Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 154: February 2010

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Terry Pratchett on Nation
6. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 154. The first issue of Sky Magazine Live features a very short video extract from Going Postal. From the few seconds of footage it looks great.

I forgot to mention last month that Terry has had an asteroid named after him. Asteroid 127005's naming was proposed to the "Committee on Small Body Nomenclature" several months ago and was recently accepted.

The official citation reads:

(127005) Pratchett = 2002 GY1 Discovered 2002 April 1 by J. Dellinger and W. G. Dillon at Needville.

Sir Terence David John ("Terry") Pratchett (b. 1948) is a popular English author known for his richly detailed and allegorical "Discworld" series of satirical fantasy novels.

End of citation.

Please note that the very first rule is "citations have to be really really short"! One of the other rules is "you cannot breathe a word that you have proposed a name unless and until it's officially accepted". (The committee does not want anyone lobbying them to accept particular names.)

You can watch and predict 127005 Pratchett's orbit by entering "2002 GY1" in the search field at:

Terry will be presenting this year's Richard Dimbleby Lecture. The lecture entitled Shaking Hands With Death will be broadcast live on Monday 1st February 2010 on BBC One.

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 (Boardgame Geek)

2. News

Don't forget that Nation is broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 30th January. See

The Live Show will include a couple of videos produced by young film makers showing their interpretation of Mau and Daphne's first meeting.

You can see the videos now at:

Stratford Picturehouse, London - one of the venues - wrote to us to tell us about their special 'Pratchett Quiz'.

The quiz takes place on Sat 30th Jan, 6.30pm. Entry is free, and it will take place in the bar. There will apparently be great prizes on offer. The quiz will cover many of Terry's books, including the Discworld novels.

For more information visit:

Readers Bruce Fletcher and Martin Watts have written in to mention other possible origins for foot-the-ball. Strangely most seem quite similar in operation.

Random House Children's Screen Entertainment are looking for funding. They plan to raise 100 million USD to fund new television, toys, video games and film projects potentially based on the works of authors that are published by Random House Children's books such as Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett.

Joe Patterson, the designer and sculptor of many of Clarecraft's wonderful figurines wrote in to remind all our readers that he still provides a repair service for damaged figures. So if you accidentally get over zealous with the duster Joe's the man to contact.

BBC Radio 7 have been having a bit of a Pratchett month in January broadcasting adaptations of Guards! Guards!, Small Gods and Nation. Nation read by Matt Addis starts on 30th January.

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] 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 online any time at

Please note that a booking fee may apply.

Contact for further details.

[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 1st February 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 1st February 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

[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.

[AU, New] The third Australian Discworld Convention will be held on 8th, 9th and 10th April 2011 at the Penrith Panthers conference centre in Penrith, NSW.

Keep checking in at for information as the website will be updated gradually.

To find out more about the venue go to

Penrith Panthers also has a 216 room hotel attached - more information about accommodation options will be posted on the convention website soon.

Registration will be opened in the near future, with early bird offers to encourage early sign up.

[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 promise not to harm visitors of the 3rd German Discworld Convention during that time (except when contracted). More details will follow in the upcoming months.

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 3D.

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: "Silver Cat"
I went to see 'Nation' at The National on Tuesday 29 December, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that since you (that's you, Jason!) went to see it, they have revised the start of the play, as Mau fully explained what he was doing on the tiny island on his own before the tsunami hit, which is a point you said you thought would be slightly confusing to anyone who didn't know the book/story. I particularly loved the parrot, he is played by an actor with superb comic timing and the ability to under-play for laughs, which is a very hard task for an actor! The stage revolve is also really lovely, and adds so much to the storytelling. I had forgotten about the ending, and promptly burst into tears when it was revealed what happened to Mau and Daphne at the end - much to the amusement of two small boys sitting in front of me!

