672WOSSNAME -- November 2013 -- Main issue
- Nov 19, 2013
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
November 2013 (Volume 16, Issue 11, Post 1)
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
News Editor: Fiona (not Bruce) Bruce
Newshounds: Vera, Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow
Staff Writers: Asti, Alison Not Weatherwax, Steven D'Aprano, L.C.
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, Kevin
Emergency Staff: Jason Parlevliet
World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano (in his copious spare
Copyright 2013 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
01) QUOTE OF THE MONTH
02) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
03) THE OFFICIAL WOSSNAME REVIEW: RAISING STEAM
04) RAISING STEAM NEWS
05) ODDS AND SODS DEPARTMENT
06) CRIVENS! IT'S MOVIE TIME!!!
07) HOGSWATCH IN WINCANTON
08) REVIEW: WINTERSMITH, THE ALBUM
09) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
10) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
11) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
12) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
"Siren voices tell me, 'You don't have to keep going on.' And then
you think, 'I'm a writer. What do I do? Sit there watching my wife
clean up?' I don't know. I like being a writer. The book I'm writing
right now is gonna be a good one, I believe. If it gets really bad,
get the little men to go into the flying saucer and take me away
from it all."
– Pterry, interviewed on NPR, 3rd November 2013...
[Note: the radio interview, if still available online, can be
accessed via http://tinyurl.com/l6tkk6u – Ed.]
"Lord Vetinari is that wonderful thing: a sensible ruler — that's
why he's so popular. Everyone grumbles about him, but no one wants
to chance what it would be like if he wasn't there. I like Vetinari.
I don't mind authority, but not authoritarian authority. After all,
the bus driver is allowed to be the boss of the bus. But if he's bad
at driving, he's not going to be a bus driver any more."
– and interviewed by Cory Doctorow, November 2013
02) A LETTER FROM YOUR EDITOR
I have always loved steam trains, even though a former dearly-
beloved of mine was run over by one (yes, true and documented, but
he made a full recovery apart from being several inches shorter
afterwards). Raising Steam captures the magic of steam railways
perfectly. Sheer magic! See my review below (item 3).
Raising Steam went to number 1 on the UK hardcover original fiction
bestseller list after only three days! It also made number 3 in in
the UK's overall, fiction, non-fiction and children's top 50 list.
USA readers, have you bought your copy of The Carpet People yet? If
not, you are missing out on a classic that is also beautifully
presented in hardcover this time around. There is an extract
available for new readers:
...and the trailer:
Once again, I'm promoting the Cory-and-Pterry interview, but this
time with a direct link to BoingBoing:
And now, on with the show!
– Annie Mac, Editor
03) STEAM CLEANED, OR HOW MOIST VON LIPWIG BECAME PURER IN HEART: A
REVIEW OF RAISING STEAM
By Annie Mac
I love the way Terry Pratchett writes sex scenes.
It began in The Fifth Elephant, when... wait, no, I suppose it began
all the way back in Men at Arms, when Carrot's first experience of
the joys of dancing the horizontal tango was presented with a small
yet perfectly formed "After a while the bedsprings went *glink*",
and continued through various delectably understated Sam And Sybil
Moments – and that tantalising teaser in Unseen Academicals, where
the combination of Vetinari and Lady Margolotta, private Palace
rooms, and a quick but clear reference to, erm, recreational
rubberwear can surely only lead the reader to one Ogg-approved
assumption – to the depictions of conjugal bliss in the Lipwig-
Dearheart household. Somehow, Pratchett's offhanded one-liners
convey both passion and tenderness without ever having to resort to
the sort of prosed that demands plain brown wrappers.
That said, Raising Steam is not at all *that* kind of steamy, but
the steam it *is* about is no less exciting in its way.
Let me start by acknowledging that yes, the "feel" of Raising Steam
is somewhat different from that of the mid-period Discworld novels.
Stylistically, it seems to me to be closer to Snuff than to, say,
Night Watch; more episodic, with the main thrust of the story not
developing until we get a fair way in. I do not consider this a
weakness – yes, it's different, but I feel very strongly that it
is *not* lesser for it. The series is thirty years old now, and
Pratchett's style was never likely to remain static. Nor am I
dancing around the PCA issue here: in the early parts of the
narrative I kept getting distracted by the beauty of the language,
the sheer sparkle and flow of it, and I do suspect that that
distracting loveliness is likely a result of the author's
acclimatising to creation-by-dictation. Imagining – and telling
– a story in speech is not quite the same as doing it via pen and
keypad. Sir Pterry has had to get used to this change, and I am very
willing to get used to the changes it's brought.
Many people group Discworld novels into sub-headings: the Watch
novels, the Witches novels, the Death novels and so on. I tend to
think of the series as being composed of only two categories: books
that are primarily driven by people or events, and books that are
primarily driven by, well, *things* – pastimes, arts, sport. Some
of the Discworld novels I place in the latter category are Soul
Music, Unseen Academicals, and Maskerade... and now, Raising Steam.
It's not that these lack richness of stories and characters; it's
just that the art or artefact takes the starring role in the
proceedings. The people and the plots are very much there and fully
realised, but to me they take second place. And there is no doubt
that Raising Steam's raison d'etre, if you'll pardon my Quirmian, is
trains and the coming of the Age of Steam.
This is above all a book about trains. And train spotters, because
where there are trains, there are train spotters. And steam
enthusiasts – some of them surprisingly close to home. And,
eventually, it's about timetables, travel guides, days at the
seaside, and the creation of suburbs and holiday homes. And it's
also about the knock-on effects of getting one's perishable produce
to international markets in an unperished condition. All of this is
liberally spiced with lashings of avec, that is, the delights of
Roundworld name-checks (sometimes not so much thinly disguised as
hardly disguised at all) and a wealth of bilingual pun(e)s.
