Better Than

Discworld Monthly Issue 201 - January 2014

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: Hogswatch 2013 - Wincanton
6. Review: Maskerade - Elgiva Theatre, Chesham
7. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 201 and the first issue of 2014 - now known as the Year of the Reciprocating Llama (see Terry's tweets in the news section). Hopefully we've all recovered from the end of year celebrations and are ready to take on 2014. I am sitting here writing this on New Year's Eve so I hope you appreciate the sacrifice that I'm making! (hic)

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If you got a nice shiny Apple iPad for Christmas you might want to visit the app store and take a look at the Discworld: The Ankh-Morpork Map app. For a limited period this has been reduced in price from 9.99GBP to 4.99GBP. We can't comment on how good this app is because none of us have iPads, but I get the impressions that those who have played with it find it enjoyable!

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The Discworld Monthly facebook group has now got around 6,500 members and continues to have lots of lively and fun conversations.

Anyone can join in the fun but it might take me a few hours to add you (depending on when I can get to my laptop). 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 as an 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:

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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 (OAP Party Animal)

2. News

Issue 4 of the Gramarye Journal - Winter 2013 is now available. The latest issue includes two articles by Jacqueline Simpson, one of them about Tiffany Aching. It is also packed with other articles and includes images by Discworld artist Stephen Player.

You can purchase Issue 4 from the online shop:

The price is 5GBP (plus postage and packing)

For further information please go to:-

* * * * *

Raising Steam has been out for a while now so I thought a round-up of some of its reviews might be in order.

Otago Daily Times -

The Book Lovers' Sanctuary -

The Guardian -

* * * * *

Terry recently wrote in the Sunday Times about David Cameron's broken promise on dementia.

The main part of the article is behind the Sunday Times' paywall but the basic story can be read at:

* * * * *

From Lady Sybil:

First, the 29th Nov. issue of Bookseller has the lists from the previous week.

Raising Steam is down to no. 7 in the Top 50 from all genres, fiction and non-fiction, and inevitably loses ground to annuals and autobiographies. It sold well over 16,000 copies that week, and remained at no.1 in the Original Fiction list, nearly all of which are hardbacks.

In the 6th Dec issue, Raising Steam is down to no. 9, and has sold over 90,000 copies altogether. It's still at no. 1 in the Original Fiction list having sold well over 17,000 copies in the last week of November.

Terry talked about Raising Steam in the BBC Radio 4 programme Front Row on Wednesday 11th December 2013. It is available to listen via the BBC website at:

Terry's part starts at about 14 minutes in.

* * * * *

Last month we included a link to an interview between Terry Pratchett and Corey Doctorow. It appears there was more to the conversation and we can now link to the second part (which includes an animated trailer for The Carpet People) and talks a little about Raising Steam:

* * * * *

A copy of The Fifth Elephant that was borrowed from a train station in Sutton, England over five years ago was recently discovered in Mauritius (an Indian Ocean island, 2,000 km off the south east coast of Africa) by a UK holiday maker. They brought the book back to the UK and then posted it back to the train station where it is now available to borrow again.

* * * * *

The Western Gazette features an article about The Hogswatch Event in Wincanton at:

* * * * *

The Guardian's Children's Books section recently had one of its young readers review Dodgers Guide to London. (I received a copy of this for Christmas but haven't yet had time to read it myself - Ed.)

* * * * *

Below is a round-up of Terry's Twitter posts since last issue. You can follow Terry at:

11th Dec 2013: Not discussing Good Omens TV with @neilhimself in the @GrouchoClubSoho. Nope. Not us.

11th Dec 2013: Chatting with Mark Lawson on @BBCFrontRow tonight at 19.15 about the mechanics of writing / dictating, blueprints and pro-to-types.

13th Dec 2013: 2014 on Roundworld is to be known as The Year of the Reciprocating Llama on Discworld.

19th Dec 2013: On stage with @steeleye_span @MaddyPriorFolk @SteeleyePeter Fabulous! #Wintersmith

* * * * *

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, New] Mort is being performed by Monstrous Productions at the Gate Arts Centre, Keppoch St, Cardiff from January 29th to February 1st. Tickets are 8GBP or 6GBP concessions and are available at or by emailing us at

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[UK] 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.

* * * * *

[UK] 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.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

[UK, New] The Wincanton Spring Fling takes place over the bank holiday weekend of the 3rd and 4th May 2014.

This year will see the return of the very successful story telling on the Friday night, the makers market, the grand charity auction and other surprises to delight young and old.

