Better Than

Discworld Monthly Issue 219 September 2015

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. Author's Comment - Jacqueline Simpson
3. News
4. Events
5. Readers' Letters
6. DiscTrivia
7. Review: Wadfest 2015
8. Competition Results: The Shepherd's Crown
9. Review: Eric - Live at The Edinburgh Fringe
10. The End

1. Editorial

* NOTE: You may have received this issue twice. I noticed that I had missed an important last minute update after I had sent out the first 1,000 emails. *

Welcome to issue 219. A lot has happened since last month's issue: We have received copies of The Shepherd's Crown samplers, have been to the excellent Wadfest camping weekend, visited the official midnight launch of The Shepherd's Crown at Waterstones in Piccadilly, London and rushed back home to Swansea to run the Discworld Monthly / Waterstones Swansea launch event.

You can read all about Wadfest later in this issue. A full review of The Shepherd's Crown will have to wait until next month's issue though.

* * * * *

The launch event at London Piccadilly was amazing. The shop staff had built an awesome recreation of the Chalk and the dancing stones - including beehives and clouds and a huge 5 foot high version of the novel. Rob Wilkins and Stephen Briggs read the second chapter of the book to us which was amazingly emotional. [Mini Spoiler coming up - Rachel] Please make sure you have tissues handy when reading this book.

Other useful bits of information we gathered from the event:

Rachel, myself and several other fans were interviewed by various television stations including BBC One, ITV and Polish TV and also a number of radio stations including BBC 5 Live. In fact it was probably impossible not to see us on the TV for the next day or two... Was that our 15 minutes of fame Mr Warhol was so interested in?

We've created a short playlist of videos from The Shepherd's Crown launch including BBC News and Rob's introduction. Some of the videos will contain spoilers... only watch after you have read The Shepherd's Crown.

ITV also have some coverage of the launch at:

Discworld Monthly has collated a large number of photos from the Piccadilly event at:

We (well mostly Rachel) [Mostly??? -Rachel] have also collated photos from other Waterstones events around the UK 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.

2. Author's Comment - Jacqueline Simpson

So what is a 'shepherd's crown', then?

Several people have recently asked me if I will be writing explanatory comments on the folklore Terry used in The Shepherd's Crown, as I had done for his previous books. I did indeed write (at the publishers' request) about the 'crowns', and also about the custom of telling one's bees about deaths in the family. I assumed this material would be used in e-book versions of the novel, as was done on earlier occasions. However, Random House decided to put it in the 100GBP de-luxe edition only, of which a mere 500 copies will be printed worldwide. They have forbidden me to repeat the information anywhere else in print, so as not to infringe the exclusivity of these 500 purchasers.

So, dear fellow-fans, I suggest you do your own research by googling 'echinoid', 'sea-urchin', and 'shepherd's crown'. Both living and fossilised echinoids are frequently pictured, for instance at the Natural History Museum's website, which also has a section on the folklore of fossils. There is further material in Kenneth Oakley's article 'Folklore of Fossils: Part II' in Antiquity 39 (June 1965).

As for telling bees, you will find full information in Iona Opie and Moira Tatem's A Dictionary of Superstitions or in Steve Roud's Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland, and briefer references in most books on 19th century English rural customs. There is also an article on Wikipedia.

Enjoy, and spread the word!

3. News

Rhianna Pratchett has mentioned that her family motto 'mind how you go' has made it into The Shepherd's Crown

* * * * *

The Discworld Calender 2016 is now available to buy. It features twelve illustrations from Joe McLaren, the cover artist of the Discworld Collector's Library. If you are a fan of the "woodcut" covers then this calender will be for you.

You can purchase it from all the normal places such as and

* * * * *

The Independent has a good review of The Shepherd's Crown. Please note that it is probably impossible to write a review of this novel without giving away a massive spoiler. So please do not read the review until you have finished the book.

The Times features an extract of the Prologue [which I also read out live on Radio 5 Live - Ed] at:

The Guardian features a review that gives away a massive spoiler in the first paragraph of the review... You really do not want to read this before reading the book.

* * * * *

Neil Gaiman was interviewed for the Saturday 29th August 2015 edition of The Times newspaper and some of his quotes about Terry will probably make you cry.

* * * * *

August 20th saw the release of the new 2016 Discworld Diary: A Practical Manual for the Modern Witch. The Discworld Emporium were heavily involved in the design, as they were last year with the excellent We Are Igors. are selling their copies with a free print and are selling it exclusively embossed with Terry's signature and sealed with his coat of arms.

