Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 150: October 2009

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Unseen Academicals
6. Competition
7. Review: NADWCON 2009
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 150. This month I had the great honour of attending the wedding of two friends, and fellow Discworld fans, Helen Nicolls and Andrew Tucker. Helen and Andrew met at a Broken Drummers meeting in London.

Helen and Andrew had their wedding in Wincanton in Somerset where Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening reception.

Helen and Andrew wrote their own vows which somehow seemed more appropriate and specific than the stock ones we are used to.

We had a wonderful time and hope that Helen and Andrew have many happy years together.

The first North American Discworld Convention is now over and was a huge success. Everyone that I have talked to from both the UK and US really enjoyed themselves.

Lots of pictures and video footage can be found at:

You can now pre-order Unseen Academicals (and support Discworld Monthly) from by following this link:

In the US you can pre-order it from:

If you prefer to have your copy of Unseen Academicals, or Carpet People: The Illustrated Edition signed you can also pre-order them via PJSMPrints website at:

HarperCollins Terry's US publishers have made the first 77 pages of Unseen Academicals available on their website 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 (Dungeon Master)


Unseen Academicals will be getting a rather unusual launch in October. On the weekend of the 10th, teams will be partaking in a game of foot-the-ball in Wincanton. Kick-off starts at 11am at the Wincanton Sports Grounds where Terry will be in attendance.

This is not the first time that Discworld football has been played at the sports ground and the results last time were interesting.

I look forward to seeing how things develop this time.

There is an interview with Terry called The State of the Nation about early onset Alzheimers and Nation at the School Library Journal website.

Sci-fi Pulse has a feature about how the upcoming adaptation of Going Postal will attempt to appeal to non-Pratchett fans as well as its core audience.

SFX magazine issue 187 featured an article about the adaptation of Going Postal including a drawing of a clacks tower and a photo of Richard Coyle as Moist Von Lipwig.

Issue 188 features a review of Unseen Academicals, an interview with Terry and an interview with Mark Ravenhill about the adaptation of Nation for the theatre. Also in Issue 150 is an interview with Colin Morgan - currently playing the lead role in BBC's Merlin. Apparently Colin is a fan of the Discworld and would love to play Mort.

The Discworld Emporium now has a home on Facebook. The page promises to include exclusive pictures and news. You can become a fan of 41 The High Street, Wincanton at:

Terry, other celebrities and politicians including the leaders of the three main UK political parties are sharing their memories to help Alzheimers Research's campaign Memory Matters.

A new release candidate of the ScummVM engine allows you to play the old Discworld I and Discworld II computer games on modern hardware and operating systems - providing, of course, you still have the original discs. ScummVM is a 2D adventure game emulator and the latest version supports the Tinsel engine that the games used. The MIDI music in the games has received an overhaul and apparently sounds better than ever.

As you may know an adaptation of Nation will be performed at the National Theatre at the end of this year.

For those unable to attend, the National has a new service call NT Live. A series of 70 UK cinemas and 200 around the world will be broadcasting the performance on Saturday 30th Jan at 1:45pm.

See for updates.

Terry's "an embuggerance" has made it into The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Also entering are quotes from US president Barack Obama and Sarah Palin among others.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is now in its 65th year.

Warning - this link opens to a particularly scary picture of Sarah Palin!

After the US Discworld Convention Terry gave a talk at the Velma Teague Library or more precisely the Glendale City Council Chambers (as it provided more room).

A detailed round up of events can be found at:

Is the plot of The Science of Dicworld becoming a reality?

At Lancaster University, they're unravelling the secrets of how to build a universe. In fact, they have already formed one, or something very much like it. This scientific breakthrough lies in the bottom of a chamber no larger than your pinky finger, filled with helium and cooled to 0.0003 degrees Fahrenheit above absolute zero.

A fake trailer for a non-existent Guards! Guards! movie has been posted on YouTube.

The production was a summer project that student enquaynay used to try out a few things they learned in their first year of animation.

It may not be real but it's fun to watch.

It looks like Death's motorcycle from Soul Music, or something like it, has been re-created on the round world. The metallic skeleton bike looks great but I can't imagine that it is particularly comfortable to ride! Thanks to for pointing it out to us.

Pictures at:

News from the Irish Discworld Convention:

It is currently 6 weeks to Convention time and The Irish Discworld Convention membership is looking for the 200th member. Will it be you? Who knows, you've got to sign up first! We currently have full four day memberships available on the website, and will be opening registration to two day memberships - Saturday and Sunday - for those that don't have designated Discworld days off work. We will also have day memberships available at the door.

Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson has offered both a commemorative stamp and a commemorative postcard for the goodie bags. However, these goodie bags will only be available for those on four-day or two-day memberships.

Also, a reminder that the Gala Dinner registration will be opening this weekend, the 26th of September. The Dinner will be Oswald themed, from Moving Pictures, with Oswald Awards given out for categories such as: Best Costume, and Best Costume in a Supporting Role (the ladies have an advantage here men!).

Entry for the Maskerade will also open the weekend, note that you need to have signed up to be able to access this. Places are strictly limited so do book early.

For more information on what fun will be had then see the website,, and to introduce yourselves to those already coming, visit the forums!

The First Irish Discworld Convention takes place the 6th to the 9th November, Falls Hotel Ennistymon, Co. Clare

Terry discussed his experience with his rare form of Alzheimer's disease at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference on 22nd September.

Guidelines on assisted suicide law in England and Wales were published on Wednesday [23rd September] clarifying when people are likely to be prosecuted.

The BBC interviewed Terry for BBC Two's Daily Politics show on a windswept beach. When asked Terry said "What I am planning is not suicide. Suicide is desperate".

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] Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group will be performing Wyrd Sisters on October 8th, 9th & 10th from 8pm.

More details at:

[AU, New] Unseen Theatre Company will be performing The Last Continent from 9 Oct 2009 - 24 Oct 2009

Tickets cost: 15 AUD (Preview Night), Free Tickets (for health care card holders), 18 AUD all other nights with 15 AUD concessions. 14 AUD for groups (of 10+), 14 AUD fringe benefits.

More information:

[UK] Chesham Bois Catholic Players (Amateur - Registered Charity 287109) will present Wyrd Sisters on 10th, 16th and 17th October 2009 at Little Theatre by the Park, Church Street, Chesham, Buckinghamshire at 8pm. Further details and booking enquiries available from

[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.

October's meeting will be on Monday 5th October [Please note date was previously incorrect] at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ.


[AU, Updated] The Drummers Downunder, the Sydney sister of the Broken Drummers will have their next meeting on Monday 5th October from 7pm at Maloneys on the corner of Pitt & Goulburn Streets (across the road from World Square), Sydney, Australia. Visitors to Sydney are also very welcome. For more information please contact Sim Lauren

[IRL] The Irish Discworld Convention will be held on the 6th to the 9th November in the Falls Hotel Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland. Visit for more information.

[UK, New] Studio Theatre Club will be performing the world premiere of Unseen Academicals from 17th to 21st November at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon.

Performances start at 7:30pm + 2:30 on Saturday. Tickets cost 8 GBP each with rosettes on sale at the theatre.

Full info at

It's not all about Football!

[AU, New] Glenbrook Players in Glenbrook, Lower Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, NSW will be presenting Wyrd Sisters on 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th November at 8 pm with matinees on 21st and 28th.

Performances will be held at the Glenbrook Community Theatre, cnr Great Western Highway and Ross Street Glenbrook.

For more details and bookings see

[UK] Straight From the Heart Productions will be presenting "Carpe Jugulum" at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms, High Street, Glastonbury BA6 9DU. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9th-12th December, 2009. Doors open at 7:30 for an 8 pm start. Tickets will be available from Gothic Image, Glastonbury, or email ANICECUPOFTEAANDBISCUITS@GMAIL.COM.

[UK, New] Waterside Theatre Company - based at Holbury, near Southampton in Hampshire will be our performing their fourth Pratchett/Briggs production, this time Maskerade.

The show is on from 20th - 22nd May 2010 at Waterside Theatre Holbury.

Waterside Theatre Company have won awards for all three of their Discworld productions but their most successful was Guards! Guards! which won Best Newcomer for Carrot, Best Set and Props, Best Lighting and Effects and Production of the Year in the Southern Daily Echo Curtain Call Awards!

More information at:

[UK, New] Wadfest 2010 takes place from 20th - 22nd August 2010 at Trentfield Farm, Notts.

[UK, New] The 2010 Discworld Convention will take place from 27th - 30th August 2010 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel.

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.

Tasnuva Hoque writes: I've been a fan of Pratchett for almost 8 years now and started the first Discworld Guild (disguised as a book club disguised as Pratchett fan club) in Toronto, Canada last year.

We are a small group but going strong and I'm happy to report that we are celebrating our one year anniversary this September. Membership is free and cost of attending an event is min $2 to help us keep the group on We started with monthly meeetings for reviews, annotations, Discworld movie viewings (which are very hard to find in Canada), fan purchase ogglings, screenplay readings and just recently hosted the first Thud game event. Our plan is to eventually do a production of one of Pratchett's screenplays as a fundraiser for the Alzeimer's Society of Canada. We do need more Pratchett enthusiasts to get involved and make this dream come true. Please help us spread the word about our Guild so that we have more Pratchettiers (our term) coming out to celebrate their obsession!

