Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
SEPTEMBER 2008 (Volume 11, Issue 9)
WOSSNAME is a FREE publication for members of the worldwide
Klatchian Foreign Legion and its affiliates, including the North
American Discworld Society and other continental groups. Are you a
member? Yes, if you sent in your name, country and e-mail address.
Are there any dues? No! As a member of the Klatchian Foreign Legion,
you'd only forget them...
Editor in Chief: Annie Mac
Editor Emeritus (retd): Joseph Schaumburger
News Editor: Fiona (not Bruce) Bruce
Newshounds: Vera, Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow
Staff Writers: Asti Osborn, Paul Blake, Steven D'Aprano
Convention Reporters: Mithtrethth Hania Ogg et al
Staff Technomancer: Jason Parlevliet
Book Reviews: Drusilla D'Afanguin
Puzzle Editor: Tiff
Bard in Residence: Weird Alice Lancrevic
DW Horoscope: Lady Anaemia Asterisk, Fernando Magnifico
Emergency Staff: Jason Parlevliet, Nathan Clissold, Dylan Williams
World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano
Copyright 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
====Part 1 -- ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS
1) QUOTE OF THE MONTH
2) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
3) LIVE ONLINE CHAT WITH TERRY PRATCHETT!
4) REVIEWS OF NATION
4) THE DOCTOR IS IN...AT UNIVERSITY
6) THE ROYAL SOCIETY FETES PTERRY AND NATION
7) SIGNINGS SMALL AND LARGE: A REPORT BY PAT HARKIN
====Part 2 -- MORE NEWS, AUDIO, PLAYS, AND CONVENTION REPORTS
8) INTERVIEW WITH PTERRY IN PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY
9) IN THE FRONT ROW: LISTEN AGAIN (AND AGAIN)
10) EDINBURGH FESTIVAL READING PODCAST
11) NATION FREEBIE FOR iPOINTS USERS
12) PIECE ON PTERRY AND HIS ILLNESS
13) A QUILT OF MANY PARTS
14) CROCHET MODEL OF DISCWORLD
15) DECONSTRUCTING DISCWORLD: STRANGE HORIZONS ARTICLE
16) PTERRY TO GET A (SECOND) LIFE
17) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
18) DWCON 2008: ADDITIONAL CONVENTION REPORTS
19) ASK HER ABOUT STAMPS
20) TRUCKERS ON THE BIG SCREEN
21) ONLINE REVIEW OF THE TURTLE MOVES
22) NADWCON UPDATES
====Part 3 -- ...AND MORE, AND WEIRD ALICE
23) EUAN MACRAE MEMORIAL CYCLETHON
24) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
25) GOOD OMENS: A REVIEW IN CATHOLIC ONLINE
26) WOW-WOW SAUCE: IT'S THE REAL THING
27) ...AND SO IS THE BARKING DOG
28) BUGARUP UNIVERSITY CAMPUS NEWSROUND
29) ABP BITS: NATION WOWS 'EM
30) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC
====Part 4 -- WEIRD ALICE CONTINUED, AND HOROSCOPE
31) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC, CONTINUED
32) YOUR MONTHLY DISCWORLD HOROSCOPE
====Part 5 -- HOLD THE BACK PAGE!
33) LATE BREAKING NEWS
1) QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"He'd never counted the people in the Nation. There were...enough.
Enough to feel that you were part of something that had seen many
yesterdays and would see many tomorrows, with rules that everyone
knew, and which worked because everyone knew them, so much that they
were just part of the way people lived." -- Nation
2) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Once again, I'll let the articles do the talking. Some wonderful
stuff here - especially the audio links and exclusive reports. Don't
forget to check the LATE BREAKING NEWS, after this month's Horoscope
column; plenty of items came in at the last minute!
As always, WOSSNAME would be delighted to receive reviews of
Discworld plays and anything else you, our readers, think should be
in here (no, not spam...). Special thanks go to the Newshounds and
the exclusive contributors this month.
Also, a big WOSSNAME wave of appreciation to founder and former
editor Joe Schaumburger, who is proud to announce that 2008 is his
sixtieth year as a fan-convention-goer. Joe also would like to
invite us to his 120th birthday party, which -- considering the
greatly improved state of his health now -- he fully expects to
celebrate. Only 41 years to go...