Furthermore, Raising Steam gives squee-worthy fan-service to all
faithful Discworld series followers: you will find a tasty macedoine
(or perhaps salade Nicoise, given the plentiful Quirmian fish and
seafood references) of cameos, some in the form of blink-and-you'll
miss-it passing mentions but none of them gratuitous, and assorted
welcome resolutions of or updates to various character arcs.
It is also a longer book, not in physical length – 375 pages, far
from the longest novel in the series – but in elapsed story-time.
This is as it should be, since one can't expect a railway line to be
laid from Ankh-Morpork to Quirm (or Uberwald!) in anything less than
multiple months. All right, yes, a Sourcerer could do it, but we all
know where that sort of thing leads...
Now then, Moist von Lipwig: I have always been fond of Moist, from
the moment we met him in the Palace dungeon, awaiting his
appointment with Mr Trooper, and now I have another reason to
celebrate this third Moist-centric book. It seems to me that of all
Pratchett's primary characters in the series, Moist von Lipwig has
evolved and matured the most. By the end of Raising Steam, he is
truly a changed man, and yet the change comes without any loss of
the traits that made him so fascinating from the off. And yet... oh,
how he's been changing! Once a taker, now a giver; always seeing his
new behaviours as being at odds with what he believes to be his true
nature (con man ever ready to run), yet in reality ever more
thoughtful, philosophical even, and ever less ready to see the
people around him as ciphers – even when those people belong to
nonhuman species. Moist the Liberator, who'd'a thunk it?
Also, I have always enjoyed Moist and Adora Belle as an odd couple,
but in Raising Steam, they are less odd and more of a team, and it
would seem that they are influencing each other – "Spike" seems
more playful now, whereas Moist is becoming more likely to engage in
passionate activism. Go figure.
Another delightful surprise comes in the form of Sir Harry King. I
had begun to grow fond of Harry as he was presented to us in The
World of Poo, and now I find myself very much in his corner. From
King of the Golden River to King of the Railways, he remains the
square-dealing hard man of yore, but time and wealth (and a very
determinedly social-climbing wife) have mellowed him just enough to
make him fascinatingly layered. As is so often the case with
Pratchett's characters, a man who was once a walking cliche is now a
living, breathing, real person. Speaking of which, it's great to see
Vetinari mellowing as well (for a very unusual value of "mellowing")
without losing any of his power. Age has not withered nor tyrant-ing
staled him, and we get treated to a gem of a scene in Wilinus Pass
as proof of both. Oh, and am I the only one who sees more and more
of the implied Terry-and-Rob dynamic in the Vetinari-and-Drumknott
Yet another welcome return: Rhys, the Low King, the conservative but
above all honourable Albrecht ("shadow party" personified), and the
Thing with the Dwarfs (aka Politics and Terrorism Stuff). A number
of years have passed since the events of The Fifth Elephant, so I
applaud the continuation of that story thread. Oh, and hurrah for
yet more development on the "Sam Vimes has a superpower and he's
gonna use it" front!
If any main character in Raising Steam seems relatively shallow to
me, it is Ned Simnel. But then, he's an engineer, and engineers are
not a breed known for lyrical, romantic personalities, hmm?
Furthermore, I don't think he *needs* to be lyrical and romantic,
because his passion for steam power and his almost-obsessive love
for first and finest engine "Iron Girder" are the parts that matter
here, and they are well drawn (did I say "*almost* obsessive"?
Themes in Raising Steam include that of the self-made man, or
perhaps that should be self-made entity; social mobility and the
desire for self-betterment; change versus resistance to change, in
society and in politics; emancipation and equality of species and
sexes; and of course, evolution, both of the Discworld societies and
technologies and of the more personal-growth sort.
As a side note, I am a bit sad that there's no more information
about The Undertaking. Then again, presumably the unexpected arrival
of the Age of Steam has put back, or at least changed, that
timetable. The centre continues to hold, and Vetinari is ever a
master of long-distance temporal vision and creative thinking.
As is in keeping with the gradual changes in Discworld novels,
Raising Steam has fewer laugh-out-loud moments but masses of laugh-
in-delight ones. I have read it through three times now and feel
satisfied every time. No, the story doesn't ever reach the heights
of breathtaking tension that keep Night Watch as my favourite
Discworld book – but I already feel an overwhelming affection for
Raising Steam that Night Watch could never match in my heart.
04) RAISING STEAM NEWS AND REVIEWS
4.1 PTERRY TALKS STEAM
Some great video snippets here of Sir Pterry talking about
themes and subjects and history as they relate to his writing of
"It's about the romance of the railway. It grabbed us as soon as it
turned up, and is still here. It's the fascination of steam, a giant
"I fell in love with Iron Girder. Dick Simnel built her, and in my
mind's eye she became every railway engine from the Trevithick...
to, I don't know, the Royal Scot..."
"I thought it was time to raise steam on Discworld, but better than
that, I thought it would be fun..."
Reviewed by Rebekah Lunt for the British Fantasy Society:
"As always with anything written by Terry Pratchett, this is a
fantastically entertaining story. In all honesty, as with most of
the other 39 novels, you could probably read this one as a stand-
alone story. However, having recently started reading them all again
from the very first novel – The Colour of Magic, I can't imagine
why you would want to do yourself out of the pleasure of full
immersion in this world. One of the extremely pleasurable aspects of
this story in the 30th anniversary year is to revisit familiar
characters and places alongside the new ones, and look out for all
the name checks and in-jokes.
