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WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2002 -- PART 2 OF 4 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2002 -- PART 2 OF 4 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 5) REVIEWS & COMMENTS: NIGHT WATCH
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2002
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      WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2002 -- PART 2 OF 4 (continued)

      NIGHT WATCH -- A Review

      His Grace the Duke of Ankh, Commander of the City Watch,
      Sir Samuel Vimes: his wife, Sybil, is about to give birth, it is
      remembrance day for an infamous rebellion in which seven
      watchmen were killed and he is chasing Carcer -- a clever,
      deceiving murderer, along the uneven rooftops of Ankh-Morpork
      whilst wearing incredibly ornate armour and, of course, a sprig
      of lilac.

      Then, a thunderstorm mixed with a little magic from
      Unseen University and some quantum cause him and Carcer
      to go back in time to the days of the revolution. He soon finds
      himself alone in the past with no posh uniform, no engraved
      silver cigar case, no hard-boiled egg and under the ruling of
      Lord Winder, the unfair, hated Patrician of the time.

      After a little explanation from patient History Monk Lu-Tze,
      he sets off as John Keel, Sergeant-at-arms of the Night Watch,
      trying to change the outcome of the rebellion using a little
      common sense, a lot of dining room furniture and some tricks
      from the future. However, Carcer is fighting for the opposing side
      with his fellow Unmentionables and is very tough competition,
      even to the street-wise Sam Vimes.Along the way, Vimes meets
      his younger self and colleagues who he must teach to be decent
      coppers, the pick-pocketing but generally trustworthy Nobby Nobbs,
      and eats one of C.M.O.T. Dibbler's first ever meat pies.

      He must live. He must change history -- but not too much. He must
      defeat Carcer once and for all. Will his watchman instincts,
      quick-thinking and barricade-building techniques be enough?
      In this book we also meet Lord Vetinari in his young days as an
      assassin, Ridcully taking a bath in the university's garden and
      seamstress Rosie Palm, not yet a Mrs.

      "Night Watch" is a compelling read, unpredictable to the very end.
      Action-packed, thrilling, serious but humorous, it is in my opinion
      one of Terry Pratchett's greatest Discworld novels.

      -- Vicki Turk, England


      A longer and more detailed review by Michael Dirda
      also appeared in the Washington Post on November 21st.

      In it, he comments that "Night Watch turns out to be an
      unexpectedly moving novel about sacrifice and responsibility,
      its final scenes leaving one near tears, as these sometime
      Keystone Kops, through simple humanity, metamorphose
      into the Seven Samurai. Terry Pratchett may still be pegged
      a comic novelist, but as Night Watch shows, he's a lot more.
      In his range of invented characters, his adroit storytelling and
      his clear-eyed acceptance of humankind's foibles, he reminds
      me of no one in English literature so much as Geoffrey
      Chaucer. No kidding."

      To view the entire article, go to:



      To the Editor:

      In Rembrandt's painting 'Nightwatch', Rembrandt painted himself
      in as someone watching all the other characters. In Paul Kidby's
      cover of "Night Watch", in the same place he has painted in
      Josh Kirby, the late artist best known for doing the covers of
      previous Discworld books (except in the US, where they had a
      Commodore 64 run a thesaurus program on the title until it found
      a picture in its database of 100 stupid pictures).

      He's not immediately obvious (I had to Google to find where
      Rembrandt had put himself), but to see Kirby, look at Reg Shoe.
      Now look at the soldier to his right. Now look just above his shoulder,
      and you will see the top bit of a face. That, apparently, is Josh Kirby.

      -- ConMan
      6) SIGNINGS

      Melbourne Signing -- Part 1

      Part One of the report of the Terry Pratchett book signings in Melbourne
      on Thursday 21st November 2002.