-- Annie Mac, Editor
3) THE RITE OF ASHK'PTERRY: ONLINE CHAT WITH THE MAN IN THE HAT
Do you have any questions you've always wanted to ask Pterry? Do you
want to send him a message of thanks for his wonderful books? Thanks
to the Washington Post, you've an opportunity to do so on Wednesday
1st October at 11 am Eastern Time (USA). For more information, and
to submit a question or message, go to:
The link for submissions is in the page -- see the highlighted text
in "Submit your questions and comments before or during the live
discussion." This session is open to participants from anywhere in
the world, and you can even submit questions during the chat.
For those of you living in other time zones, remember to check what
local time and date equals Pterry-chat time! Here's a useful page:
4) REVIEWS OF NATION IN MAJOR NEWSPAPERS
4.1) IN THE TIMES
by Amanda Craig:
"Yet like all serious writers of fantasy, Pratchett has always been
pr occupied with death. It is curious how those who dislike this form
of literature believe it to be escapist when in fact it tends
towards the opposite, dramatising the sorrow of eternal loss."
4.2) IN THE GUARDIAN
by Frank Cottrell Boyce:
"There's a twist that gave me goosepimples of delight: if you read
it to your 10-year-olds, they will gasp and giggle. At the same
time, you could read it to a conference of philosophy professors and
they would learn something. Nation has profound, subtle and original
things to say about the interplay between tradition and knowledge,
faith and questioning."
4.3) IN THE SUNDAY TIMES
"Thought-provoking as well as fun, this is Pratchett at his most
philosophical, with characters and situations sprung from ideas and
games with language. And it celebrates the joy of the moment."
4.4) IN THE INDEPENDENT
by Nicholas Tucker
"As he draws from Ancient Egyptian culture, opera, Shakespeare, the
Marx brothers and legions of other sources, nothing he writes is
ever predictable except that it will always be gloriously
readable. Now, aged 60 but faced by a diagnosis of early-onset
Alzheimer's, he presents his all-age fans with one of his finest
"The idea of starting out afresh on a tiny island has brought out
the best in fiction writers from Defoe to William Golding. Children
relish these stories, but in this novel Pratchett is writing for
4.5) IN THE WASHINGTON POST
by Michael Dirda
"Nation remains at heart a novel of ideas, a ferocious questioning
of vested cultural attitudes and beliefs."
(Long, detailed but spoilery; requires registration)
4.6) Also, a well-written blog-review by Fordiebianco:
"I can't remember the last time I cried while I was reading a
book, but Terry Pratchett's Nation certainly did produce a bit of
a sniffle today."
"Nation is tender, humane, a delight to read, very moving, and
has maybe the best ending of all of Pratchett's books."
5) THE DOCTOR IS IN...AT UNIVERSITY
"I got so much of my education by reading book after book and going
to where the next book signposted me..."
Here be a report in the Bucks Free Press on his honorary doctorate
from Bucks New University, with embedded links to both a video and a
fascinating audio interview, in which Mr - now six-times-honorary-
Doctor - Pratchett reveals how he was one of Britain's last formally
indentured journalists and had to get permission from the editor of
the Bucks Free Press to marry!:
...and another article in Salisbury Journal, with some different
"...I swear until my dying day that he said to me 'I like the cut of
your jib young man', possibly the last person in the world ever to
say it without being arrested."
"He closed his speech by making Ruth Farwell, BNU's vice chancellor,
an honorary wizard of Unseen University from his Discworld books. Dr
Farwell was given a wizard hat to wear and handed her honorary
scroll, badge and banana."
6) THE ROYAL SOCIETY FETES NATION
...which is the number one bestselling children's book now:
Go to the PJSM news page for some photos including Pterry trying
'island cocktails' at the Royal Society:
7) SIGNINGS SMALL AND LARGE: A MOST ENTERTAINING REPORT
by Pat Harkin, who made it to both of them!
Hayling Island, Saturday September 13th:
The sun rose bright and clear over Portsmouth at 5:34am that
morning, driving the sea mist from the gullies and bringing the
landscape to life once more. Or so I'm told. I was fast asleep and
didn't wake up for another two hours, which gave me time for a quick
wash, breakfast, and a leisurely drive out to Hayling Island. I
found a car park just around the corner from the bookshop and at
8:30 found the queue. The rather long queue. Now, I'm used to the
fact that Terry's signings do feature the finest creations of the
queue-makers' art, but I had thought a ticket-only signing, limited
to 200 people, might be different. Not a bit of it. At 8:30 there
were already about 120 ticket holders lined up along the street --
I suspect to the annoyance of the shops on either side, though I did
notice the deli selling a lot of cups of tea and cakes -- and about
20 who had turned up ticketless in the hope they might get in. Also
present were about six reporters and photographers and several
people in yellow tabards who were doing crowd control. And doing it
very well -- the crowd were admitted in ticket-number order -- which
put me well up the queue, as I had ticket 30! Except I didn't --
ticket 30 was still at home in Leeds. Fortunately, when I got my
ticket, they'd taken a note of my phone number so I was able to
prove who I was and they let me in!
