Better Than

Discworld Monthly Issue 239 March 2017

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Upcoming Book Releases
4. February and March Events
5. Future Events
6. Recurring Monthly Fan Meetings
7. Readers' Letters
8. DiscTrivia
9. Review: Feet of Clay Live in Abergavenny
10. Discworld Monthly Competition Result
11. Terry Pratchett: Back In Black
12. Review: Monstrous Regiment Live in Southampton
13. March Competition - KISS THE COOK
14. GURPS Discworld - A first Look
15. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 239. Last month we announced that Terry Pratchett: Back in Black (the fourth documentary in the trilogy) would be broadcast later in the year and then just a few days later we discovered that it would be broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday 11th February at 9pm.

If you live in the UK and haven't see it yet you can watch it on BBC iPlayer at: BBC iPlayer - Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

We watched the documentary and were blown away by it. It has a very different feel to the previous three documentaries. This one feels personal. A fitting tribute to a wonderful man. Read our review and thoughts on Back in Black later in this issue.

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We have released three new fully licensed Discworld Monthly products this month. Our new Death Key Ring, Death Pin Badge and Death Fridge Magnet are all available to purchase from Discworld Monthly Shop

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We've heard that Birdworld in Farnham, Surrey now has a new Owl Parliament dedicated to the memory of Sir Terry Pratchett. Terry was a huge fan of owls and the new Parliament celebrates this. Discworld Monthly hopes to visit Birdworld and will let you know more as soon as possible.

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This month we've been to see Feet of Clay in Abergavenny and will soon see The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents in Cardiff. I am sure the two productions will be very different as every theatre company tends to put their own mark on them. We are also going to see another production in Bolton in March and possibly another in June. It looks like 2017 is going to be another bumper Discworld year for stage productions!

We've added a new page to the Discworld Monthly website which includes a list of all the current and upcoming productions (Pratchett Stage Productions). If you know of a Pratchett production not listed, please email us at with details.

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Discworld Monthly is a fan-run volunteer organisation that is partially funded by online sales of our fully licensed and authorised products. Please take a look at our range of pin badges, keyrings, fridge magnets, car "cling" stickers, mugs and mouse mats at: Discworld Monthly Shop

All profits are used to pay for prizes, postage, travel expenses, web site fees, domain renewals and various sundry costs that we have to cover to keep everything going. Without your ongoing support and sales of Discworld Monthly items we would not be able to continue to produce the newsletter.

You can also if you so wish donate directly to the Discworld Monthly paypal account

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Want to ensure you get all the latest news direct from Discworld Monthly between issues? Then visit the Discworld Monthly Facebook page and hit the "Like" button. The page is an announcement-only page and is always the first place we post new information.

Discworld Monthly Facebook Page

We include all our back issues on our website at where you can also find Terry Pratchett quotes, a full bibliography and links to articles we have written over the years.

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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 us at the address below. We will of course give credit for anything we use.

Please let us have any submissions for issue 239 of Discworld Monthly BEFORE Friday 24th March 2017.

Jason Anthony (Editor and Wizzard)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor / Proofreader)
Rachel Rowlands (News Hound / Feature writer)
Richard Massey (Major Time)

2. News

Major new Terry Pratchett Exhibition at The Salisbury Museum from 16th Sept 2017 to 13 Jan 2018 called Terry Pratchett: HisWorld

"This is an exclusive major exhibition based on the extraordinary life of Sir Terry Pratchett ... This unique exhibition will include artwork by Terry and treasured items owned by Terry which have never previously been on public display. It will also feature over forty original illustrations by Paul Kidby"

Tickets: Adult 8GBP, Children 4GBP (under 5's go free) and Family 20GBP.

All tickets are valid for 12 months and can be used as many times as you like.

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A new plaque commemorating Terry Pratchett will be installed at Beaconsfield Library.

The plaque will be unveiled at the library, in Reynolds Road, where Sir Terry was a Saturday boy and returned to give talks.

The plaque will be unveiled on Tuesday, March 7, at noon. Rhianna Pratchett and Rob Wilkins, MD of the Pratchett estate, will attend the unveiling.

Library Plaque

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Alzheimer's Research UK have published the transcript of Terry's 2008 speech at the charity's annual research conference. Terry delivered a uniquely witty and affecting announcement of his own dementia diagnosis. You can read it in full at ARUK 2008 Dementia Speech

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Retro Gamer magazine ( issue 164 features an eight page article about the three Discworld computer games released in the 1990s. The interview with Gregg Barnett and Chris Bateman (the games' creators) tells how they translated the written word into a successful series of computer games.

Retro Games is published by Future Publishing and costs 4.99 GBP. You can purchase your copy online at

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The team at Snowgum Films are looking for talented Nuke artists to join the team and help finalise the most epic short story in the [Disc]world.

Troll Bridge features more visual effects shots than The Fellowship of the Ring (not bad for a 30 minute film).

Take a look over at The Foundry Community Forums ( and get a sneak peek at some of the amazing work that the team at Snowgum have been producing.

