Discworld Monthly - Issue 171 - July 2011
Table of Contents:
3. Readers' Letters
5. Review: Purple Theatre's production of The Truth
6. Competition Result - Cunning Artificer Travel Labels
7. Review: Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It
8. The End
Welcome to issue 171. Fortunately, Discworld fans are used to staring Death in the face as I'm afraid we have a rather downbeat Editorial this month.
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Cathy Wines who many of you will know as Mrs Beathtie. Cathy sadly lost her fight with cancer on 4th June 2011. Cathy was a lovely caring person who always made time for people. I am sure you would like to join us in wishing her husband Mike our condolences and our thanks for letting Cathy be part of our lives. RIP Cathy.
Nanny Oggy, who's been writing the articles about casting ideas for the books, also had some very sad news to pass onto us this month:
"I am sorry to announce that Mr Oggy, beloved human daddy of Greebos 1 and 2, passed away on 15th June. Anyone wishing to raise a glass of Scumble to his memory... as a dedicated Pratchett fan, it would be most appreciated. Mustering the City Watch will be back next month.
With warm wishes to all my fans, Nanny Oggy."
Again we would like to pass on our condolences and hope that Nanny will return when she feels she is able to.
Terry's documentary named Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die caused a lot of controversy when it was broadcast on Monday 13th June. The amazing, touching and powerful documentary discusses Terry's feeling towards assisted death and follows two men, Peter Smedley and Andrew Colgan, who decide that they need to visit Dignitas in Switzerland to be helped to die. Both Peter and Andrew came over as sensible, intelligent men who had made the decision to travel to Switzerland to die while they were still fit enough to be able to so. Terry meets up with Andrew the day before Andrew's death and seems saddened that he has had to travel so far to end his life. On the day of Andrew's death Terry and his assistant Rob listen to one of Andrew's favourite tracks and have a drink to his memory. They did not know then that Andrew's death took a lot longer than expected (as reported after the documentary was broadcast). Later Terry is invited by Peter Smedley and his wife Christine to witness Peter's death. Terry is visibly shaken by the process but feels that it is what Peter wanted. The documentary also spends some time with a taxi driver called Mike who thought about going to Dignitas but decided to live for as long as he could in an hospice.
The documentary was generally well received by Terry's fans and a lot of the press though the BBC received over a thousand complaints. The Daily Mail was particularly critical about the documentary claiming it showed a romanticised view of assisted death. The paper then went on to make remarks about Christine Smedley that I found in poor taste.
Hopefully the documentary has reopened the debate about assisted death and maybe, eventually, it may eliminate the need to travel to a foreign country to end your life in a peaceful and relatively painless way.
Below are just four of the many articles written about the documentary.
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 email@example.com and we will consider it for publication.
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William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Teaching Lessons)
Good news for US Discworld Fans. Going Postal will finally get released in the US. The provisional release date is 20th September 2011.
The DVD and Blu-ray will be distributed by a company called Acorn.
A quick search of Acornmedia.com finds the following link:
Which strangely states they are expecting stock in July.
The current Private Eye (with Greek Crisis Latest on the cover) includes a satire on Terry and the BBC on page 20.
Nothing on their website at the moment though:
Terry was recently interviewed over the phone from the US - the same interview appears on 7 SQUARE and also the Wisconsin State Journal. Both are based in Madison, Wisconsin where the 2nd North American Discworld Convention takes place this month.
The interview talks about The Long Earth, becoming popular in the US and also how some of his medication made his urine turn blue.
You can read all about it at: http://discworldmonthly.co.uk?redir=MADISON171
The Guardian recently ran an article about superfans (fans that go above and beyond in their fandom). Eminent pathologist Pat Harkin was the Discworld superfan and seemed the most sane of all the superfans.
There can be few people involved with fandom that don't know Pat - so well done Mr Harkin.
When Terry was in Australia he was interviewed at The Wheeler Centre. The interview features Rob Wilkins (Terry's personal assistant) reading from the new Discworld novel Snuff.
The chance to help fund Troll Bridge is about to come to an end. Originally the makers of Troll Bridge wanted to raise 45,000 USD to finish the film. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of Discworld fans over 70,000 USD has been raised. We all look forward to seeing the finished product sometime in 2012 (hopefully).
