Discworld Monthly - Issue 182 - June 2012
Table of Contents:
Welcome to issue 182. I'd like to start by congratulating Terry on winning a BAFTA for the documentary Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die. A worthy winner for a powerfull and thought provoking documentary.
You can see Terry's acceptance speech and a short interview offstage at: /url/BAFTA182
The 25th May has become a special day not only for Discworld Fans (I hope you wore your lilac) but it's also the day chosen as Towel Day for all the HG2G fans out there. This year is also the 35th anniversary of the release of A New Hope in the US. All in all a great day to be a geek!
Last month we mentioned a production of Going Postal to be performed in December. I received the email in April and assumed it was for December 2012. Unfortunately it was actually for December 2011. So unless you have a TARDIS you're sadly out of luck.
Terry recently auctioned a signed UK proof copy of The Long Earth on eBay. The proof was signed by both Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. The book finally sold for 401 GBP and the profits were given to Secret World Wildlife Rescue.
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.
Also if you have written an article that you think we might want to include in the newsletter please feel free to email me at the address below. We will of course give credit for anything we use.
Jason Anthony (Editor) firstname.lastname@example.org
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Roving Game Correspondent)
Terry has typed a few words on Twitter this month, so here is our roundup of what he has had to say.
18th May - For the purposes of the second volume of the Long Earth we would like to hear from anyone from Hannibal Missouri. Please let us know.
27th May - Did we mention that later today we're off to the #BAFTA Television Awards? It's live on the BBC at 8pm.
27th May - Time for a swift half before heading to the @BAFTA red, white & blue carpet. Excited?
27th May - For a red carpet experience that wasn't even red, the @BAFTA red, white & blue carpet experience was proper crazy.
27th May - ... and the evening just got better. http://pic.twitter.com/QlXWEEQR
27th May - We're in our seats. This is what we can see. http://pic.twitter.com/nbC0XvpI
27th May - Spoiler alert if you happen to be watching BBC1 right now ... http://pic.twitter.com/Rv51mtRG
The Express newspaper included review of the two winning novels from the Anywhere but Here, Anywhen but Now award on its website. Both books get 4 out of 5. I guess that's two more books to add to my 'to read' list.
3D artist dmitrij_leppee has created some wonderful computer generated characters. including a few Discworld characters namely Rincewind, Death, the Luggage and a Discworld dwarf.
A great original StarTrek / Discworld crossover picture has been circulating around facebook recently. It shows Great A'Tuin visible on the view screen on the deck of the Enterprise. Underneath is the caption: Get Spock Up Here! I can't wait to see his face!
Terry is among five authors shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, the UK's leading comic fiction award.
Terry has been nominated for the award on three previous occasions and will be hoping to register an inaugural victory with his latest title Snuff, the 39th entry in the Discworld series, his 50th title overall and the third fastest-selling book in history in the UK.
Late news: On Tuesday 29th May it was confirmed that Terry had in fact won the Wodehouse prize and will now have a pig named after his winning book "Snuff".
The North American Discworld Convention website has now been relaunched for the 2013 convention that takes place in Baltimore from July 5 - 8, 2013
Terry has recently claimed Texting and Twitter is harming children's development in an article in The Telegraph.
"Texting, Tweeting and social media websites are damaging children's ability to communicate, making them unmotivated and encouraging 'rough behaviour'"
The Evening Standard has an article saying that if the FSA had read Terry's Making Money we might not be in the financial mess we are currently in. The article states Terry couldn't really have come up with a character so vaingloriously absurd as Sir Fred Goodwin.
Episode 7a of The Pratchett Podcast that includes a review of The Light Fantastic novel is now available http://j.mp/sFb2XP
It also features Clacks, The Ankh Morpork Times and many many many new members of the Watch!
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society have a scheme called Hogwatch which aims to answer the question: what happens to hedgehogs released from Lower Moss Wood in spring? One wonders if someone at the BHPS is a Discworld fan?
The Guardian website includes a section called Great British Walks. The walk entitled: A literary walk from White Horse Hill to Ashdown Forest, Oxfordshire mentions Tiffany Aching and A Hat Full of Sky.