NOTE: It appears that the above link no longer works... or only works if you are a foundry member. As of 23rd February we did find the following Troll Bridge: Work In Progress at TheFoundry.

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The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP announced a new exhibition commemorating the 20th anniversary Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and named the new inductees for 2016. The Hall of Fame honours the lives, work, and ongoing legacies of science fiction and fantasy's greatest creators, and as the program marks its 20th year, it has expanded eligibility to recognize the genre's most impactful creations.

For 2016, the Hall of Fame will induct Star Trek, Blade Runner, and authors Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. And in honor of the milestone anniversary, MoPOP will induct 20 additional creators and works into the program.

3. Upcoming Book Releases

The US edition of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Coloring Book will be released on 25th April 2017. ISBN: 1481498460

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Author Joanne Harris (via Twitter) has confirmed she has written a new introduction for Wyrd Sisters. We don't have a confirmed release date for this yet but sources suggest it may be 6 April 2017.

The new paperback editions of Mort and Guards! Guards! with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch will also be released in 2017.

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Hardback Gift Editions * (No we don't know what that means either but the cover on TWFM looks gorgeous -RR)

The Wee Free Men (Discworld Novel 30) Hardback - 27 Apr 2017

(with a beautiful golden bee on the cover)

R.R.P: 12.99 GBP

ISBN: 0857535455

A Hat full of Sky (Discworld Novel 32) Hardback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 12.99 GBP

ISBN: 0857535463

Wintersmith (Discworld Novel 35) Hardback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 12.99 GBP

ISBN: 0857535471

I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld Novel 38) Hardback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 12.99 GBP

ISBN: 085753548X

The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld Novel 41) Hardback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P. : 12.99 GBP

ISBN: 0857535498

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The Wee Free Men (Discworld Novel 30) Paperback - 27 Apr 2017

Cover by Laura Ellen Anderson

R.R.P: 7.99 GBP

ISBN: 0552576301

(We currently presume all of these will also have covers by the lovely Laura Ellen Anderson - RR)

A Hat full of Sky (Discworld Novel 32) Paperback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 7.00 GBP

ISBN: 055257631X

Wintersmith (Discworld Novel 35) Paperback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 7.99 GBP

ISBN: 0552576328

I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld Novel 38) Paperback - 25 May 2017 (tbc)

R.R.P: 7.99 GBP

ISBN: 0552576336

The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld Novel 41) Paperback - 25 May 2017

R.R.P: 7.99 GBP

ISBN: 0552576344

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The Long Cosmos will get released in paperback in the UK on Thursday 18th May. ISBN: 0552169374

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Raising Steam Paperback - 18th May 2017

(continuation of the corgi black covers)

ISBN: 0552173614

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The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner will get released in paperback format on 15 June 2017. ISBN: 055257449X

4. February and March Events

While we would love to attend each and every Pratchett production it simply isn't possible so if you manage to get to one please consider writing us a review. It doesn't matter if you've never written a review before. Just see if you can write 200-500 words about your experience. All submissions should be emailed to

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[UK] Monstrous Productions present The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: The Gate Arts & Community Centre, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3JW

Dates: Thu 23rd - Sat 25th February 2017

Times: Doors open at 7pm, Matinee (on the 25th) at 2.30pm

Tickets: 7 GBP (5 GBP concessions) from 029 204 833 44


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[UK] ICSM Drama presents Wyrd Sisters as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Imperial College Union Concert Hall, Beit Quadrangle, Prince Consort Road, Kensington, London, SW7 2BB

Dates: 1st - 4th March 2017 at 7pm

Tickets: 8 GBP, 6 GBP students

To book email: with the subject line "Wyrd Sisters Tickets"

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[UK] Bolton Little Theatre present Wyrd Sisters as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4TG

Dates: 6th - 11th March 2017 at 7:30pm

Tickets: 10GBP from 01204 524469


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[UK] The Lace Market Youth Theatre present Carpe Jugulum as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Halifax Place, Nottingham, NG1 1QN

Dates: 22nd - 25th March 2017 at 7:30pm (and 2:30pm on Saturday).

Tickets: 11GBP (10GBP Concessions) from 0115 950 7201


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[UK] Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group will be holding an introductory MORTEASER evening on Friday 24th March at their headquarters building near Reading in Berkshire.

If you might be interested in getting involved in any capacity (backstage or on stage) in their October production of Mort, go along and find out more.

Location: Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group headquarters, Polehampton Close, Twyford, Reading RG10 9AD

Date: Friday 24th March 2017 at 8pm


Please email for further information

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[Poland] April Rally for fans of Terry Pratchett.

Location: Winding Mountain, near Krakow

Dates: 31st March 2017 - 2nd April 2017

Program: Paint your face and prepare for the unexpected. Who knows what you might find! Here live dragons!

April Rally Facebook Event

5. Future Events

[UK] Newbury Dramatic Society present Maskerade as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, near Newbury, Berkshire

Dates: 17th-20th May 2017.

Times: Wednesday - Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 6:30pm.

Tickets: 12.50 GBP (12.00 GBP concessions).