      PTerry's first book signing for the day was at 12pm at Angus and
      Robertson. Hania, a.k.a. Nanny Ogg the Younger, arrived in a bright red,
      extremely low cut dress[1], her significant-other Doctor Michael, and a
      few other friends whose name escape me.

      Soon afterwards, Trish and friends arrived, followed by myself. I had my
      Bag Of Holding, which was holding hundreds[2] of Diskworld books. After
      waiting in line in the blazing hot sun for hours, Trish suddenly
      remembered that she had left the engine of her car running and she had to
      move it before she got a ticket. Or something like that, I wasn't paying
      attention on account of still being blinded by Hania's dress.

      Many hours later, she arrived back after moving the car to escape the
      Dread Parking Inspector and his Chalk of Doom, just in time to jump the
      queue and meet up with me again.

      Ha and her dress returned from seeing PTerry. She had got him to sign
      her breasts, and was so excited that she had taken them off and was waving
      them around in the air and wearing them on her head.[3]

      Trish had a sudden attack of the Shys and had to be bodily thrust up to
      the desk where PTerry was seated to get her book signed. Then Trish's
      friend got her book signed, and despite her promise to show PTerry her
      tattoo of Death of Rats on her back, she remained fully clothed the entire

      I was rebuked for inquirying whether PTerry's hand had seized up yet.
      "Just empty the bag on the table, I'm used to dealing with you mad nutters
      now," said PTerry.

      While I wasn't actually there to see it, rumour and wishful thinking has
      it that Lora demonstrated her belly-dancing skills to PTerry. Presumably
      he signed a book afterwards.

      And thus ends the A&R book signing...
      [1] The description of the dress is not gratuitous, it has significance that
      will be made clear.

      [2] Actually five. But hundreds sounds better.

      [3] Did I mention they were fake rubber breasts?

      [4] This, on the other hand, is an entirely gratuitous description.
      Part Two of the report on PTerry's book signings.

      After the Angus & Robertson book signing, there was a short break while
      PTerry was revived. The second signing was at Minotaur Books, at 5pm.
      Eventually, they wandered down to the book signing and I followed them
      around an hour later, after they had been through the queue and Lora
      had gone home. We met up with Hania, who was holding court in the
      middle of the book shop, lying down between the aisles and yelling
      out questions from the Discworld Trivia book.

      After many hours in the queue, we had almost reached PTerry when
      Hania decided it would be a good idea to shove her purse in her
      witch's hat.[1] Much merriment followed, as the hat ended up being tossed
      around the store, to the bafflement of PTerry, his daughter, and the
      assorted staff of the store.

      PTerry recognised Hania's chest, gave a long-suffering sigh, and signed
      her books. "Do come back when you have less time," he said.

      I emptied my second Bag of Holding on the desk[2] and respectfully
      enquired whether the mysterious and oft-rumoured "Time Travel in Arthurian
      England" story was still being worked on. PTerry informed me that yes it
      was, and there was an ancient Greek saying that could be translated into
      the vernacular as "if I had a broom shoved up my arse, I could sweep the
      floors as well".

      I guess some people were feeling grumpy that day. I can't think why.

      And thus ended the book signing for another year.

      -- Steven D'Aprano
      PTerry's Sydney Appearances - the Report
      Date:11/25/2002 8:43 AM Eastern Standard Time

      10:40 AM: As I joined the queue, I noticed that the person
      directly behind me was going to be causing PTerry some
      serious wrist pain, since he was carrying a basket with
      about 25 books in it (however, he knew of the policy of
      three books at a time, and was willing to go around 9 or 10
      times to get them all signed).

      1:15 PM: I'd just gotten my books signed, and the next person
      up was the guy with the basket. PTerry's reaction was not
      particularly happy, and probably shouldn't be repeated in a
      public place. Instead of having him go around ten times, though,
      he offered a special arrangement: Bobby pulled out his watch, and
      PTerry signed as many books as he could in a one minute period.
      It was quite impressive seeing the books being opened, placed in
      front of PTerry, signed and whisked away again.