We've received our copy. We'll try to review it for next month. [We're a bit busy right now - Ed]

* * * * *

The Telegraph included an interview with Rhianna Pratchett on 14th March about Sir Terry entitled 'It was like having a full-sized hobbit for a father'. We missed it at the time so we've included the link below as it's worth reading:

* * * * *

Guardian Books have reported on how quickly the tickets sold out for The Shepherd's Crown midnight book launch... apparently all 200 tickets sold in about 12 minutes.

* * * * *

From The Time Machine to 1984, take a journey through the top 100 books teachers have recommended for students at Key Stages 3 and 4...

We noticed that Terry Pratchett's The Discworld Series comes in at number 52.

So even though it's entitled the top 100 books.... We suspect there over 150 books on this list. Goes to show that English teachers should stick to words and leave the numbers to the mathematicians.

* * * * *

20 years ago on the 12th August 1995 the first ever Discworld Event took place in Woolpit, Suffolk, England.

Bernard and Isobel Pearson were in the midst of it and want to share their memories with fans old and new.

They now have a blog that can be found at: which marks the day and their times with their good friend Terry Pratchett and all things Discworld.

It's mostly harmless but may contain nuts.

* * * * *

Paul Kidby has a 10 page feature on his work published in Drawing Magazine's summer issue. The link below includes images that they were unable to fit into the magazine and feature some of Paul's pencil sketching. [I actually like some of Paul's pencil sketches better than the fully painted final product - Ed]

* * * * *

Continuing its coverage of Terry Pratchett, the new issue of SFX magazine - Issue 265 (with Doctor Who - Peter Capaldi on the cover) - features "Talkin Pterry", an article where other authors (Lavie Tidhar, Suzanna McLeod, Stephen Baxter, Claire North, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Justina Robson, Adam Roberts, Aliette de Bodard, Val McDermid, Jenny Colgan and Charlie Fletcher - no I've not heard of most of them either!) talk about their favourite Terry Pratchett novel. It also features a section from scientists perspective featuring Professor Ian Stewart, Dr Jack Cohen and Dr Marek Kukula.

* * * * *

With the imminent launch of The Shepherd's Crown, Waterstones have taken a step back to look at the Discworld novels. In the first blog post they look at the first ten novels.

* * * * *

Tony Robinson recorded an emotional "goodbye Terry" message when recording the abridged audio-book edition of The Shepherd's Crown. Tony doesn't know whether it will make it onto the final release.

* * * * *

Small Ads...

Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We *strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who follow up any of these contacts.

* * * * *

Melvyn Spencer writes: I am a collector of beer PUMP clips and have managed to get hold of three sets of four advertisement boards from Unseen University Boatyard Brewery. I am willing to sell each set for 60 GBP + 4 GBP postage.

4. Events

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.

* * * * *

[AU] Mort - Death on Stage - 22 August to 3 October 2015

Brisbane Arts Theatre has been staging the Discworld plays since 1998 and now in 2015 we present our 1001st production - Sir Terry Pratchett's Mort, adapted by Stephen Briggs.

Get ready to scumble.

* * * * *

[UK, New] Mort will be performed by The Stables Theatre and Arts Centre, Hastings from 2nd to 5th September - performances start at 7:30pm.

Tickets cost 12.50GBP, under 18s and groups 7.50GBP

Tickets are available from booking office 01424-423321

More details from:

* * * * *

[UK, New] Wellington Theatre Group (Civics Players) are performing Soul Music from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th September 2015 at Wellington Arts Centre:

All performances are at 7:30 with a matinee on Saturday at 3:00.

Tickets are 8 GBP and available from

or by calling Telephone Bookings: 0844 997 9000.

You can view the flyer at:

* * * * *

[UK] Monstrous Productions presents Night Watch at the Gate Arts Centre, Keppoch St, Cardiff from September 9th to 12th.

Following their sold out performances of Witches Abroad in April, Monstrous Productions are finally attempting a Vimes one! With over 12,000GBP already donated to Alzheimer's Research, come along to support a great cause and see a great show in one! Tickets 8GBP or 6GBP concessions, available from

Find them on Facebook or email

[Rachel and I will be going to the Thursday night production of Night Watch - Ed]

* * * * *

[DE] With a 1000 camels the German Discworld Convention moves to the mysterious continent of Klatch! Make room in your schedule from September 10th to 13th in 2015 for the fourth German Discworld Convention at Castle Ludwigstein. Be there when it's getting hot!

Registration has started on our homepage.