Box Office: 01635 46044


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[Germany] All the Witches and denizens of the Chalk are invited to the 5th German Discworld Convention which will take place at Castle Ludwigstein from May 18th to 21st in 2017.

Tickets are available now from:

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[New: Australia, NSW] Milton Follies present Wyrd Sisters as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Milton Theatre, 69 Princes Highway, Milton, NSW 2538

Dates: Friday 9th - Sunday 11th June and Friday 16th - Sunday 18th June 2017

Times: Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 4pm, Sundays 2pm

Tickets: 25AUD Adult, 20 AUD Child / Concessions / Group


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[UK] We Are Theatre present Wyrd Sisters as adapted by Stephen Briggs.

Location: Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York

Dates: Tues 20th June - Wednesday 21st June 2017

Time: 7.30 pm

Tickets: 12GBP 10 GBP - Groups of 10+ 8GBP

Box Office: 01904 50 1935


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[Netherlands] Cabbagecon 4 (July 2017)

The Cabbagecon team is proud to announce a new edition of the one and only Dutch Discworld convention.

After visiting the Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild in 2015, we will team up with the Guild of Merchants to explore the great city of Ankh-Morpork some more in 2017.

Come and see the sights, meet the colourful city-dwellers, try the local food and, in general, experience the unique atmosphere of the Disc's most famous city. The Ankh-Morpork Guild of Merchants has gracefully agreed to provide a balanced and representative programme of activities to keep all visitors entertained.

Cabbagecon 4 will be held at the Hotel Carlton President in Utrecht on 1-2 July 2017.

Check out our new website at:

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[Australia] Nullus Anxietas VI - The Australian Discworld Convention - THE DISCWORLD GRAND TOUR - 4th-6th August 2017 at Lakes Resort Hotel, West Lakes, South Australia

Ticket Shop

If you purchased a Supporting Membership prior to February 4th 2017, you can upgrade at a later date to the early-bird price: Membership Shop

No tourist is complete without a cheesy hat or t-shirt, and we've got plenty available! Check out our full range of souvenirs at Souvenir Shop

And of course, for all the information about the Discworld Grand Tour, including activities, venue, and more, visit our website at

Find us on Facebook at Australian Discworld Convention Facebook Page and on Twitter at @ausdwcon

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[Updated: USA] The Fourth North American Discworld Convention - THE GENUAN ™ EXPERIENCE - 1st-4th September 2017 at The Sheraton New Orleans.

Join us in Genua for a banananana dacquiri* because our theme is all about the witches of Discworld and the many things they've encountered on their travels. You can now purchase your membership and book your hotel room!

Early-bird pricing available until February 28th, 2017. Get your tickets here: Purchase NADWCON Tickets

Want to reserve your ticket but can't quite afford it until after the early-bird rate date? We also offer the Supporting Membership which if purchased before the cut-off date, will allow you to upgrade at a later date to the early-bird price!

Pre-con tee-shirts also available, in a selection of 3 colors - Purple, Green and Glod - the 3 colors of Octarine!! NADWCON Merchandise

For all other information, please visit the website or follow one of our social media outlets Facebook (NADWConvention), Twitter (@nadwcon), Pinterest (nadwcon), Tumblr (, Instagram (nadwcon) and many more....

*Ogg approved.

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[Australia] Brisbane Arts Theatre present Lords and Ladies as adapted by Irana Brown

Location: 210 Petrie Terrace, PETRIE TERRACE QLD 4000

Dates: 16 September - 21 October 2017 (7.30pm Thursdays, 8.00pm Fridays and Saturdays, 6.30pm Sundays)

Tickets: Adults 34AUD, Concession 28AUD, Group 10+ 27AUD, Student Rush 15AUD (10 mins before curtain)


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[New: UK] Twyford and Ruscombe Theatre Group present Mort as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Loddon Hall, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, Reading, Berkshire, RG10 9JA

Dates: Thursday 5th October - Sat 7th October 2017

Times: 8pm

Tickets: 7-10GBP (concessions available if ordered in advance)


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[Ireland] The 2017 Irish Discworld Convention will take place from 6-9th October 2017 [the weekend of my 46th Birthday - Ed] at the Cork International Hotel.

Sign up now for entry to all events except the gala dinner (tickets available separately) at:

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[New: UK] Studio Theatre Club present Raising Steam as adapted by Stephen Briggs

Location: Unicorn Theatre, 18 Thames St, Abingdon OX14 3HZ

Dates: Wed 22nd - Sat 25th November 2017

Times: Wed-Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2:30pm

Tickets: 10GBP - Wed+Thurs, 11GBP Fri+Sat (NOT YET AVAILABLE)


6. Recurring Monthly Fan Meetings

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

May's meetup will take place on Monday 8th May to avoid clashing with The Gathering of Loonies event in Wincanton.

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

The Drummers are now holding irregular weekend meet-ups in addition to their regular Mondays. Dates are posted on their Facebook page and sent out via their mailing list.