      1:16 PM: Having signed 19 of the books, PTerry then got the guy
      to turn around, and he got his T-Shirt signed (not that it was a
      particularly fancy or new shirt, and will now probably hang up in
      a cupboard somewhere for a year or so until it falls apart and is used as
      rags ...).

      The Terry Pratchett Evening at the Hilton:

      PTerry's introduction - first correcting the person who introduced
      him (who said he had made 20 million sales, and pointing out that
      it was 30 million - he must have been looking at last weeks figures)
      and then apologising for being in Australia without a Sporting Gene.

      Apparently PTerry's first book he read for pleasure was "The Wind
      in the Willows", at age 10. It was given to him by his uncle, and he
      read it in the car. At night. By streetlamps. And of course, the thing
      you notice about streetlamps is that they are separated by some
      distance, so that when you're trying to read a book by their light
      whilst in a moving car, you get to read about a sentence at a time,
      if you're lucky.

      His first part-time job was in a library - at this point in the speech
      he paused and asked if there were any librarians in the room, which
      got a mild response (except from the one fellow who shouted out "Yeah!"),
      and so he said he'd try and keep long words to a minimum - when he
      looked at the librarians doing their job, he thought "Even a monkey could do

      He was asked a few banal questions that made the audience groan,
      but obviously he was so used to them he had his answers ready.
      Such as "Who's your favourite character?" To which he said that he
      likes the Librarian, but the Librarian doesn't really have an internal
      monologue. Well he does, but it goes "ook ook ook". And of course
      he doesn't agonise over the human condition, since he doesn't have to suffer

      Asked about the origin of the Luggage, he actually said that the
      story about the old woman pulling a rickety old trolley was a sort of
      lie-to-readers (although he didn't exactly use that term). In fact, it
      came from when he was introduced to Role Playing Games of
      the old dice and character sheet style, and he introduced a new
      character to the dungeon - the Luggage. The Luggage would do
      whatever it was told, and would store the characters' +10 Swords
      and +15 Armours and all, but would obstinately do whatever it
      was told to the point where if told to follow them, it would generally
      knock into them at inopportune moments (such as when they're
      trying to sneak past a dragon), or if told to go somewhere, would
      not actually bother to check to see if there was a chasm in the way.
      And it would always show up again later on, mysteriously empty
      of all the goodies the adventurers had put in it.

      There were a couple of good questions, including one which asked
      about his tendency to create human female characters with human
      female weaknesses, instead of the usual fantasy stereotype of
      She Who Must Be Obeyed (H. R. Haggard) with not a flaw in her.
      Said PTerry, "I've always been interested in women". He then went
      on to sidestep the question, instead pointing out that while his characters
      are humanly flawed, they also always have a strong reserve to call
      on in times of trouble. Apparently this is because many of the aspects
      of his female characters are based on two women with the strongest
      character he knows - his wife and his daughter.

      PTerry then closed up the speech with a quick Kevin poll of the audience.
      There were none. Some British newspaper critic had found that while you
      can't criticise PTerry, you can criticise his audience, who he said
      were all 14 year old boys named Kevin.

      Having disproved that theory, PTerry then related a story of a speech
      he gave back in Britain where he mentioned that article. A middle-aged
      woman on the left of the theatre then stood up and shouted "I'm Kevin!"
      A middle-aged woman on the right of the theatre then stood up and
      shouted "No, *I'm* Kevin!" Finally a man in the middle, knowing how it
      was supposed to go, stood up and shouted "No, *I'm* Kevin, and so is my

      Finally PTerry sat at a desk in a corner of the room, and there was another
      book signing. The talk had lasted an hour. The queue lasted an hour and
      twenty minutes, and when someone asked PTerry how his wrist was, he replied
      "Don't ask."

      -- ConMan
      If you did not get all 4 parts, write: jschaum111@...
      End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 4
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