Wednesday 18th February Terry visited the Queen in London to receive his Knighthood. Videos of the ceremony can be seen on the BBC website.

Amazon UK have been selling copies of the 2009 Discworld Calendar for only 1 GBP. If you get 5 the postage is free.

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 (Letter Shredder)

2. News

New updates from Terry via PJSMPrints website (

February 17th 2008 - Off To London To See The Queen

Yes, we're heading up to the Palace in the morning where I shall learn to kneel.

A full report will follow...

February 9th 2009 - Terry's February Update


Well, there were around three million viewers of the documentary, which seems to be well received so far. Of course, this means yet another towering wave to the tsunami of mail that constantly crashes down on this office. Can I add that I am astonished at all the possible claimed causes of Alzheimer's that fans are sharing with me; what with car exhaust fumes, mobile phones and white bread (okay, so I made up white bread) I'm astonished that it is not more widespread.

There is a rumour going around the Czech Republic, started by a small group of students, that I can't sign my own name any more. Technically speaking, I've probably been unable to sign my name for the past twenty years. There is nothing like signing books for hours and hours at a time to turn one's signature into something like a squashed insect. In short, my signature is still the same as it was several years ago and has actually settled into a curvaceous shape that I think is rather spiffy. It does not look like my signature of thirty years ago, but it never has, and I sign all the time. What I've tried to steer clear of now is personalising books, especially at large events. However, according to the lovely Claudia, there seems to be no change in my condition since my last major test in April 2008, PCA does have its effect and for some reason my handwriting in general gets worse and worse the longer the sentence. How can I put this...? When you have to concentrate on something that until fairly recently was automatic, the mere fact of you concentrating seems to make things worse. Besides, when I have been doing large signings, it's made sense not to dedicate in any case. The longest authenticated signing I've ever done was timed at six hours thirty eight minutes and I never want to do one of those again.

We are also having a problem here with people sending in books to be signed and returned. At least the number of people who send in books without return postage has reduced from about 75% to 10%, but I do not like the whole idea of signing books by post because it causes so many problems. The pile of books here is seven feet tall, or it would be if it hadn't just fallen over. A lot of handling is involved, especially since we are some distance from a major Post Office and I have a suspicion, the cynical person that I am, that quite a large number of the ones we now get are from dealers. The days here are hectically overfull to begin with and turning the place into a Sub Post Office is not what I had intended. The real problem begins when people then contact us asking "What happened to the book that we sent you?"; we go through the pile of what has not yet been returned and find no such book - but now the absence of said book is our problem. All in all the flood of signed books requests here is getting too much to cope with and we won't be.

My good friend Sandra Kidby is local to me and it's easy enough to sign books that she exclusively sells here at PJSM Prints. And, to reiterate, you will get my genuine signature, signed by me, in this office, posted back to you in proper packaging designed to survive the journey. You won't get a Certificate of Authenticity, because they're not worth the paper they're written on, and anyway - who would sign that? :o)

On top of all this, a few recent minor events have led us to upgrade our security here. I'm sure fans will understand how hellish a chore this is when you realise that we are two nerds, with a large budget and a catalogue full of black and silver devices...

We're off to the Palace next week to collect my Knighthood. We'll let you know how it goes.

All the best.

News from Terry's agent Colin Smythe (

A BBC interview with Sir Terry following his investiture as a knight by Her Majesty the Queen can be seen at

and a Daily Telegraph article (and a few words from the newly knighted Sir Terry) can be found at

See also ITN

The Online Editor at has just emailed me to say "I'm pleased to announce that Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman has been voted the 2008 winner of the annual Audiobook Download of the Year awards. Both authors will be given an award and the narrator also receives an award for his contribution to the audiobook's success. "Audiobook fans around the UK cast their final vote to find 2008's Audiobook Download of the Year from a short-list of titles including A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer; The Appeal by John Grisham; Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks and The Garden of Evil by David Hewson. Good Omens was the clear winner after an array of shining reviews by many of our Audible Listener members." Sir Terry's award was presented to him at a luncheon given in his honour at The Athenaeum, Pall Mall, London, following his investiture by Her Majesty.

Here's the link to this BBC interview with Matthew Stadlen

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.

[AU, Updated] Nullus Anxietas 2: The Second Australian Discworld Convention February 27th to March 1st 2009 Storey Hall, RMIT, 342 Swanston St, Melbourne.