Press Release: Ankh Morpork Discworld Boardgame Launch Party
Ankh Morpork needs you! Lord Vetinari is dead, or missing, or possibly on holiday. Regardless, there's a chance for the power-hungry to take control of the city, or complete the plans his Lordship has been so inconsiderately standing in the way of. Players take on a hidden role with differing ways to win, and play cards to place minions, build buildings, control areas, assassinate inconveniences (other players' minions), gain (or lose!) money and do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals.
On Saturday 3rd September, Eclectic games in Reading will be hosting a Launch Party for Martin Wallace's latest boardgame, Ankh Morpork. Dripping with Discworld flavour, boasting gorgeous artwork and fun, compelling gameplay, Ankh Morpork more than lives up to the high standards associated with both Discworld and Treefrog Games.
Martin Wallace will be here all day to demonstrate the game, explain the finer points of what the differences between the Thieves Guild, Fools Guild and Seamstress Guild cards mean from a design point of view, and will probably deface your copy of the game with his signature if you ask him politely.
There will be cake, a small prize for the best Discworld fancy dress, and of course, the game will be available to purchase.
Eclectic Games is open from 10am to 6pm, and is located at 36, Market Place, Reading, RG1 2DE. Telephone 0118 959 8250. Our website is www.eclecticgames.co.uk and we can be reached by email via email@example.com
Also set for release this year is another Discworld board game called Guards! Guards! I was able to have a quick play of this back in September last year but haven't seen how it has progressed since.
Looks like I have something to put on my birthday list this year!
Rob Lupine asked if we could mention some of the events that will be taking place at Wadfest this year. So here are the details:
The Murder Mystery is now looking for suspects. Details and how to
apply can be found here:
Saturday Night Talent Show [come and be insulted by your favourite
newsletter editor], details here:
Followed by the Light Parade:
And of course we will be having the All Day Walk Around Masquerade
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.
[US, Updated] NADWCon2011 will take place July 8-11, 2011, and the location will be the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club, in Madison, Wisconsin.
[UK, New] Sinodun Players are staging "Maskerade" at the Wallingford Corn Exchange Theatre on 8th, 9th and 11th to 16th July from 7.30pm.
[UK] Following on from last year's great success with Wyrd Sisters, Collingwood RSC will be performing Jingo at The NEW THEATRE ROYAL, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.
The dates you want to know are Tuesday 12 till Friday 15 July 2011. curtain at 1930. FOUR shows ONLY.
Box Office number 02392 649000. Ticket prices Stall and Dress Circle 12 GBP (concession 10 GBP), Upper Circle 8 GBP (concession 6 GBP).
[UK, New] Deep End Theatre Company will be performing Wyrd Sisters from Wed 13th - Sat 16th July 2011.
Performances start at 7.45pm. Tickets cost 10 GBP with concessions 8 GBP (except Saturday).
Box Office 01242 522852
[US] The Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA will be performing Mort. This will be their first in a hopefully long line of Terry Pratchett productions.
Performances will be July 22 and 23, 29 and 30, and August 5 and 6, 2011.
For more information, please visit: http://www.moundstheatre.org/AmDram.html
[AU] For fans in Adelaide, The City of Small Gods Terry Pratchett Fan Club meets on the last Thursday of the month from 6.30pm at the Ed Castle, 233 Currie St. Details, discussions and organisation of extra events (such as play outings) are held on our email mailing list, so please sign up at https://groups.google.com/group/adelaide-discworld-fans
[UK and AU, Updated] The Broken Drummers and The Drummers Downunder are groups of fans that meet up monthly in the UK and Australia.
Monday 1st August 2011 - The Drummers Downunder (Perth) will be meeting from 7pm at The Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco, Australia.
The Drummers Downunder (Sydney) meet at Maloneys Hotel on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets (across the road from World Square), Sydney, Australia from 6.30pm on the first Monday of every month.
Our next meeting is on Monday 1st August. For more information contact Sue (AKA Granny Weatherwax) on firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday 1st August 2011 - The Broken Drummers meet at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ, England at 7pm.
The Drummers are always happy to welcome new visitors.
[UK] Wadfest X - The Future and Beyond takes place from 19th - 21st August 2011. The event takes place at Trentfield Farm in Church Lanehan, Retford. Wadfest is a family-focused camping event where Discworld fans meet up for a weekend of fun and games from Luggage Wars to Live Pingu. The event includes a talent show and a charity auction where you can get some excellent collectors pieces.
More information at http://www.wadfest.co.uk
[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).
You can let people know that you will be there by visiting us on Facebook.