Terry was recently in Dublin and visited the Late Show on RTE One. You can see the interview on Ramtopsman's You Tube channel:
Amy Davies email@example.com writes: I'm the director of February's production of Monstrous Regiment. I am now the owner of 'Monstrous Productions', a Cardiff based theatre company that specialises in the performance of plays by Sir Terry Pratchett, the proceeds of which are donated to Alzheimer's Research UK.
We are entirely funded through sponsorships and investors; we are currently sponsored by Barclays bank, Cardiff University and are backed by Alzheimer's Research UK.
Our next production will be Carpe Jugulum in June 2013. Auditions will be held at the beginning of March and anyone of any age and background is welcome to audition. There are also opportunities for production roles like stage manager, tech and publicity too. The facebook group can be found here:
Anyone is welcome to join.
We are holding a fundraising event at 10 Feet Tall, Church St, Cardiff on June 14th: The 'Ankh-Morpork Market.' We are having a number of stalls of vintage and handcrafted goods (with a Discworld theme!) as well as live music and a silent auction. The profit from this will go towards the production and Barclays will match it in a payment to Alzheimer's Research. The market is open 1pm - 6pm and entry is 1 GBP.
All details will be found on my blog: http://eskarina54.tumblr.com/
* FROM THE DISCWORLD CONVIVIUM
Dear Ladies, Gentlemen, and Students,
Time has crept up on us! Well, I guess considering he used to be both a thief and a history monk, we should have expected it, but there is now a mere few weeks remaining until the Unseen University Convivium begins - on July 6, 2012. Now is definitely the time for those last minute registrations, merchandise purchases and costume design sessions.
* Convivium exclusive t-shirt and scarf orders close. If you want
to proclaim your wizardly nature, or wrap up warm for winter, be sure to get your order in!
* Online Convivium registrations close.
This is also the last date for Supporters to upgrade to an attending membership. Tickets will be available at the door, but they are more expensive!
* Gaudy Night ticket sales close.
This is an extension kindly granted by the caterers. However, if you would like to go to the dinner and have dietary requirements, please register as soon as possible.
Info including menu:
* Winery and Gourmet ticket sales close.
Only a few seats remaining on both tours! Register early to guarantee your seat.
* Transmogrification appointments must be completed.
You can get your face or body painted by professional artists!
Info & booking:
SO WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE CONVIVIUM?
We now have a full and detailed programme of activities available
for you to peruse. Read all about the activities at
http://ausdwcon.org/pages/programme and see the new timetable at
- Omniscope calls with Professor Sir Terry Pratchett, Bernard Pearson, Professor Ian Stewart and Doctor Jack Cohen
- The Maskerade costume contest (Entry forms available here:
- Troll Bridge - Behind the Scenes - from Snowgum Films' writer/director Daniel Knight
- Performances by Unseen Theatre Company, folk singer Martin Pearson, and Matt Falloon and his Trained Balloons
- Entrance Examination - a Discworld and Roundworld quiz
- Games! Ankh-Morpork, Guards! Guards!, Werewolf, Thud, and more...
- Try Wizarding children's activities (suitable for childish adults, too)
We are also incredibly pleased to announce that Dymocks Adelaide and the Adelaide Comics Centre will have stalls selling books, comics and t-shirts at the Convivium.
There are several jobs around the Convivium which still require your assistance! If you can help us out with any of the following, please send an email to the Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Technician for operation of audio equipment. We will have microphones, mixers, speakers etc all set up, but if you know how to use them and can help us, we'd greatly appreciate it!
- Ops / Registration helpers
- Bledlows (Security, First Aid)
- General gophering
Activity volunteers needed:
- Entrance Exam (quiz) - judge, general gophers
- Commencement (opening ceremony) - If you have a wizard costume and would like to be in the procession, let us know! (No acting required)
- Games - supervisors, "Learn to play Thud" instructor, Werewolf game runners
- Try Wizarding - assistants
- Terry's Shorts - short story readers
- The Great Debate - debaters, moderator.
