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WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2000 - Part 1

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion November 2000 (Volume 3 Issue 11) *********************************************************************
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2000
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      WOSSNAME
      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      November 2000 (Volume 3 Issue 11)

      *********************************************************************

      WOSSNAME is a FREE publication for members of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      and also its affiliates, including the North American Discworld Society and
      other continental groups. Are you a member? Yes, if you sent in your e-mail
      address. Are there any dues? No. Dues are only required if you want to
      join the Guild of Fans and Disciples and receive discounts on books and
      other items sometimes available through their bulk purchases.

      *********************************************************************
      Editor in Chief: Joseph Schaumburger
      Staff Writers:
      Geof Johns
      Michael Jones
      Art Director : Rhett Pennell
      World Membership Director: Becky Swaney
      Webmaster: Paul Wilkins, disk@...
      Copyright 2000 by Klatchian Foreign Legion

      INDEX:

      Part 1
      1. Reports from The Klatchian Foreign Legion
      Spain
      India
      2. Letters to the Editor
      3. Review of THE TRUTH - Geof Johns
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Part 2
      4. Review of THE TRUTH - Apatite the Troll
      5. From the Desk of the Patrician
      6. A Word from Michael Jones
      7. Klatchian Foreign Legion Webring
      *************************************************************************
      1) REPORTS FROM THE LEGION'S FAR-FLUNG OUTPOSTS

      SPAIN:
      ----------
      Hi Joe!

      Here I am again... Sorry if you haven't heard from me
      lately but I've been busy. Now the Spanish Language Branch
      of the KFL is set to a force of about 100 (and, as we
      say, "y subiendo"...) AND some recruits have begun
      to make themselves seen in magazines, etc. holding
      DW books. (It's quite fun to see, just visit
      http://mundodisco.dreamers.com/kfl.htm)

      And well, that was all. Could you spread the word in
      WOSSNAME? And perhaps remind Spanish-speaking people
      out there that they can begin receiving El Puercoespin
      just by sending a blank email to mundodisco-subscribe@egroups.com

      Best wishes,

      MANU

      Manuel Viciano Delibano

      PS: Here's that song you wanted from our latest issue:

      Al puercoespín jamás se le puede joder
      ----------------------------------------------------------

      Seguro que la zoofilia es algo divertido
      Pero te he de decir, para que estés advertido:
      Con casi todos los animales se puede hacer
      Pero al puercoespín jamás se le puede joder.

      Sus espinas son punzantes como saetas,
      Y siempre te las clavarás cuando se la metas.
      Creo que el intentarlo te va a decepcionar
      ¡Al puercoespín no te lo puedes follar!

      Montar a caballo suele ser divertido
      También a un elefante, a pesar de sus kilos,
      Incluso a un ratón (con su culo pequeñajo)
      Pero al puercoespín no podrás meterle el carajo.

      Son tan grandes las púas de su espalda
      Que te provocará un terrible escozor de nalgas.
      Y cuando te ve se hace una bola para su ojete ocultar.
      ¡Así que al puercoespín no te lo puedes tirar!

      Si te follas a una vaca, no te importe que muja,
      Que seguro que disfruta más que tú la granuja,
      Prueba con un tigre, si te llegas a atrever,
      Pero al puercoespín no se le puede joder.

      Refresca mucho hacérselo a un pescado
      Y seguro que a nuestras mascotas les va el sado.
      E incluso a la jirafa (con lo alta que es)
      Pero al puercoespín jamás se le puede joder.

      Follar con serpientes aunque arriesgado es muy bello,
      E igual de emocionante que tirarte a un camello.
      Jode a un caracol si su ritmo puedes adoptar
      Pero al puercoespín jamás te lo podrás follar.

      INDIA:
      ---------
      THE FRESH START CLUB IN INDIA

      By BARRY BEARAK

      Azamgarh, India: Lal Bihari, founder of the Association of Dead People, first
      learned he was deceased when he applied for a bank loan in 1975.
      Proof of identity was required for the transaction. But when Bihari came here
      to
      Azamgarh, the district capital, he was told he could no longer be who he said
      he
      was. Official records listed him as dead, something that had allowed his
      uncle
      to inherit Bihari's share of the family's ancestral farmland.

      "Take a look for yourself," insisted the lekhpal, the low-level bureaucrat
      who
      kept the appropriate books, Bihari recalled. "It is all written here in the
      registry."

      Death was a disconcerting change of circumstance, and Bihari was especially
      annoyed to hear of it from the lekhpal, a man he knew well and with whom he
      had
      recently had tea.

      Bihari's legal resurrection was accomplished in a mere 19 years, and in the
      process, Bihari, a poorly educated merchant, found his mission in life:
      championing the cause of the similarly expunged.

      In July, a High Court judge ordered the state of Uttar Pradesh to publish
      advertisements seeking out the living dead, and then to revive them in the
      public records.

