Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 153: January 2010

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Hogswatch 2009
6. Review: Maskerade Live - Performed by the Tower Theatre
7. Review: Mark Ravenhill and Melly Still on Nation
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 153 the first issue of 2010. This issue is slightly later than normal because I decided to spend more time with my family over the festive period. We hope you had a great end of 2009 and look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring us all.

So, as it is New Year Eve when I send this off - Happy New Year to you all.

I'm looking forward to Going Postal which should be shown over Easter weekend on Sky 1. Sky1 have some basic information about Going Postal at:

There are also 5 new pictures from the production at:

If you didn't get to see Nation in London you might be able to watch it at your local cinema in January. The National Theatre will be broadcasting the Matinee performance of the 30th January 2010 around the globe. To find out if it will be shown near you follow the link below:

Last month we said that we didn't think Terry's books were available as ebooks in the UK. It appears we were wrong! The Random House Group do provide the books in this format.

To get you started with your eBook collection, Random House have set up a special discount offer for subscribers of Discworld Monthly. You will receive 25% off all Terry Pratchett's eBooks.

All you need to do is visit until the 28th February and use the promotional code EBOOKSTP at the checkout.

Last month in the trivia section I accidentally phrased one of the questions wrong. Many thanks for the numerous emails pointing out the error of my ways.

The contentious question was the one about who was the first dwarf in the Watch? I meant dwarf by birth not by adoption. I should have made the question clearer, sorry!

Finally I'd like to pass on my best wishes to a good friend of mine, Andy, who sadly spent Christmas week in hospital. Andy is home now and is no doubt being doted on by his family. Get well soon.

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 (Christmassy)

2. News

If you fancy going to see Nation in January you might be able to get the best seats for 30 GBP. You need to call 020 7452 3000 and quote 'Promotion 2406' or visit the website and enter promotion code 2406 to activate the discount.

Valid performances: January 1, 4, 5, 15, 18 (6pm), 19, 20

This offer and tickets are subject to availability.

The Financial Times gave Nation a good review at:

Unseen Academicals was the The Guardian Book Club book of the month in December and was discussed over four weeks.

UA also gets a good review in a US blog:

Lovefilm, the UK DVD rental company, found that The Colour of Magic was the most rented DVD of a TV Program in 2009.

Terry was honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to Children's Writing at the Writers Guild Awards 2009.

Luggage birthday cake, anyone? According to blog writer pharaoh_katt, her friend Llew got a wonderful looking Luggage cake for his birthday party.

If you've read Unseen Academicals then you will know that the game of foot-the-ball is a rough game that appears almost rule-less and scoring goals is secondary to the shove. It appears that a similar game is played each Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in the town of Ashborne in Derbyshire.

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, 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.

January's meeting will be on Monday 4th January 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 4th January 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

[UK, New] Going Postal will be performed at the Progress Theatre in Reading from Tuesday 28th January to 6th February 2010.

Doors open at 7:15pm, performances start at 7:45pm.

Matinee performances on 30th January and 6th February at 2:30pm.

Normal ticket prices 10 GBP (8 GBP concessions)

Tickets available from Reading Arts Box Office on 0118 960 6060

Book on-line anytime at

Please note that a booking fee may apply.

Contact for further details.

[US] Osceola Community Theatre will be performing Wyrd Sisters on February 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th at 7pm and February 21st and 28th at 1pm (Sunday Matinee shows) at 311 S Apple Rd, Osceola, Indiana, USA. For more details and ticket information please visit

[UK] Straight From the Heart Productions will be presenting "Carpe Jugulum" at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms, High Street, Glastonbury BA6 9DU from April 14-17, 2010. Doors open at 7:30 for an 8 pm start. Tickets will be available from Gothic Image, Glastonbury, or email ANICECUPOFTEAANDBISCUITS@GMAIL.COM.

[UK] Waterside Theatre Company - based at Holbury, near Southampton in Hampshire will be 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] Wadfest 2010 takes place from 20th - 22nd August 2010 at Trentfield Farm, Notts.

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

[DE, New] The German Discworld Convention 2011 will take place from 30th September to 3rd October 2011. Assassins will roam the halls of Castle Bilstein but they promised not to harm visitors of the 3rd German Discworld Convention during that time (except when contracted). More details will follow in the upcoming months.

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.

Ian J Jarrett writes: Righto. Stuff for sale...

I volunteer for Oxfam and all I do all day here is surf the web valuing books. I got the job because no one else knows what to look for with various Pratchett related stuff that comes through the door.

Currently we have...

Carpe Jugulum {1st edition, hardback mint condition} 7.99 GBP

The Fifth Elephant {1st edition, hardback mint condition} 8.99 GBP {I have two copies of this}

If anybody wants these, please contact me.