Becca Hellmann writes: I am starting a Mid-American Discworld Fan Group. The idea is to have get togethers, etc. for fellow Discworld fans in the Midwest United States.

We have four interested people at the moment and would like to get a few more before really planning something.

Our website/forum is or I can be reached directly at the email above.

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 using William Burrough's cut-up technique.

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: "Eric Mesa"
Surprised this wasn't covered in the latest DWM, so I'll share it for next month's DWM. I was reading Orson Scott Card's "Empire" and he mentioned a kid who was into fantasy novels including Discworld. And then I came across this webcomic strip:

Hope everyone else in the Discworld community gets the joy that I do in seeing it name-dropped in other media.

JA replies: I did know about the webcomic but forgot to include it, sorry.

WB replies: Extraordinary bit of trivia: Orson Scott Card's credited with the insults from insult sword fighting in the classic computer game Monkey Island.

* From: "Bryn Wittmayer"
Recently I have been re-reading (actually, re-listening) to Eric. Every time I read it I'm struck by the description of the "neuralger" the "type of demon that has a headache at you". As a long-time migraine sufferer I always identify with this description. I'm wondering if any of the wonderful Discworld artists have ever rendered this character in art.

* From: "John Blackburn"
Five years ago I met Sir Terry when he was signing copies of "Going Postal" in Borders, York. I asked him why there was apparently no sport on Discworld. I can't remember his reply, but perhaps a seed was sown and the result is "Unseen Academicals".

* From: "Maureen Taylor"
Talking about the problems with sound recognition software reminds me of a tale from back in the early days of such things, when language translation software was the new big thing. I believe it was a Japanese company - but don't quote me - who were very proud of their product and showing it off to assembled press, when one smart character asked it to translate 'Out of sight, out of mind'. The answer came back - 'Invisible idiot'!

* From: "Linda Estlund"
Greetings from Illinois, USA:

I am thrilled to be a subscriber to your monthly newsletter.

I have only recently, in the past year and a half, discovered the Esteemed Mr. Pratchett and his writings.

I first saw Hogfather on TV and soon found a copy of Wyrd Sisters at a local used books shop. I am completely hooked and have added to my collection over the ensuing months.

I also lent books to some friends and my oldest son, who is now addicted, as well. We now refer to ourselves as Pratchett Zombies. He kills us with his humor and we come back for more.

DWM replies: Does that make us all part of the Fresh Start Club? Linda gets this month's Letter Of The Month.

* From: "Anneli Bird"
I would just like to say thank you very much for the mention in Roy's review of the show in issue 148. It is my first mention and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was very difficult to play Dee for many reasons. The personal ones were that my son born on the 3rd of Jan was 3 months premature and spent 4 and a half months in the Princess Anne Special baby care unit. So he was still in hospital when we started rehearsals. He came home on significant Oxygen, which he is still on. Quite a few times I wished I hadn't taken the role, but I stupidly thought I could do both things, so it has touched my heart to know someone thought I did a good job of portraying Dee. Once again, thank you, you have made my day!

DWM replies: Congratulations on your recognition and best wishes for your son.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking some questions about Witches Abroad.

Who is the first person to get a visit from Death?
Who was this person talking to just before Death's visit?
a) Granny Weatherwax
b) Lilith
c) Greebo
d) Magrat
What was special about Magrat Garlic's mirror?
Where do the Witches need to travel to?
What is Lilith's full name?

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

5. Review: Unseen Academicals

Review by Bill Barnett

Here's the thing: this is not the 'football on the Discworld' book. It's got a football team on the cover, the climax of the novel is a pivotal match between the Academicals and the rest of Ankh-Morpork, but that's only half the story - less than half, in fact.

The main character, surprisingly, proves to be Glenda, head of the Night Kitchen at Unseen University. Glenda looks after her friend Juliet, who's gorgeous but not that bright. Juliet finds her Romeo in the form of Trev, who also works at the University. Standing in the way of their happiness is the awkward fact that they support rival teams in the game of foot-the-ball, a vicious, disorganised street form of the game that so many people here on Roundworld know and love. Can't stand it myself, but there you go.

So far, so good: football must be overcome for this Romeo and Juliet tale to reach a satisfactory conclusion. But all this proves to be almost incidental to another story, occupying the same book, which this reader found far more involving: the mystery surrounding Mister Nutt.

