Better Than

Discworld Monthly - Issue 162: October 2010

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Article: Meditations upon the arrival of a new Discworld book
6. Results: Going Postal Competition
7. Article: Discworld Railways
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 162. At the end of August I ordered a copy of the limited edition Going Postal DVD - a story about the postal service and the backed up delivery of letters. Unfortunately I think they may have sent my copy via the Ankh-Morpork postal service as it ironically got lost in the post. A replacement copy has been sent and should hopefully arrive in a few days.

We still haven't received any information about a US screen date or DVD release data for Going Postal. Short of getting a multi-region DVD player or finding other less legal means it looks like you are going to have to wait for a while longer.

Last month in my review of Wadfest I mistakenly mentioned that Church Laneham was in Derbyshire when it is in fact in Nottinghamshire. My apologies to anyone that thought they had moved counties without realising.

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 (Game Meister)

2. News

Terry Pratchett: 'I'm open to joy. But I'm also more cynical' is an article about Terry and his views on assisted dying. It was published in The Guardian newspaper at the beginning of September and can be read online at:

It's not the first Discworld cake we've seen but this new one looks great. There is no information about who made it but it features the full Discworld with Great A'Tuin, the four pachyderms and some detailed-looking land masses. The cake includes the quote: "I name you... Esmarelda Margaret Note Spelling Of Lancre".

Terry was recently interviewed by the BBC for their Meet the Author series to talk about I Shall Wear Midnight.

You can see the interview at:

Terry's daughter Rhianna is set to write the screenplay for her first feature film, a London-based drama about a group of female vigilantes, to be produced by Simple Productions.

The New Zealand Listener (apparently New Zealand's best-selling current affairs magazine) September 4-10 issue includes a three page article on Terry cheerily named "Die another day".

The text of the article can be found at:

The Times featured an article in its art and entertainment section about I Shall Wear Midnight named "Kindly witches, veggie vampires; it's a revolution in fairyland". You can read the article online but be warned that it is behind their paywall system. You may find a visit to your local library to read the original might be more fun overall.

Terry's Feet of Clay is mentioned in an article called: "Why golems are precious" that was published in The Guardian recently.

Last orders for The Houthe of Igor.

The Wincanton Hogswatch event will be your last chance to purchase a Beathty in person. After several years the Houthe of Igor will sadly be closing its doors for the last time.

In an open letter to The Guardian, Terry is one of many celebrities that felt that the recent visit of the Pope to the UK should not be funded by UK tax payer.

Terry was recently interviewed by SFX magazine in the UK. Some of the questions that didn't make it into the magazine were published on their website including one where Terry had to teach a swearword to his dictation software.

On September 16th Terry was interviewed by The Times Higher Education section in an article called Fantastic Voyager.

Terry recently recorded a radio interview with Radio New Zealand where he talks about PCA.

Terry was also interviewed by the BBC 5live about being Britain's biggest niche author. From the look of the decor it was recording in the same place as the meet the author programme mentioned above.


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] The Drummers Downunder, the Sydney sister of the Broken Drummers, will have their next meeting on Monday 4th October from 7pm at Maloneys on the corner of Pitt and 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, 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.

The next meeting will be on Monday 4th October at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ.


[UK] Skegness Playgoers will be performing Wyrd Sisters at the Embassy Theatre in Skegness on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th October 2010. Ticket prices 8 GBP adults, 7 GBP concessions and 2 GBP accompanied children, all available from the Embassy Box Office on 08456 740 505. Please book early as seating for these two nights is limited.

[UK, New] Hardingstone Players will be performing MORT from October 27th - October 30th at Campion School, Bugbrooke, Northampton from 7.30pm. Tickets 6 GBP in advance; 7 GBP on the door and 5 GBP for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets can be booked by calling - 07736 517721 or at

[AU] The Brisbane Arts Theatre will be performing Going Postal from October 30 - November 20, 2010, including a special Halloween performance!

