WOSSNAME -- JANUARY 2004 -- PART 2 OF 3 (continued)
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
5) CASTING THE DISCWORLD
To the Editor:
Further to casting for Discworld characters,
I've always liked the idea of Sigourney Weaver as
Granny Weatherwax and Dolly Parton as Nanny Ogg!
-- Stan Flatters, UK
6) DISCWORLD SERIES GETTING DARKER?
To the Editor:
Does anyone know why the books are getting darker;
and more Watch oriented. You can scarcely read a book
these days without seeing "His Grace, His exellency, etc. etc. "
To the Editor:
Well, I think I agree with the other readers then...seriously, as
far as Hogfather was concerned I thought the character of
J.Teh-ah Time-eh was created with particular creepiness
even though I've seen echoes of that psychotic frame of mind
in t.v serials and movies. Who's your dark character?
To the Editor:
Well, I hope you like dark. They get darker. I like the newer
ones even better, because I like dark. But it isn't to the
taste of other readers.
-- Stacie Hanes
(7) FIRE THE PROOF-READER
To the Editor:
Well, if you see "His exellency" in a Discworld novel, I think PTerry
should have his proof-reader fired :-)
But seriously ... the reason the Discworld novels are getting darker is
that PTerry is becoming a more mature, deeper writer.
Although, I don't actually agree that his books are getting *darker*. To
me, a dark story is something like the other Terry's "Brazil" (Gilliam
of course), or the wonderful "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis, or
something like "1984" or "Animal Farm."
I think Pratchett is just getting more serious, in the sense that his
stories have less emphasis on the wacky puns and more on the story and
plot. That isn't to say that they aren't funny, but much of it is wry
humour instead of characters wearing silly fake noses, if you know what
I mean. The humour is more thoughtful.
Every time PTerry brings out a new book, people complain that he's
getting darker. But I don't think he is, or at least not since Mort or
maybe even Equal Rites. The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic
don't count, they are so utterly light-weight, just pure send-ups.
I think what has happened is that people discover the Discworld for the
first time, they fall in love with the humour and the jokes and the
songs about hedgehogs, and they don't notice just how serious the books
are. Then after a few years of PTerry's influence, they gradually
notice the depth and maturity of the novels, and forget that it was
there in all of them.
For instance, I remember when Carpe Jugulum came out. "It's too dark,"
wailed many people -- but reading it, it is no darker than Hogfather,
or Lords and Ladies, which those same people chortled and chuckled
through a few years before.
So I don't believe that PTerry has changed his style very much, at least
not since Mort. He had settled into what we think of as the Discworld
style, and everything he has done since then has been to just polish
and shine it, not reinvent it.
As for the Discworld being more Watch oriented, it is no secret that
PTerry is fascinated with the social evolution of cities and the people
This is why he has spend to much time on taking Ankh-Morpork from a
pseudo-medieval parody of a city to a post-Renaissance pre-Industrial
Revolution city -- although still a parody of a city, it is a more
thoughtful and deep parody. The old A-M was little more than those
props from Holy Wood made of cheap timber and painted canvas. The new
A-M is much more real.
The Wizards don't really count -- they are the comedy relief of the
Discworld, bless them, and we'd all be a lot worse off without them,
but the Wizards don't really have much depth of character. They are
caricatures. But Vetinari and Vimes, they are more real than most real
people. They are concentrated essense-of-person, archetypes.
Of the 31 Discworld novels, PTerry has written:
2 Cohen novels;
5 Wizards novels;
7 Witches novels;
5 Death/Susan novels;
6 Watch novels;
and 6 others that don't fit into any of the above.
Of the latest 10 novels, (Jingo to Monstrous Regiment) only three are
City Watch novels, although it is true that Vimes has a minor role to
play in two more.
The short answer to why PTerry is focused more on Vimes and less on
Rincewind is a simple one: Vimes is a much more complex character, and
PTerry can write much more interesting stories about him! After all,
what does Rincewind do except run away? :-)
-- Steven D'Aprano
KFL MEETINGS AROUND THE WORLD
8) TANGOMEET AND ACCIDENTAL MELMEET
When: 28th January 2004
Where: the Melbourne hippie district (aka Fitzroy)
Who: Dru, Hania Ogg, Steven, assorted hippies and
Pagans, and a Magrat
Since people have been recovering from the Hogswatch
festivities, no-one had managed to organise a MelMeet.
But yesterday I was suddenly-and-with-little-warning
abducted by the elusive Hania Ogg and a carload of
New Age Pagans. And where was this be-costumed,
bejeweled, incense-wafting crowd heading? Why, to
a Ballroom Dancing lesson, specifically a Tango one.
"How weird is that?" I asked myself, but went along
anyway with the festive air (and the Melbourne smog).
On the way to Fitzroy we had a lively discussion of
the repressive nature of a certain country's so-called
Religious Right and how these people claim that
Discworld and Harry Potter books are evil and dangerous
and corrupt the minds of children by promoting witchcraft
Yeah, right -- what they really fear is that writers like
Terry Pratchett encourage free-thinking and
poke fun at the very sort of people who would make
such claims! One of our party, a lady who is so very much
the image of Magrat that I've long since forgotten her
Roundworld name, began shouting out the window: "I
am the Witch Queen of Lancre and I have come to
seduce your children to the ways of herbal tea-making
and natural healing!" Quite amusing, really.
The tango class was fascinating, a wide cross-section of
all sorts of people united only by their inability to dance
gracefully. Hania Ogg, as always, filled the room with
single entendres and kept everyone giggling. There was
even a failed attempt to convince the tango teacher to
let them practise the Stick and Bucket Dance!
Eventually all sore feet and kicked shins retired from the
dance floor, and we headed down the street to meet
Steven at the Bar Bukka, a music-venue pub straight out
of 1972, where Wendy Rule and her acoustic band were
playing. Wendy is a stunning-looking lady (her photos don't
do her justice) from Melbourne with a faux Knightsbridge
accent, a lovely contralto voice, fascinating taste in coats
and corsetry, and an apparent conviction that she's Stevie
Nicks reborn, which may come as a surprise to the
still-living Stevie Nicks:
The Bar Bukka has a devoted regular clientele whose
attire and attitudes prove that hippies are alive and
well in the 21st Century. It's a very friendly place that
specialises in exotic liqueurs and cocktails and very
sensible prices. I recognised many of the patrons from
Hania Ogg's Solstice party last month -- lovely people,
and about as devil-worshippy as Mrs Cosmopilite!
After the gig, Steven and I headed off to walk the half-
hour back to central Melbourne for our train home. On
the way, Steven fulfilled a promise he made to me long
ago by taking a route through Parliament Gardens to
show me the possums. Oh, they are amazing little
creatures! The Fourecksian answer to the squirrel in many
ways, they are so used to humans that they stood calmly
as we passed near them, and a few were even so bold as
to approach us looking for treats. I know that Ecksians
consider them a pest, but amongst the old oaks and
equally old native trees of the park, they are a delight.
And again, photographs don't do them justice.
Hania Ogg informed us that there's to be a Pagans Picnic
on the weekend after next. We might well go. I see a
cauldron in my future...
-- Report by Drusilla D'Afanguin
(Ed note: My dog Luke certainly knows how to do justice
to possums. We have them in Miami, Florida, too -- and
Luke snaps their neck in about 5 seconds, especially
if they are doing their "playing dead" trick.)
If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...
End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 3
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