Being a fan of Terry's work, but also a 'theatre' person, I tried to go along with an open mind and not expect too much from the production. It would be easy to be sycophantic and say, 'ooh, it was wonderful, darlings!', but it would be equally easy to believe some of the more negative reviews I had previously read before going. I therefore looked at this production as a performance in its own right, and having my non-Terry-reading partner with me also helped, as he had no particular expectations of this show either. But we both really enjoyed it, and kudos to all the people involved in bringing this wonderful novel to the stage.

Just my two penn'orth.

* From: "Julia"
After a frustrating journey (trains not running, tubes half closed, replacement bus services et al) my partner and I went to see an evening performance of 'Nation' at the Olivier Theatre.

Wow - a moving circular stage, dramatic backdrops created by projections, a very lively cast and a human parrot wonderfully portrayed by Jason Thorpe. Nearly all the cast doubled or even trebled the characters they played and with several dances, songs and dramatic set pieces being performed with gusto they must be very fit.

Gary Carr and Emily Taaffe were both excellent as Mau and Daphne evoking with accuracy the different emotions these two characters experienced as the story progresses.

I was especially impressed by the way the actors transformed themselves into the dead and dried out ancients - it was spookily real!

My partner is not a Pratchett fan but he really enjoyed the play, I am really trying to convert him.

The programme included a short section on Terry with elements from the novel (such as Creation Myths and burial rites) explained plus relevant quotes from the original novel. There was also a 'Make-A-Nation' leaflet aimed at younger members of the audience, which I think was an excellent idea - a novel turned into a play which became a whole learning experience.

I even succumbed to buying a 'Nation' T-shirt - pink with a sparkly dolphin on the front - very girly indeed.

Altogether a great evening's entertainment. Let's hope that other theatre companies take it on and give the rest of the country the chance to see this excellent story.

* From: "Thomas Abrahamsen"
A few weeks ago I was at the European speed skating championship (don't ask why) in Hamar, Norway. To my amusement a dutch commercial sign caught my attention.

It read "word ook fan", and as a fan of the word 'ook' I thought maybe this was something for the newsletter. I have no idea of what the sign means, but it has to do with Sven Kramer, world's best all-round speed skater.

* From: "Alfons Kluepfel"
While looking for an explanation of "diaphanous pegnoyer" I looked it up via Google and found your Issue 49 - which is very helpful.

The explanation by WB on your site is very plausible.

I came - before looking it up in the internet - to another conclusion, which I thought quite funny:

a peg annoyer - a garment, which is so tiny, as to be almost non-existent, that the pegs on the clothesline would be annoyed, because there's almost nothing to hold tight.

We used to call the mini bikinis "a sweet nothing".

The German interpreter of the Pratchett books translates. neglige (negligee) which would mean a similar meaning: something you can neglect.

* From: "David Tierney"
As a long time Pratchett fan with a tired paperback and (more recent) hardback collection I thought I might make use of a new eBook reader and buy all the books anew - freeing some shelf space at the same time. I was so pleased to find a link in the last Discworld Monthly for the books that I jumped straight to the site mentioned. Imagine my horror at the prices involved - even allowing for the DWM discount.

Can anyone tell me any logical reason why these non tangible, effectively 'cost free' items should cost more than a replacement paperback? The only one I can think of is that they assume every copy sold will be somehow 'pirated' and loose them future sales.

Surely as the creative work is finished, the editing, promotion, printing and other costs are already dealt with, it should be simple to make the works available as an ebook for a fee around half the price of a paperback (at most) and make a significant and previously unexpected profit at the same time?

I accept 'new' books could be at a similar price to the current edition (paperback or hardback), but ebooks at a premium on tangible paperbacks? it's just asking for the kind of piracy that the music world is trying to escape from.

ebook readers are here to stay and it seems will grow in popularity. Setting up a good marketplace now for reasonable priced back issues would be a way to attract readers to legitimate sites now, rather than trying to claw them back after an explosion in pirated works.

DWM replies: David get this month's Letter of The Month.

* From: "Martin Christen"
In last month's issue Carl asked:

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?

I'm exactly in the same situation. Unfortunately I have some bad news. I contacted NESFA press in October but they don't have the rights to print any more.

Doesn't look like this book will be available for a reasonable price any time soon :(

But hey, maybe we fans could start a petition via DWM? Why couldn't we convince whoever has the final say (PTerry Himself?) to arrange for a reprint?

It's frustrating because this is literally the only Terry Pratchett book that's missing in my collection! (well, that and Unseen Academicals since I'm waiting for the paperback...)

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking you to name the book.

Which book brought back together Rincewind and Twoflower for the first time since The Light Fantastic?
In which book was Leonard of Quirm first mentioned?
The Amazing Maurice had his own novel but in which Discworld book was he first mentioned?
When were we first introduced to Mustrum Ridcully?
The island of Leshp rose to the surface in Jingo, but where were the Brass Gongs of Leshp mentioned?

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

5. Review: Terry Pratchett On Nation

National Theatre Platform, 19th January 2010

Reviewed by Jessica Yates

Terry Pratchett was interviewed by Sarah LeFanu, former Artistic Director of the Bath Literary Festival, who has interviewed him several times before. The Olivier Theatre was very nearly full for this early evening Platform, so that meant that approx. 1000 people were there to hear Terry, many of whom had also booked to see Nation that same evening.

Ms LeFanu revealed that 60 million copies of Discworld novels had been sold (gasps and cheers), and that (as we knew) Terry had also written a number of 'wonderful and varied novels for younger readers'. Nation was a really big story, partly a love story, partly a myth of origins, it asked big questions and turned the world upside down.

Terry reminded her that she was in at the start. He was launching a book several years ago, before the disastrous tsunami in 2004, and he told her the germ of the story, about a boy raging against the gods. When he had finished the books he was contracted to write, he then told his agent he had to do this one; and never before had a book dragged him along so much. Every time he needed some information he had already got it from a lifetime of reading plus useful contacts. He found a place which resembled the island - a rainforest in Australia.

LeFanu went on with the story of how the National Theatre took over the book for their next Christmas show for families, and Terry commented that it was like taking a new toy away from a kid after he has started to play with it. He gave the team advice - which they took on board - and then threw overboard, as they kept saying that a play is different from a book. 'A playwright has a whole orchestra to play with - often literally - and I've got one lousy alphabet!'

LeFanu asked him if he was nervous when he first came to see the show, and Terry replied that it felt like Wyatt Earp walking down a quiet street in Tombstone. He could see the changes from the start, but to be fair, putting more in would have made it longer. They spoke of the challenge to young people to make their own film of the tea-party scene, and Terry praised the winners who would have their films shown before the live broadcast of Nation on Saturday 30th January.

They now invited questions from the floor, and first Terry was asked who his favourite character was. He replied that at present it was Tiffany, as he is writing the fourth book about her, which will bring her up to adulthood. After her, it would be Commander Vimes (cheers). Would there be any more Johnny Maxwell books? Well, you've got to have something to say (so probably not).

Which Discworld character do you feel your personality reflects? Commander Vimes on a good day and ? Death of Rats? on a bad one (sorry I couldn't quite hear that). Terry then went on to discuss the differing portrayals of Death in the Discworld and Nation. In the latter, Death was like Bergman's Death in The Seventh Seal. When he saw that film on his Granny's TV it had a tremendous effect on him.

Why is Nation set on a parallel world? 'It's my Get out of Jail Free card' - readers won't be able to find the island on a map, and spot any other inaccuracies. LeFanu commented on the wealth of background material in the programme and summed up by saying that in the book we are reading about ourselves, and that she hoped there would not be many dry eyes in the theatre tonight.

The session ended with rapturous applause!

6. 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 *

Which book brought back together Rincewind and Twoflower for the first time since The Light Fantastic?
Interesting Times
In which book was Leonard of Quirm first mentioned?
Wyrd Sisters
The Amazing Maurice had his own novel but in which Discworld book was he first mentioned?
Reaper Man
When were we first introduced to Mustrum Ridcully?
Moving Pictures
The island of Leshp rose to the surface in Jingo, but where were the Brass Gongs of Leshp mentioned?

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