Tickets cost Adults - 27 AUD, Concession - 22 AUD, Members - 17 AUD, Opening night - 37 AUD (includes supper and drink), Halloween Performance 40 AUD (includes supper and drinks + Halloween party)

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: 3369 2344 or Email:

[UK, Updated] The Thalian Theatre Company will be performing Carpe Jugulum from 10th to 13th November 2010 at the Mirren Studio, Towngate Theatre, Basildon, Essex. Tickets are 10 GBP (8 GBP concessions). For any further information, or to book tickets please call 01268 288114, or email

[UK, New] The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham will be performing Carpe Jugulum from 11th - 13th November 2010 with a matinee production on the 13th.

Performances start at 19:45 Thursday and Friday, and then 14:30 and 20:00 on Saturday.

Tickets cost 7.50 GBP (6.00 GBP Concessions)

More information at:

[AU] 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 The website has been updated with hotel information, Guilds and lots more. Gala Dinner registrations open on 2nd October for all registered attendees.

Volunteers needed. Contact (no mimes - by order of the Patrician).

[NL] The first Dutch Discworld Convention takes place at Hotel NH Atlanta in Rotterdam on 28th - 29th May 2011.

Contact details:

For further information contact:

[US] NADWCon2011 planning is underway. The dates of the new con will be July 7-12, 2011, and the location will be the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club, in Madison, Wisconsin.

[DE] 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).

Registration has now started and there is an early booker gift if you register before the end of this year.

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 Jarrett writes: I have a copy of the Thieves Guild Diary for sale... 25 GBP plus P and P.

Oh, whilst I remember...

For some years now I've been a member of a forum called chasing the frog... I've only just thought about the Bursar...

Please email me if you are interested.

John Money writes: Unearthed (or rather, un-disced) when sorting through a joint collection were two immaculate 2007 Discworld Diaries (the Post Office year) - no marks, no writing - and I thought I would offer them to true enthusiasts. Offers gladly received at my email address. There are also a number of first edition hardbacks and other hardbacks for sale, so if anyone has any interest, drop me a line.

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 subtle and unseen ways.

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.

* From: "Martinus Scriblerus"
With regards to the Discworld Mohs Scale of Fantasy Hardness.

This has been an excellent and thought-provoking pair of articles but I'd like to point out that we did have Clacks towers, particularly in Britain and France, back in the period of the Napoleonic War. The Admiralty had lines from Portsmouth and Plymouth up to London - if you see a place named Telegraph Hill there was probably a semaphore tower on top of it. There is an article worth reading at:

I'd also recommend the episode called "The Signaller" from Keith Roberts' book "Pavane"

* From: "Casey Callaghan"
Last month in the Discworld Mohs Scale of Fantasy Hardness Juliette Harrisson wrote:

There's still a fair amount of fantasy in these books, including the echoes from another leg of the Trousers of Time in Jingo, the troll thinking helmet in Men at Arms, or the fat deposits in The Fifth Elephant.

I would disagree that the troll thinking helmet counts as fantasy. Yes, the trolls themselves are clearly fantasy; but the thinking helmet itself consists of a clockwork motor which merely blows air over the troll's head to cool it. It is, in itself, a lot further on the 'hard' end of the scale than the troll that wears it.

* From: "Ian Graham"
As a long-term fan of anything PTerry, like everyone else on here, I am always eager for any new releases. As I often have to spend time recumbent in hospital, I have grown to really like the audiobooks of the Discworld series. Trouble is, nearly all the versions I can find for sale are the abridged versions by Tony Robinson. Now I like Tony's work, but I really prefer the complete and unabridged versions by Stephen Briggs and Nigel Planer etc. Isis publications who seem to be the maker of these, are quite poor at replying to emails requesting release dates etc. Can anyone tell me why so much publicity is given to the Tony Robinson versions, is it just the price? And PLEEEASE can anyone tell me when and where the unabridged version of I Shall Wear Midnight will be released? Keep up the good work at Ook and Co, I look forward to your mails each month.

