WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2004 -- PART 1 OF 6
Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
November 2004 (Volume 7, Issue 11)
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: Sarah McLaren
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
1) (continued) NOREASCON 4: ALL TERRY PRATCHETT, ALL THE TIME
2) MENDED DRUM REPORT
3) NEWS FROM TERRY'S AGENT
4) THE MASTER SPEAKER
5) LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
6) DW -- A WAY OF LIFE
7) AUDITION FOR INTERESTING TIMES
8) YOUR MONTHLY DISCWORLD HOROSCOPE
9) THIS MONTH'S PUZZLE: GOING POSTAL
At long last, the grand finale of . . .
NOREASCON 4: ALL TERRY PRATCHETT, ALL THE TIME
or, "Hi, my name is Anna, and I'll be your stalker this weekend."
BEING the Third of a Three-Part Convention Report on the 62nd Worldcon's
Guest of Honor by Anna M. Conina.
Part the Third: Sunday/Monday -- Not the Usual Unusual
We interrupt this report for a spot of shameless self-promotion:
SHEILA AND I ARE IN THIS MONTH'S LOCUS MAGAZINE!
Check out the very first color photo spread of the November Noreascon
report. Terry and I appear in the "Pratchett on Trial" picture, and
Sheila and Terry (saluting in his Legionnaire hat) are in the "GOH:
Terry Pratchett, Legionnaire" picture. Rest assured that I am planning
to show off this magazine to everyone I know, and probably people I
don't, just for the hell of it. I'll walk up to complete strangers on
the street and thrust the photo spread in their faces, saying, "Look!
I'm Susan Death!" And then they'll edge away carefully, only breaking
into a run after achieving a safe distance. Should be fun . . . .
. . . . but not nearly as fun as Terry's "The Art of Titles" program on
Sunday morning (how's *that* for a slick transition?). A highly
subjective art, the topic stubbornly resisted all attempts to reduce it
to a science, or impose a set of rules. One panelist absolutely loved
each title that another trashed as silly tripe; someone voiced the
truism, "Never name a book after a character," citing guaranteed
financial failure (like those notorious bombs, _Oliver Twist_, _Jane
Eyre_, _Carrie_, and _The Vampire Lestat_, perhaps?). Predictably,
Terry scored the sharpest insights with his observations on the sound
and serendipity of titles. A sonorous entry in a telephone directory
triggered the upcoming Tiffany Aching book _Wintersmith_, while the name
of a Discworld character, "Devious Collarbone," emerged from the email
header of a random-word, stream-of-consciousness spam; "I suppose now
the spammer can sue *me*," he mused. When the conversation shifted to
his title-in-progress _Thud_, he favored this "sound of a body hitting
the floor" for its Donald-Westlake-esque, murder-mystery, film-noir
finality. One panelist seemed skeptical. "It's short, but what else
does it have going for it?" Face poker-straight, Terry calmly
explained, "Well, it does have the words 'by Terry Pratchett' underneath."
The laughter from that bombshell still ringing in my ears, I moved on to
the scheduled reading. Terry's computer rebooted smoothly while he
gently reminded it of the unspeakable fate endured by the GOH speech
laptop. It's often disappointing when authors read their own material,
but Terry's a natural storyteller whose force of personality created the
impression of speaking directly to the listener rather than reading from
a page. After Moist von Lipwig's absurd introduction to Groat, Stanley,
and the derelict mail system from _Going Postal_, the comedic tone
whiplashed to a nail-gnawing, sadistically cliff-hanging chapter from
_Wintersmith_, in which Tiffany risks her life to save the sheep,
Roland, and her community from smothering snow with a fire-spell beyond
her capabilities. Evocative and understated, strong and simple as the
elements themselves, the language had the rhythm of a magic chant,
surging to a terrible crescendo. It's some of the best emotive writing
he's ever done.
Having auctioned off his reading copy of the as-yet-unreleased _Going
Postal_ for the staggering sum of $280, with proceeds benefiting the
TAFF/DUFF fund (bidders offered rather more for the laptop, but he
politely declined), Terry exited into the hall to settle payment with
the proud new owner. I lingered to say hello to Kris (the ex-Agony
Aunt), tell the auction winner about WOSSNAME, and accost Terry's
editor, Jennifer Brehl. I was perpetually astounded by how kind both
she and Terry were to me, never once exclaiming, "Oh, f***, it's you.