The Drummers are always happy to welcome new visitors. You can find out more at: or Broken Dummers Facebook Page

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The Northern Institute of Ankh-Morpork and District Society of Flatalists is planning a re-birth of the group will a meeting at The Narrow Boat Pub in Skipton, North Yorkshire on Sunday 19th March. New members will be made welcome.

For more information see the Discworld Emporium Forums at: Forum Topic: Meet Up

This will be the group's first meeting since August 2016.

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[Adelaide, Australia] The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South Australia. They 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 their mailing list, visit:

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[Brisbane, Australia] 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: The Pratchett Partisans Facebook Group

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[Melbourne, Australia] The Victorian Discworld Klatch is a social group for fans of Discworld and Terry Pratchett. We meet monthly for fun activities and to talk all things Pratchetty. Information on our current event can be found on Victorian Discworld Klatch Facebook Group or email

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[Perth, Australia] The Treacle Mining Corporation meet-up to celebrate the works of 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 @TreacleMiningCo, Instagram treacle_mining_corporation, and Facebook Treacle Mining Corporation Facebook Group

Otherwise message Alexandra Ware directly at

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

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

Meeting location: 3 Wise Monkeys, 555 George Street, Sydney, 2000 from 6:30pm

For more information contact Sue (AKA Granny Weatherwax) on

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[Sydney, Australia] Western Drummers (western suburbs of Sydney NSW Australia) meet 6pm on the third Tuesday of the month at the Nepean Rowing Club for dinner chat and games.

Western Drummers Facebook Group

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* Calling USA / Canadian Fans *

Appreciate Discworld and Sir Terry Pratchett? Want to chat and gather with other Discworld fans in the US and Canada? Regional Discworld fan Facebook groups are linked below!

Holy Wood Dreams (covers WA, OR, CA, NV, AZ, NM, and HI):

Holy Wood Dreams Facebook Page

Central US Discworld Fans (covers ID, MT, WY, ND, SD, NE, UT, CO, KS, OK, and TX):

Central US Discworld Fans Facebook Group

Midwest Discworld Fans (covers IL, IN, WI, MI, KY, MN, IA, and MO):

Midwest Discworld Fans Facebook Group

Southeast US Pratchett Fans (covers AR, LA, TN, MS, AL, GA, NC, SC, and FL):

Southeast US Pratchett Fans Facebook Group

Mid-Atlantic Discworld Fans (covers PA, OH, WV, VA, Washington DC, and MD):

Mid-Atlantic Discworld Fans Facebook Group

New England Discworld Fans (covers DE, NJ, NY, Ct, RI, MA, VT, NH, and ME):

New England Discworld Fans Facebook Group

Canadian Discworld Fans (covers Canada and Alaska):

Canadian Discworld Fans Facebook Group

If you are in a border state or a province between two groups, feel free to join both groups.

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[Australia] Drumknott's Irregulars is a newly established Terry Pratchett social group based in Canberra. The group is open to anyone and their events are not heavily themed.

Facebook: Drumknott's Irregulars Facebook Group

Google Groups: Drumknott's Irregulars Google Group

7. 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 with a view from another dimension.

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.

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* From: "Carolanne Ellis-Brewer"

It occurred to me that although STP (in his own words as a Taurus) "did not believe in astrology", there is in fact quite a lot of astrology in the books, especially the earlier ones.

From the Wilf the God of Astrology (signified by the 3 stars on his bow, and who has a cup of tea and then pushes off) to the Professor of Astrology at UU, STP also describes many of the Houses of the Zodiac and their attributes. There are 13 houses in the DW astrology, all of whom have a multitude of signifiers, which leads me to believe that the DW must have a small host of small stars and constellations that follow it through the firmament. These seem to have a small connection to Roundworld astrology but only in the same way an umbrella resembles a house!! I will be submitting a short series on the DW astrology and how it relates to Roundworld astrology in the months to come.

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* From: "Euan Hastie"

The Discworld Roleplaying Game has been published by Steve Jackson Games. For those who are interested it is a standalone game with no other purchases needed and it is based on the GURPS RPG system. As well as being available online ( it is presumably available at gaming stores.

Discworld Monthly replies: We did advertise that this would be available back in December. In fact we ordered our copies in November but sadly our supplier has had stock issues and still hasn't been able to fulfil our order. Once we get a copy we'll write a review. In the meantime David Northey has written a first look at Gurps Discworld later in this issue.

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* From: "Chris Hughes"

I wanted to email Rob Wilkins. This was the closest email address I could find.

I'd like to draw your attention to my blog post All fur coat and trousers, in which I address the misspoken phrase, 'All mouth and no trousers', which should of course be 'All mouth and trousers'.

(Check out the Guardian style guide if you don't believe me.)

In a footnote, I point out that Sir Terry made the same mistake (or misspeak) in Raising Steam. I go on to say that his later books were written by dictating to Rob Wilkins or by the use of speech-recognition software.

I say: Let's blame the software. (And the editor.) My post's at: All Mouth and Fur Coat

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* From: "Lucy"

Editor's Note: Lucy has decided that she no longer wants her letter published. We have therefore removed it upon her request.