NEWS FROM NULLUS ANXIETAS IV
Plans are well underway by the Dark Clerks for next year's
Discworld Convention to be held in Melbourne. You can find the
latest news and information and purchase tickets at
Their second Ankh-Morpork board game tournament will be held on
Sunday, 27 May at 11.30am at Good Games, 3/66-70 Railway Rd,
Blackburn, Victoria. You can find out more at
The NAIV team are also holding a fundraising screening of "Cabin in
the Woods", Joss Whedon's love letter to horror movies. This will
be on Thursday, June 14 at Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon St, Carlton,
Victoria. You can find out more at
http://www.facebook.com/events/141708309287157 and buy tickets at
Thank you all for your support for the Unseen University Convivium. We hope it to be a smashing good time for you all.
For those of you unable to attend, you can still adorn yourself like a wizard with our fantastic merchandise available at http://cafepress.com/unseenuni Use the code AFF30 for a 30% discount off your total (until 1st June, we think).
Archchancellor Ridcully and the Faculty.
Unseen University Convivium 6-8 July 2012, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Roundworld.
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, New] On the first Friday of every month starting with June 1st there will be a meeting of WOTS - Omnian Temperance Society - Wincanton branch - to be held at The Bear Inn from 7pm. New members or visitors from other places always welcome.
[UK and AU, Updated] The Broken Drummers and The Drummers Downunder are groups of fans that meet up monthly in the UK and Australia.
Unless otherwise stated the Drummers meet on the first Monday of each month. In June this will be Monday 4th.
The Drummers Downunder (Perth) will be meeting from 6pm at The Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco, Australia. You can contact the organiser Daniel Hatton on email@example.com
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. For more information contact Sue (AKA Granny Weatherwax) on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Broken Drummers meet at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ, England at 7pm. For more information contact Helen Nicholls on email@example.com
The Drummers are always happy to welcome new visitors.
[UK, New] Terry will be one of the headline acts at The Hay Festival. The Hay Festival is one of Britain's top arts festivals. Terry will discuss his career and his battle with Alzheimer's disease at event 279 - Wednesday 6th June 2012, 5.30pm, venue: Barclays Pavilion
Tickets cost 7.25 GBP and are available from:
Hay Festival Box Office, The Drill Hall, 25 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye HR3 5AD
Telephone: 01497 822 629
[UK, New] Taunton Thespians present a brand new adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett's Lords & Ladies.
A humorous play in two acts. A lively, fast moving comic fantasy with elements that parody A Midsummer Night's Dream. At stunning open-air venues across Somerset in June 2012.
Come with a picnic, rugs or chairs, something warm to put on as the evening progresses and wet weather gear just in case. Venues will open at about 6pm every evening, and are signposted from main roads nearby. Your ticket is valid at any venue, and we will have contingency plans in place should the weather be dreadful.
- Tuesday 12th June: Bishops Hull House, Bishops Hull, Taunton.
- Wednesday 13th: Nynehead Court, Wellington.
- Thursday 14th: Mount Somerset Hotel, Nr Taunton, Somerset.
- Friday 15th: Hartwood House: Crowcombe Heathfield, Somerset.
- Saturday 16th: Balsam Centre, Wincanton, Somerset.
- Tuesday 19th: Maunsel House, Nr Bridgwater, Somerset.
- Wednesday 20th: Muchelney Abbey, Nr Langport.
- Thursday 21st: The Museum of Somerset, Taunton, Somerset
- Saturday 23rd:Cleeve Abbey, Washford, Watchet, Somerset
9 GBP Full Price - Discounts Available for Unwaged
[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
[AU] The Unseen University Convivium 2012 takes place from July 6 - 8 2012.
You can find out more information and purchase tickets by - Looking on the website: http://ausdwcon.org - Liking them on Facebook: http://facebook.com/UnseenUni - Following them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UnseenUni - Sending enquiries via email to: UnseenUni2012@gmail.com
[UK] The Eighnnnnnn International Discworld Convention will take place from the 24th to 27th August 2012 at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.
For more information visit: http://www.dwcon.org
The convention has allocated all 950 tickets for the event and have even had to close down their waiting list. So it looks like it really is far too late to go now.
[UK, New] The Cult Classic Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland has recently been given permission to adapt Good Omens for the stage, and the show will take place in March 2013. Auditions will be held in Glasgow in early October 2012 (we are still awaiting confirmation of the dates).
Cult Classic Theatre
[US, New] "Guards! Guards!" will be performed at The Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul, MN.
This will be the third Discworld show done in the developing series.