If you're in Australia late Feb (and even if you're not.. you should be!) be sure to register your attendance for the con. Ticket prices are scheduled to rise on January 31st but as a special treat to all DW Monthly readers we'll extend the date one week from the release of DW Monthly so all you need to do is mention this ad when you sign-up to receive the special.

The programme line-up includes: - Screenings from Snowgum Films - The musical stylings of Martin Pearson in a new Discworld performance - Terry's Shorts, a line-up of one person performances of Terry's short stories - The Great Debate and much, much more!

To see our appetizer programme go here:

Gala Dinner tickets are also now available.

If you want to know more or to get your ticket please head on over to:

Or if you want to stay on top of the latest news and programme line-ups, sign up on the mailing list:

[UK, New] OFS Theatre Group will be performing The Truth from 3-7 March 2009 in Oxford.

More details at:

[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.

March's meeting will be on Monday 9th March at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ.

Keep an eye on or e-mail

[UK] Sefton Theatre Company are performing Wyrd Sisters at the Southport Art Centre Studio from Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th of March, all evening performances start at 7:45pm.

Tickets 5.50 GBP and 7.00 GBP.

Box Office Contact number 01704 540011

[UK, New] Leicester University Theatre Society (LUT) will be performing Wyrd Sisters from Wednesday 11th March to Saturday 14th March 2009.

[UK, New] Wyrd Sisters will be performed at Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire from 24th - 28th March. Performances start at 7:45pm. Tickets costs 9 GBP to 11 GBP and are available from Sharnbrook Post Office or Bedford Central Box Office (01234 269519).

[UK, New] Norwich Theatre Royal Youth Theatre Company are performing MASKERADE in March at Studio Theatre at The Garage on 26, 27 & 28 March 2009.

Shows start at 7.30pm and tickets are priced 7 GBP available from Theatre Royal Box Office, telephone 01603 630000 or online at

[UK, New] The Cunning Artificer's Wincanton April Shower Event will take place over the weekend of the 4-5 April 2009.


[UK, New] Crowthorne Amateur Theatrical Society(CATS) will be presenting their production of Wyrd Sisters at the Parish Hall, Crowthorne, Berks from 29th April to 2nd May. A portion of proceeds is to go to the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

[UK, New] The Discworld stamps 5th birthday party, Wincanton will take place over the weekend of the 11 - 12 July 2009.


[DE] The German Discworld Convention 2009 will take place at Castle Bilstein from August the 14th to the 16th. The festival will be Unseen University themed. Registration and more information can be found in form of a bilingual wiki at:

[UK, New] Wadfest - "Wadstock" - Music with Rocks in takes place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd August 2009 at Trentfield Farm, Church Laneham, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 0NJ.

Tickets cost 20.00 GBP per Adult for the Weekend inc Events.

More information at:

[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.

Andrea Boyle writes: I have a HC First Edition UK printing (1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2, ISBN: 0385 603428) of Going Postal with dust jacket in excellent condition - no tears, folds, marks, foxing, badgering, etc. I bought it new in the UK and now I live in the US and am trying to raise a little cash, so I thought I'd see if any DWM readers were interested, especially any North Americans looking for a UK edition. I'd like to get at least 20 USD plus shipping, and can accept PayPal. Please email me if you are interested.

Therusha Naidoo writes: I wrote a while back wanting to start a South African Website so us fans can get together like you fabulous guys and gals in the UK. Unfortunately due to time constraints and money issues I have decided on a newsletter. I would like fellow fans in my country to respond with any assistance on this so I can finally kick-start it all. I am hoping this time all will go well.

Sarah Keefer writes: Has anyone any advice for me over in the UK. as to how I might beg, buy, borrow or steal my own copy of the board game THUD!? I'm in Canada but a loyal subscriber to the DWM.

Alex Butterfield writes: I made a set of Discworld themed Mafia cards as a Christmas present for my sister. I've uploaded them all to a site so that others can print a deck and play the game.

There's loads of information about it on the site at:

3. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters or comments, please email them to

We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters in between changing nappies.

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 number of prints to give away.

* From: "Peter Holmick"
I feel compelled to comment on the quality of the Discworld films (so far).