"An extra treat, and the real beauty of the book, is the way in
which it expresses and translates the emotional power of steam
trains for converts and non-believers alike. I love steam trains
anyway but this book made me feel a little of what I imagine first
experiences of steam trains must have been like..."
Reviewed by Jonathan Wright for SFX Magazine:
"Whereas the first few books were essentially powered by the
lampooning of fantasy tropes, which produced a new kind of magic
unique to Pratchett's work, the Discworld has changed. A medieval
world has morphed into what's essentially a 19th century society,
albeit one where humans co-exist with such people – and they're
presented as fully rounded people, it's important to note – as
trolls, dwarves, golems and now even geeky goblins. Raising Steam
marks a completion, of sorts, of this process, because such a world
can't rely on the magic of the Middle Ages for its forward
momentum. No, it needs a new power source: coal-fired steam. Step
forward Dick Simnel. It would be easy to mistake Simnel for a
straightforward, even simple lad, but that's to overlook the fact
that he's an engineer. And not just a glorified blacksmith, but
someone who's learnt the mysteries of the sliding rule, an
innovator, a lad with a shed who knows how to use it..."
Reviewed by Dan Lewis for the bookseller Waterstones blog:
"Raising Steam feels a much more expansive read than previous books
in the series. Indeed, it can often feel like events are passing by
at some speed as you hurtle along the narrative rails. There's a
sense that there's no time for dawdling, with a greater degree of
reported action than in stories such as Night Watch or Snuff, where
the narrative feels almost to take place in realtime. Here,
background detail – such as Moist's to-ing and fro-ing as he
attempts to negotiate the railway's route with resistant
landowners – quickly shifts out of view leaving room for slower
explorations of political intrigues and cunning plans. These shifts
in speed allow Pratchett to pack in glimpses of far more characters
than he might otherwise have been able – which will bring smiles
of delight to fans. Lu-Tze, Rincewind, Ponder Stibbons, Nobby and
Colon, Drumknott, William de Worde, Sam Vimes, The Low King and
Diamond King of Trolls – they're all there, if only for a moment.
There's a real excitement in reading the book, wondering not only
what will happen next but which old friend will pop up..."
Raising Steam has also been reviewed in The Times by Andrew
Unfortunately the review is only available to paying subscribers,
but to judge by the opening paragraphs in the free preview, the
review is an approving one:
"This is Terry Pratchett's 40th foray into Discworld and, despite
that productivity and the author's widely-publicised diagnosis of
early-onset Alzheimer's disease, his creation hasn't run out of
steam. Indeed, 30 years and around 75 million copies in, Sir Terry
appears to be expanding his scope. "In this latest novel, Ankh-
Morpork, Discworld's principal city, continues its evolution from
quasi-medieval settlement to bustling industrial metropolis, and
over a wider canvas, and longer time-frame than previous books..."
05) ODDS AND SODS DEPARTMENT
5.1 SIR PROFESSOR, ON THE SUBJECT OF THE DOCTOR
In The Guardian:
"It's funny that way, Doctor Who, it's been such a part of the DNA
of Britain for so many years now that even if you didn't watch it
religiously, you probably know more about it than you think. Daleks,
Cybermen, bigger on the inside – everyone knows what you're
talking about. And it was always a safe option for Saturday
afternoon tea with the family. Doctors came and went, but for 26
years it was part of this country's shared heritage and memory.
Anybody my age or younger has been informed by it, moulded by it, at
least to some degree. For so many during those years it was their
first introduction to science fiction, and its influence is far-
reaching. Generations of authors, screenwriters, actors, dreamers
found their escape in the wonky corridors and Styrofoam monsters of
this enduring institution... the recent actors have been wonderful,
drawing that line back to the grumpy old man who kicked it all off
50 years ago. And the Daleks are still scary, which isn't something
you can say about many half-century-old alien designs..."
5.2 RETIREMENT? OF COURSE NOT
In SFX magazine issue 242, currently available, there is an
"Even though Raising Steam, the 40th novel (yes, 40th!) in
Pratchett's Discworld series is now in bookshops, the legendary
author says he's not ready for retirement just yet. What's stopping
him from hanging up his pen? A good idea for a book it seems. 'Some
part of me is telling me that there is no one who will actually say,
apart from my agent actually, that I shouldn't do it, but suddenly
you think, 'I must do another book for next year!' A little voice
says 'You don't really have to if it's going to be a difficulty.' On
the other hand, if I find a really snazzy plot, that will send me on
fire and away we go. Don't worry,' he jokes. 'I don't fancy dying
5.3 TELLING TALES FOR ADOPTION
From This is Somerset:
"Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, and Tommy Banner
from The Wurzels, are among those who have backed the 'Time for a
Story' campaign by sharing their favourite memory of reading a
children's story with a loved one. Sharing a children's book can
create some of the most magical moments of both childhood and
parenting. The 'Time for a Story' campaign aims to get people
talking about these special moments and thinking about adoption.
Members of the public are also being encouraged to post their own
fondest moments of being read to or reading to their child on the
organisation's Facebook page...
"Author Terry Pratchett said: 'I think the first book my wife Lyn
and I read to our daughter Rhianna was The Maggie B by Irene Haas,
which she greatly enjoyed, and she had two library tickets of her
own before she could read. Later she came to love Tove Jansson's
books, as I had copies of every one'..."
5.4 ANKH-MORPORK: A NICE PLACE TO MOVE TO...
The Onionesque publication "The Evening Harold" has a delightful
"Britain has been plunged into an emigration crisis as newly
published figures reveal that no fewer than seven out of ten of us
have applied to leave the country to live and work in Ankh-Morpork.
