Better Than

Discworld Monthly Issue 200 - December 2013

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Raising Steam
6. Raising Steam Competition Result
7. Article: Terry Pratchett - Redirecting Monsters
8. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 200 and probably the last issue of 2013. It's been a very busy year for me personally and I've often discovered that I have been late in producing this newsletter. Personal life and work have on occasions double teamed me a bit which can make finding time to dedicate to the newsletter hard. I can't see that there is much chance of that changing in 2014 so please stick with us!

All of us at Discworld Monthly would like to wish you all a very merry end of year celebration and a very happy and prosperous new year. See you in 2014!

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Hogswatch is coming and I'm heading down to Wincanton this weekend to spend it with around 300 other fans. It looks like it should be a fun-packed weekend and I can't wait to meet up with everyone again. If you're going I'll see you there, otherwise I'll let you know all about it next month.

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Sunday 24th November was the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Discworld novel - The Colour of Magic. In the last 30 years Terry has written 40 Discworld Novels as well as a myriad of other books and sold in excess of eighty million books worldwide. What a fantastic output from such a talented author. Sir Terry we take our hats off to you.

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The Discworld Monthly facebook group has jumped to well over 6,000 members and continues to have lots of lively and fun conversations. I have recently changed the privacy settings of the group to 'closed' as this prevents non-members of the group from being able to see what has been posted on the group.

Anyone can join in the fun but it might take me a few hours to add you to the group. If you want to chat with fellow Discworld Monthly readers between issues make sure you visit us at:

Please note that the facebook page is provided in addition to the newsletter and in no way replaces it!

Don't forget if you are looking for The Flaming Trebuchet (the virtual pub that grew out of the Discworld Monthly facebook page) you can now find it located at:

* * * * *

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.

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)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Three Wheeler)

2. News

There is an interesting interview with Terry by author Cory Doctorow, mostly about The Carpet People but also about Discworld, up on The interview was published in early November.

* * * * *

The Telegraph features an article entitled Top Ten Terry Pratchett Characters. There is nothing that surprising in there really - Death, Granny, Vetinari, Nanny Ogg, Sam Vimes, The Librarian, Moist von Lipwig, Tiffany Aching, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and the Luggage all make an appearance.

Not sure I'd include CMOT Dibbler over Rincewind or Twoflower personally - Ed

* * * * *

From Lady Sybil:

The indispensable SFX has just arrived. This magazine has always promoted Terry's books and tie-ins. This one has Bilbo Baggins on the cover and 7 pages of Hobbit Heaven, but just a little further on there is a nice interview with Terry, and in the book review pages a fine spread on Raising Steam.

By chance I collected a review of Raising Steam in the Times, Monday Nov. 18th p.26, The Monday Book Review. Apart from that there are now several online reviews of the book, which google finds for us, and I will continue to check the Guardian Saturday review, which usually reviews TP.

Here are some statistics from The Bookseller:

Official Top 50 for week 3rd to 9th Nov. issue dated 15th Nov.

Raising Steam is in for the first time at no.3, only beaten by the new Wimpy Kid book and Alex Ferguson. Commentary on the facing page 15 notes TP's return. This means Raising Steam is number 1 of the original fiction (adult) titles.

Same week, Dodger in paperback is down to no. 9 on the children's top 10, still selling over 3,000 a week.

Following week, Top 50 for week 10th to 16th Nov., issue dated 22nd Nov., Raising Steam is down to no. 7 but has still sold nearly 58,000 copies. It's still no. 1 in the original fiction chart, several thousand copies ahead of no. 2.

* * * * *

Micro Art Studio, the people that produced the range of miniature Discworld figurines that you had to assemble yourself (with glue and a lot of patience - Ed) are producing a range of Discworld busts. The first two will be Vimes and Rincewind. These are based on Paul Kidby's drawings and will be approximately 7-8cm tall. The most exciting piece of news is that you will not have to assemble them yourselves - saving many hours of not having to wait around in A&E having your fingers separated with solvents.

* * * * *

The SFX website has a short interview with Terry about the possibility of him retiring.

"Sometimes I wonder, Why am I doing it?" Sir Terry Pratchett tells SFX. "Sometimes I think, Why don't I just go and have some fun?"

Terry goes on to say that he has no intention of giving up just yet.