* From: "Norman Deidre Mc McKeague-Foster"
I would like to tell you a story about buying used TP books in the USA. YOU CAN'T. I went into a large used book store that said they have 100,000 books in stock in MT. The nice lady behind the counter laughed at me when I asked if she had any TP books. "You can't get them," she told me. I need to replace some of my old ones as they have been read so many times they are falling apart. I will just have to buy new ones.

* From: "Emma Latham-McDuffus"
I would like to thank everyone who replied to my Small Ad in Issue 161 regarding me losing my recording of Terry's Dimbleby Lecture. I have had a mountain of replies offering to help me replace it, far too many to reply to individually. My inbox was beginning to resemble the AM Post Office, I know how Moist felt on his first day now! So I would like to thank you all, you are very kind and I appreciate your generosity very much.

Many thanks and best regards.

* From: "Jb-Kath Burgess-Gould"
Can anyone help? What was the inspiration for Sir Terry's Monstrous Regiment? I know that the term is linked to John Knox (1558), but Sir Terry beautifully turns the quote (and its intent) on its head in the book. Thus, do we know why or what motivated him to write about a military unit of females?

Of course if I could ever get to a book signing I might ask, but as I am a member of the British Army and yet again away from the UK it is not going to happen soon I fall upon the good graces of my Discworld comrades.

Yours in anticipation.

* From: "James Donihue III"
I have a comment and a couple of questions. First, I was at a local store and found a DVD double feature of The Colour of Magic and Hogfather. I was especially surprised to find these at a.... Wal-mart in Tennessee. Now my questions: first, is there going to be an audio book version of I Shall Wear Midnight? Also I was wondering if anyone has heard of a Batman book called Batman: The Joker's Revenge? This book lists Terry Pratchett as author of the foreword. Is this really him or is there someone named Terry P Ratchett and Amazon doesn't know the difference? Also if anyone wants to look this book up its ISBN is 185286253X and it's published by Titan Books Ltd on January 14, 1990. Thank You

DWM replies: I can answer your first question James. Yes, there will be an audio-book of I Shall Wear Midnight. Stephen Briggs' schedule has meant that he hasn't had time to get into the studio to record it yet though.

* From: "FP Anduin"
I've just finished reading I Shall Wear Midnight. What an absolute delight. Only makes me wish I had met a Preston at 16. How different life might have been. I love these books (all the Discworld stuff, actually) and it's fun to see the different characters meet up like this. And I like the Tiffany books as they make you feel 9 and 16 and 50 all at the same time and read with different eyes simultaneously and appreciate with all the yous - the 9 year old recognizing one just like herself (yes, I would definitely have whacked Jenny with a frying pan - and used my little brother as bait), the 16 year old still being pretty Tiff-like, though without the magic of course, and now very much feeling like the old Tiff - or possibly even more like Esk. I would certainly and with absolutely no hesitation visit my younger self (and a whole lot of other people) via a patch of portable time and go on about an elasticated string theory. Could we get some details on that one, please? As a woman I take to stories where I - contrary to most other fiction - recognize the women as being like the ones I know - strong, resourceful, bit dirty.

As a Mensan I feel allowed for in a world where intelligence and the use thereof is actually appreciated and almost waved like a banner by principal characters. No books like that back in the 70's when I grew up (we had an altogether different brand of social realism in those days. Arrrghhhh). As a person with a sense of humour - these books tickle me in all the right places. As a Dane I can get enthusiastic about improving my English. As a writer I appreciate the craftsmanship of the storytelling, all the little details and how, when you re-read, there is - like in very good paintings - always something new to trigger your mind. As a historian I utterly love these stories - all of the Discworld stories. They are packed, piled, stuffed, overflowing with information for the connoisseur and the curious. There is no delight greater than to see people being really, really good at what they do, regardless of craft. Like Terry and Tiff and all the rest of them. All hail says I. And thank you. And, please, can I have some more? I have taken to these books like Nanny to booze. There is no such thing as too much and after a good helping you feel like singing and dancing on tables (actually, my paternal grandmother did that occasionally - and fencing too). And if you'll excuse me, I have to go postal... again...