Join the Facebook page to receive further updates:

* * * * *

[IRL] The Irish Discworld Convention is just around the corner. The Watch Open Weekend will be invading Roundworld from the 2nd - 5th October in the Cork International Hotel. The usual array of talks, games and madness will be held with a distinctive watch theme. Tickets are still on sale for both the con and the gala dinner but they are going faster than a Feegle after some Sheep Liniment. The deadline for ordering our pre-con merchandise is also fast approaching so if you want a magic mug or a convention t-shirt get your orders in by September 13th (

The recent launch has stirred a lot of feelings amongst fans, happy and sad, and at IDWCon we'd like to give people the opportunity to express them. We'd like you to send us a message, drawing, photograph or letter about your relationship with Discworld and what Terry Pratchett means to you. We'd like to assemble a video of people's messages that we'll show at the con. So whether you can make it to Ireland or will only be there in spirit we'd like you to send us your "Letters to Terry". If you'd like to send a physical letter the deadline is September 18th and digital submissions should be in by September 25th. For more information or to send your letter: e-mail

We hope to see you in Ireland to share some old memories and create some new ones. Keep in touch with us at:

* * * * *

[Channel Islands, New] Guards! Guards! Will be shown in Guernsey, Channel Islands this October.

The performance will be at the Princess Royal Centre for Performing Arts, on the 5th & 6th October 2015, at 7:30pm.

Proceeds are going to the Orangutan Foundation, of which Sir Terry Pratchett was of course a trustee.

Tickets cost 10 GBP / 8 GBP Concessions and can be purchased from or call 74999

* * * * *

[UK, New] Maskerade will be performed by Act II on the 17th October at 14:30 and 19:30 at the South Holland Centre, Spalding. Tickets 9.50GBP (8GBP concessions), groups of 10+ 7.00GBP each. Available from the South Holland Centre Box Office 01775 764777 or

* * * * *

[UK] For all the Farscape / Vintage Sci-Fi fans out there, Starbase 24 are presenting The Ninth Banquet in Peterborough on October 23rd and 24th. The Friday features vintage sci-fi, hot buffet, quiz and disco and the Saturday features a Farscape-themed 3 course meal, entertainment, auction, raffle and disco with special guest: Virginia Hey.

The 75GBP weekend ticket or 57GBP (Saturday only) ticket includes a formal photo with Virginia Hey with profits going to Macmillan Cancer Support.


* * * * *

[UK] Wyrd Sisters is being performed by Uppingham Theatre Company from Thursday 29th - Saturday 31st October 2015. Tickets cost 10 GBP including 2 GBP charity donation to Rutland Reminders. Tickets are available in person only from Uppingham Sports and Books, 9 High Street East, Uppingham and online at

* * * * *

[UK] Sadly there will be no Discworld Emporium-run Hogswatch event this year, but there will be a fan-run, much more low key "Gathering of Loonies - Winter Event" on the same days, November 27th - 29th in Wincanton. More news will be provided as we are given it. The fans organising the event have set up a Facebook group at:

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

[Perth, AU] The Perth Drummers have changed their name. They are now known as the Treacle Mining Corporation in honour of their beloved state. They still meet up to celebrate the works of author Sir Terry Pratchett, and welcome any fans of science fiction and fantasy.

Join them for their monthly discussion of Discworld, Terry Pratchett and all things sci-fi and fantasy. They meet the first Monday of each month, subject to holidays, and all are welcome.

The group meets up at Carpe Cafe, 526 Murray Street, Perth, WA. Meeting at a cafe means they are under-18 friendly!

For details follow them on Twitter @Perth_Drummers, Instagram perth_drummers, and Facebook

Otherwise message Alexandra Ware directly at

Unless otherwise stated the group meets up on the first Monday of each month.

* * * * *

[AU] 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

* * * * *

[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.

* * * * *

[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:

* * * * *

[Brisbane, AU, Updated] 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:

5. 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 to intelligible make you sound.

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: "David Kafrissen"

I am not a Facebook user and the only way I get your newsletter is via email. Please don't stop that too for the flashy timeliness of Facebook.

JA replies: The Facebook feed is embedded into our website homepage at and works even if you are not a member of Facebook.

* * * * *

* From: "Serge K. Keller"

Sad to see RSS go... An open protocol replaced by a closed news source is, alas, a tendency too often seen nowadays.

Still, my personal opinions aside, I can see how for you this decision could make sense. I just wanted to let you know that at least one person appreciated the DWM RSS.

And to end on a more positive note (and going back to personal opinions): the most important thing is still being able to get my healthy dose of Discworld News, so thank you very much indeed for your outstanding work with this!

JA replies: Getting rid of the RSS feed was a tough choice but it just wasn't being used by enough people. Put simply, the Facebook page works much better at getting the message out there to everyone.