I love Terry Pratchett's books - I've read them all - and I've revisited many favourites as audiobooks too. However the films (so far) are very disappointing. The initial excitement of "hey, they're finally making Discworld films (and it's not Hollywood! Hooray!)" quickly dissolves upon viewing. The Hogfather and the Colour of Magic are very pale imitations of the books. I sat down with friends and family with the high hope to "treat" them (and possibly convert them) to Discworld. But soon it became apparent that, even as a long time Discworld fan, I could feel nothing but embarrassment at these amateurish efforts. I was constantly explaining the storyline because the narrative was impenetrable. I can't blame the actors, because there are so many fine actors of high pedigree (David Jason, Tm Curry, Sean Astin and Nigel Planer to name a few). So the problem must lie with the direction/production/photography. At no point could I suspend disbelief and immerse myself in these versions of PTerry's fantasy universe.

So "is it just me"? I wondered. No. My friends and family were equally unimpressed. Granted they are not PTerry fans, but they were squirming in their seats. The end couldn't come soon enough with embarrassed looks all round.

So why is that all I read in DWM is high praise for these pedestrian efforts?

Am I being too fussy? Am I unrealistic to want these movies to capture the wit and humour of the books? Is it perhaps that these movies are based on (what I consider) some of the less satisfying DW books? Or are others so desperate to see PTerry's works on the big screen that they will overlook and forgive anything ? I honestly hope that there will be more movies and that they will be better. .

Thank you for DWM. I have enjoyed DWM for many years and hope to continue enjoying it for many more to come (unless you "excommunicate" me for voicing a contrary opinion).

DWM replies: Peter gets this month's Letter of The Month.

* From: "Mark"
Just a really short email to say thanks for all the work you must put into making and maintaining this newsletter.

When things are bleak, future uncertain, money tight, it's really nice to get an email that cheers you up and talks about one of your favourite authors.

Thanks for all your work.

* From: "Dianne and Bill Hughes"
I agree with Richard Harrison, Tony Robinson does a far better interpretation of the Discworld books than anyone else. It is disappointing that he only does abridged versions. My son is a truck driver in out back Australia and loves listening to Discworld audio books, and prefers Tony Robinson, but complains about his CD's being abridged. If you can by some magical means get Tony Robinson into a studio to record every page and last sentence of all of the books I for one would be thrilled.

* From: "Colin Watterson"
A hero of a bargain. I had a rare day off work so I managed to see Sir Terry being knighted on the news. Well done that man! Dragged round the shops and popped into Poundland where I picked up a copy of 'The Last Hero', hardback/special edition guessed it..a pound! Bargain of the day. Not many left though.

* From: &quot;; <>
As many readers may have already commented Terry is mentioned in the guardian list, in the sci-fi section, with his entry being the entire discworld series. Glad to see the guardian didn't make such an unforgivable oversight!

JA replies: In my defense, that list was updated after I wrote the news article. Honest, guv!

* From: "R.G.Renes"
I enjoy reading and rereading all PTerry's books and I was and still am looking forward to all the lovely things he is going to write. He has covered all kinds of phenomena so far: printing, postal service, modern communication etc. Now I keep wondering: what would something likeroundworld Olympic Games look like on discworld? I keep phantasizing about Rincewind and the marathon or Ridcully shooting, or Foul Ol'Ron doing a poetry contest.

I hope Sir Terry will have enough time and energy left to give us many more stories before he is lost to the world by that vicious disease and to make the whole world aware of this disease and contribute in this way to find treatment for it.

* From: "Kieran Green"
In the last DWM, TDJoyce raised a very value point. To whit: "In Jingo, p 195, we find out that being a knight isn't just riding on a damn great big horse with curtains round it and so on, one has to raise a troop of armed soldiers! Anybody for Sir Terry's own?"

After some discussion on the Livejournal Discworld community, and very boisterous approval for the idea, recruiting has begun for Sir Terry's Monstrous Regiment.


Now that the honour of knighthood has been conferred upon Sir Terry Pratchett (and he can keep his ears warm), it would be a terrible shame were he to lose it because he was unable to fulfill the duties of a knight (we haven't asked if he has spent a night in vigil over his armour, etc, nor will we).

Yes, every day an adventure and every meal a feast in Sir Terry's Monstrous Regiment!

Anyone wishing to take the schilling (you may be asked to kiss a picture of Sir Terry at a later date) can join up on Facebook:

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking some random questions about Discworld.

What is the name for the water-hating wizards in The Colour of Magic?
What did Greyhald Spold forget to consider when choosing his final hiding place?
Who was Arch-chancellor at the time of Equal Rites?
What did Mort appear to have too many of?
a) Legs
b) Knees
c) Elbows
d) Ears
What did Coin do to Billias?