Elizabeth Eltze writes: I'm not sure if anyone has ever asked this before, but are there any Terry Pratchett fans in Auckland, New Zealand, that might be interested in meeting up?

It would be awesome! It's a bit lonely out here with all the sheep... Thanks! [Lonely? With all those sheep around? RM (Welsh correspondent)]

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 to get this issue out before 2010.

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: "David Carroll"
In answer to "Jacqueline Simpson" ( and I know I will not be the first, or the last): 1.4 recurring is somewhere near the square root of two, which is, of course, an irrational number - how appropriate. When I was at school these numbers were also called 'surds' which is almost a rather impolite term: 'Get out of it, you irrational surd!'

How curious is the Discworld.

David Carroll (from hot and sweaty North Queensland)

* From: "Catherine"
Just thought you might like to know about the recent Pimp My Bookcart competition in the States. It's run by a couple of mad librarians, and one of the runners-up recreated the Unseen University Library.

Link here: and here:

Thanks and keep up the good work on all things Discworld.

Yes, I'm a librarian - ook!

* From: "Carl Blakebrough"
Does anyone know if there's any intention of reprinting this book [Once More with Footnotes]?

I'd love to read it, but I refuse to pay 250 GBP for a copy...

All the rest of Terry's stuff is still in print so why not this?

* From: "Adrian De Havilland"
Just read the monthly newsletter, excellent as always, thanks for that, and I noticed the bit about the new CD [for Only You Can Save Mankind]. Glad to see its coming out at last but I also noticed the bit about the limited edition one, but nothing to click on to order it. Do you have any idea where I can order this from? Hope to hear from you soon, many thanks

DWM replies: You can now order the signed CD from PJSMPrints -

* From: "Guy Shani"
Don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I heard on the radio that Hans Christian Andersen was so afraid of being buried alive that he kept a note on his nightstand proclaiming he isn't dead. Reminded of any Discworld witch?

* From: "Laura Barry"
I really must thank the Discworld Monthly. I didn't know about Unseen Academicals, at all. I didn't even know it was coming out. I thought Terry Pratchett was working on a book about the royal mint, and figured it'd be released next year sometime. My discovery that a Discworld book was not only out, but also apparently about football, a subject I have zero interest in and less knowledge on, (therefore causing Pratchett to yet again open a whole new world to me) was accompanied by many frantic sounds followed by bewildered work colleagues asking me why I was jumping up and down. I bought the book on Sunday, and have been in literary heaven since.

So far I'm close to the end of the book (I'd have finished it by now were it not for the completely irrational expectation of my boss that I should work rather than read during office hours) and have already been hit by some of Pratchett's expected gut-wrenchingly true quotes. This book is brilliant, as always, and when a friend asked 'Who's Terry Pratchett?' I was almost stunned by my own answer. He's written 37 Discworld novels, not to mention the other books he's written, (my friend didn't want to believe me), he was recently awarded a well deserved Knighthood for services to literature, and Unseen Academicals is (I think, could be wrong here) the second full-length novel he's written since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And this is just a brief summary! You really have to take a moment to think about how much that one man has done with his life, and how much he has benefited the world.

Enough rambling. I just want to mention I live in South Africa, where hype for the Soccer 2010 World Cup is getting more and more frantic daily, and Pratchett's new book is about football. That's pretty awesome.

* From: "Indrajeet Kelkar"
Recently I read a book - "Phantoms in the Brain" by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran. VSR is a neurologist and has done a lot of work in treating patients with phantom limbs. These patients are the ones who have lost their limbs a long time ago, but these are not forgotten by the brain and the patients feel these appendages still.

Dr. VSR has been using transposing mirrors, which enable the patient to see the missing limb in the mirror and this creates an anomaly, which the mind tries to adjust, finally resulting in accepting reality about the lost limb. Dr. VSR has been effectively using "Mirror Magic" to treat patients with anosognosia.

I guess 'Lilith Weatherwax' must be using a similar kind of mirror magic in Witches Abroad.

DWM replies: we were wondering how you were going to tie this in to Discworld. Indrajeet gets Letter of the Month.

* From: "T Harris"
Please let subscribers know that Discworld ebooks are available at, Books on Board, and Mobipocket. I believe Amazon offers a Kindle version. Search by author name. Formats available tend to be secure Mobipocket and eReader and Kindle. I've seen some as audio books so read version type carefully.

