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WOSSNAME -- JULY 2004 -- PART 1 OF 3 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion July 2004 (Volume 7, Issue 7) *********************************************************************
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2004
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      WOSSNAME
      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      July 2004 (Volume 7, Issue 7)
      *********************************************************************
      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.
      *********************************************************************
      Editor in Chief: Joseph Schaumburger
      Managing Editor: Annie Mac
      News Editor: Bethany Ayers
      Staff Writers: Asti Osborn
      Book Reviews: Drusilla D'Afanguin
      Puzzle Editor: CatTigerLi
      DW Horoscope: Anaemia Asterisk
      Emergency Staff: Jason Parlevliet,
      Nathan Clissold, Dylan Williams
      Art Director: Rhett Pennell
      World Membership Director: Becky Swaney
      Convention News Editor: Anna M.C.
      Webmaster: Paul Wilkins, disk@...
      Copyright 2004 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      INDEX:

      ====Part 1

      1) NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR GLOM OF NIT
      (First Review of GOING POSTAL)
      2) TERRY TO RECEIVE SPECIAL HONOR AT WORLDCON IN U.S.
      3) CONVENTION IN SPAIN CANCELED?

      ====Part 2

      4) NESFA PUBLISHES NEW PRATCHETT BOOK
      5) TERRY HINTS AT NEW TITLES
      6) PRATCHETT RECOVERS FROM HEART OPERATION
      7) THIS MONTH'S PUZZLE: THE WEE FREE MEN

      ====Part 3

      8) THE NEW DISC HOROSCOPE

      ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      1) NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR GLOM OF NIT

      A few Thoughts on Going Postal, the forthcoming Discworld novel

      (Since the book is not yet out, I suppose we need a giant SPOILER
      notice right here. Don't say we didn't warn you.)

      by Annie Mac

      Before I start, I'd like to point out that I don't *always automatically*
      declare each new Discworld or Discworld-related novel to be a stupendous
      work of towering genius, yadda yadda. Much as I have loved Terry
      Pratchett's wordsmithing for many years, I'm of the opinion that the
      earliest Discworld books (lovely as they still are) aren't a patch on the
      later ones. And Small Gods left me cold - fine writing, but no characters
      I could warm to. And Pyramids still feels weak to me, even after many
      re-readings. But I think the Man reached escape velocity from Lords and
      Ladies onward, and ever since then, the books continue to grow ever more
      magnificent and the Discworld as he shows it to us keeps evolving into an
      ever more complex, ever more *real* continuinuinuum, grittier and more
      layered and richer in heart and soul with every new addition to the canon.

      So yes: Going Postal is a stonking, walloping beauty of a book. And it's
      one that, in my opinion, is so well crafted and so full of ultra-relevant
      modern parables that it could satisfy as a standalone novel if read by
      someone who is unfamiliar with the Discworld and its, erm, unusual
      denizens.

      Those of you who have seen the online blurbs already know the basic
      premise. The setting is a very few years since the events of Monstrous
      Regiment; the Clacks semaphore system has grown to span the continent,
      and in the process become a vital part of society (internet, anyone?), but a
      change of management and a proliferation of breakdowns and...accidents
      are rendering the system unreliable, so Lord Vetinari hires - for a certain
      value of "hires", of course - a condemned young con-man, Moist von
      Lipwig, to resurrect the moribund Ankh-Morpork postal system. Of
      course it's by all appearances an impossible task, but the alternative to
      trying is, well, no viable one. And also of course, the last thing the Grand
      Trunk clacks company wants is competition, so the race is on. No challenge
      is too outrageous, no trick is too dirty. Standing behind the new Postmaster
      is a big man with a fist of clay, and standing further in the shadows is
      the mysterious cabal known as The Smoking Gnu...and standing so deep in
      the shadows that the shadows don't often realise he's there, we have Lord
      Vetinari, manipulator extraordinaire, whose ever-growing political
      expertise gives new meaning to the word "tyrant" - or perhaps a return to
      the *older* meaning of that word.

      The underlying theme of the story is that it takes a crooked man to run a
      straight game properly. Of course Vetinari has always embodied that
      idea, but in Moist von Lipwig we have a new, more humanistic character
      to demonstrate it. At the start of the book he cares only for saving his own
      skin (with himself in it, for preference), but as events wear on he finds
      himself using his "people skills" more and more for the public good. It's
      a parable to be sure, but delivered without undue sentiment and, as ever,
      with Pratchett's unique understanding of human - and Golem, and other
      species' -- nature, and with plenty of humour and dyspeptic wit. And
      punes, naturally.