They'd really gone to town on setting the shop up for the signing.
Hayling Island Bookshop is Britain's smallest bookshop. It's
about 9 feet square. They'd arranged things so people entered,
passed along one wall past a display of Terry's books, paid at the
back, and then came down the other wall to meet Terry and leave.
Except it wasn't like that. If you haven't had a chance to read
Nation yet, it's primarily set in and around a small coral island,
and the owners of the shop had taken this idea to their hearts. When
I stepped up to the door, I had to push through some live bamboo
plants to get in. Inside was all foliage -- most of the shelves
were obscured by camouflage netting. Jungles and ocean sounds filled
the air. In one corner was a real parrot, who I was told knows one
naughty word, but chose not to use it that morning -- in my hearing
On sale was Nation -- both the normal hardback and a special
limited edition, available only at the two signings that day, and
the Folklore of Discworld. I got one of the limited editions, and
Terry signed it for me. He asked if I would be going to the
Waterstones' signing that afternoon, and when he found I was
commented drying "What a pity there's no room in the
helicopter...". Yes, Terry would by flying the 75 miles between
Hayling Island and Battersea in a helicopter, in about 30 minutes.
I was going to be driving...
Some two and a half hours later (yes, that's an average of 30
miles an hours, which seems OK, but was actually made up of about 60
miles of 60mph and far too much of the remaining 15 miles at walking
pace or slower) I arrived at Europe's largest bookshop --
Waterstones in Piccadilly. With 5,000 square metres of floor space,
it's about 500 times the size of the Hayling Island Bookstore. The
queue was not, fortunately, 500 times as long. When I arrived, there
were about 200 people queuing, and the line quickly lengthened
around the corner and out of sight, so I have no idea how many
people were there in all. When I finally left, about two hours
later, the line was still as long! Waterstones are obviously used to
big queues, however, and their crew of queue-herders kept us out of
peoples' way and brought us through the shop to the signing area
in manageable numbers. The signing area was large (about 4 times
wider and deeper than the entire Hayling Island Bookshop!) and
worked well. We were lead to it in small groups, so we didn't get
the "there's someone right behind me wanting their book signed -
I'd better hurry" feeling you sometimes get in smaller bookshops
-- but it was obviously "the signing zone": a big desk, with a
big generic Waterstones backdrop and displays of the author's
books. Today, the author was Terry, next week it may be politician,
perhaps last week a soap star.
Waterstones put on a signing -- a very good signing -- but Hayling
Island put on a Pratchett signing.
One of the great things about the queues at Terry's signings is
the chance to meet old friends and make new ones. The advent of the
internet has added a third possibility to this -- I spent quite
some time chatting to the man ahead of me in the queue before
discovering that we're members of the same forum, and we've
bought Discworld stuff from each other on eBay! Quite a few of the
Unusual Suspects were there -- I won't mention them as a full
list would be long and dull and an incomplete list might cause
unrest, but "Hi everyone! Nice meeting you all again!"
Also there was Colin Smythe, Terry's agent. Colin had an early
copy of "The Illustrated Wee Free Men". I must say the
illustrations, by Stephen Player, are gorgeous. The drawings enhance
the story -- they are not just decoration -- and there are even a
few fold-out pages which almost animate events. I didn't get a
chance to peruse it in too much detail, as Colin fortunately spotted
I'd accidentally put it in my Waterstones' carrier bag, and not
back into his.
And so to bed, as Pepys put it. Except in my case, it was "And so
to a 200 mile drive home, and then to bed". The sun set at 7:09pm,
and that I did see as I was just passing Milton Keynes at the time.
A long day, but a fun one. And I have what I suspect is the only
copy of Nation to be signed at both venues!
[Editor's note: for some lovely photographs of the signings, see
Images of the Month.]
Also, here's a press report on the Hayling Island signing, in the
Portsmouth News. It's nowhere near as entertaining and informative
as Pat's one, though!
[Editor's other note: see LATE BREAKING NEWS on the final page of
this issue for information on Pterry's last signing of the year,
which takes place next week (2nd October) in Southport!]
End of Part 1, continued on Part 2 of 5.
If you did not get all five parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion