WOSSNAME -- SEPTEMBER 2004 -- PART 1 OF 4
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
September 2004 (Volume 7, Issue 9)
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: Jared Hays
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.Conina
Webmaster: Paul Wilkins, disk@...
Copyright 2004 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
1) NOREASCON 4: ALL TERRY PRATCHETT, ALL THE TIME
1) (continued) NOREASCON 4: ALL TERRY PRATCHETT, ALL THE TIME
2) THIS MONTH'S PUZZLE: A HAT FULL OF SKY
3) "WYRD SISTERS" PRODUCTION IN THE UK
4) AFP GREEN MAN MEET ON SEPTEMBER 18TH
5) TWEED MEET 1.0
6) AFP HALLOWEEN MEETING IN LONDON OCTOBER 30
7) "GOING POSTAL" ON SALE IN THE UK
8) "NIGHT WATCH" OPENS IN AUSTRALIA
9) LETTER -- GRANNY LIVES!
10) THE NEW DISC HOROSCOPE
1) NOREASCON 4: ALL TERRY PRATCHETT, ALL THE TIME
or, "Hi, My name is Anna, and I'll be your stalker this weekend."
by Anna M. Conina
BEING the First of a Three-Part Convention Report on the
62nd Worldcon's Guest of Honor.
Part the First: Thursday -- Please Refrain from
Bleeding on the Cookies
So there I was, slumming in the Mended Drum, nursing a
drink and cautiously eyeing the troll bouncer. I'd
successfully recruited the proprietor to join the
Klatchian Foreign Legion, despite his D'reg affiliations.
I was waxing voluble with a deceptively sweet Agony Aunt
and the very engaging Mr. Boggis, and had the Librarian,
in all his glorious warm-fuzziness, firmly ensconced in my lap
(thereby discouraging the eminent Mr. B. from making any
untoward advances on my wallet). Earlier in the evening, I had
been kissed by Terry Pratchett. In front of witnesses.
And to top it all off, I hadn't accidentally scythed
anyone -- fatally, anyway -- all night.
All told, one of my better days. But perhaps I'd better
start at the beginning. I came to Boston to attend
Noreascon 4 as a Woman with a Mission.
Well, Two Missions: first, to make Terry an
Honorary Commandant of the KFL, whether he liked it or
not, and second, to attend all his panels, speeches,
autograph sessions, award ceremonies, interviews,
miscellaneous public appearances, and pretty much
anything short of his bathroom breaks (again, whether
he liked it or not), and report on the highlights for
WOSSNAME. You see, I was more than just a Slightly
Scary Fan. I was empowered by Joe (foolish mortal) as
an Official Representative of the KFL. I had a shiny
new badge proclaiming said office. Granted, I'd made
it myself, but it was no less official for all that.
Joe said so, right after dubbing me Anna Conina,
barbarian librarian/hairstylist of the Discworld.
So clearly he was deadly serious about it.
My Terry-intensive Noreascon experience commenced with
the opening ceremonies, during which he strolled onstage
wearing his trademarked Author Hat and a T-shirt that
self-deprecatingly proclaimed, in progressively smaller
typeface, "Tolkien is dead. J.K. Rowling said no.
Phillip Pullman couldn't make it. Hi, I'm TerryPratchett."
Immediately afterward, his two panels, Where Do Elves
Come From?" and "The Art and Science of
Glamour," followed hard on each others' heels,
foreshadowing the sadistic scheduling crunch that was
to plague him all weekend. Sharing the same room and
topic, these first two panels tend to blend in memory
into one big meta-panel of chocolaty elfin goodness.
Or gleeful badness, really, since we're talking
Pratchett elves here, and nobody can write a better fey
bastard than the Master.
Up for discussion was the popularity of fairy artwork
("an excuse to paint young women in the nuddy"), the
practical challenges presented by Lothlorien treehouses
(broadband access? Bathroom facilities? So *that's*
how they water the trees), the trading of pretty human
babies for ugly fairy changelings (Terry claims to be
the regrettable result of one of these swaps),
revelations of panelist Vera Nazarian's highly
suspicious iron allergy (Terry raised the alarm with
frantic gestures and accusatory cries of "Elf! Elf!"),
the Hotness Factor of Orlando "Pinup Elf" Bloom, and the
Coolness Factor of the ever-glamorous and fortuitously
absent Neil "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night" Gaiman.
On the serious side, the panelists explored the
evolution (or devolution) of fairies over the centuries,
how they have been domesticated and "diminished" via
cutesy names (have you ever met a badass named
Peaseblossom?) and technology. Humanity conquered the
denizens of fairyland when it conquered its own
environment, yet "it only takes one power cut to bring
Even Terry the rationalist was once unsettled by
an eldritch (but ultimately explicable) experience
out in the midnight English countryside. It
was the sort of spooky story that really cried out for
a dark room and a flashlight under his face (prop people
are never around when you need them). An audience
inquiry about the growing popularity of the "urban elf"
genre inspired some of the most interesting ideas; elves
are creatures of "dark, dangerous places, and those
places aren't in the country anymore." The country as
elf-habitat is not the sole thing lost to the march of
progress, though; tongue planted firmly in cheek, Terry
conjectured that the _Lord of the Rings_ could never
exist in its current form today. While the scarcity of
women might be overlooked, Tolkien's editors would have
demanded he include "at least one good orc, who's sort
of seen the light . . . who's read poetry, maybe."
As the last panel dispersed, Terry entered the hall, and
hordes of fans converged on him for various purposes:
general greetings, thoughtful gifts (one woman offered
an origami crane and some heartfelt praise for the
ending of _Hat Full of Sky_; obviously touched, he swore
he'd written it just for her -- or at least people
*like* her, who could understand and appreciate it),
interview requests, and, of course, the ubiquitous
signature seeking. Some fans were wonderfully sneaky
about it. They'd sidle up, looking for all the world
like some innocuous well-wisher, then abruptly conjure
a book out of some hidden orifice and beseech him to
sign it. And he always would, with scarcely a grimace.
In turns out that, in addition to being a very clever
guy, and a very funny guy, Terry is also a very, very
nice guy. And boy, do his fans take advantage of it.
Emboldened by this, I posed for a picture with him and
stammered out some incoherent tribute to his books (his
standard, endearing response to all women who pay him
compliments is "Where were you when I was 18?"). I was
surprised when he not only recognized my mention of the
Klatchian Foreign Legion, but recalled that we were
planning to inflict an award upon him after the Terry
on Trial event later that night. Oh, yeah. The award.
Oh, bugger . . . . You know, I'd spent months in frantic
preparation for Noreascon, uplifted by the knowledge that,
like the light at the end of the tunnel, Terry would turn up at
the finish. Suddenly, the award presentation was less
than three hours away, and it came as a bit of a shock
to realize that I had never truly, viscerally grasped
that I would be going onstage in front of both a
good-sized crowd and the author whose genius had awed
me for well over a decade. Sometimes, the light at the end
of the tunnel is the Stage Fright Express -- and to make up
for lost time, it hits you *twice* as hard . . . .
Scarpering off to my room, I quickly squeezed into my
Paul-Kidby-inspired Susan Death costume: a moderately
low-cut and side-slit stretchy black velvet and lace
dress, velvet cape, knee-high boots, black-and-white
plaited fright wig, and glowing blue scythe crowned with
the Death of Rats riding on Quoth the Raven. Joined by
my partner in crime, valiant KFL-er and fellow library
type Sheila, I hastened to the site of the advertised
KFL pre-award dinner meet-up. Where not a single bloody
Legionnaire showed up. Or unbloody Legionnaire, for
that matter. Hoping the "bad rehearsal, good performance"
law applied to this scenario, Sheila and I ate a hasty dinner,
rehearsed for half an hour, grabbed the necessary props
-- our scripts, the hat, a hatbox full of homemade
cookies, and a KFL button reading "Join the Klatchian
Foreign Legion, meet interesting people, and get killed
by them" -- and hastened to the elevators. Slathered
in death-mask makeup and gore, her white shirt bristling
with arrows, and sporting a ludicrously fake moustache,
Sheila made a marvelous Legionnaire, and together we
attracted quite a few stares. Unfortunately, we quickly
discovered that our costumes presented unique challenges.
To avoid further embellishing the palm-tree-decorated
hatbox with a copious quantity of fake blood, Sheila was
forced to assume a stiff-armed, "Shawn of the Dead" style walk
which luckily went well with the whole deceased image,
but took up rather a lot of elevator space. Meanwhile,
my scythe handle proved that black permanent marker is
by no means permanent when applied to PVC pipe and
grasped in a sweaty hand. From the wrists down, it
appeared as if Susan had just returned from working a
coal mining catastrophe. The way the scythe extended
far beyond my personal space was also not making friends
and influencing people in a positive way; the folks in
the elevator were getting quite adept at ducking in
unison whenever I moved. After four near-gougings, I
began to see some sense in Noreascon 4's draconian
weapons policy, and resolved to ditch the blasted thing
as soon as possible.
Finally, the Susan Death gown was. . . well, a bit
less dress than I was accustomed to wearing.
I kept hiking the bodice up and the side-slit
down, which predictably worked at cross-purposes.
The First Night Discworld celebration was in full swing
when we entered the concourse, and I deeply regret being
too paralyzed with incipient stage fright to appreciate
most of it. We saw costumes galore, including a very
impressive troll, a second Susan, Queen Molly,
Rincewind, witches aplenty, and the aforementioned Agony
Aunts and Mr. Boggis.
A food court brazenly pleaded guilty to peddling
C.M.O.T. Dibbler's snacks, while a large display
promoted the Cunning Artificer's wares and
Terry's publishing history. I coveted the Discworld
calendar, which wasn't for sale, and fancied one very
stylish "21 Years of Discworld" poster featuring a
shadowy profile of Terry clutching a cane and brooding
like some sort of film noir assassin, which wasn't for
sale, either. Best of all was a wonderfully detailed
replica of the Mended Drum set up in the concourse,
guarded by a statue of a troll bouncer, which hosted an
assortment of drinks, filking, and general bonhomie.
I even managed a brief chat with one of its creators,
the dashing Barak Brudo, talented artist and secret
Med-Jai warrior, who really should supplement my
far-too-brief description of the pub with a more
detailed article for WOSSNAME (Barak, if you're reading
this, that is what's known as a REALLY BIG HINT). I'd
say the only disappointment was the complete lack of
morris dancers in the concourse, although I suspect most
of the men were consoled by the abundance of belly
dancers who stepped up to fill the void. Perhaps it was
for the best. Given the mayhem my scythe was causing,
I doubt the space could have withstood a stick-and-bucket
assault, too. (continued on Part 2)
If you did not get all 4 parts, write: jschaum111@...
End of Part 1, says my computer -- continued on Part 2 of 4
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