Ankh-Morpork is the largest city on the Discworld which some say is
a fictional realm created by Sir Terry Pratchett but to a great many
people is as real as Tamriel, The Shire and Gotham City i.e.
completely. Harold resident Gary Thorne is one of many villagers
hoping for a new start in a city described by Sir Terry as being 'as
full of life as an old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a
cathedral, as bright as an oil slick, as colourful as a bruise and
as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness
as a dead dog on a termite mound.' 'It's a no-brainer for me,' Thorn
said. 'Sure in Ankh-Morpork there's no democracy or flood protection
and there there'll always be a chance that the dragon of unhappiness
could fly up my bottom but there's also no scripted reality shows or
music that makes me feel old. Plus, I'm looking forward to meeting
the ladies from the Seamstresses' Guild, if you know what I mean,
hur, hur, hur...' Pensioner Tom Stalling knows exactly why he's
going to Ankh-Morpork. 'Two words,' he told us, 'steam trains.
They've got 'em and we don't...'"
5.5 A TOP TEN LIST: DISCWORLD CHARACTERS
In The Telegraph, Tim Martin presents capsule descriptions of Death
(and the Death of Rats, and Susan), Granny Weatherwax, Vetinari,
Nanny Ogg, Vimes, The Librarian, Moist von Lipwig, Tiffany Aching,
C.M.O.T. Dibbler, and the Luggage:
"PERHAPS THE GREATEST — that is, perhaps the greatest character in
all Discworld, in a personal as well as an eschatological sense..."
"Crotchety, eminently no-nonsense (the trolls call her 'She Who Must
Be Avoided') and one of the prime exponents of Pratchett's number-
one virtue of common sense, Granny Weatherwax is another of the
tough thinkers with hearts of gold who stalk through Pratchett's
fiction and are, one suspects, an important factor in its endless
"The kind of benign despot who would make Machiavelli faint with
fear and envy, Vetinari presides over Pratchett's capital city-state
of Ankh-Morpork without ever needing to raise his voice..."
To read the full article, go to:
5.6 REVIEW: AN EVENING WITH TERRY PRATCHETT AT BRIGHTON READS
By Thomas Powell on Badger Online:
"Sir Terry's air was one of a grandfather addressing a loving but
impudent horde of grandchildren. In the same flippant tone no doubt
familiar to many in the audience, he batted away the allegedly most
common question he's asked, regarding where he draws his
inspiration. His insistent answer, 'It just turns up!'.
"Ultimately, the trio proved very forthcoming – treating the
assembled audience to an exclusive preview of Pratchett's next
novel, Raising Steam, due to be published in November. Rob Wilkins'
poor attempt at a northern accent did little to dampen the palpable
sense of excitement as he read the first chapter; only exceeded by
that which followed Rod Brown's announcements regarding the slew of
Discworld screen adaptations under development. Brown gushed like a
new father about the upcoming series The Watch, featuring the
familiar Ankh-Morpork police force, including fan favourite Sam
Vimes... Brown also proudly proclaimed that two Discworld novels are
also being adapted, Good Omens and Dodger. Hinting that Mort might
5.7 AN ART EXHIBIT OF INTEREST
"Angels, Faeries and Femmes Fatales: Dadd to Discworld", currently
on display at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth, features
the art of Paul Kidby:
"This exhibition explores the Victorian obsession with the
supernatural and the spirit world. Featuring the work of renowned
artists, Paul Kidby, illustrator of the internationally bestselling
'Discworld' novels, and 2012 Turner Prize nominee Spartacus
Chetwynd. Many of Paul's artworks are for sale..."
The museum "holds collections of international status and reflects
the Victorian fascination with world cultures" and is "just two
minutes walk from Bournemouth Pier and less than five minutes walk
from the town's main shopping and commercial hub".
When: the exhibition will run through to 9th March 2014.
Venue: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, East Cliff Promenade,
Bournemouth BH1 3AA UK (phone 01202 451858)
Times: All year round from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday and Bank
Tickets: free admission from 1st October until 31st March. Donations
Here are some lovely photos from the exhibit, taken by Kirsty
Cupid meets Rob Anybody:
Kidby's fabulous bust of Granny Weatherwax:
5.8 REMINDER: THE DISCWORLD COLLECTOR'S LIBRARY
"Gollancz began publishing the Discworld novels, which have sold
more than 85 million copies around the world, in hardback in 1987
and have worked with Sir Terry Pratchett ever since. He has become
the most shop-lifted author in the UK, selling more than 2.5 million
copies every year, and these will be the most desirable editions of
his novels yet published.
"The Discworld Collector's Library will be published thematically,
beginning in November 2013, as stunning B-format hardbacks at an
affordable £9.99 – and that's cutting our own throats!"
The covers are charmingly illustrated by Joe McLaren. Gollancz are
releasing the titles under a theme of, well, themes. Here be the
info including release dates:
The Death Collection
November 2013: Reaper Man; Mort
December 2013: Hogfather; Soul Music
The Cultures of Discworld Collection
January 2014: Small Gods; Pyramids
The Unseen University Collection
February 2014: Eric; Sourcery
May 2014: Interesting Times; Moving Pictures
August 2014: The Colour of Magic; The Light Fantastic
The City Watch Collection
March 2014: Guards! Guards!; Men at Arms
June 2014: Feet of Clay; Jingo
The Witches Collection
April 2014: Equal Rites; Wyrd Sisters
July 2014: Witches Abroad; Lords and Ladies; Maskerade
The publishers add, "N.B. Apologies to our North American readers
but we're afraid these editions will not be available in the US or
Canada. This is not because we don't like you – its because our
contract only allows us UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights.