Performance dates: September 7,8,9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23
For more information, please go to http://www.moundstheatre.org
[CA, New] Socratic Theatre Collective is bringing Terry Pratchett's Mort to the Toronto Fringe Festival! We promise a high-energy, contemporary and fantastical production full of magic, mayhem, and classic Pratchett wit. The show runs July 7-15 at the University College Quadrangle at the University of Toronto.
But we can't get to the Fringe all on our own! We're launching our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the production - we need 4500.00 CAD by June 17, and we need your help to reach that goal. We're asking you to share the link to our campaign on your website, blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook page, and, if you can, to give generously.
As part of our fundraising campaign, we are also holding the Wear the Lilac campaign to benefit the Alzheimer Society of Canada, in honour of Terry Pratchett's ongoing battle with Alzheimer's Disease. For every donation we receive by May 25, we will donate the equivalent of 10% to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Donors will receive a special Wear the Lilac postcard and a hard-boiled egg.
Our website: http://www.socratictheatre.com
Thank you for your support, and please help us get the word out!
[US] North American Discworld Convention 2013
The North American Discworld Event 2013 will take place from July 5th - 8th 2013 in Baltimore, MD.
[DE] German Discworld Convention 2013
After successfully surviving the Assassins of Ankh-Morpork in 2011 we are taking the German Discworld Convention 2013 to their home continent Klatch! Make room in your schedule from October 3rd to 6th in 2013 for the fourth German Discworld Convention.
[UK] Terry is due to be the special guest at Eastercon 65 from April 18th - April 21st 2014 at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org writes: Me again at Oxfam though using a different email address 'cause the other one got hacked into by some 'orrible sod.
I've got some more Terry Pratchett books for sale.
- Wintersmith (not 1st edition) Hard Back 5.99 GBP
- The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (1st edition) Hard Back 4.99 GBP
- Thud! (two copies), Both 1st edition, Hard Back 6.99 GBP
- Hogfather (1st edition) Hard Back isbn 057506403x 6.99 GBP
- The Wee Free Men (1st edition) Hard Back 5.99 GBP
- Monstrous Regiment (1st edition) 4.99 GBP (Lower price, because the jacket isn't in perfect condition, creases, tearing on the lower right corner)
- Maskerade (4th impression) isbn 0575058080 3.49 GBP
The prices are not absolute if you want more than one I can do a deal with you. Knock a pound off the total, something like that.
If you email me what you want and your address with Oxfam in the header, I can then work out the correct postage and packaging cost and get back to you.
I have to say, this is a 1st come, 1st served basis, so be quick!
If you have any letters or comments, please email them to email@example.com
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 by 'stepping' them west then east.
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: "Francis Lyall" firstname.lastname@example.org
In November last I published a law book on 'International Communications', dealing with the International Telecommunication Union and the Universal Postal Union. These two international organisations go back respectively to the 1860s and 1870s. We forget about them, but both are fundamental to modern society. It was a pleasure to footnote 'Going Postal', 'Thief of Time', 'Men at Arms' and 'The Fifth Elephant' in it. Terry's insights were so relevant!
* From: "Jacq" email@example.com
I just wanted to point out a Sir P'Terry mention in the wonderful xkcd webcartoon series. This particular one is listing university subject courses to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Modern Major General' (ok, stick with me here, it does read well with added pics!). P'Terry gets his 'geography just slow physics with trees on top' quoted, with a rather fetching minimalist toon Terry drawing.
L-Space link is via the 'Careers Advice' aisle, don't slip on the banana peel en route ... http://xkcd.com/1052/
* From: "Phil Young" firstname.lastname@example.org
I took a friend to see the Shoestring Theatre production of The Truth on 5th May 2012. I have never been to the Stanley Community Centre before. It seems to be a fairly typical community centre in UK.
After collecting our tickets and settling into our seats we waited for the show to begin.
Gaspode was first on stage to set the scene and explain what the Discworld is. My friend has some knowledge but not well versed so this was useful.
The stage set was basic but VERY effective and the lighting was simple and effective.
Costumes were as good as I've seen in amateur dramatic societies and the actors played their parts well.