* * * * *

* From: "Jesse Wiebe"

I have heard a few times from American fans that they buy their books from Amazon UK in order to get the "good" covers... I thought they might like to know that in Canada we also get the "good" covers, and ordering from Amazon CA might be cheaper on postage - something to check out anyway.

* * * * *

* From : "Rodrigo Toca"

Some time ago I was living in London, had the pleasure to meet both Sir Terry and you, hehe, I once went to the store in Wincaton! And I recently uncovered an old blog of mine, when I tried to mix magic, statistics and Mr Pratchett! Please give it a shufti and see if you like it:

* * * * *

* From: "Kieran Green"

I've been getting DWM for so long now I can't even remember when I first subscribed anymore. It is an event lost in the fabled Mists of Time. I look forward to DWM arriving in my inbox every month, which it has been doing reliably for - as previously noted - a Very Long Time. It takes a lot of work, dedication and motivation to keep something like this going. To do all the writing, compiling, and a bit of judicious editing. Then hit the send button and realize you've got to do it all again. In August, I came back from a camping trip to find people in the Facebook dimension of DWM had gone a bit Librarian-poo, causing poor Jason Anthony to run screaming into the night. It hardly seems fair compensation for all he does for us, especially since - much like witches - he takes no pay for it. (Whether he takes serviceable old clothing is something Jason will have to answer). So, in light of recent "Happenings", it seems overdue to show some public love and appreciation to Jason, and to all the others who help bring us DWM in all its varied incarnations, connecting us in the celebration of all things Pratchett. Cheers!

6. DiscTrivia

This month we are back with five challenging trivia questions for you... All you need to do is let us know which book these partial footnotes come from. How simple is that?

Plain clothes was the problem. Both the men had been used to uniforms all their lives. . .
The pronoun is used by dwarfs to indicate both sexes. All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing.
A very respectable body which in fact represented the major law enforcement agency in the city. . .
It's hard to translate 'sir' into Rat. . .
Hence the term 'wholesale destruction'.

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

7. Review: Wadfest 2015

Reviewed by Jason Anthony.

Wadfest 2015 took place over the weekend of the 21st - 24th August 2015 at The Wood Green Animal Shelter at Godmanchester near Cambridge.

This year Waddy (the events organiser) decided to make it a four-day event. We arranged to arrive on the Thursday (a day early) to help out. After a rather gruelling five-hour trip we arrived at the campsite and were surprised to find that some people had arrived on the Wednesday.

We quickly put up our tents and then wandered around to find out who had turned up. As it was getting towards early evening we cooked food and then "assisted" Waddy prepare the welcome bags (actually we watched and drank cider) while a small army of people sorted the bags. We then spent a pleasant couple of hours chatting with friends.

Friday morning started quite late for us. The opening ceremony was not due to commence until five pm so after breakfast we did a supply run to get some camping essentials that we didn't have room for in the car.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent in the company of friends. At five ish (Wadfest has a thing called Waddy time which means all timings are approximate) the opening ceremony took place. The new Wadfest flag was raised and the Wadfest virgins were gently initiated. Exact details of the initiation are to be kept secret... After a few announcements and welcomes Wadfest 2015 had started.

After a quick evening meal (whatever we could boil in a few a pans as possible) we prepared for the unofficial but very much traditional cocktail party - hosted by Brittany Weatherwax. The tradition in the cocktail party is for men to dress as women and the women to dress as men. This year I decided to go for it and borrowed one of Rachel's dresses and one of her bras. Somehow I managed to impress the judges and was crowned Miss Wadfest 2015... An honour I will never forget. Andrea was pronounced Prince Wadfest 2015 for her officer and a gentleman costume. And for this year only we had the very brave return of Butch-Cher... You need to hunt down the pictures as words simply cannot do justice to the vision of Butch-Cher. Brittany decided that we should sing a song in remembrance of Sir Terry and had selected one of Terry's favourites - Eric Idle's Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. Which was sung with much gusto, if not talent, by the assembled throng. The party continued late into the evening. Rachel and I decided to leave the party at about half twelve because my legs were getting cold.

Saturday started with beautiful weather. In fact it stayed remarkably hot all day. We all ended up trying to find places to hide from the sun from time to time. During the blistering heat the now traditional zombie games and softball events took place but we decided it was too hot to take part.

As the day rolled on we visited the refectory at the animal shelter and purchased a meal from the canteen before sorting out the charity auction. Peter Chapman kept the number of lots down and we had a very successful auction which raised over 1,000 GBP to be split between Cancer Research and the Animal Shelter and just under 200 GBP to go back into the Wadfest funds for future events.