Nutt works for Trev as a dribbler - not the football sort - at the University. Surprisingly, he's the first goblin we've encountered on the Discworld. Not only that, he has some awful secret, hidden even from himself, connected with his past and his true nature. As testimony to Terry's skill as an author, the revelation of Nutt's secret, when it comes, is totally unexpected and fantastic. DON'T READ ANY SPOILERS!

But what has Nutt's story got to do with football? This is where Unseen Academicals gets a bit shaky. We seem to have a novel that started out being about football, but at some point maybe Terry felt another plot thread was needed and Mister Nutt was dropped in. Nutt's connection to football is tenuous at best, and in fact the whole football plot doesn't really convince, in my opinion. The Patrician's interest in the game seems to come out of nowhere, an urn depicting the ancient game comes to light for no clear reason and a sort of mystic force of football crops up towards the end, too.

Don't let the odd structure put you off, though. I initially didn't find the book all that engaging, but once you get drawn into Nutt's story you'll be hooked. There are quite a few new characters to get used to - Nutt himself is not all that appealing, it has to be said, partly because of his long-winded way of speaking. Doctor Hix, on the other hand, is great, complete with widow's peak and skull ring. Unfortunately, the rest of the Faculty have suffered a bit: the Dean, Runes, the Chair and the legendary Windle Poons were great characters but the remaining members seem a bit interchangeable now.

So, I wouldn't put Unseen Academicals up there with Going Postal and Monstrous Regiment, but as long as you come to it expecting to read the story of Mister Nutt with a backdrop of football, you won't be disappointed. Plus you'll get a taste of Ankh-Morpork's national anthem and prototype football commentary, both of which are tremendous!

Unseen Academicals is due for release on October 8th.

You can now pre-order Unseen Academicals (and support Discworld Monthly) from by following this link:

In the US you can pre-order it from:

6. Competition

This month we have a signed copy of Carpet People: Illustrated Edition to give away thanks to the wonderfully kind people at

In order to win this prize, simply send the answer to the following two questions, along with your postal address to by 21st October 2009.

How much are PJSMPrints pre-ordering signed copies of Unseen Academicals for? (in GBP not including delivery)
The new Carpet People: Illustrated edition features sections of Terry's own full colour illustrations. But how many are there?

For more information visit

The randomly selected winner will be announced next issue. The competition is open to anyone. The judges decision will be final and all entries will be destroyed once the price has been sent.

7. Review: NADWCON 2009

Review by Kris "Rentawitch" Russell

1st September to 11th September.

We flew direct from Heathrow on September 1st, me and Chris and Dave Ward, aka the Boggi (he is Josiah Boggis and she is Violet Boggis). His iconograph adorns the Thieves Guild diary. Very warm when we landed but the free shuttle bus came very quickly and we got to the hotel in good time. BEAUTIFUL! All tall waving palms with fountains round a big courtyard and overlooked by a mountain (with a yellow A for Arizona State University on it).

Found room and dumped stuff. Went down and saw Jean Ogg aka Pighooey - all a bit of a blur due to the time being 3 am for me - but found the Rula Bula Irish pub next door. Bernard Pearson was in heaven. Outdoors, a bit warm even at 10 at night but with water misters cooling the atmosphere. Bernard was allowed to smoke his pipe!

Next day off we went to Tombstone. We saw a recreation of many of the famous gunfights and some of the party including Terry went down a silver mine which was pronounced very interesting. There was also a photo done of us all dressed as gunfighters and saloon molls/madams. It will surely find itself onto a website near you but Black Hat Pratchett looked most intimidating!

On the way back to Phoenix we got stopped by the border patrol. Are you all US citizens? No, nine of them are UK citizens... Confusion - they expect either US or Mexican I think. I got dug in the ribs by someone for saying sotto voce 'no senor, soy Inglesa' in the back. He checked the passports and let us go. Got back to the hotel late after a lovely day and off to bed!

Next day got the con timetable and found I was involved with one, two, many, lots of panels. 'Extra, extra' about being on film set, with Rob, Pat, the Boggi, Chris Boote and Anna. People seemed very interested and Rob showed some photos of the set. After the opening ceremony where Terry was escorted in under an inflatable turtle, there was a superb speech from Esther Friesner and words from Terry and the con chair. The Brits hosted a little tea party in the Con Suite for the Americans. There was much tea and many biscuits (cookies). That required me to be in Dotsie Agony Aunt costume. Then we had to change for the Seamstresses party (corsets natch!) and that was absolutely wonderful with many single and double intenders from the seamstresses.