William De Worde was performed by Bill Wilkinson (he also directed). He played the part very well and he and his co-star Helen Davisdson-Watson (Sacharissa Cripslock) had a chemistry on stage which worked well. Mr Pin & Mr Tulip, played by Jackie Woodward and John Tassell, had just the right amount of menace. The beggars all brought their own interpretations to the roles each was given.
The scenes moved on quickly and the dark light iconographs were taken using a dark stage and a flash of UV light. Simple yet effective.
Rather than Otto turning to dust he acted as though he was in pain from the light of his flash which was once again simple but effective.
Overall a very good interpretation of the play by the Shoestring Theatre Company.
As part of his notes in the programme Bill Wilkinson admitted to his lack of knowledge of Terry's work. He did mention that the play had been a bit of a challenge, which I think was a bit of an understatement.
* From: "Geoffrey Da Costa" email@example.com
My wife and I lived for many years in the London and S.E. area. Now we live in the N.W. (England). We used to go to productions of various Terry Pratchett books but we have noticed that the theatre companies that do these are nowhere near here. So if there are any theatre company members from oop this way reading this, start producing please.
* From: "Nancy O'Shea" firstname.lastname@example.org
"When the end is nigh" is the heading of a very nice article on hospices in a New Zealand magazine "New Zealand Listener", which begins with :- "Despite rumour, Death isn't cruel - merely terribly, terribly good at his job." Terry Pratchett , Equal Rites.
The magazine is widely read in New Zealand, and as an enormous fan of Sir Terry, I was thrilled when my favourite author was acknowledged. The article outlined the rationale of hospices and the growth of the practice of palliative care.
This month I've got five questions for you to rack your brains over. Some easy, some quite hard. Well at least I think they are hard.
The answers as usual can be found at the end of this issue.
Reviewed by Jason Anthony
On the bank holiday weekend in May I visited the small market town of Wincanton in the heart of Somerset for the traditional Spring Fling hosted by Bernard "The Cunning Artificer" Pearson.
I travelled down on Friday afternoon arriving around 4pm. After parking up at The Dolphin Inn where I was staying I headed over to the shop to see who was around. The Spring Flings tend to be quieter than the Hogswatch weekends and there appeared to be less people around than normal. I spent an hour or so in the shop chatting with Bernard, Isobel, Reb and Ian before heading down to The Bear pub to find out where people were and to enjoy a nice cool pint of cider. I found a few friends at The Bear and spent a while chatting before deciding to head off for dinner.
While I was eating, the wonderful Harry Purkey of Purkey Products was providing entertainment in the form of storytelling in The Nog Inn. So I sadly missed his show.
After dinner I went back to the Dolphin where some more friends had arrived and spent a very pleasant evening in great company.
On Saturday the event officially started so after a hearty breakfast and several cups of tea I popped over to the function rooms of the Dolphin where the games room had been set up. Eclectic Games had a stall set up and was selling various board games - they had also set up a number of games to try.
After a while Martin Wallace of Treefrog games turned up with a prototype of a new game for us to try out. I really enjoyed playing the game and hope to see it go into production at some point.
After lunch I popped into The Nog Inn where a small traders market had been set up. One of the stalls was selling books for charity so I purchased a couple to add to my ever growing 'to read' list.
I later met up with some friends and played a game called Martian Dice which, while very simple, was a lot of fun. We also played a few rounds of Cthulhu Dice.
While I spent much of the day playing games I missed most of the official activities that were going on at The Bear, including the Maskerade and a show put on by the fans.
In the evening I booked in for the evening meal at the Dolphin and had a really enjoyable roast dinner with some great friends. After a while we found a set of Martin Wallace's prototypes and had another game. I won again! Then Martin turned up and took the games away because he had to leave. We gave him plenty of feedback to incorporate into the next iteration of the rules.
Drinking continued until late ...
On Sunday the first event of the day was the traditional charity auction. This time all money raised was for RICE, a local dementia research and treatment centre. So 20 minutes before the auction was due to start, the auction team got our first glimpse at what we were about to sell and hastily sorted the items into some resemblance of order. Hasbro had kindly donated a lot of toys to the auction which we sold off first before heading into the more Discworldly items. One of the key items in the auction was the surprise auctioning of Pat Harkin, the chief auctioneer. The winner got a certificate of ownership signed by Pat's wife. A UK proof of The Long Earth was made available and sold for just over 300 GBP. In the end, after some great stamp items, the total raised in the auction was 1966 GBP. This was raised slightly when we started collecting the money and some people kindly (and knowingly) overpaid. Also, during the weekend the Omnian Temperance Society raised money from its members and raised the charity amount to well over 2000 GBP.