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* From: "Tim Edwards"

I saw the fourth part of TP's memorial last night on BBC iPlayer, very emotional.

The main reason for writing is this: - I understand Terry tried to add a finish/ending to his series of books, but as an avid reader of his whole output, I believe there is still some closure to be achieved for his sake and mostly for his many fans.

When you put Terry's collection together, mostly he has achieved some kind of finishing statement, but in that his last book only part way managed that. Which leaves the prickly subject of what happens next!!!

Will someone continue to write in the guise of the great man, or will the rights of the story be franchised out? Or maybe a ghost writer can be arranged, (sorry!!!!).

I did have some good ideas on a final and closing novel, Mostly centered around Susan, her Grandfather, (and the 3 other horsemen), Sir Vimes, Rincewind, and of course the Luggage!!

The story map is still in my head, but centered around a Vortex rapidly closing on the Discworld, (in fact in 10 minutes time!), Susan becomes aware of it, which sets in motion a frantic amount of scheming, traveling and TERROR, (that part is particularly centered toward Rincewind)!!! As it involves jumping off the Disc again!! Well that's the plan, and as Terry would have liked, not the reality!

There are several other bit players involved in the story, the Monks of History do have a brief appearance! Sadly with Granny Weatherwax's passing she will have to be left out of the book, both the Librarian and Death of Rats have also parts to play!

The title: - The End (or is it?)

I have an idea of where Terry would have ended up in this book, and to 'park the series' in a safe place, and give his fans finality! (Unless)

My deepest condolences towards you and Terry's family.

Jason Anthony (Editor) replies: Terry made it very clear that all work in progress was to be destroyed upon his death. Rob his assistant and Rhianna his daughter have agreed to respect his wishes by not publishing any of the material. Rhianna has also stated that she considers Discworld to be sacrosanct and that nobody will be allowed to continue the series. Though we won't get any new material we will still get new screen and stage adaptations. Next year we will get the Good Omens six-part television series. It's also been announced that The Wee Free Men will be adapted by The Henson Company with the screenplay being written by Rhianna. We are sure that there are several other projects in the pipeline but no real details are yet available.

8. DiscTrivia

We're back with five challenging trivia questions for you - this month all the questions relate to The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Good luck, Jason.

What type of hat did Sardines wear?
What does the second mouse get?
What, according to the rat catcher, happens if you touch a rat?
In rat measurements how big is two paws?
In rat alphabet what does Water+Fast+Stones translate into?

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

9. Review: Feet of Clay Live in Abergavenny

Review by Rachel Rowlands and Jason Anthony.

Discworld Monthly went to the opening night, Thursday 26th January, of Feet of Clay at the Borough Theatre in Abergavenny. We've never visited the Borough Theatre before and we'd never seen Feet of Clay performed live. Feet of Clay ran until Saturday 28th January.

After collecting our tickets and gaining access to the bar area we were greeted by three members of the Watch and another, at that point, unknown character. The watchmen turned out to be Carrot, Fred and Angua and they were selling programs and raffle tickets. The other character turned out to be Pardessus (assistant to Dragon King of Arms).

The auditorium is quite large and can seat around 350 people, the stage is also wide and quite deep. On the opening night I estimate that about 30% of the seats were occupied.

Having the large stage allowed the group to have rooms set up in each corner. We loved Vimes' office on the left with the hot drinks rota chalked on one wall and Lord Vetinari's office / bedroom on the other. But this large space also meant that a lot of the performances were played in one or other small corner of the stage.

Bringing golems to life was never going to be an easy task but we have to say that the two golem costumes were interesting. There was a lot of shaped foam involved and our very first reaction was wondering why there were two, differently coloured, giant lobsters on the stage. We suspect that limited budget had a lot to do with the design concepts.

We don't know how big The Abergavenny Theatre Group's pool of actors is BUT we have to say that soon after the performance had started we felt that something wasn't right. In our opinion you need a very strong Vimes to pull off a successful Watch production and in our view John Geraghty just wasn't the right actor. Vimes came across as bumbling rather than the confident and dogged investigator we've come to expect (especially as by the time we get to the events in Feet of Clay Vimes has already given up the drink and married Lady Ramkin). Personally we would liked to have swapped the actors playing Colon and Vimes around. The two leading ladies, Mari-Anne Gibson as Angua and Clare Jabob as Cheery Littlebottom, really stole the show though - their performances seemed natural and they seemed to both be enjoying their roles. Les Hayes was also a lot of fun as Dragon King of Arms. We think that it was clear that some of the actors had never read any Pratchett before or certainly didn't understand their characters. Detritus, for example, was far too upbeat and happy, where we would expect him to be slow and plodding - it was as if he'd taken a load of Slab just before the performance. We also think they tried far too much with making Nobby deformed. Nobby we're sure shouldn't have a hunchback, horns and a huge animal foot sticking out of one boot. We also noticed that a lot of the cast was very young - this apparent lack of experience seemed to pop up throughout the play.

