WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2002 -- PART 2 OF 4 (continued)
- WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2002 -- PART 2 OF 4 (continued)
5) REVIEWS & COMMENTS: NIGHT WATCH
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
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.
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, 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 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.
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...
 The description of the dress is not gratuitous, it has significance that
will be made clear.
 Actually five. But hundreds sounds better.
 Did I mention they were fake rubber breasts?
 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. 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 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
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
If you did not get all 4 parts, write: jschaum111@...
End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 4