Security!" ("You haven't reached that point . . . *yet,*" Terry once
wryly reassured me). Squelching my extreme hero-worship fangirl
earnestness would probably have been like kicking a puppy. Plus, they
both like Joe a lot, so I basked in the happy glow of a sort of
This is why I had the chutzpah to invite Jennifer to lunch. When a
schedule conflict prevented her from accepting, I laughingly asked if I
would look like a scary sociopath if I extended Terry the offer instead,
and she encouraged me to go for it. Impulsively, I did. I then awaited
the inevitable polite refusal ("Oh, f***, it's you. Security!").
Instead, he asked *where* I wanted to eat lunch.
As I stood stock-still and slack-jawed with disbelief, the convention
GOH liaison adroitly attempted to rescue him with a tactful reminder of
the TAFF/DUFF auction he was due to visit in less than an hour. On cue,
I agreed it might be best to scrap the whole idea, given how little time
he had remaining. Much to my astonishment -- and probably the liaison's
-- he shrugged and said we could still have a quick bite over at the
concourse. I found myself sitting in front of the Mended Drum, staring
at Terry over my fruit salad with an expression normally reserved for
situations involving headlights and Herne the Hunted.
Before I go on, please note the following facts in my defense:
1. I speak much worse than I write. I'm one of those poor unfortunate
souls who think up clever rejoinders at 3 am, usually several weeks
after a given conversation has concluded.
2. This was the first (and very likely the last) extended one-on-one
interaction I'd ever had with Terry, and the fear of saying something
stupid loomed large. "Just relax and be yourself" is good advice, but
would have required the use of horse tranquilizers.
3. Knowing he was pressed for time, I felt hideously guilty for imposing on
his few free moments.
4. I really, really, *really* didn't expect him to say yes. I was
grateful, but gobsmacked. I still have no idea *why* he said yes, but
I'm guessing the puppy-kicking factor was involved.
So, suffice it to say that lunch consisted of Terry engaging in
effortlessly witty conversation, including every conceivable gambit
designed to encourage me to talk, while I sat in stupefied, starstruck
silence, occasionally emitting monosyllabic squeaky sounds when a
response seemed absolutely necessary. By the time he finally fled, I
suspect he was making a Herculean effort not to laugh at me till salad
snorted out his nose.
In short, I bit the Big Sandwich.
Now, this is where I fall back on the comforting logic of quantum
Discworld thinking. Namely, somewhere out there is an alternate world
where I *did* provide scintillatingly brilliant repartee (or at least
coherent sentences). Inspired by this theory, I am sponsoring an
official competition designed to explore that other leg of the Trousers
of Time. I hereby encourage all of you in the peanut gallery to write
an amusing and/or profound comment I should have made to Terry. The
winner(s) will enjoy 15 minutes of fame in WOSSNAME, and will also
receive one of the stylish KFL buttons I created for the convention,
featuring both Stephen Briggs's flaming grenade logo and the
inspirational motto, "Join the Klatchian Foreign Legion, Meet
Interesting People, and Get Killed by Them." Entrants are welcome to
submit multiple entries. The deadline is January 15th. Joe's
decisions are final. And yes, this is a genuine, bona-fide competition.
So get writing already!
Meanwhile, back at Noreascon, the green-eyed Lady had turned upon me
with a vengeance, fickle strumpet that she is. When I tried to join
Terry's massive autograph line to get two books signed for a friend, I
discovered it had closed over a half hour before. I'd have to make it
to both signing sessions on Monday to get my friend's books and my two
books signed, which meant I'd miss "The Serious Side of Terry Pratchett"
panel with Esther Friesner, a very bright and funny writer who seems
almost as big a fan of Terry as I am. Retreating to the elevators in
defeat, I was startled from my pity party by the dazzling smile of an
extravagantly gorgeous guy who enthused at length about the blue silk
dress I was wearing. "I just *love* your sense of style. And I have no
ulterior motive for saying this," he concluded brightly, "since I'm gay!"
Oddly enough, I found my optimism restored by this off-kilter
compliment. After all, I enjoyed chatting with fans in the autograph
lines, so attending two in a row hardly qualified as a hardship. More
importantly, I had just had the honor of lunching with my favorite
author. Granted, I spent it doing a bang-up impression of a deaf-mute,
but all in all it could have been much worse. I could have said
something so hideously embarrassing I'd need to change my name and join
a convent. I could have coughed up a pineapple chunk into his lap, or
accidentally skewered him with a spork. And even if I'd come off as a
cretin, at least my clothes looked nice. It's all a matter of perspective.
(continued on Part 2)
If you did not get all 6 parts, write: jschaum111@...
End of Part 1, says my computer -- continued on Part 2 of 6
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