Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
MAY 2010 (Volume 13, Issue 5)
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, Pitt the Elder, 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
World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano (in his copious spare
Copyright 2010 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
====Part 1 -- ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
02) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
03) UPDATE FROM THE MASTER
04) GOING POSTAL NEWS
05) PTERRY TAKES ON DOCTOR WHO
====Part 2 -- MORE NEWS AND SUCH
06) PTERRY ON DOCTOR WHO (CONTINUED)...
07) ...AND REVEALS THE SECRETS OF HIS SUCCESS
08) OUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR LENDS A HAND
09) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
10) SIR PTERRY AT WINCHESTER WRITERS' CONFERENCE
11) CONVENTION NEWS
====Part 3 -- ...AND MORE...
12) MOIST LIKES HIS PRATCHETT THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY
13) REVIEW: UNSEEN ACADEMICALS
14) NEW DISCWORLD MINIATURES FROM PJSM PRINTS
15) REVIEW: ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND (THE NOVEL)
16) UNSEEN UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE...ISH
17) GUILTY OF LIT-CRIT: PTERRY STUDIED IN PTEXAS
18) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
19) DISCWORLD VERSUS NEW TECHNOLOGY: NOT A WIN
20) ABP BITS
21) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
====Part 4 -- WEIRD ALICE AND HOROSCOPE
22) WEIRD ALICE PRESENTS
23) YOUR MONTHLY DISCWORLD HOROSCOPE, MAR > NOV
====Part 5 -- HOROSCOPE, LATE BREAKING NEWS, AND CLOSE
24) YOUR MONTHLY DISCWORLD HOROSCOPE, NOV > MAR
25) LATE BREAKING NEWS
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
"I have to admit that I never, ever sit down and plan a novel."
-- Pterry, interviewed by Sky TV
"I've signed a contract for two more books after this one -- I don't
know if my health will actually survive that, but it's an act of
faith. I cannot conceive of not being a writer and not having a book
to do. And I've always said that if my PA or my wife finds me
slumped over the machine, what's the first thing they should do?
Save the work in progress!"
-- ...and interviewed in The Daily Mail
02) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: SHE'S BAAAACK!
So, did you miss me, O Readers? (Don't answer that.)
First, I'd like to thank our brave Acting Editor, Steven D'Aprano,
for filling in so admirably for the past four months. I decided to
take a much needed break after several unbroken years of editorship
and some five years before that of providing main content every
month when WOSSNAME creator Joe Schaumburger was in charge; the idea
was for me to use the free time to work out some personal stuff
(mostly unsuccessfully) and improve my health (epic fail -- I fought
the chronic illness and the chronic illness won). But I do have to
say I'm glad to be back. It's an exciting time on the Pterry-culture
front, what with Going Postal about to air at last and with The
Author serving as editor of SFX Magazine.
So...it's historic moment time this month, as one iconic British
institution takes on another iconic British institution, aka Pterry
critiques Doctor Who. His opinion piece in SFX has ruffled more than
a few feathers in the young and old-school fan communities, but I
have to say that I agree with him. I've been a Who watcher since the
very beginning (and still am, and yes, I love the 21st century
version of the show beyond all measure), and I've been saying since
time out of mind that it isn't science fiction.
I've been debating this with Other Half recently; he insists that
anything with spaceships and futuristic technology in it
automatically qualifies it as science fiction, whereas my take is
that it's only science fiction if the science/technology is
believable (without, that is, the reader/viewer having to click
their heels together three times). But I do agree with him that
the term 'fantasy' -- which once simply meant 'fiction', by the way
-- has acquired too much contextual baggage these days and tends to
indicate the presence of magic or mythology. Therefore I've proposed
a new term: science fantasy.
The difference immediately becomes clear, in my opinion. The trouble
with Doctor Who as science fiction is that the 'science' is as
unscientific as an unscientific thing. The technologies in Doctor
Who can rarely-if-ever be traced to extrapolations from known
science; the technologies in, say, Firefly/Serenity, on the other
hand, are quite realistic for the most part (non-FTL space travel,
vastly advanced psychopharmacology, and I give it extra points for
noting the total lack of anything out there on the sentient life
scale except us, since that's probably true). Star Wars? Science
fantasy. Stargate? Science fiction, just barely. Star Trek? A little
of both, though leaning very strongly towards science fantasy.
I think a big problem with Doctor Who - science-fiction-wise - is
the lack of scientific credibility, combined with a lack of
technological consistency. As Pterry has pointed out, the sonic
screwdriver is nothing more than a barely-disguised magic wand, and
that's just the tip of the iceberg of daft unbelievable
pseudoscience in the show. Team Who does get some points for
gradually attempting to make Timelord physiology have some sort of
consistency, but for the most part DW is an ongoing series of
fantastical tall tales held together by the awesome persona of the
None of this changes the fact that I love the Whoniverse to bits and
always will :-)
But enough of that. On with the show!