ISBNs, for your information:
MORT is 9781473200104 and REAPER MAN is 9781473200111.
[Editor's note: I have received my hardcover of Mort, and it's
5.9 REMINDER: STEELEYE SPAN LIVE WINTERSMITH TOUR
"This time the band has looked even further afield and has found
inspiration in the work of famous British author, Terry Pratchett.
Famous for his series of Discworld novels Terry is a long-standing
fan of the band, even booking them to play at his sixtieth birthday
party... Fans will be able to get a taste of these new songs along
with the familiar classics and gems on the band's forthcoming UK
The tour kicks off on 15th November at the Babbacombe Theatre in
Torquay, Devon, and carries on through the West Country before
moving on to the Northeast and on around Britain. For a
comprehensive listing of tour dates through December, refer to last
month's issue of WOSSNAME or visit the Park Records site:
06) CRIVENS! THE WEE FREE MEN IN THE CLICKS!
"Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Discworld creator Sir Terry, and a
successful writer herself, working on the recent BioShock and Tomb
Raider games, among others, has announced via her twitter that she's
adapting The Wee Free Men, the first in the young adult series of
Discworld books featuring apprentice witch Tiffany Aching."
In a word, "Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
07) REMINDER: HOGSWATCH 2013 IN WINCANTON!
Not a convention as such, but certainly an Event! Ankh-Morpork's
beloved twin town is pushing the boat out for Hogswatch this year!
And you certainly have to push a boat to get it across the Ankh...
"Join us on the 29th November – 1st December for our famous
Hogswatch festivities in Wincanton, Somerset, and revel in
entertainments diverse and unusual in Ankh-Morpork's own twin town.
This year we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of our beloved
Discworld, so dress as one of the hundreds of characters or concepts
that have graced the pages of Terry Pratchett's fantasical work over
the years, or just don your best party outfit, at least a tinsel
garnish, and come join in the fun!
"The weekend's merriments will include a series of Unseen University
Hogswatch lectures, theatrical entertainments, activities for little
folk, Grand Charity Auction, traditional Sausage Supper and, if
you've been good little boys and girls, a visitation from a certain
Hogfather – all held in venues throughout the town in the company
of fellow fans Discworld dignitaries. For more details of programme
items click the 'What's On' button below.
"Hogswatch is a delightfully informal gathering that is (mostly)
free to attend, but be mindful that you will have to source your own
accommodation – click the 'Where to Stay' button below for ideas
on where to rest your head. How to find us – we're on Google Maps,
where you'll find directions, public transport infomation and more
to aid you in your journey."
O8) REVIEW: THE WINTERSMITH ALBUM
By David Kidman for FATEA Records:
"One might be tempted perhaps to summarise Wintersmith as 'the
legends of folk-rock take on the legends of Terry Pratchett', For,
while Wintersmith isn't exactly a concept album as such, it does
take its inspiration (and much of its narrative import) from the
third of Terry's 'Tiffany Aching' books (the series of novels within
the Discworld canon which follow the growth of the young trainee
witch of that name), although some knowledge of (or sympathy with)
which (and witch!) is not necessarily a pre-requisite, since the
songs within by and large stand on their own. Having said that,
Wintersmith's particular backdrop, that of ancient rituals and
secret folk dances, is of course entirely apposite, both as a
credible and matching stamping-ground for Steeleye sensibilities,
and as suitable subject-matter for a prog-folk-rock kind of musical
treatment... The powerhouse clatter of The Dark Morris Song (and its
stick-wielding counterpart Tune), together with the disc's spooky
Overture, certainly set the scene strongly, in the approved manner,
with stirring, stomping yet mysterious skirling swathes of sound and
a typically evocative lyric..."
09) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
9.1 UPDATE: GUARDS! GUARDS! IN KNEBWORTH
The Knebworth Amateur Dramatic Society was expecting to present
their production of Guards! Guards! this week. Unfortunately, the
company's sound and light man had a heart attack a few days ago, so
the performances have been postponed. But luckily, Graham (the
sound/light tech) is on the mend. KATS are hoping to present the
play in January, so keep an eye on their website and we will update
you as soon as a new date has been confirmed.
9.2 REMINDER: THE RINCE CYCLE
"Studio Theatre Club continues its world-famous Discworld stage
series with a new offering: 'The Rince Cycle', dramatised by Stephen
Briggs. An adventure based on Terry Pratchett's Rincewind novels The
Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic and snippets of Sourcery."
When: 26th to 30th November 2013
Venue: Unicorn Theatre, Old Abbey Buildings, Checker Walk, Abingdon,
Oxon OX14 3HZ
9.3 MASKERADE IN BRISTOL
The St Ursula Players will be presenting their production of
Maskerade next month.
When: 4th – 7th December 2013
Venue: Newman Hall, Grange Court Road, Bristol, BS9 4DR
Tickets: £8 adults, £4 children; parties of 10 or more, £7 per
ticket. Tickets are available from the box office, or via a
printable postal form on the St Ursula Players' website (below), "or
take your chance on the door. But they are selling fast!" To ring
the box office: 0117 962 4431
9.4 REVIEW: GUARDS! GUARDS! IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
In the Bury Free Press:
"Stephen Briggs' adaptation of the Discworld novel brilliantly
condenses its plot, humour and anarchic logic. Theatre Royal Young
Company then gave it all the life and fun Pratchett gives his books.