* From: "Peter Holmick"
With some trepidation, I purchased Going Postal on DVD from Amazon. I say "with trepidation" because previous films were a disappointment.

But this time there is good news. Finally we have a Discworld film that works. The humour and the pacing (like Goldilocks' porridge) are "just right". According to the credits, PTerry has "mucked about" with the story a bit, to make it flow better on screen. And flow it does. Good directing, tight editing and a stellar cast make this film a joy to watch. Richard Coyle (Moist von Lipwig) and Claire Foy (Adora Belle) make beautiful on-screen chemistry. We can't help but like them. Charles Dance (Lord Vetinari) makes the role his own. Andrew Sachs (Tolliver Groat) is a delight as the doddering old junior postman. Tamsin Greig (Miss Cripslock) makes a very believable reporter. Ingrid Bolsoe Berdal (Sergeant Angua) is both gorgeous and menacing as the watchman and the werewolf we never see. But for me, David Suchet (Reacher Gilt) steals the show. His long-haired bad guy with an eye-patch is B-A-D, so pirate-esque and perfect. I can't wait for the sequel "Making Money".

4. DiscTrivia

This month I'm asking questions based on Feet of Clay.

What goes: "Bing bing bingley bing!"?
How much did the white golem sell for?
a) 1000 dollars
b) 100 dollars
c) 30 dollars
d) 15 dollars
In Carrot's letter home, how many watch houses did he say were now open?
According to Cheery Littlebottom, what type of glasswareshould an Alchemist have?
What type of creature is Constable Downspout?

The answers as usual can be found at the end of this issue.

5. Article: Meditations upon the arrival of a new Discworld book

By Helen Nicholls

I was expecting it, of course. I'd been told that my limited slipcase edition of I Shall Wear Midnight had been despatched. However, it was still a surprise to see the innocuous Amazon package waiting on the doorstep. The postman, unable to fit it through the letterbox, had deemed it unnecessary to ring the doorbell. Just a book after all. Nothing a passing delinquent might consider worth stealing.

I opened the package and examined its contents. It's a beautiful thing: green, with a smaller version of Paul Kidby's delightful cover art placed discreetly on the front. The additional bit on folklore by Jaqueline Simpson is contained in the main volume. Perhaps I'll ask her to sign it as well as Terry. If Terry's still signing.

I flick through it, wondering where I can find the additional illustration but stop, fearing I'll happen upon a spoiler. I glance at the folklore bit instead, but that may also contain clues. I want to read it but there are things I should do. More to the point, once I start I will struggle to put it down and that will not do.

I should be looking for jobs, or working on my dissertation. I need to finish repainting the kitchen units too. None of those things are urgent and they are mere excuses not to read. The real reason for my procrastination is that once I start, it will consume me until I finish. As a good book should. But I will finish quickly, it's a kids' book after all. Then it will be gone. Oh, I'll re-read it, more slowly and carefully but without the thrill that comes with the first reading.

It's sitting on the sofa now. I'll pick it up in a minute, really I will. There is only one thing for it; I'll open the book.

I sometimes enjoy books more on second reading anyway.

6. Results: Going Postal Competition

Last month, Ian from The Cunning Artificer's shop, got in touch to say that he had three limited edition DVD copies of Going Postal to give away. We asked you to send the answer to the following question:

What is the diameter of The Dibbler Pie from in inches?

The correct answer was 3 inches.

The three randomly selected winners are: Gareth Earls, Dave Mapeley and Barry Starr.

For more information about The Cunning Artificer's product range visit or visit the Shop on Facebook at

7. Article: Discworld Railways

By Peter Wagstaff

I have often marvelled at the way the inhabitants of Discworld have devised lots of the trappings of what we call civilisation but using pre industrial technology. They have computing using Anthill inside, cameras and PDAs using imps, flash photography and moving pictures using salamanders. How I wondered would they tackle railways?

For motive power I see two possibilities. One using the invention of the steam engine based on the invention of Sir James (I'beg) Pardon who fell asleep when he should have been making the tea and was only woken up when the kettle, whose spout he had blocked for some juvenile prank, exploded.