-- Annie Mac, Editor
Edited to add: I've just discovered that Good Omens co-writer Neil
Gaiman -- who has written an episode for next season's Doctor Who --
agrees with me:
"'Doctor Who has never pretended to be hard science fiction,' Gaiman
said. 'At best Doctor Who is a fairytale, with fairytale logic about
this wonderful man in this big blue box who at the beginning of
every story lands somewhere where there is a problem...'"
To read the whole article, go to:
03) UPDATE FROM THE MASTER
UPDATE FROM THE MASTER...SORT OF
Here be Pterry's opening remarks as guest editor of issue 196 of SFX
Magazine (May 2010). Or rather, his opening opening remarks. To read
all of it, you'll have to buy the magazine -- which is full of
interesting articles chosen by the current editor:
"My first impression upon arriving at SFX Towers was that regular
editor Dave must have quite a cushy job because editing the mag
seems to consist of no more than drinking coffee and chatting about
Galaxy Quest. He gets paid for this? I just did it for the bacon
sarnie. But it was lovely meeting the SFX team who, on the whole,
looked more normal than you would expect. We talked through the
issue and I instantly shot the person who said that there should be
a Buffy retrospective, once was enough! And they obviously all love
their Doctor Who. I am in two minds about him, and you can read some
of my thoughts on the matter here on the website; but nevertheless I
was happy to agree to have Amy on the cover and an interview with
Karen Gillan. But fortunately I was able to persuade them to run
features on Blade Runner and my favourite PC game Oblivion: The
"You will also find a feature on the Mob Films adaptation of Going
Postal. I have to say that Mob are getting better at Discworld with
every movie. Sometimes they miss a detail, but they really make a
wonderful effort to get it right and the clacks system they built is
everything I could have hoped for. Unfortunately, the whole effect
is totally ruined by some amateur actor they allowed in at the last
minute. They did the same thing in the previous two. You are allowed
to boo him.
"This month kicks off SFX's three month celebration of SF in books.
I love SF and fantasy at the cinema and on TV, but we mustn't forget
the significance of written fiction. So starting this month the team
are going to include bonus features and interviews from the world of
"Look out for notes from me dotted throughout the issue, where I've
felt the need to stick my oar in and tell the team what they should
be doing. If you like what you read this month, it was down to me.
If you don't like what you see, then it was SFX's fault and you
should send your hate mail to the usual place. I do."
This extract originally published at SFX online:
For a list and description of this issue's contents, go to:
04) GOING POSTAL -- AT LAST!
Going Postal, starring Richard Coyle, Claire Foy and Charles Dance,
is finally hitting the aether this week! The two-part film will be
broadcast on Sunday, 30th May, at 6pm (part 2 will be shown on 31st
May, presumably at the same time). This production may well be the
best Discworld film yet, so get ready for a magical good time!
Here be a fascinating interview with Pterry on the Sky One site:
(Also downloadable as an audio podcast)
...and one with Claire Foy, on being Adora Belle Dearheart:
Some Going Postal fan-extras, including the inimitable Pat Harkin,
discuss their filming experiences:
Twitter users can send a clacks via the anternets from this page:
And there are free Going Postal wallpapers for your Hex:
WOSSNAME wishes Sky TV every success for bringing Going Postal to
05) PTERRY TAKES ON THE DOCTOR...
...and everyone wins...mostly.
In his current capacity as guest editor of SFX Magazine, Sir
Pterry's first editorial was about the nature of Doctor Who -- the
character and the programme:
"A decent detective story provides you with enough tantalising
information to allow you to make a stab at a solution before the
famous detective struts his stuff in the library. Doctor Who
replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that
wonderful element 'makeitupasyougalongeum'. I don't know about you,
but I don't think I would dare try to jump-start a spaceship that
looks like the Titanic by diving it into the atmosphere... but I
have to forgive the Doctor that, because it was hilariously funny...
People say Doctor Who is science fiction. At least people who don't
know what science fiction is, say that Doctor Who is science
"And yet, I will watch again next week because it is pure
professionally-written entertainment, even if it helps sometimes if
you leave your brain on a hook by the door. It's funny, light-
hearted, knows when to use pathos and capable of wonderful
moments... when you've had your moan you have to admit that it is
very, very entertaining, with its heart in the right place, even if
its head is often in orbit around Jupiter. I just wish that it was
not classified as science fiction."
On BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow, who definitely *does* write science
fiction, says, "Writing in SFX Terry Pratchett explains why Doctor
Who, whatever its other merits, isn't very good science fiction. A
provocative hypothesis, but it's hard to argue with his reasoning."
The comments section is worth a shufti:
Another British icon, the vast and marvellous London bookshop
Foyles, says on its website, "The writer pointed out that Doctor Who
now concludes most episodes by resorting to the literary technique
of deus ex machina -- or an unexpected solution which arrives at the
last minute and resolves the story's problems with little
explanation. Despite his criticism, Pratchett admitted that he will
watch the show week after week as, once he ignores its flouting of
narrative conventions, he recognises moments of light-hearted, funny
and pathos-filled writing..."
(This item continues in Part 2)
End of Part 1, continued on Part 2 of 5.
If you did not get all five parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2010 by Klatchian Foreign Legion