After the auction I sadly had to rush home so wasn't able to stay around for the cake tasting and other activities. So I said my farewells and headed back home.
I had a really great weekend and can't wait to do it again in November at Hogswatch.
This month I have been given a US uncorrected book proof of the excellent The Long Earth, written by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, to give away. I have decided to raffle the book and send all proceeds to Alzheimer's Research UK http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/
URGENT UPDATE: 19th June 2012 - Terry has been in contact and has promised to sign the proof.
So if you would like to have a chance to own your very own copy of the US uncorrected book proof of The Long Earth you can purchase raffle tickets for 2GBP each from my Pay Pal (http://www.paypal.com) account email@example.com Please put in the notes section that the payment is for the raffle. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can purchase. You will get an email receipt from paypal but will not get any other feedback directly from me. All purchases must be made by 20th June, after that date I will randomly select the winner. The total raised and the name of the winner will appear in next month's issue.
I would like to say many thanks to HarperCollins, New York for the kind donation.
Review by William Barnett
You're probably aware that The Long Earth is the latest novel by Terry, written with Stephen Baxter. It's not a Discworld novel, it's science fiction set in the near future. I haven't read any of Stephen Baxter's books but apparently he's a successful sci-fi author with numerous titles to his name, and on the strength of The Long Earth I'm eager to give him a try - because The Long Earth is very good.
You may already be familiar with the outline of the plot. Instructions for a device called a 'stepper' are posted anonymously on the internet (these are reproduced at the front of the book, so you can try making one yourself). Steppers are powered by a potato and have a switch on the top with 3 positions marked WEST - OFF - EAST. People, especially kids, try building steppers and find that when you select either east or west you 'step' to a parallel earth. These earths are similar, but not identical, to ours and there is apparently a limitless number of them. By continuing to step east or west you can move further and further from our familiar earth (which becomes known as Datum Earth).
The Long Earth largely focuses on a character called Joshua, who distinguishes himself on Step Day (the day people first discover stepping) by helping out a quantity of kids who have stepped and become lost or panicked. There's clearly something special about Joshua and the way he steps but it takes a while to find out what.
15 years after Step Day Joshua sets off aboard a sophisticated airship with a rather strange companion called Lobsang to explore the Long Earth and see how far they can travel. The parallel earths are not what I was expecting but I'll leave you to read about them and see what you think rather than spoil anything. Joshua and Lobsang's narrative is interspersed with brief snapshots of other characters, such as Rod who cannot step at all and joins a growing protest movement back on Datum Earth. I didn't find Joshua and Lobsang especially appealing characters although there are some intriguing ideas tied up with who Lobsang is...
As the journey progresses it becomes clear that our heroes are heading towards something unexpected, possibly threatening. Again, no spoilers, but as you'd expect, facing the unknown something forms the climax of the book. Regarding the end of the book: it ends rather abruptly and looks as if it's set up for a sequel (or two, or three, or four...). As you'd expect, there's much more that Terry and Stephen could do with the Long Earth if they want to.
It's a great story, driven by some fascinating ideas. There's some hard-sounding science in there but it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the adventure if you're an ignoramus about quantum physics, like me. Even given the initial premise - parallel earths that you can travel through - it didn't turn out as I'd expected at all.
I'd like to focus on one episode before I finish. At one point, we come across a black rock building, deserted. As events unfold, this building really reminded me of an episode in Captain W.E. Johns' 'The Death Rays of Ardilla', which I read about 30 years ago. Now I'm going to revisit the adventures of Rex, Tiger, Professor Brane & Vargo aboard the Spacemaster & the Spacemaster II... It just goes to show: never throw your old books out!
The Long Earth is released on 21st June. You can pre-order The Long Earth from Amazon and support Discworld Monthly in the process by following these links:
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The Long Earth (with Stephen Baxter)
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I Shall Wear Midnight
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