[IE] Irish Discworld Convention 2011 (IDWCon11)
The second biennial Irish Discworld Convention will take place, once again, in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon. Taking place from the 4th-7th of November 2011. For those of you who missed it the first time, and if you don't mind us saying so, it was a bit of a bit! If you would like to be there this time membership is now open and information on all sorts is available at our website! Special Guest Professor Sir Terry Pratchett has confirmed his attendance! Now it's your turn!
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Rosemary Parrish email@example.com writes: I went to the PJSM store after seeing the ad in the newsletter, and I bought two Assassin Guild pins, and I saw they stocked UU scarves. I vaguely remember, from a good few years ago, a similar one for the Assassin's Guild, but they had none for sale. I googled the scarf and Bernard's store came up, however they are "not for sale or only available to subscribers". Anyone know what I can do to get one? I would happily buy a second-hand one if someone had a spare!
Please email me if you can help.
Butcher firstname.lastname@example.org writes: For sale three items from Bernard Pearson's Unreal Estate each of which were limited to 250. The Thunderer, The Grand Organ from Unseen University with Librarian and The Unseen University 30 of 250
If you are interested then please contact me, no time wasters please.
Dru Farr email@example.com writes: I don't really want to sell these but interesting times dictate otherwise and I need some startup capital. I have some older hardback copies of Discworld novels, including the Nation Doubleday Black Limited numbered edition (ISBN 0385616368), 1 each of the "Unseen Library" leather bound Light Fantastic and Equal Rites and The Globe / Science of Discworld II (signed by TP, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen). Needless to say I can provide photos of each. Plus almost all of the paperbacks (mostly Corgi) (including a a few doubles from the Oxfam I work at) which'll be 1.99 GBP each (+ p&p). Please make me offer so that I don't have to CMOT or email me any questions. Thanks Dru.
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* From: "Erin Brown" email@example.com
I wonder is "Drinkies" is a reference to Beer's law that tracks radiation absorbed to radiation transmitted: A = 2 - log10 %T
Is "wave space" comparable to or a form of radiation, possibly given off by large masses of books? Something like even normal items can give off small amounts of radiation, but it's larger accumulations you have to worry about.
* From: "Ian Jarrett" firstname.lastname@example.org
Last night I just happened on Terry's programme about assisted suicide.
I found the programme very informative, and a very moving piece of television.
However, I was disturbed about the company in Switzerland that deals with this. Whereas I do agree with assisted suicide, I do not agree with this company (the name escapes me) [Dignitas - Ed] allowing people to end their life because they are "world weary".
That worries me greatly.
I have myself been at times depressed, and suicidal... And although I am ok in myself now, it scares me badly that people in this particular frame of mind could (in theory) just up-sticks and go to this place. If assisted suicide does become legal (and I hope it does) there really need to be a lot of regulations to prevent people who are depressed going to them.
This month I'll take three random quotes from the Discworld series and ask you to name which book they came from.
The answers as usual can be found at the end of this issue.
Reviewed by Jessica Schneider
On my trip to London from America I was able to see a Terry Pratchett play performed in the extremely friendly town of Ickenham.
The opening night performance of a four show run of Terry Pratchett's The Truth was performed by the Purple Theatre group at the Compass Theatre in Ickenham. In fact, the first play ever performed by The Purple Theatre was a Terry Pratchett play in 1997 (Mort) so they have a long standing tradition of TP performances.
The Purple Theatre has brought together a wonderful cast to bring the world of Ankh Morpork to life.
Craig Cameron-Fisher does a wonderful job as Lord Vetinari as well as Charlie (Vetinari's doppelganger) being at once ominous and authoritative as well as oblivious and drunk.
Andi Tuder does a superb job portraying Commander Vimes while Manveer Saleot and Tim Williams bring Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip to life beautifully. I loved Mr. Tulip who wasn't my favourite character in the book but while watching the play I learned to love him the best. The play is of course full of humour and hilarious one-liners, so much so that some of the cast (Dominic Parford as Otto) couldn't seem to keep a straight face.
Gaspode was so great. Using a puppet to portray the (non-) talking dog, the puppeteer provided great comic relief as well as moving the plot along smoothly and quickly. The use of puppets throughout the show was charming and entertaining.
Now, this was community theatre so elaborate scenery and costumes couldn't really be expected but the cast did such a great job with their parts that it almost didn't matter. The dark light effect was really quite good though I don't know if you would understand what was going on if you hadn't read the book.