Many of the cast showed superb comic timing, especially Sam Rees as
the dragon summoning Lupine Wonse. Asha Ray was so spot on as Lady
Sybil Ramkin that you forgot she was probably less than half the age
of the formidable miniature dragon breeding dame. Perhaps David
Bolwell was a little lanky to be the muscular Carrot, who Pratchett
modelled on Liam Neeson, but that did not seem to matter..."
About the company:
10) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
The Pratchett Partisans are a new fan group who meet monthly at
either Brisbane or Indooroopilly to "eat, drink and chat about all
things Pratchett". For more info about their next meetup, go to
or contact Ula directly at uwilmott@...
Some upcoming Pratchett Partisans events of note:
"Join fellow Pratchett lovers and celebrate a slightly belated
Hogswatch with a lovely dinner and great drinks. Wagaya is a
Japanese restaurant with a huge selection of meat and non-meat share
meals (and some set main meals), beers and cocktails (including
nonalcoholic). You order using a touchpad at the table and pay at
the end of the meal. They do not split bills. I suggest we divide
the food bill by the number of people so every one pays the same
amount (prob about $40 each). In regards to drinks, we can probably
get an itemised bill and figure out who drank what."
When: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Venue: Wagaya, 315 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley, 4006, Brisbane
("we will be in a private room under the name 'Ula'")
Time: 5:30 PM
Picnic in the park
"Come along for a family friendly chill-out in the park. Please
bring along some (DW themed if possible) nibbles to share, and a
blanket or two. Drinks (non alcoholic) will be provided. We will
also have a few fun activities and games."
When: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Venue: Roma Street Parkland, 1 Parkland Blv, Brisbane ("We will
probably be in 'sunset glade'")
Time: 12:00 PM
The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South
"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,
The Broken Vectis Drummers meet on the first Thursday of every month
from 7.30pm at The Castle pub in Newport, Isle of Wight. The next
meeting will probably be on Thursday 5th December 2013, but do email
(see below) to check. All new members and curious passersby are very
welcome! For more info and any queries, contact:
The Wincanton Omnian Temperance Society (WOTS) meets on the first
Friday of every month at the famous Bear Inn from 7pm onwards.
Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome! The next WOTS meeting will
(probably) be on Friday 6th December 2013.
The next meeting of the Broken Drummers, " London's Premier
Unofficially Official Discworld Group", will be from 7pm on Monday
9th December 2013 at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London
W2 1JQ. Note the new web address:
For more information email BrokenDrummers@... or
The Northern Institute of the Ankh-Morpork and District Society of
Flatalists, a Pratchett fangroup, have been meeting on a regular
basis since 2005 but is now looking to take in some new blood
(presumably not in the non-reformed Uberwald manner). The Flatalists
normally meet at The Narrowboat Pub in Victoria Street, Skipton, N
Yorks, to discuss "all things Pratchett" as well as having quizzes
Details of future meetings are posted on the Events section of the
Discworld Stamps forum:
Drummers Downunder meet on the first Monday of every month in Sydney
at Maloneys, corner of Pitt & Goulburn Streets, at 6.30pm. The next
meeting will (probably) be on Monday 2nd December 2013. For more
information, contact Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax):
Perth Drummers meet on the traditional date of first Monday of the
month. The next meeting should be on Monday 2nd December 2013.
"Please note we have moved to San Churro this month from 5.30pm (San
Churro, 132 James Street, Northbridge, Perth, WA)."
For details follow us on Twitter @Perth_Drummers and Facebook
Otherwise message Krystel directly at khewett@...
There's a new Pratchett meeting group in Fourecks, known as Western
Drummers. That's two for the Sydney Pratchett fans now! The Western
Drummers intend to meet on the third Monday of every month at The
Rowers, Bruce Neal Drive, Penrith at 6.30-7.30pm for food, 7.30pm for
games, quizzes and chat. For more information, contact Nanny Ogg –
lewis_oz@... – or visit their Facebook page:
11) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
Blogger Olga Godim reviews Night Watch:
"Unlike most other Discworld novels, this is not a funny book.
It's exploratory and philosophical and delves deep into the
natures of leadership and decency, courage and tolerance... The
story is seemingly slow, rooting for a wide panorama and deep
understanding instead of a lighter mockery, as in many of
Pratchett's earlier novels. Nothing is galloping or hurtling
ahead. The events are gradually expanding, rolling forward like an
unstoppable avalanche. When the plot gathers momentum, nothing can
stop it. Of all the City Watch books I've read so far, this one
made the best and most profound psychological portrait of Sam Vimes.
Finally, after several earlier volumes, I could see the man in all
his complexity, and my respect for him, high already, soared..."
The Bookwitch is back with a loving review of Raising Steam and a
rightfully angry backward look at the Beeching Axe of Roundworld:
"All Terry Pratchett's books are loveable in their own way, but I
have a special fondness for ones about my kind of topics. Writing.
Post Office-ing. And now trains. Raising Steam has let me experience
the birth of railways, and what a wonderful feeling that is! (Death
to that Beeching person. Actually, Death is too good for him.)
Instead of closing lines and getting rid of stations and services,
here we have the complete and utter opposite, starting with young
Dick Simnel, who knows about the sliding rule, and who saw his
father die in some unexpected pink steam. He builds himself a
prototype steam engine – the train kind – and goes off to Ankh-
Morpork in search of, not so much his fortune, but a welcome for his
beloved Iron Girder. I'm guessing Dick is Discworld's
Yorkshireman, judging by his speech and the way he dresses. He's
lovely. Very straight. Even a scoundrel like Moist von Lipwig has to
admire his honest ways. (Though I'm not sure about that smooth-
talking Moist.) Eventually, seemingly all men are seduced by the
steam engines Dick builds. It's pathetic. Or would be, were they
not such great things to be seduced by..."