* From: "Peter Kennedy"
I'd like to tell you about a rather amusing but weird experience I had this morning. My sons gave me a copy of the Terry Pratchett Unseen Academicals as a Christmas present and as I normally enjoy reading in bed I kept the copy on a bedside table. When I woke up in the morning I picked up my copy of Unseen Academicals and read up to page fifteen before feeling a bit sleepy so I put the book back on the table, lay down and closed my eyes. Immediately (and I wasn't asleep) I heard a creaking sound which came regularly every second or two. I didn't give it a second thought but as it continued I sat up to see what was making the noise. To my amazement I saw the Terry Pratchett book slowly closing itself. This happened over the time span of about thirty seconds, with the book actually closing itself slowly by tiny incremental, creaking, movements in front of my eyes. I told my wife who was sat up reading and we both watched until it stopped.

I know there is a rational explanation for what happened but the book itself is set in the Unseen University where books have a life of their own, and I was watching the same book closing itself slowly and noisily.

I would love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience. It was the colour or the sound of magic. I'm still stunned!

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking some questions about Soul Music.

Who runs the boarding school that Susan goes to?
a) Miss Treason
b) Miss Castle
c) Miss Butts
d) Miss Smart
What was Cliff's real name?
What did the Dean consider but dismiss putting on the back of his coat?
Who owns the Mended Drum during the events of Soul Music?
What is the name of the Band With Rocks In roadie?

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

5. Review: Hogswatch 2009

Review by Jason Anthony

The annual Wincanton Hogswatch event took place over the weekend of the 28th November 2009. I headed down to Wincanton on Friday afternoon. After parking up I headed over to Bernard's shop to sort out where I was going to be eating on the Saturday night.

I popped into the back of the shop where Bernard has his workshop and spent a little while chatting with the Cunning Artificer until he had to shut up shop. I then decided it was time to find a suitable pub. Using the method of closest to the cash machine I chose The Bear.

For those that don't know, Wincanton is built on the side of a hill. The Cunning Artificers shop, Uncle Toms and the Dolphin pub are about half way up the hill and The Bear, the cash machine and the curry house are near the bottom.

Saturday morning started with a mild hangover and a very enjoyable breakfast at the Dolphin. After popping into the shop to pick up a program of events I headed down to The Bear where Prof. Dave 'Snakes' Hayden was going to be putting on a critters display. Dave brought various insects, lizards, arachnids and snakes with him including a 14 foot Burmese Python that weighed about six and a half stone. It was entertaining watching various sections of the audience run away from different creatures as they were bought around so we could get closer views. It was also fun watching the electrician trying to replace the bulbs in the lights over the area that Dave was demonstrating in. I think he managed to drop and smash three bulbs before he gave up. After the show I helped load up Dave's car and then unload them at the Dolphin where Dave was keeping them.

After a quick sandwich I headed into the dealers room where various Discworld goodies were available for purchase. I kept my hand firmly in pockets and managed to get out without spending too much money. While I was in the traders room there was a maskerade and a secret santa present giving hosted by the Hogfather.

We went down to The Bear for an enjoyable dinner with lovely company and then waited for the evening's entertainment organised by Davina. Various Discworld fans got together to produce a variety show of varying quality. One of the highlights was Dr John Hicks and his wife Pam Hicks performing a song from Spam-a-lot. Then there was an item involving the fluid dynamics of a trifle when it comes into contact with Davina's face. After the show Terry talked briefly about how work was progressing on And I Shall Wear Midnight, the fourth and probably final episode in the Tiffany Aching series. I particularly enjoyed Terry stopping half way through to announce that he just had a new idea for the book while talking to us.

Sunday started with another wonderful Dolphin breakfast. Then it was over to the shop to sort out the order of the auction items. After an hour we were finished and I carried most of the auction items down to the Bear where we set up for the charity auction. The final amount raised by the charity auction was over 1700 GBP, which when you added in the proceeds from Friday's quiz and the money raised from the previous night's performance came to just over 2000 GBP. This was donated to RICE, a local charity that looks after elderly people with Alzheimers.

After the auction Bernard wished us his normal farewell and we said our goodbyes before heading back home, exhausted but very happy.

Some photo galleries of the event (the first may require a Facebook account):

6. Review: Maskerade Live - Performed by the Tower Theatre

Review by Jessica Yates

Performed by the Tower Theatre at the Bridewell Theatre off Fleet Street and the Theatro Technis, Camden Town, December 8th - 19th 2009

This was the first production of a Discworld play in Central London for some years, and owing to their lack of a permanent base the Tower Theatre performed Maskerade, their Christmas show, for a week at each of their regular venues. This was also my first time at a Stephen Briggs production, although I have seen all the productions by the Reduced Discworld Company since 2002. My two companions were unfamiliar with Discworld, but my husband is an acting member of the Company.