After the auction was the "Talent" competition. I was once again asked to revive my role as one of the judges. The level of talent was much improved on previous years. There was only one child act and based on my past judging skills when it comes to my own children I was gagged by the other two judges and disallowed from commenting. This year's winner was Elizabeth Lamming and her parody of Abba's Thank You For the Music - changing it to Thank You For The Discworld and Great A'Tuin. Miss Lamming has been an integral part of the talent show since it was first introduced in 2009 so it was great to see her win.

After the talent show was a disco which the children seem to enjoy greatly while their parents happily quaff a few drinks at the bar. After we left the bar we joined some friends and sat outside their tent drinking until late.

Sunday started warm and events began around 11 am with dodge ball, zombie attack, mobile library races (cardboard libraries created and painted by the children on the Saturday). By later afternoon the weather started to take a turn for the worse. A huge storm had been predicted and soon we were inundated with an abundance of rain. En masse we headed to the marquee and spent a very enjoyable afternoon to late playing board games such as Exploding Kittens and the very naughty but so fun Cards Against Humanity.

Monday started damp and with that in mind and the dwindling number Waddy decided to run the closing ceremony earlier than originally planned. We decided to pack up just after breakfast and soon had the car jammed full. We headed over to the refectory for refreshments before leaving at around 11:30 am - arriving back in South Wales by just after 4pm.

Next year's event was going to be the same weekend but Waddy is considering moving to earlier in August. Next year's event will return to being a three-day event with a new pricing structure.

We'd like to thank Waddy and his team for creating such a great event. We had a huge amount of fun and while we didn't take part in a lot of the activities we had fun catching up with old friends and making new ones too. We hope to return for Wadfest 2016.

See the Discworld Monthly Facebook group for some of the many photos of the event. Keep an eye on the Wadfest website and Facebook page for dates of the 2016 event.

8. Competition Result: The Shepherd's Crown

Last month to coincide with the re-branding / relaunching of PJSM Prints as, Sandra Kidby offered us a hardback copy of The Shepherd's Crown, a honeybee bookmark and button badge plus one of the US samplers of The Shepherd's Crown as a prize.

In order to win this fabulous prize we asked you to send in your answers to the following two questions:

How much are Discworld. com selling the Slipcase Edition of The Shepherd's Crown (not the gold one) in GBP excluding postage and packaging?
How much are Discworld. com selling the Standard Edition of The Shepherd's Crown for in GBP excluding postage and packaging?

The answers we were looking for were: 45 GBP and 20 GBP respectively.

We received many correct entries and the randomly selected winner of this wonderful prize is: David Paterson from Glasgow.

We would like to thank for their continued support of Discworld Monthly and for providing this month's prize. For more information about's extensive range of products visit: can also now be found on Facebook at:

9. Review: Eric - Live at The Edinburgh Fringe

Review by: Louise H

I recently attended a production of Eric by Duck in a Hat at The Edinburgh Fringe festival. I enjoyed it so much I just had to write a little "review" and send it to you.

I would like to offer my thanks and praise to everyone at Duck in a Hat Production for making my first experience of Discworld on stage such a joy. The ingenious portrayal of Eric, presented at this year's Edinburgh Fringe, was the first Discworld play I have ever been aware of taking place in Scotland. So, donning my Death with Kitten hoody and Ankh-Morpork Post Office bag, off I went to Edinburgh to watch some people try to act out the madness that ensues in Eric. And boy did they deliver! I'm sure many would agree that it is no easy feat. But it was simply wonderful!

The cast were absolutely phenomenal, each and every one of them. An extremely talented bunch. I would like to add Nick Jennings to the list of "people who I would like to see play Rincewind on the big screen." Much praise must be awarded to the production team who clearly spared no expense. The scenery, the costumes, the sound and lighting, the script, THE LUGGAGE (oh the Luggage!) and the wonderful directing of the perfect comedic timing and acting all rolled up and laid out made this play nothing short of a pure delight to watch. If I was a critic this would definitely get a full five stars / thumbs up / high fives (pick your favourite).

Seriously, I cannot find a single thing I didn't love about the show.

So Duck in a Hat. Thank you and please, please grace Edinburgh with your presence again!

10. The End

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* DiscTrivia Results *

Plain clothes was the problem. Both the men had been used to uniforms all their lives. . .
The pronoun is used by dwarfs to indicate both sexes. All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing.
Guards! Guards!
A very respectable body which in fact represented the major law enforcement agency in the city. . .
Equal Rites
It's hard to translate 'sir' into Rat. . .
The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents
Hence the term 'wholesale destruction'.
Lords And Ladies

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