Eventually more information about the event will appear on the Discworld Emporium website or via their forums (in the events section).

* * * * *

[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:

* * * * *

[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.

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

[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.

* * * * *

[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

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 reversing the flux polarity.

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: "Eve Smith"

With regards to Christine Chambers' request for academic publications about Terry's works.

I have been researching Discworld for around 10 years now and over the past couple of years I have published some articles that should be available electronically.

Smith, E. (2013) "Aristophanes' Cloudcuckooland to Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Comedy as Social Conscience" in Comedy Studies, Vol 4, number 1, May 2013

Smith, E. (2012) "Civil Discobedience or war, terrorism and unrest in Terry Pratchett's Discworld" in Comedy Studies, Vol 3, Number 1, May 2012

Smith, E. (2011) "Selling Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Merchandising and the Cultural Economy of Fandom" in Participations: The Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, Vol 8, Issue 2, Nov 2011

The first 2 appear in Comedy Studies published by Intellect, which you have to pay to get, although you should be able to request an interlibrary loan on these from your university library, so you shouldn't personally have to pay for them. Participations is an on-line journal so you should be able to access this via a web browser. If you use an academic search engine, you should find other academic journal articles that appear from time to time. Although Terry doesn't get the attention he deserves, there is considerably more scholarship now than when I started 10 years ago.

* * * * *

* From: "Ian Graham"

I don't know if CMOT is branching out into Roundworld, but I found this the other day, "Rat On A Stick"

Just when you think Discworld may be too fantastic, up pops something like this to prove you wrong!

DWM replies: Ah yes, Rat on a Stick, very nice. We're a big fan of Cowleys Fine Foods products. Martin and Suzie make some wonderful jerked meat products, including my brittle pony and various flavours of rat on a stick. They had a stall at last year's Wadfest

and hopefully will be returning again this year. You may have seen them once on BBC television's Dragons Den.

* * * * *

* From:

During one of my ex-pupil's reading of past editions of Discworld Monthly, he came across this reference (in Editions #58 & #59) to a "World Premiere of Truckers":

(from #59) "How can there be a World Premiere of Truckers if the only place where the plays are being held is in the UK?? I never knew that the UK was the only place in the world!!

Rebecca Maxwell Western Australia, a whole other world.

DWM replies: As far as we can tell it works something like this. As this is the first production of Truckers in the world it is therefore the world premiere."

We hate to disappoint DWM and this co-production between three regional theatres: Harrogate Theatre, the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds all of whom believe they had the "World Premier" of Truckers, however, "Truckers" was first performed ten years earlier by the Year 7 drama group of Wesley College Junior School in Perth, Western Australia in the antipodean winter of 1992. Sir Terry was contacted by letter and was kind enough to grant the school permission to dramatise his novel. Then, the following year, he visited Wesley and gave a private audience to cast members, signed their books and was presented with the script of the play and a VHS recording.

Regards from Western Australia (still a whole other world.)

Ken Smith (Director of "Truckers" 1992) and his fellow Old Wesleyan cast members.

DWM replies: We are always happy to be corrected and we are also especially pleased that somebody is still reading the February and March editions of Discworld Monthly from 2002!

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...

What secret society does Brother Watchtower belong to?
Who is Bentzen?
Who was the first Archchancellor of UU to admit a woman?
What relation is Hamesh to Mort?
What happened to Banana N'vectif shortly after he built a better type of mousetrap?

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

5. Review: Hogswatch 2013 - Wincanton

Reviewed by Jason Anthony

Hogswatch 2013 turned out to be the busiest Hogswatch since they started. It was immediately obvious that things were different because the memorial hall had been called into use. Normally most of the events can be housed in the local pubs but for some of the busy periods it was obvious that somewhere bigger was needed.

I was actually more prepared than usual and had taken the whole of Friday off work which meant I could take a leisurely drive down to Wincanton late on the Friday morning rather than having to work then go in the afternoon.

Having arrived in Wincanton I headed to the shop to meet up with some friends and then chatted with the lovely Reb and Ian in the shop. Dinner was at one of the excellent curry houses. After a very enjoyable meal we headed over to the Nog Inn and joined some more friends for a pint or two before heading back up to the Dolphin where I was staying for the weekend. After a couple more drinks I carried myself off to bed.

Saturday started, as Saturday's do, with a rather enjoyable full english breakfast. A time to take stock, drink lots of tea and plan the day's activities. I chose to head over to the memorial hall where I spent a while helping set up the Hogfather's grotto for the secret

Hogfather event that was going to take place later that day. I then spent some time watching the Thieves Guild invest some new members and reluctantly release one member who wished to join the Assassin's guild.