There isn't actually much magic in Maskerade, which makes it easier to enjoy if you know The Phantom of the Opera but not Discworld itself. DWM readers will know the plot well, so I will pass over it and discuss the highlights. The set was very basic, as befits a travelling production: a framed pair of curtains into an inner room on the stage itself, and constructed above, a separate area which was used for the stagecoach, Granny's box, the 'flies' and the roof.

Two of the best company actors took the roles of Granny and Salzella, and they were magnificent. The others were fine, and I should especially mention Nanny Ogg, Walter Plinge and the man who doubled the roles of Greebo and Andre. Greebo started out as a large floppy toy cat with a small basket, and then a large basket was brought in and out climbed Greebo the man. His drink from a glass of milk cat-fashion was much admired.

The cast enjoyed doing the in-jokes, though my companions did not always 'get' them. A company extra came on whistling 'Singin' in the Rain', which is a hint at what Perdita does for Christine. I explained to one of my friends why Walter wears a beret (see lspace annotation for this book), and that Granny did not magick the sword at the end not to hurt her: she delayed its effect until she could deal with it and Granny duly had a bandaged arm after returning to her cottage.

Incidental music was French (Berlioz) or operatic, and it was altogether a memorable night at the opera. I hope to see some more Discworld plays in the Tower Theatre's repertoire.

We also received another review of the above play from Julia G. Nenova:

I attended a performance of Maskerade at the Bridewell Theatre just off fleet Street on the 12th of December. It was the last night at this particular venue before it moved onto the Theatro Techno in Camden Town. The small theatre was about one-third full but we still managed to fill the bar during the interval!

The performers gave of their all, eliciting many laughs from the audience, not only from Terry's splendid jokes within the text but also their overall acting ability and timing.

I particularly liked the performances of the two actesses playing Granny Weatherwax (Penny Tuerk) and Nanny Ogg (Niki Mylonas). Penny managed to convey Esme's straghtforward approach to life as well as her strong sense of what is 'the right thing to do'. Niki was totally believable as Nanny, especially her splendid facial expressions. Robert Reeve as Salzella was also very convincing, covering the whole gamut of the character in the novel from boredom through to urbane sophistication and then to insane laughter near his own very strange death.

The whole of the auditorium was used, even the aisle between the audience as part of the performing space, making the audience feel as though anything could happen anywhere so we all had to 'be prepared'.

All in all a very good performance.

7. Review: Mark Ravenhill and Melly Still on Nation

Review by Jessica Yates

National Theatre Platform, 16th December 2009

Melly Still is the director of Nation and Mark Ravenhill the adaptor. They were interviewed by Christopher Campbell, the NT's Deputy Literary Manager, and then there were questions from the audience in a pre-performance 45-minute session.

Melly Still had previously directed Coram Boy for the NT, which has a tradition of adapting children's books at Christmas, and recently has chosen books by contemporary, living British authors, e.g. His Dark Materials and War Horse. She was asked to do a new play for this Christmas, and then had the job of selecting the book. The whole staff of the NT made suggestions. It was reading a review of Nation which gave her the idea of adapting it, and once she had read it she put it on her shortlist.

Mark Ravenhill had not adapted a novel before, but had told the director of the NT of his ambition to do an Olivier show for a large audience. He loved the book, and put off thinking about how to adapt it until he had read it through. He aimed to be faithful to the author's concept, whatever changes he would make.

The narrator's presence was always there. Terry was very supportive with emails, and Mark respected him as 'a national institution'. Melly and Mark worked in separate rooms on the adaptation, refining the plot down to its essentials. They asked the actors to retell two chapters each in their own words, and gradually boiled the story down to its essential scenes.

Melly saw it as 'a very gentle and tender love story'. They brought in a puppet maker and Polynesian dancers and storytellers to discover their kind of music. Then they had to work out how to stage the underwater scenes. MR mentioned that even Shakespeare had impossible stage directions, and he also said that he had a lot of experience writing for young people.

They discussed the play's treatment of religion, and the audience's reactions to the show, which meant the actors had to take that into account as they performed. The problem of the parrot had been solved by casting 'an incredible actor', whose role was to undermine sentimentality; he was compared to a Shakespearian Fool. Was it hard to get into the mind of the author? MR replied that TP had the common touch; he was a national figure and it took time to get into his world. However, he could get an immediate response from the audience, whereas the novelist had to wait for readers' comments.

8. The End

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Unseen Academicals

Nation (non Discworld Hardback)

Folklore of the Discworld (add-on book)

Making Money (Paperback)

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* Disc Trivia Results *

Who runs the boarding school that Susan goes to?
c) Miss Butts
What was Cliff's real name?
Lias Bluestone
What did the Dean consider but dismiss putting on the back of his coat?
Who owns the Mended Drum during the events of Soul Music?
Hibiscus Dunelm
What is the name of the Band With Rocks In roadie?

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