There was some stumbling and awkward or rushed transitions but that is to be expected with the first performance. Sometimes they went so quickly through the story it was like watching the high school CliffsNotes performance of your favourite book. Part of me understands that it is a long book and would be a very long play but I missed many key parts I love from the book.
On a side note, the theatre put together an amazing program (available for two pounds but totally worth it) that was made to look like a newspaper, complete with want ads and character profiles. It was full of great Terry Pratchett jokes that made me smile.
I was so glad to be able to get a Terry Pratchett related activity into my London trip since we get so little of them in the States. Now I just need to find somewhere to rent Going Postal before I leave!
Last month Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson gave me three sets of Discworld Travel Luggage Labels to give away. These stickers range in size from circular designs at 100mm diameter, to rectangular designs at 130X90mms. Each set consists of 10 luggage labels including such favourites as: Djelibeybi (Hotel Bast), Hotel D'Spagetti - Brindisi, Bhangbhangduc Hiking Tours, Gast-Haus Nostalgie - Koom Valley, Gritz Hotel - Ankh-Morpork, Gasthaus des Funften Elefanten - Ubervald, Ramtop Rambles, Sunny Wincanton, Grand Trunk Crew Baggage and of course the Ankh-Morpork Trespassers Society.
We asked you to answer the following simple question:
The answer we were looking for was:
We had over 100 correct entries and the three randomly selected winners are Jennifer Ross, Catherine Mchardy and Linda Hepburn. I'll get the prizes in the post as soon as possible.
For more information about Bernard's products visit: http://www.discworldemporium.com/
By Helen Nicholls
The British Library - until 25th September
The title of the British Library's new exhibition is a warning, or a reassurance, that is not just going to be about muscular heroic types shooting aliens with lasers. [Oh, pity - WB] I'm sure that most Discworld Monthly readers are fully aware that this is not all science fiction has to offer but the myth that it is intellectually lightweight and only of interest to teenage boys and immature men is a persistent one. [Spaceships are COOL - WB] The exhibition sets out to undermine this stereotype by providing a comprehensive guide to science fiction literature.
An exhibition on literature always has the significant disadvantage that it mostly consists of books behind glass. However, the British Library has overcome this hurdle with well-organised - and well-lit - display cases divided logically into sections. Each display forms a narrative of sorts as explanatory panels chart the development of the subject, be it aliens or dystopian fiction. There are also fun diversions, most notably the opportunity to draw your own alien, which is then projected onto a screen and a TARDIS in the middle of the room. There are also plenty of film clips and audio exhibits. However, its greatest strength comes from the quality of the written panels. I made a point of reading every single one, something I rarely do in exhibitions.
The content of the exhibition goes beyond writing that would be typically considered science fiction and in doing so challenges the attitude perpetuated by the publishing industry that science fiction is a self-contained genre. As a former classicist, I was delighted to see Lucien of Samosata's True Story, a second century work in which the hero travels to the moon and witnesses a battle between the inhabitants of the Sun and the Moon. It's not quite science fiction; the piece is intended as a satire on the improbable travel memoirs popular in Lucien's day. However, it demonstrates that science fiction staples such as space travel and aliens have been around for a long time. In a similar spirit, the section on fantasy worlds includes the Discworld map. The display emphasises that fantasy worlds are in many respects the precursors of the alien civilisations and alternate societies beloved of science fiction.
I had heard beforehand that a notable feature of the exhibition was the large number of female authors included. I was pleased to see that the curators did not feel the need to create a special section entitled "women writers". I have always been troubled by the male stereotype associated with science fiction. I was introduced to the genre as a child when my mother recommended a John Wyndham novel. This should be unremarkable but to many it borders on the deviant. The problem was discussed in some of the audio interviews along with the view that science fiction has limited literary merit. The writers interviewed for the audio clips were keen to emphasise the freedom to explore ideas that science fiction allows.
Out of this World provides an excellent overview of the sub-genres within science fiction. However, the most thought provoking sections were those that explored the concepts that have contributed to science fiction and the themes that underlie common science fiction premises. The fantasy world created by the Bronte siblings as children, for example provided a link between childhood fantasy and literary world building, leading to the Discworld where the process is reversed and human imagination shapes the landscape. I would recommend the exhibition to all Discworld fans, even those who do not usually read science fiction. It might persuade you to start.
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