Blogger and writer Martin Crookall's long, in-depth critique of
"Raising Steam has a curious feel to it. It's very different from
the 'usual' Discworld book, in that it is focussed upon its
theme, almost to the exclusion of its characters. Each book is
gifted with a clear and present central idea – it is part of
Pratchett's immense skill that he has found so many distinct and
individual 'abouts' to build a story upon – but in all cases
prior to this, the story has played out through the central
characters, whose fates and fortunes are bound up in the resolution
of whatever threat may be about to unbalance the Discworld, or some
discrete part of it... instead of translating a Roundworld notion
into Discworld terms, what Pratchett has done is to bolt the Railway
in the very form we know it to be, on top of his fiction. Discworld
has now had the Industrial Revolution, and just as that changed our
world out of all recognition, so too is Discworld changed. And the
thing about change is that it doesn't have to be for the better,
or for the worse: it is Change, and it can't be undone...
Discworld in this book, acquires a concreteness that cannot help but
change the nature of the books... In a way, it's only a Moist von
Lipwig book because he's primus inter pares: whilst he's the
only one whose head we really get into, the book is as much about
the Patrician, Harry King (of the Golden River), Dick Simnel, the
goblin Of the Twilight the Darkness, Rhys Rhysson, Low King of the
Dwarfs and Sam Vines [sic] as it is about Moist..."
...while blogger Laurence Ivil aka The Electrospank's review is also
long, and very well-written. Some extracts:
"In Raising Steam, our hero, Dick Simnel, a rural self-taught
engineer, has discovered how to harness steam. In taking his engine
– Iron Girder, to Ankh-morpork at the centre of the disc, he has
begun a chain reaction of events in which the familiar faces of
Harry King, Lord Vetinari and others return to shape and profit from
the wonders of technological progress. As this triumph makes
inexorable tracks, we watch in awe as Pratchett's pen plays with
landowners and surveyors, rent and taxation, swamps and bridges,
commuters and tourists. Who else could yarn these tropes so
effortlessly and with such thrill?
"Raising Steam invites us to float with the zeitgeist as the advent
of the railway threatens to derail a fragile peace maintained by
Lord Vetinari, the responsible tyrant, whose Watch of werewolves
often look the other way, respond with merciful force when necessary
and send miscreants to the dungeons for creative kitten punishment
if needs must. Civis ankhmorporkianus sum – In Discworld, every
man, child, dwarf, troll, werewolf, vampire, zombie and goblin is
free. But, for how long...
"Raising Steam is, without doubt, a fantastic story. It is also an
example of something very, very important. Raising Steam, much like
other Discworld novels is rife with satirical parallels of very
current social, political and scientific issues. Golem Housekeepers
and Goblin hairdressers benefit from a growing level of social
equality, female Dwarves still pretend that they are men if they
wish to gain respect in their communities and the vampirical press
(quite literally!) hang onto Dick Simnel's every word in an
attempt to derail his fantastic progress. A passing aside to the
slothful linguistic learning curve of the English (Morporkians),
refusing to master any language but their own, the Low King avoiding
bloodshed and mastering politics even when others hold great value
in the former. As we all know, people fear change...
"Raising Steam is, quite simply, a truly magnificent addition to
this incredible series. It may be the 40th entry, yet it bears no
indication of being the last..."
Blogger Jeannette Porter points out that the people of the Discworld
are indeed people, fully realised and worth caring about:
"Creator Terry Pratchett has a gift for letting dialogue and pithy
description tango together, creating a 'you are there'
sensation. It's a good trick, considering 'there' doesn't,
hasn't, and probably will never exist, in the mundane, Roundworld
sense... Ah, the Patrician. Libertarians and fascists alike pine for
his Roundworld analogue, as liberals yearn for a real-life Josiah
Bartlett... And Discworld contains yet more lethal characters. In
fact, it contains the ultimate lethality: the anthromorphic
personification of Death, who speaks IN CAPITAL LETTERS and likes
cats. Death (skeleton, scythe, black robe, the whole bit) appears in
just about every Discworld book and is the focus of at least two of
them... There is Gaspode the talking dog, Nanny Ogg, Granny
Weatherwax, Lu Tze the History Monk, Susan Sto Helit (Death's
daughter), Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully and the faculty of Unseen
University (motto: Nunc id vides, nunc ne vides), the Auditors,
zombie Reg Shoe, the Luggage and (mostly) reformed con man Moist von
Lipwig. And those are just some of the characters Discworld readers
see repeatedly and come to love. Really, they're not
characters—they're people. Even the trolls and dwarves and
Blogger Honya thoroughly enjoyed Dodger:
"Dodger is truly an excellent historical novel. Terry Pratchett
brings both the place and the people of early Victorian London to
life vividly. There is a rich amount of historical detail, down to
the slang that permeates the story. Moreover, the writing flows
well, is both exciting and easy to read, yet is rich in expression,
full of fresh, unexpected turns of phrase and vivid metaphors. The
characters themselves are equally vibrant–colorful, complex, not
always sure who they are themselves, yet carrying on nevertheless.
Finally, I appreciate that Pratchett takes a time and people group
that had very little hope and portrays them honestly, but still
provides a story that is neither grim nor ultimately hopeless..."