During the first act there was a lot of prompting needed and there seemed to be a lot of timing issues. There were times where things seemed to just come to a complete halt for a bit too long to be comfortable. We think we can put a lot of the issues with the first act down to first night nerves because the second act flowed much more smoothly. The actors seem to have settled into their characters a little better and the performances certainly seemed more natural.

We loved the golem fight, which for us was over far too quickly. It reminded us of the old Godzilla movies with two giant men in suits fighting over the Tokyo skyline. We laughed at seeing bits of golem being ripped off and strewn across the stage.

The question remains though - did we enjoy the performance? Maybe we've been really lucky with the previous productions we've seen and our expectations are that much higher. Maybe it needed just a little more direction from the production team to polish up some of the performances. Overall though it was a fun and very entertaining evening and we'd certainly consider making the 100+ mile round trip again to see The Abergavenny Theatre group perform another Pratchett production.

10. Discworld Monthly Competition Result

Last month we purchased a set of Mark Beech covered paperbacks of The Carpet People, Truckers, Diggers and Wings to give away. In order to win this wonderful set of novels we asked you to answer the following question:

What was the first Pratchett book that Mark Beech illustrated the cover of?

The answer we was looking for was Dragons at Crumbling Castle but we would have also accepted The Abominable Snowman (although this was only ever an eBook).

The randomly selected winner is Robert Elliott from Oxfordshire. We'll package up your prize and get it into the post to you as soon as possible.

11. Terry Pratchett: Back In Black

Review by Jason Anthony

Terry Pratchett

On Saturday 11th February BBC2 broadcast the fourth in the trilogy of Terry Pratchett documentaries. The documentary allows Terry to tell the story of his life in his own words, channelled through actor Paul Kaye. It also features contributions from fellow authors Neil Gaiman and Val McDermid and from many of Terry's friends and family including Rhianna Pratchett, Paul Kidby, Colin Smythe, Bernard Pearson and, of course, his right-hand man Rob Wilkins. The documentary also features a number of fans, filmed at the 2016 Discworld Convention, sharing some of their memories of Terry.

The documentary tells about Terry's troubled early education and his joyful experience of discovering the local library. Where, through reading, he found all the friends he ever needed (a sentiment that many of us can probably empathize with).

Terry talks about his time at the Bucks Free Press where he quickly discovered that there is no such thing as writer's block especially when there is an editor shouting at you to get the thing written.

Many of contributors touch on how Terry's anger at injustice and unfairness powered the Discworld where, to some extent, Terry could bring attention to these injustices.

The final part of the documentary is the darkest. We hear about how it became clear to Terry and Rob that something was going wrong when Terry accused Rob of stealing the S key from his keyboard. This was shortly before Terry was diagnosed with PCA and subsequently just before Terry's life changed again and he became "Mr Alzheimer's". We all traveled with Terry on this journey and the previous documentaries presented the progress of the PCA. The scenes where Rob and Terry are sat down just reminiscing are heartbreaking to watch as Terry desperately tries to reach for the words that are just outside his grasp. It is poignant that Rob turns to camera and says "we've probably done this six months too late."

Paul's impression of Terry is very good, though different enough not to become creepy. I think it was a brave decision to have an actor play Terry rather than use a narrator. Personally I really like it. Paul Kaye has certainly gone up in my estimations.

The documentary made me in turns laugh out loud, think deeply and cry. I loved that the contributors were not afraid to show their feelings. Neil Gaiman, sitting in a Chinese restaurant, explaining how he visited Terry for one last time was so moving is had us all in tears.

This is a beautiful memorial of Terry and one I think fans will want to keep forever. It's not a deep documentary like Living with Alzheimer's or Choosing to Die but a deeply personal and warm documentary about an amazing and wonderful man that we all loved. I really hope that the BBC will release this on DVD / Blu-ray as it is something that I will want to occasionally revisit [and not just because I got a couple of lines in - Ed].

UK residents can watch Terry Pratchett: Back in Black on the BBC iPlayer (for 30 days after broadcast) at: BBC iPlayer - Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

UK residents can also purchase a digital copy to keep via digital download from the BBC store at: BBC Store - Back in Black it costs 1.89 GBP for the standard definition or 2.49 GBP for HD.

Now you've seen the new documentary you can take a look at some behind the scenes photos (Back in Black - Behind the Scenes) that were taken while filming.

Some other reviews of Terry Pratchett: Back in Black:

The Telegraph - Back in Black

The Daily Mail - Terry's Final Fantasy

Home Care - Terry's War on Dementia

The Guardian - Back In Black Review

* * * * *

Words About Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

Written by Rachel Rowlands

Terry Pratchett

Back in Black is all about Terry's life. How he grew, why and how he became the author, right up until his death and how he touched many of our lives.

Paul Kaye makes an awesome Terry. He sounds close enough and looks enough like him for the purpose of the documentary but not enough like him to be creepy. I did have some reservations when I saw the preview trailers but having seen the whole documentary, the man did good.

I'm not going to rattle on about the contents, it's all brilliant. From snippets of past interviews with Terry himself to Paul being kicked by a schoolgirl, every bit had a right to be part of the story. It made me smile and giggle.