* * * * *

Below is a round-up of Terry's Twitter posts since last issue. The guys have obviously been busy with real life and have only posted a single Tweet. You can follow Terry at:

24th Nov 2013: This book was published exactly 30 years ago today. There's since been upwards of 80M more #happybirthdaydiscworld

* * * * *

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.

From issue 190 onwards recurring monthly meetings have been moved to their own area at the bottom of the dates section.

* * * * *

[UK] Hogswatch comes to Wincanton from 29th November - 1st December 2013. Join in the fun with the celebration of 30 years of Discworld. Meet up with fellow Discworld fans, enjoy the entertainment, purchase Discworld goodies, play Discworld board games, eat a sausage supper and spend what's left of your money at the Charity Auction.

For more information see:

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[UK, New] Maskerade will be performed by The St Ursula Players. The production runs from 4th - 7th December 2013, starting at 7.30pm. It takes place at The Newman Hall, Grange Court Road, Westbury On Trym, Bristol. Tickets are priced at 8 GBP for adults, 4 GBP for children. Parties of 10 or more are priced at 7 GBP per ticket.

The box office number is: 0117 962 4431.

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[UK, New] Collingwood RSC Theatre Group and have performed many of Terry and Stephen's scripts at The New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.

They are back next year performing in HMS Collingwood, Fareham Hampshire with the world premier of Sir Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad, adapted for the stage and directed by Chris Blatch-Gainey and produced by Stephen Johns.

Dates of the show will be Wednesday 26 till Saturday 29 March 2014

Ticket will go on sale in January from the box office number 07502 037922. Price 6GBP for all seats.

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[UK, New] Men at Arms will be performed from 3rd-5th April 2014 by Q2 Players. At St. Luke's in The Avenue, Kew, at 8pm from Thursday, April 3rd to Saturday, April 5th, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

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[UK] Terry is due to be the special guest at Eastercon 65 from April 18th - April 21st 2014 at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.

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[UK] The Discworld Convention 2014 will take place in Manchester at the Palace hotel from 8th - 11th August. People with long memories will remember that the original Discworld Convention took place in Manchester in 1996 but at a much smaller hotel.

Visit or see the facebook group at:

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[UK] Wadfest 2014. Wadfest returns with a Super Heroes and Villains theme in 2014. Wadfest 2014 will take place at the same site as 2013 but with improved camping facilities.

Tickets are normally 25 GBP per adult (children under 16 go free) but if you purchase before the end of 2013 you can get your tickets for 20 GBP each.

You can find out more about Wadfest at

* * * * *

[AU] Nullus Anxietus V will take place from 10th to 12th April 2015 and will be in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

Our Venue is the Novotel on 'eat street' (AKA Church Street), so no shortage of eateries for our guests.

Tickets expected to available in time for Hogswatch, subject to website redesign and upgrade.

Like us on 'Australian Discworld Conventions' on facebook to get updates on ticket bookings and competitions.

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Recurring monthly meetings:

[UK] The Broken Drummers meet at The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ, England at 7pm. For more information contact Helen Nicholls on

Unless otherwise stated the Drummers meet on the first Monday of each month.

The Drummers' Christmas Dinner will be held on Monday 9th December, rather than 2nd. This is to avoid a clash with the Wincanton Hogswatch event the weekend before.

The Drummers are always happy to welcome new visitors. You can find out more about the Drummers at

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[AU] Perth Drummers is a group which celebrates the works of author Sir Terry Pratchett, and welcomes any fans of science fiction and fantasy. Join us for our monthly discussion of Discworld, Terry Pratchett and all things sci-fi and fantasy. We meet the first Monday of each month, subject to holidays, and all are welcome.

Please note we have moved to Carpe Cafe from 5.30pm Carpe Cafe, 526 Murray Street, Perth, WA.

Meeting at a cafe means we are under-18 friendly!

For details follow us on Twitter @Perth_Drummers, Instagram perth_drummers, and facebook

Otherwise message Krystel directly at

Unless otherwise stated the Drummers meet on the first Monday of each month.

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[AU, Updated] Sydney Drummers normally meet on the first Monday of every month.

We meet at the NEW venue, 3 Wise Monkeys, 555, George Street, Sydney, 2000 from 6:30pm

For more information contact Sue (AKA Granny Weatherwax) on

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[UK] On the first Friday of every month 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.