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

5. Review: Wyrd Sisters: The Director's Cut

At the end of January we braved the cold to visit Abingdon near Oxford for Stephen Briggs' re-visited version of his first Discworld play adaptation, Wyrd Sisters.

Over the years I have seen several versions of Wyrd Sisters (I think all based on Stephen's original adaptation) and it's always fun to see how each group interprets the play - this is however the first time I've seen it performed by Stephen's own troupe.

The Studio Theatre Group perform in a converted chapel which adds a lot of atmosphere to the performance - albeit very cold - the heaters take the chill off but little else. The stage area has two usable areas, one on the stage level and the other about 10 feet above. This worked as both parts of the castle and also the top of Lancre bridge.

Most of the lead performances were very good, especially the three witches. Nanny's stomach was obviously a pillow and reminded me of Death as the Hogfather (I kept expecting it to fall out). Duke Verence was performed brilliantly by Matthew Kirk (I previously saw him playing Cosmo Lavish in Making Money). It appears that Matthew likes this type of role and really stands out. The gradual self damage he does to his hands trying to remove the damned spots of blood is fun (if slightly grotesque at one point). Stephen Briggs was suitably over-the-top as Vitoller.

The Studio Club tend to use music to help emphasise particular characters (this was put to exceptional use in Making Money); however this time round the music just didn't seem to fit all the time. The only other issue I had with the show was the adaptation itself (and I think this applies to the original adaptation as well). In this Director's Cut there is a scene where one of the strolling players is struggling to remember Death's lines. The next logical step would to have Death come on an provide the punch line (as per the novel) but instead another member of Vitoller's troupe does the honours. It's not like The Studio Club doesn't have a Death costume.

Even with these minor niggles I had a great time as did the rest of the audience from what I could tell. As always I look forward to seeing the Studio Theatre Club's next adaptation in November whatever that happens to be.

For more information about the Studio Theatre Club visit

6. Competitions

Last month we had one of only 50 of the new Vetinari pendants made by PJSMPrints (

We had over 400 correct entries making this one of most popular competitions we have ever run.

We asked you to answer the following question:

Profits from the sales of the pins are shared between three charities, which ones are they?

The answer we were looking for was: Royal British Legion, RICE and Alzhiemer's Research Trust.

The randomly selected winner is Yvonne Taylor of Leeds.

7. Review: Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimers

On Wednesday 4th and Wednesday 11th February the BBC broadcast a two-part documentary about a year in Terry Pratchett's and his assistant Rob's life since Terry being diagnosed with PCA a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.

The first part showed how Terry has been affected by the disease and some of the various "cures" that he has been trying, to keep the disease at bay. One included wearing a special hat that fires lights at certain frequencies into his head - the original hat was very heavy and the LEDs made dents in Terry's head. Terry got Bernard (The Cunning Artificer) round to make a plaster cast of his head (apparently it is rather large) and a new hat was made that was more comfortable.

Another uncomfortable point in the documentary was watching Terry read part of Nation at the Discworld Convention. The programme's editing made things look a lot worse than they were but it still showed just how much Terry has been affected by the disease in certain circumstances. Terry also met up with some other PCA sufferers who have been living with the illness for a number of years.

The second part of the documentary followed Terry and Rob to the United States where they met up with various doctors who are developing techniques to reduce the effect of the disease. Some of them were offering real insight into cures. Once back in the UK Terry went to see how the million dollars that he donated to Alzheimer's Research Trust was being spent.

At the end of the documentary it appeared that Terry was beginning to come to terms with the outcome of the disease. Remaining upbeat Terry claimed that becoming a vegetable might not be too bad and then wondered what type of vegetable he would like to be. On the other hand Rob's thoughts were less optimistic. I guess this is the difference between the person with the disease and those who may be left behind.

Hopefully this excellent, frank and inspiring documentary will be made available in other regions.

8. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

What is the name for the water-hating wizards in The Colour of Magic?
What did Greyhald Spold forget to consider when choosing his final hiding place?
The important part that airholes must play.
Who was Arch-chancellor at the time of Equal Rites?
Arch-chancellor Cutangle.
What did Mort appear to have too many of?
b) Knees
What did Coin do to Billias?
He vanished him.

* Obtaining Terry's Books *

If you are looking for Terry books or videos over the net, simply visit our web page at and follow the 'Purchasing' link on the left panel of the page.

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