But, I'm just going to say this. I held it together right up until Neil Gaiman cried. Right in that moment, Neil embodied how every single fan felt about Terry's passing. Whether it be tears for the books we could have had, or tears for the man who touched us all, seeing Neil cry over his friend speared into my heart and echoed how we all felt. I was left wanting to reach into the screen and give Neil a hug.

Neil, you bastard. Once the tears started flowing, I struggled to make them stop just as you did, just as they should be.

I want this on Blu-ray, do you hear me Rob? Charlie? BBC executives? I want this documentary on my shelf because it is a celebration, a fitting piece of docudrama that puts the Terry we knew and loved on the screen to comfort us when we need a reminder of him. Something we can't leave tear stains on. Well done to Terry, Charlie, Rob and the team. You gave us exactly that.

12. Review: Monstrous Regiment Live in Southampton

Review by Steph West

Monstrous Regiment

The theatre is dark. The stage is almost empty, bar a couple of benches and a small pile of clothes. A girl walks in, isolated, alone, silent, and in the dark begins to cut her hair. This as we all know is Polly Perks becoming Oliver. The story behind Monstrous Regiment is dark, and one that, elements at least of which, have been replayed throughout military history. Dealt with through STP's usual medium of fantasy walking hand-in-hand with reality, dark humour and punching critique, the story is one which many of us know well, and one the director (Imogen Higgs) clearly knows well too as she has created an excellent interpretation of it. Simple, minimalist staging and props allowed the story to flow well and exposed some really excellent acting, to the point where I am not sure which was my favourite. Actually, I tell a lie, it was Private Maladict. Not only is the vampire my favourite character in the book, the acting by Paul Cresser was brilliant. Or possibly Jackrum (Stephen Fenerty) who really caught the spirit of the Sergeant. Private Polly (Oliver/Ozzer) Perks (Frankie Payne) of course was the star of the show, and she was spot on with the role, clearly a very talented actress, she handled the character extremely well throughout. In fact, given that this is a relatively small company who'd never done an STP play before, everyone was extremely good, my only slight concern might have been that while Adam Taussik was excellent as Captain Horentz, his Vimes was, at the start, too posh, too conceited, not earthy enough. But perhaps this is only something that someone who knew the character quite so well would pick up on. Even Imogen, the director, did a wonderful job standing in as Private 'Shufti' Manickle due to a cast illness, I don't doubt full of nerves but it didn't show. Costume-wise the complete show stealer was Carborundum. I've seen a few troll costumes in my time (now there's a sentence you never think you're going to need to type!) but that has to be by far the best, although apparently it gets very warm in there. Adam Warren did a great job acting under all that too.

Myself, the husband and the brother-in-law tramped over to see this production last week. As an audience combination we probably reflect every configuration of Terry Pratchett understanding, myself the avid STP nut, owning all the books (and a fair amount of Emporium, Paul Kidby and Discworld Monthly merchandise!), Rob (husband) who likes to read the books occasionally, but hasn't got through them all yet, and Stu (B-i-L), who has never read a single Pratchett book in his life (I know, there are still some people out there who have survived without it, I was shocked too).

The production was put on at the Nuffield Theatre, which it turns out is a little purpose-built modern theatre set in the heart of the Southampton University campus. Quite nice, no frills, and, particularly considering the heart of student-ville, decent beer at the bar. As Discworld Monthly's Rachel had nobbled me for writing this review for the newsletter, I'd actually been pre-approached by Bridget Wilkinson (who also gave an excellent performance of Private Igor as well as being the Publicity Manager) to let her know if I was going to be able to make it. That meant that when I arrived I had a programme waiting for me and people wanting to chat, everyone was extremely friendly and although it's the first time they have put on a Discworld play, it turns out there's quite a few Discworld fans in the cast and crew. Given that for a cold Thursday evening in February the theatre was almost sold out, it looks like there's quite a few Discworld fans in Southampton too.

After the show several of the cast popped out to the atrium to say hi and were quickly mobbed by eager audience members for photographs. It was lovely to have people coming up to say what fans they are of Discworld, and of Discworld Monthly, although I did have to disappoint one Discworld Monthly fan in the cast by admitting that I wasn't Rachel (I'm just not tall enough to pull that off!).

All of us left having had a great evening, with the non-STP reader in our group mentally eyeing up my bookcases for the first book to borrow. We may have another Discworld fan in the making, thanks to Southampton University Players.

We also left with news that, although it won't happen immediately, they will hopefully put on

another STP production in the future. I hope soon, I'll be the first in the queue for tickets.

* * * * *

A second opinion from Ann Mackenzie

On February 4th I spent an enjoyable evening when I went to see Monstrous Regiment performed in Southampton. The production was by the SUP Theatre Company. The show had been advertised via Discworld Monthly with a poster that didn't really seem to fit the story. This same picture graced the front of the programme. The picture includes a very attractive female vampire and other characters that "sort of" go with the plot. To me, it didn't seem quite right.