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[Adelaide, AU] The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South Australia. We have regular monthly dinner and games nights, longer games days, plus play outings, craft-y workshops, and fun social activities throughout the year. For more info and to join our mailing list, visit:

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[Brisbane, AU] The Pratchett Partisans meet monthly at either Brisbane or Indooroopilly to eat, drink and chat about all things Pratchett. For more info about their next meetup, check out: or contact Ula directly at

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 edit your letters by double translating them in an online translator.

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: "John Rogers"

I'm guessing Terry enjoyed his time with the Mid-Hants Railway. He didn't only get a grasp of how steam locomotives work - he also got a firm grasp on the way their acolytes think. Where though, I wonder, did he find out about toy trains fired by methylated spirits?

And, despite what you may have read, Death does put in a cameo appearance.

I enjoyed the book, but then it's right up my railway, so to speak...

John Rogers

* * * * *

* From: "Christine Chambers"

I am a university student in Calgary (think 88 winter Olympics) and am doing a 4th year undergrad thesis project on Sir Terry, trying to get my fellow students and the faculty to discover him!

We were at the Discworld Convention in Birmingham in 2012 and had a great time - my 14 year old daughter is the true fan and inspired me to do this paper.

Most of the scholarship is a decade old or more and I wondered if there was any new scholarship available in England that I may not be able to access here in Canada. I am looking at Monstrous Regiment and The Truth, social commentary, power, addiction, war, gender identity and death, and how comic fantasy is a legitimate vehicle of expression for an author to talk about serious things while making us laugh.

Anyway, I have Guilty of Literature, the 2nd edition, Turtle Recall, and most other related Pratchett material and a few articles from Literary Criticism Select on Sir Terry in general, but there is very little on either of these novels in particular.

Thanks for any advice you can give me about any new material (say after about 2005). It has to be peer-reviewed so fan or non-academic doesn't count. Also have Peter Hunt's chapter on Secondary Worlds.

And of course thanks regardless of whether you are able to help me or not.

Cheers from the snowy west,

Christine Chambers - Calgary, Canada

* * * * *

* From: "Matt Booth"

RE: Simon Schafer's question about Discworld annotations - I also enjoyed the APF and miss its updates. I have discovered that the Lspace Wiki has an annotations section which is maintained collectively:

It has annotations of more recent books such as Unseen Academicals

and if you click on the "Discussion" tab at the top you can also see (and take part in) conversations about the book which have not yet formed into fully-fledged annotations.

I hope this is of interest - it's prompted me to go through and catch up with the latest annotations!

* * * * *

* From: "Mary Partridge"

Had Raising Steam downloaded to my Kindle as soon as it came out and took it with me to Torquay. I had great difficulty turning my Kindle off in order to take part in all the festivities (a Turkey & Tinsel trip) as I was enjoying it so much. All my favourite characters appear in it and Moist Von Lipwig is on top form. So great to know the Goblins were successful in their new life, and Death did appear at one stage when a dwarf was killed by steam. I am now re-reading to see if I missed anything. Thank you so much TP.

4. DiscTrivia

This month I've opened Turtle Recall at random pages and found a question from each page visited. Some are easy, some are quite hard. Well at least I think they are...

Where do the Monks of Cool live?
What does Eightpanther make?
Who is Gorrin the Cat?
Where was the lost city of EE located? (Not a trick question - WB)
Most famous for The World of Poo, what was the title of the novel Miss Felicity Beedle wrote about Goblins?

The (hopefully correct) answers can be found at the end of this issue.

5. Review: Raising Steam

Reviewed by Jason Anthony

Raising Steam is Terry's 40th Discworld novel and the third to feature Moist von Lipwig as its main protagonist. Following on from Going Postal and Making Money, Moist is still in charge of the Ankh Morpork Post Office and the Royal Bank of Ankh Morpork, although his role in both is mostly as a figurehead.

Back in Reaper Man a man named Ned Simnell created the combination harvester which he raced against Bill Door. Some time after Reaper Man, on one of Ned Simnell's devices a boiler exploded and all that was left of Ned was a red mist. Ned's son Dick was sent off to school to be educated and eventually went back to his dad's workshop and worked out where his dad went wrong. After lots of experiments he finally came up with a steam engine which he christened Iron Girder. Ned took Iron Girder to Ankh-Morpork and convinced Sir Harry King to invest in the Ankh Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway. Lord Vetinari recognises the potential of the railway and orders Moist to become the official government interest in the railway system.

Since Snuff the goblins have become heavily involved in the clacks. Adora Belle noticed their love of mechanical devices. This makes them much more suited to the clacks than their human counterparts. The goblins enjoy their work so much that Adora Belle has to ask them to stop working at the end of their shifts.