In an uncredited review on the Twitbookclub site, a blogger was
delighted by Unseen Academicals:
"I was worried that I wouldn't get a lot of the references or tied
in histories of Unseen Academicals. My worries were put to rest of
course by Pratchett's clever way of treating the book as -almost-
a novel on its own. He adds useful anecdotes where needed and adds
just the right amount of character building for you to get the feel
of his characters without having to read any of the numerous
prequels to this one. I myself instantly felt affection for those
crazy old nutters at the Unseen University, their 'Old Boy'
mentality and 'delegation of delegation duties' reminds me all
too well of grammar school days where the teachers still dressed in
"The fact this book was about Football didn't deter me one bit, as
his perfect balance of humour and satire made situations both on the
pitch and off make me snigger to myself loud enough to make people
worry about my mental health. Not only football, but pokes at said
Old Boy ways and the world of fashion had me grinning and devouring
the pages as I went..."
The gloriously ginger allmyrandomnotes enthuses over Monstrous
"Unlike some of the series that are focused on recurring characters,
the main characters in Monstrous Regiment are standalone. Some of
the familiar Ankh-Morpork crowd (for those familiar with the series)
is there, but mainly as supporting characters. Polly, the main
character from the recruits, is one determined girl exhibiting a
whole lot of common sense, and sergeant Jackrum is another one of
those flawed, loud, larger than life Pratchett characters that I
find brilliant and entertaining. From the small country with a
ridiculously restrictive religion, to the war that they couldn't
win but were fighting out of pride, to the girls that end up finding
themselves on the quest, it is a very entertaining story brilliantly
tackling in a satirical way serious topics. However, the serious
topics it tackles do not take anything away from the sheer
enjoyableness of the prose...."
Blogger Andrew Knighton is back with a post about books he will
"Of all the writers who have been active in my lifetime, Pratchett
is the one whose wonderful work I most want to pass on to future
generations. The tone of these stories may have shifted hugely over
time, but I still love them all, from the weird satire of Colour of
Magic to the heart-warming philosophising of his latest works.
I've read half at least twice, Pyramids many more times than that,
and Small Gods is one of my favourite reflections on religion. The
man's a treasure, and I treasure his books... I'm not a big
keeper of books as objects. But if anyone harms my signed Pratchett
there will be trouble..."
Blogger Nicolle goes postal for Going Postal:
"In one sentence, I would describe this book as a wonderful creation
myth for the post office. A convicted swindler, Moist von Lipwig, is
offered a second chance at life as the Postmaster of Ankh-Morpork,
and we follow him on his journey from continuously trying to figure
out a means of escape to figuring out ways to reestablish to the
post office to its former glory. The enemy is the Grand Truck clacks
communication (a form of text messaging) service. As a person who
loves to write letters and creating mail art, I loved this story. At
times, I really felt myself wishing that I could step into this
Teacher, marathoner and blogger J.E. aka runninginmyhead came to
Discworld via the clicks;
"Normally, I read the book before the movie and then spend the
length of the feature critiquing it. But, to this point, I was
unaware of the beauty and glory that is the Disc. That changed the
following weekend. While browsing our local bookstore (a chain, the
last local closed a year before), I decided to track down the book
upon which the film was based. The book is superb and remains one of
my favorite Discworld novels. However, I couldn't get enough. I
began to buy a book a week, soon accumulating the entire series
(except for Last Hero and Raising Steam, which was released today),
including the so-called 'children's books' (which aren't
just for kids, in case you didn't know). Today, they occupy a
prominent space in my personal library, with Good Omens being my
most recent purchase..."
The blogger known only as Choosing talks about how Tiffany Aching's
"this I choose to do" mantra, in Wintersmith, has been a major life
"These words have had a powerful impact on me when I first read
them, and they still have. They have become my personal mantra, in
big things and in small ones. Life is about choices. Choices like
staying home with the kids, doing diapers and laundry and dishes –
yes, and being with them while they grow, show them the world, show
them the words, help those wonderful minds and souls unfold. But
also little choices like what to put first on a normal weekday
morning, a chore or a passion. Sometimes, when I am doing things
that are boring or annoying, I remind myself. This I choose to do. I
do it now. I could do something else, but I am doing this now for a
reason. No one forces my hand, I could stop any second. But I choose
to do it. And therefore there is no need to feel anger or boredom. I
am fully aware that there are a lot of things in life that we cannot
choose – things that present themselves to us wether we like them
or not. Life is full of moments that look like we do not have a
choice at all. But I do believe that there is always something we
can choose: our reaction to these things. We might not be able to
change the things themselves, but if we stand still for a moment we
might realise that we are not really forced into reacting in a
certain way, even if it feels like this. We can choose to get angry
– or not. We can choose to be afraid – or not..."
...and finally, blogger reuoq gives high praise to The Long War:
"I really loved the extra chance to explore this world (or these
worlds, I suppose is more accurate), and I can't wait until the
next book comes out, apparently next year. I did get a bit confused
by the plot towards the end, not sure where it was heading, and I
was left wondering what had just happened at one point, right near
the end where all the climaxes happened. Part of this may have been
confusion at the three or four story strands happening
simultaneously (there are two whole new sets of characters
introduced who travel across the worlds in different directions for
different reasons). Part of it may have been that I was expecting
more of an actual 'war' to happen during the book, whereas it
didn't seem to turn out that way in the end, the word being more
metaphorical. A little bit more streamlining of the plot would have
been nice. I definitely think people should get into this series, in
12) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
Fabulous retro poster for the new railway, by Paul Childs:
The Wyrd Sisters, ably depicted by the Guisbrough Theatre Club:
Sir Pterry with the very first copy of Raising Steam, hot off the
An excellent Luggage birthday cake by WOSSNAME's own Sir Jase:
This fan-art by Sixteentons is interesting because the artist
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