      Another major component is the evolution of the societies of the Discworld,
      and of Ankh-Morpork in particular. Modern times are truly coming to the
      Disc at a speed Alvin (Future Shock) Toffler would recognise with a
      sardonic grin. Vetinari gave us legalised Guilds; now we have a financial
      sector, mercantile conglomerates, a mushrooming middle class, and the
      rise of white-collar crime, all relentlessly chronicled by The Times. Things
      are moving fast in Ankh-Morpork. I don't think Granny would approve,
      but the genie is well and truly out of the bottle now and the Discworld is
      shrinking by the month as global (discal?) commerce spreads its claws
      and near-instantaneous communication becomes commonplace. Yet it's
      also worth noting that human nature (and Dwarf and Troll and Zombie
      and what-have-you nature) remains unchanged, as are the dark vitality
      and raw venality that make up such an important part of the Ankh-
      Morpork national psyche.

      Going Postal is very much Moist's and Vetinari's show, although some
      familiar characters are part of the supporting cast and many more have
      their presence felt. But there are new characters, fascinating new
      characters. We're already familiar with magic-geeks via Ponder Stibbons
      and his Hex team; now we meet a new breed of geek, the Clacks engineer
      - new to the Discworld but deliciously familiar to any Roundworlders who
      know the IT industry. A hacker is a hacker in any reality, and I wonder
      if Pratchett is editorialising a wee bit here because all the Discly hackers
      have the integrity (and sometimes-dangerous naivety!) of Leonard of
      Quirm. Ah well, it is a fantasy novel, after all... We also get to learn
      more about Golem culture, pin freaks, and a handful of new facts about
      Uberwald.

      Oh, and there's romance, of a sort. And something approaching a happy
      ending, with all loose ends tied up. And a delicious double punchline at
      the very last.

      And the Man manages, just, not to mention the word "Microsoft" even
      once, muhahahaha.

      One thing may come as a bit of a shock, though. Tradition has been
      broken: Going Postal has *chapters*! With Victorian-style sub-headers!
      I had to go out for some fresh air, followed by a lie-down, when first
      confronted with that. No, not really, but I did end up trying not to read
      the chapter titles after a while, just so I could rocket on wrapped in the
      story. Now I have the additional delight of reading them on their own
      - and enjoying the superb (but sadly, uncredited in the galley proof)
      stamp illustrations accompanying each one.

      As to how Going Postal "fits" among the Discworld novels, I would place
      it in a similar vein to The Fifth Elephant, which happens to be one of my
      favourites. Enjoy.

      NB: beware the lure of pins.

      ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      2) TERRY TO RECEIVE SPECIAL HONOR AT WORLDCON IN U.S.

      Are any Klatchian Foreign Legionnaires going to be attending the
      Boston Noreascon? (If you're reading this, you're already a KFL member.)

      Terry Pratchett is a Guest of Honor at the con, which is Noreascon Four,
      the 62nd Worldcon. It will be held from September 2nd through 6th.

      Our coordinator for a KFL meet-up will be Anna M.C. You can reach
      her at annamc@... if your Labor Day Weekend plans
      include a trip to the con. We have set up a special meeting
      for our group with Terry where we will bestow a signal honor on him.

      Also, if any of our readers would like to write up their experiences
      at the con, please send them in and we will publish them. Send them
      to Joe Schaumburger at: jschaum111@...
      ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      3) CONVENTION IN SPAIN CANCELED?

      We're sorry to report that the July 24-25 Ankh-Madriz III
      Con was canceled. The head of our Spanish section,
      Manuel Viciano reports:

      Some bad news. The Spanish Discworld Con, Ankh-Madriz III, has
      had to be delayed due to organization problems and last-minute
      desertions from the original program. It was due to be held on
      July 24 and 25 but, had it been done so, it would have been
      more like a giant meetup.

      So it has been delayed. There is talk about two possible dates:
      mid-August or October/November, when the program should be
      able to present a little excerpt from the 'Guards! Guards!' play
      being prepared in Madrid at this moment by director Borja Yague
      and his actors. Additional information will be displayed (in Spanish)
      on the Con Website, soon to be back up on the web at:
      http://gritos.com/mundodisco/

      Original plans were for role-playing events, filksong contests,
      trivia games, a presentation of a scene from a Spanish production
      of Mort, Thud games, even a subtitled film version of Soul Music.
      Attendees were to receive an Unseen University diploma, and prizes
      will be awarded for the winners of various contests.

      Meanwhile, Manu reports, membership in the Spanish-speaking
      branch of the KFL has already risen above 1,000 members.
      It's 1,022 at the moment.

      oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      End of Part 1, says my computer -- continued on Part 2 of 3


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