The other option could be the atmospheric railway. As built on Earth by I.K Brunel on the line from Exeter to Newton Abbott. In this design there is a pipe running between the rails. The Pipe has a slit in it and the slit is sealed by a leather flap. There is paddle looking like tennis racket in the pipe and the handle is connected to the underside of the leading wagon or locomotive. Along the length of the track are pumping stations that pump air out of the pipe. The train is then propelled a long by the pressure of the air in the pipe behind the paddle. Pumping stations could be powered by Golems or Sir James's steam engines.

On Earth this system failed because it was difficult to maintain an air tight seal along the pipe. They tried to make the leather more pliable by applying grease or animal fat but that made the leather more attractive to rats, who promptly ate it destroying the seal. (Early opportunity for Death of Rats to help those who had been run down by trains whilst they were heading for the main course of the meal.) I feel confident that this is the method Leonard of Quirm would have devised. An early improvement would have been to replace the tennis racket with something more solid to prevent air rushing between the strings.

The other handicap of this system was that with a pipe running up the middle of the track it was very difficult to engineer turn outs so that trains could change tracks etc. Here the process is much simplified by having a section of track as long as the train pivoted at one end and a couple of trolls push the track across to divert the train onto its new course.

When building a railway the first thing to determine is the route. It's all very well having state of the art carriages with realistically dribbled candles in First Class if no one wants to go wherever it is your railway is going to. One possibility given the circular shape of Discworld would be to have a circular railway, sort of like the M25 only with movement.

This would have the advantage of only having the trains moving in one direction. When the traveller wanted to return to his/her/its starting place they got on the train and waited until their stop came along. This could mean some return journeys were un-necessarily long and in-train catering would be required. Fortunately there are natural laws to govern such things and given even a glimpse of a demand a Dibbler will appear. A case of CMOT "makes the going easier and the coming back".

More likely what would happen is one or more entrepreneurs will look at where the coaches carried the highest number of passengers or the barges carried the largest volumes of coal and say "that's where I am building my line". In England when railways started out it required an act of Parliament to authorise the line, agree its route, and give the company powers of compulsory purchase to allow them to buy the necessary land.

On Discworld it would more likely be the case that the Trolls who were building the track (herein after called the trackers) would build first and ask later. Figuring that the only way the landowner would resist was if he could employ more or harder Trolls than those building the line. And let's face it, anyone who could afford to do that would probably be building his own track somewhere else. As always, it was the middle-sized land owner that suffered most. The speed at which lines were thrown down meant that you could go to bed at night safe on your small farm and wake up in the morning to find a railway had gone through your best barn and you were now cut off from half of your fields.

If a route was seen to be particularly lucrative then two companies might build competing lines vying with each other for the lion's share of the traffic. This also happened in the south of England where some towns were served by more than one railway company and hostilities occasionally broke out with locomotives being padlocked to the track to deny the other company its right of way.

They will also be conflicts between coach and barge operators and the railway men as people change to the new transport modes. Coach men and bargees would probably resort to violence and sabotage to claw back their business and the ensuing battles would keep the Watch fully employed for months to come. Sam Vimes may even establish a separate division to police the railways. A Rail Watch perhaps?

Presumably there would have to be different wagons for different species as opposed to different classes? Would the post or news papers be distributed by train? Would Lord Vetinari be for or against? Would there be Foot-the-ball specials?

Food for thought maybe?

8. The End

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* Latest Book Information *

I Shall Wear Midnight

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Nation (non Discworld Hardback)

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Unseen Academicals (Paper Back)

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* DiscTrivia Results *

What goes: "Bing bing bingley bing!"?
Vimes' new 15 function disorganiser.
How much did the white golem sell for?
c) 30 dollars
In Carrot's letter home, how many watch houses did he say were now open?
According to Cheery Littlebottom, what type of glassware should an Alchemist have?
Glass made at The Guild of Glassblowers All-Comers Hiccuping Contest.
What type of creature is Constable Downspout?
A Gargoyle.

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