      "As the bureaucrats once feared the devil, they now fear the Association of
      Dead
      People," said Bihari, 45, who clearly enjoys the stir he is causing.
      It is still too early to make an accurate estimate of how many of the legally
      dead are biologically alive, but the known cases most often involve family
      fraud, and the reason for the in-fighting comes from a severe shortage of
      land.
      India's population now tops a billion, and as property has been subdivided
      repeatedly among ever more heirs, some farmers are left to eke out a
      living with plots no bigger than a tennis court.

      Declaring someone dead to inherit his land may seem a preposterous ruse,
      especially if the dearly departed is decidedly evident. But slippery deeds
      often
      require nothing more than a greased palm.

      Bihari said he later found out that his own phony demise had cost his uncle
      about $US25 ($48), which is not an inconsiderable sum. A hit man could have
      been
      hired for half as much.

      These days, Bihari can serve as quite an unusual tour guide, introducing
      visitors to the spuriously dead throughout the area.

      In Mubarakpur there is Bhagwan Prashad Mishra, a spry man at 80, who has been
      officially deceased since 1979. Mishra said he had lost his land to conniving
      nephews.

      Ansar Ahmed, 48, lives with his widowed mother in Madhnapar. He was recorded
      as
      dead in 1982, when his brother took control of the family's small rice paddy.
      One recent morning, Bihari returned to Khalilabad, where many of those who
      long
      pretended he was dead now treat him with demonstrative respect.
      Pati Ram, Bihari's cousin, warmly greeted the man whose death was once a
      vital
      part of his family's mythology. "We have done him a great injustice," he said
      meekly.

      The two cousins sat on a cot under the shade of a tree. The sky above was
      blue,
      the air sweet, the breezes serene. It was good to be alive.

      -- The New York Times
      ******************************************************************************

      ***
      2) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

      Dear Editor:

      Hi! my name is Gaby. I live in Tijuana, Mexico and am very interested in
      getting on your email list. The first novels of Discworld I read were in
      Spanish and I found them hilarious. Then I found out I could read 'em in
      English too, so now my only problem is that some of the first ones are not
      available near the place I live (San Diego, CA).
      My e-mail is alleycatmx@...

      I would really love it if I could comunicate with people who like the same
      stuff that I do, since fantasy is not a big hit with Spanish-speaking
      people. I know of only three other persons in this city that like fantasy as
      much as I do, and one of them is my sister!

      So I expect to hear from you as soon as posible and thank you very much!!

      -- Gaby

      Dear Editor:

      Mr Pratchett has written so many books that I can't even count them. (my
      math skills are limited to counting with my fingers). In the books there are
      so many characters, that at least one of those has to be Mr Pratchett
      himself.

      As you are able to see, I like logical argumentations, where every argument
      is a consistent step of the last one...and can be easily derived from the last
      one ...Back to the question: Who and Where in his books is somebody or
      something Terry Pratchett?

      -- Moritz Schimpe
      ******************************************************************************

      *****
      3) THE TRUTH -- a personal view (isn't it always?) by Geof Johns

      At first sight the Discworld looks like a tiny corner of the sci-fi fantasy
      realm
      - a realm which is itself often regarded as a cul-de -sac of literature.
      Imagine
      a tiny tent in a vast desert. But when you flick open the entry flap and look
      inside - all of a sudden there is everywhere and everything. It's big enough
      for all our worldviews not to touch the sides - or even each other.

      I'm always surprised when I read how other people see Terry Pratchett's
      Discworld novels. I've been reading lists of people's favourites lately and
      they're all so different - different from mine and different from each other.

      Attempting a review of a Discworld novel might not be wise - it can only be
      personal. I'm of the generation that cried when we finished reading the last
      page
      of the Lord of the Rings because we knew that the best party was in our heads
      and we didn't want to go home - that drew on our love of board games and
      puzzles, as beautifully intricate as Faberge eggs, to invent Dungeons
      and Dragons (yep, I know Gary Gygax really invented D&D but he was kinda
      cusping the wave for all of us.) - that never forgot the wonder of our first
      descent
      into a world of goblins and wizardry - lost forever when someone calculated
      the exact percentile roll required by a chaotic and left handed vicar to
      damage
      an agoraphobic gnoll with a broken morning-star - that so discovered humour
      and Douglas Adams - that spent months waiting for him to finish lunch long
      enough
      to write another novel and, while we were waiting, discovered "The Colour of
      Magic".