After that Terry visited the hall and spent some time talking to his fans while I chatted to Rod Brown and Rob Wilkins about upcoming Narrativia projects. While I can't reveal what was said it looks like 2014 and 2015 should be very exciting years...

I then spent a couple of hours in the Dolphin with friends before heading down to the Bear where I was allocated for the traditional sausage supper. I like the sausage supper because you never really know who you are going to be sat with and this time I was with a couple, Matt and Cat, who were new to Discworld events plus long time traders Elaine and Tony of The House of Freyja, and two good friends of mine Chris and Dave. The meal was hugely enjoyable but the vegetarians at the table took offence to being asked if they were normal or vegetarian!

After dinner we were asked to step outside while the room was rearranged for the evening entertainment, a variety show put on by Discworld fans for Discworld fans. We looked at the size of the already huge queue and decided that there wouldn't be enough room and instead headed to the event room at the back of the Dolphin to play a game of Cards Against Humanity. A hugely entertaining if not politically correct card game.

Eventually the game was complete and we headed back to the bar for a drink or two before bed.

After breakfast we went over to the Memorial Hall where we set up for the grand charity auction. We had a lot of great items to go through and we successfully raised over 3,800 GBP for RICE (an Alzheimer's research company) and just over 400GBP for a local school that needed money for books.

After the auction there was a birthday party with lots of cakes to celebrate Discworld's 30th birthday. After the party Bernard Pearson bid us his traditional farewell and we all set off home.

It was a really great weekend. And I would personally like to thank all those that lifted my spirits after a particularly difficult period for me. You know who you are.

More Discworld fun in Wincanton will take place over the bank holiday weekend of the 3rd and 4th May 2014. Keep an eye on for more information.

6. Review: Maskerade - Elgiva Theatre, Chesham

Reviewed by Colin Hicks

We arrived at Elgiva Theatre in Chesham at approx. 7pm to see Maskerade. This was the first time I have been to this theatre, it was very easy to find with plenty of parking directly outside of the venue. The play was being performed by the Chesham Theatre Company and it was the first time this group had attempted a Pratchett play. I have seen quite a few of Terry's plays over the past few years performed by small am-dram groups to larger and semi-pro groups. Most productions make do with few changes of set and props and I have always had the impression that the plays have been written to allow small groups, with fewer resources, to perform them easily. But this has to be one of the most lavish productions I have seen to date - multiple and frequent set changes, the players working on different levels and all done flawlessly. Plus a very good sound system that was used to its full effect to give the impression that "Opera" was taking place.

Stars of the show were the two actors playing Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. The duo were in most scenes and they brought the characters to life, both in manner and dialogue. The adaptation has kept many of their best lines and the two actors had great interplay. Scenes like the discovery of the "Joy of Snacks" were hilarious.

Greebo made an appearance, first as a painted face in a travel basket, next as a stole around Nanny's neck - eating all the chocolates - and finally as a very feline young lady for the chasing around the Opera house scenes.

Mention should also be made of the lady who played Agnes/Perdita Nitt. One of the problems of seeing these plays (and the TV adaptations) is that some of the actors are not as you visualised them. Of course with any small group this will almost always happen. The trick is for the actor to bring their character to life so that it does not matter to the viewer they do not look quite "right". Here the actor was slightly older and of, shall we say, less size than I had imagined* but this did not matter as she pulled off the part admirably; and she had a great voice. They even did the bats falling out of the roof joke. Speaking of changing roles, Salazzar here was played by a woman. But she proved that this role can equally be played either by a male or female. Her death scene was superb and very theatrical.

Lastly, I should mention Walter Plinge, the actor pulled off the part with aplomb - the transformation from Plinge to the ghost and back again was remarkable.

All in all, a great evening out and I hope this company considers doing more of the Pratchett plays.

* Here is proof that art is subjective. My friend with whom I saw the play completely disagrees with this statement and thought Agnes here was perfect. My point is that the actor who played Agnes was superb... but not as how I imagined the character.

7. The End

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The Long War (with Stephen Baxter)

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TURTLE RECALL: The Discworld Companion

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* DiscTrivia Results *

What secret society does Brother Watchtower belong to?
Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night.
Who is Bentzen?
Captain of Duke Felmet's personal bodyguard.
Who was the first Archchancellor of UU to admit a woman?
What relation is Hamesh to Mort?
Hamesh is Mort's uncle.
What happened to Banana N'vectif shortly after he built a better type of mousetrap?
He was trampled by 1,000 elephants.

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