I was one of the seamstress hosts for the evening which involved giving out 'leis' of beads at the door with the words, 'a free lei from the seamstresses guild? Sir or madam, only the first one is free...' A rather tall young man of I guess 17 had to bend down for me to put his beads on. I kind of forgot I was in a corset and as he straightened up he said, 'I really DID enjoy that you know!' - I blushed.

Terry made a speech where he remembered the first seamstress party fondly but seemed to be enjoying this one as much or more! There were a LOT of corsets and none of the men present were complaining. After the party at 9.30 there was a game of HolyWood Squares. Twoflower, Mr Boggis and the Agony Aunts were among the square occupants. We transferred to the hotel bar later and I seem to recall getting to bed quite late but Arizona statute forbids the serving of alcohol after 2 am. The Hotel bar shut at 12!

Saturday morning - another wonderful breakfast - no panel involvement today. Went to the dealers room, wonderful things on offer as always. Went to Bernard's fireside chat. Very funny stories about kilns in cells and marijuana in gardens, Guest of Honour interview with Terry. Superb as always and then readings from Unseen Academicals by Rob. It sounds splendid.

That night was the Maskerade and I confess that I missed almost all of this. I was away guillotining things and stuffing envelopes for a panel. The costumes and acts I did see were splendid, as good as WorldCon. I particularly liked Adrian doing a Terry writing his next novel, based on the Monty Python sketch. On into the evening where much quaffing took place and I attended a party for DarkCon 2010.

Sunday I was late up (nothing to do with the DarkCon party punch, honest guv!!) and had to rush to breakfast to discuss various panels with the other participants. We did a panel on the Wincanton Phenomenomenon with Bernard, Isobel, Chris and Dave Ward, me and....oh crumbs who else? We had lots of pictures, lots of handouts of various posters Bernard has produced over the years, a message from Trevor Truran who invented Thud and a DVD made by Mr Boggis about the Twinning of Wincanton with Ankh-Morpork in December 2002.

This seemed to be well received and a few people said how much they would like to visit. Chris and Dave Ward also produced a lot of wonderful stuff for the Thieves Guild panel where 30 people could be inducted into the first Phoenix chapter. This involved a demonstration by Smudge (Pete Smith), Slasher (me) a random seamstress (Marti) and Mr and Mrs Boggis. The attendees made their own lock-picks, took the oath and were presented with a membership laminate and a certificate. Smudge and Slasher had their thieves guild membership upgraded too! This session was so over-subscribed - mainly I suspect because of Chris Ward's wondrous and funny blurb for the event in the programme booklet - that they asked us to put on another session on the Monday. This necessitated much more printing and guillotining and stuffing of envelopes!

Sunday evening was the gala dinner - a Night at the Rhoxie - and you will see from the photos how wonderful the place looked. I wore a sari for the very first time (cheating by having the folds sewn in!) Everyone looked splendid and the speeches, the poetry and Terry's speech and his evident delight were all fantastic. There were dusky maidens a-many with belly dancing and an amazing Betti. Bad poetry for the delight of the Seriph and all presided over by the evil Grand Vizier Abrim.

The food was great - an Eastern style buffet and table presents of wooden fans and cactus candy and silk embroidered bookmarks. You could also have your picture taken on a flying carpet. I didn't dare sit or kneel down in my costume! A thoroughly lovely event. One of the best con dinners I have ever been to.

Oh dear, already Monday. Sad! I got my Igor timesheet signed and received a special tshirt and people started going home. We did our second Thieves Guild induction and everyone seemed pleased. Then the closing ceremony. Terry said how much he had enjoyed himself and (to cheers) he hoped there would be another. The committee looked slightly panicked at this point. The guild banners and much other stuff was auctioned!

I hardly saw anyone leave but then we weren't actually going until the following weekend. I know Rob and Sandra went to Las Vegas and Terry was taken on a trip to an observatory. Tuesday was spent seeing people off, and hanging round feeling a bit sad. Tuesday night however we had tickets to the baseball! Unfortunately, the local team (Diamondbacks) lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers but the stadium is wonderful with a closed roof and air-conditioning.

I met lots of people: Doug, Susanne, Carole, Dotcandie and many other people I have not met before and many I have. It was a wonderful convention and a great holiday but I am absolutely knac..... I mean tired out!!

Pictures from the Convention can be found on the Conventions official website:

8. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

Who is the first person to get a visit from Death?
Desiderata Hollow
Who was this person talking to just before Death's visit?
b) Lilith
What was special about Magrat Garlic's mirror?
Nothing - it was totally un-magical.
Where do the Witches need to travel to?
What is Lilith's full name?
Lilith de Tempscire

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