I arrived early for the show, so took time looking at the display of cast members and was surprised to see that the role of Maladict was cast to a man. Having seen this book performed before, when all the "privates" were cast to women, I wasn't sure how this would work. I put my initial impressions to one side as I waited for the play to start.

The play obviously follows Sir Terry's book and Stephen Briggs' adaptation. There is humour, some subtle, some not so - that was an impressive pair of socks! There is also sadness as we find out the personal reasons why the "lads" have signed up. One by one as the Story progresses, the privates are "outed". With limited props and background, the play was easy to follow for those who know the story and also to those who didn't (my son came with me and he hasn't read the book).

Most of the characters were performed well and the acting was good on the whole. Many of the cast take on multiple roles. However there were a couple of cast members who didn't project enough and some of the words sounded mumbled. I would pick out Stephen Fenerty's performance as Sergeant Jackrum as being my favourite. Another favourite was Christopher Gardener as Lieutenant Blouse - but more particularly when he became Daphne. The Privates were all well portrayed, and I am happy to say that it made no difference that Maladict was acted by a man and we did get the "reveal" at the end. The costume of Carborundum/Jade was very good.

A nice touch, after the show had finished, was having the cast in the foyer so the audience could have their photo taken with them. Another nice touch was a collection with the price of the programmes with donations going to the Orangutan Foundation UK.

Well done SUP. Imogen Higgs, the director, is a self confessed fan of Sir Terry so I hope they do another of his productions in the future.

13. March Competition - KISS THE COOK

Kiss The Cook

This month we've rummaged through our collection of wonderful Discworld Monthly prize items and have found a supply of Kiss the Cook posters illustrated by the wonderful Catskind. So we have decided to offer one of the amazing posters of Death in the Kitchen (surrounded by cats) wearing a "Kiss The Cook" apron as the prize.

In order to win the "Kiss The Cook" poster you need to answer the following question:

What musical instrument does Death try (and fail) to play?

Send your answer, along with your postal address, to before Friday March 24th 2017. Your address will only be used for sending out your prize should you be the lucky winner. Once prizes are sent out all address details will be destroyed. Entries received after the closing date or sent to any other address will be ignored. No more than one entry per person will be accepted - multiple entries will result in a ban from the competition. Failure to answer the questions or provide your postal address will prevent you from being entered into the competition. Answers to the questions must not be posted to any websites before the competition ends. The judges' decision is final. The competition is open to all readers.

14. GURPS Discworld - A first Look

Review by David Northey

GURPS Discworld

GURPS Discworld RPG - A review by a complete novice to the GURPS/ D&D RPG genre.

This rather thick tome (400 pages, plus a brief 1 page glossary, 2 pages of a bibliography giving a 2 line brief synopsis of the DW books up to and including Snuff and other GURPS publications, and a 5 page index) - credited as being by Terry Pratchett and Phil Masters and illustrated throughout by Paul Kidby and Sean Murray - is my first foray into the Dungeons and Dragons style of Role Playing games.

What is required to play this RPG is this book and three 6-sided dice, so there is no need to go out to a gaming shop to buy some of those stranger multi-sided dice that are required in other D&D style games - their words, not mine!!

This game uses the 4th edition of the GURPS role playing game.

There are 11 chapters in this book, all with line drawings by Paul and Sean throughout. The 1st chapter provides a brief overview of the Discworld, for those who may have picked up the book as they are fans of the GURPS games. Chapters 2 to 4 explain how to create human and non-human characters, setting up their skills, occupations, traits, influences, and quirks in quite minute detail - giving the non RPG person quite a lot of information to take in! They do go through how to setup an example character, in boxes at the side. To offset the information overload, there are quotes from the various DW books.

Chapter 4 deals with setting up shopping - weapons, clothes, food and drink, living expenses, etc.

Chapter 5 deals with how to play the game - when to roll the dice, who rolls, and how to decide the success or failure rates, magic, using weapons, how to set up the session, the Game Master (GM) role, how to create Non Player Characters (NPCs), and improving characters.

Chapter 6 deals with Life and Lands of the Disc, giving the geography of the Disc.

Chapter 7 deals with the great city state of Ankh-Morpork.

Chapter 8 deals with "the supernatural side" - magic, the Dungeon Dimensions, working spells, and UU (naturally!), Witches, DEATH, the Gods, and other legends.

Chapter 9 deals with setting up the Citizens of the Disc as playable and NPCs.

Chapter 10 deals with the creatures of the Disc.

Chapter 11 deals with the role of the Game Master - and gives some sample campaign settings.

I am unsure whether this will be a regular game playing experience for me, as it looks highly complicated and I've never really played any D&D style games, but will be looking to give it a go in the near future.

15. The End

Please let us have any submissions for issue 240 of Discworld Monthly BEFORE Friday 24th March 2017.

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* DiscTrivia Results *

What type of hat did Sardines wear?
Sardines wore a little straw hat.
What does the second mouse get?
The second mouse gets the cheese!
What, according to the rat catcher, happens if you touch a rat?
Your legs explode!
In rat measurements how big is two paws?
About an inch.
In the rat alphabet what does Water+Fast+Stones translate into?
River Street.

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