Many of the Watch make an appearance and most of them are important to the main plot line. It's good to see Vimes, Vetinari and Moist all back in the action.

The novel is more than just a book about trains - though they do feature heavily obviously. It is also a book about the acceptance of goblins and changes in dwarf leadership that were previously hinted at in Thud.

While not as fun as Going Postal, I think I preferred Raising Steam to Making Money. A worthy addition to the Discworld cannon that keeps Discworld on the rails.

6. Raising Steam - Competition Result

Last month the lovely people at PJSM prints offered us a signed copy of Raising Steam to give away. We asked you to answer two simple questions.

What book number is Raising Steam in the Discworld series?
How much in GBP and excluding delivery are PJSM prints selling copies of Wintersmith by Steeleye Span for?

The answers we were looking for was number 40 and 15 GBP. We received over 160 correct entries into the competition and the randomly selected winners is: Robert Kallmeier from High Wycombe. PJSM prints have been given your details and your prize should soon be on its way to you.

For everyone else, thanks for taking part in the competition. You can find out more about PJSM Prints wonderful range of products at:

7. Article: Terry Pratchett - Redirecting Monsters

Written by Barbara McMichael

Werewolves and trolls bring criminals to justice. Criminals revitalize the postal system and find a better standard than gold to back up paper money. Golems work for wages and save up to buy other golems and free them. Vampires sign Abstinence Pledges. Orcs make great football coaches. Goblins sing like angels. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books teem with life reclaimed from fear. Monsters who used to only "go bump in the night" become contributing members of the wildly diverse society. Pratchett's theme of the transformation of the formerly feared shines in his work.

It's a mark of his genius that Pratchett does not romanticize. Humans and not-exactly humans are portrayed as being as capable of folly as of goodness. Trolls do not become sophisticated. Troll Detritus still has to be cautioned not to salute, as he might knock his head off. Werewolves still struggle with their animal natures. Ankh-Morpork City Watch Captain Angua, woman and werewolf, still hunts at the full moon - but she hunts mostly chickens and she pays for them later. Vampires who have taken the pledge still scheme and interfere and try to control. As one of them explains, "It was never really about the blood. It was always about the power."

Still, the lines between a frighteningly alien "them," and "us" are not quite so heavily drawn when "we" recognize our needs for and likeness to "them." It begins to seem just barely possible that everyone can be a part of "us." Fear loses power when commonalities are recognized. Lessening of fear makes way for peace. Paying attention to what you actually are pledged to do has surprisingly positive results. Ankh-Morpork City Watch Commander Sam Vimes charged with Keeping the Peace prevents a war by arresting war leaders for disturbing the peace. Pratchett's Discworld books, fun and wildly imaginative, are never preachy. An imagined world inching toward awakening to acceptance of diversity offers hope to the world Pratchett satirizes: our own. Not long after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the Discworld author has said, he experienced an instant, not religious, but transformative of the essential rightness of all being. That instant sustains him, and his reporting of it sustains me.

"Somehow it works," he has written about Discworld's social order. It shouldn't, but it does. So his made-up world, "a mirror of worlds," offers hope to our weary lives.

Perhaps we, too, can learn to arrest war leaders for disturbing the peace, release our antique ideas about what constitutes reality, and become aware of a better way than we have known. Each story about lessening fear is a better story than we have told before. Terry Pratchett's work shines a light upon our path.

On Terry Pratchett's Discworld, with acceptance of those hitherto excluded species, the level of life experience has risen. In a particularly moving scene, a goblin gives a concert about which the Ankh-Morpork Times writes, "We had been taken somewhere and brought back, and we were different people, longing for another journey into paradise, no matter what hell we had to atone for on the way."

8. The End

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* Latest Book Information *

The Long War (with Stephen Baxter)

The Long Earth (with Stephen Baxter)



TURTLE RECALL: The Discworld Companion

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* DiscTrivia Results *

Where do the Monks of Cool live?
In a tiny and exclusive monastery, hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops.
What does Eightpanther make?
Captain Eightpanther's Traveller's Digestives.
Who is Gorrin the Cat?
A thief in Ankh-Morpork given the code B12 by Ymor.
Where was the lost city of EE located?
In the Great Nef
Most famous for The World of Poo, what was the title of the novel Miss Felicity Beedle wrote about Goblins?
The War With the Snot Goblins.

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