      Terry Pratchett kept me amused for a couple of years. Then, all of a sudden,
      things changed. "Guards, Guards!", "Witches Abroad", "Small Gods" and Men at
      Arms" (for me) changed the genre forever. The Discworld ecology of ideas and
      breadth of humanity reached take-off speed. Until I read the confrontation
      between Granny Weatherwax and the Queen of the Elves I had no idea that I
      could
      even now be brought to tears by the written word. I don't think there is a
      Discworld novel that I have not re-read. There are things that delight in
      all of them,
      but after a while things seemed to plateau and maybe subside. "Maskerade"
      was a clever outing for the witches but in "Carpe Jugulum" they seemed to have
      run out of steam. "Hogfather" lost its way in plot and "Feet of Clay" put
      the watch through their paces efficiently enough - but the magic wasn't
      there. "The Last Continent" was - well - tax deductible.

      I thought that Terry Pratchett had gone the way of now all but forgotten
      authors
      such as Jerome K. Jerome and Anthony Hope (ok he had taken a lot more novels
      to
      do it!). But then there was "the Fifth Elephant" and it seemed the Watch
      had a little more mileage. Vimes grew in stature even as he grew in
      bewilderment and in the Low King, the Discworld found, perhaps, its Nelson
      Mandela, albeit unexpectedly. Now there is "The Truth"- a book I love for its
      craftsmanship. I'll confess right now that I'm not smart enough or erudite
      enough to review a book. Joe asked for my thoughts and here they are. An
      uncharitable part of my brain essayed the idea that Terry Pratchett was
      dredging up his experiences as a provincial newspaperman to keep the series
      running. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      It is as if the story had been kept under wraps for twenty odd novels until
      the
      Discworld - more specifically, Ankh- Morpork had evolved to the point where
      it was ready to be told. The hero, William de Worde, is one of Terry
      Pratchett's juves.
      Apart from a couple of superficialities he could be inter-changeable with say
      Teppic in"Pyramids" or Victor Tubelbend in "Moving Pictures".

      It reminds me of what we seemed to have learnt form artificial intelligence
      and
      robotics. If you want to create a really interesting situation, don't create
      a
      complex entity - rather put a simple entity into a complex environment.
      William de Worde, a simple entity, is plunged into an Ankh-Morpork just ready
      for the advent of newspapers.

      It seems a common theme on the Discworld that a lone protagonist, when on a
      roll,
      attracts to them a surrogate family. The dwarfs in this tale are a long way
      from
      those in Uberwald in "The Fifth Elephant". They are in the heroes best friend
      mould without quite slipping into "hiho hiho". Otto Chriek, a vampire "on ze
      vagon" - extending the idea from "The Fifth Elephant" is exactly the sort of
      chum
      any of us would want to have standing next to them in the trenches - except
      that
      he goes to pieces in unusual circumstances with some regularity.

      To my mind though, the character most likely to get a re-run in a future
      Discworld novel is Sacharissa, a newswoman who can think in headlines. Is it
      just my view, or can Terry Pratchett write women as least as well as he can
      write
      men? One of the delights of "The Truth" is in Terry Pratchett's handling of
      his cast
      of repertory players. You or I might have thought that the Dean would be an
      easy
      choice for the cameo role played by the Bursar. But I think the Bursar works
      better. Similarly, it seems a surprise to see Hughnon, the less seen
      Ridcully,
      in one of those telling vignettes with the Patrician, rather than his brother,
      Mustrom. It works, though - effectively and economically. That's what I
      think
      we are seeing in this novel - Terry Pratchett remembering all the rules he
      learnt
      as a young journalist. There is little hint of self-indulgence or whimsy -
      the story pushes on.

      Then there are the villains. A piece of my mind tells me that it isn't right
      to make Mr Pin and Mr Tulip funny (which Terry Pratchett does) or to invest
      them with any portion of humanity (which he also does). Their real world
      equivalents
      do not, I suspect, deserve such treatment. I've just read on a web-site that
      they are parodies of two characters in a recent novel that I haven't read -
      but
      surely they go back further than that in the resonances of the mind - right
      back
      throughout history, I fear. Sick people with money, ego and fears always seem
      to have a need for people like Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip. Even if they don't
      society
      throws them up anyway. So, there are the Kray Brothers (the original "old
      firm")
      and their parody, Doug and Dinsdale Piranha (the original "new firm". They
      are
      Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers" - particularly in the 1964 film starring Lee
      Marvin. And there's a touch of Robbie Coltrane" in "Nuns on the Run". Come
      to
      think of it, I'd pay money to see Coltrane and Idle playing Pratchett's
      baddies.

      There is nothing more sinister than a comic when you tell them that they can
      stop
      being funny. I was a bit concerned that some early reviews of "The Truth"
      suggested that the Watch would be shown from a new and less sympathetic
      angle.
      I guess that my premonitions arose as much as anything from "Discworld Noir"
      where Vimes makes a brief and (to my mind) uncharacteristic appearance
      (er.. you have to be a werewolf listening at the doors in the patricians
      palace - read the walk-through.) I have to say, the treatment of the Watch in
      "The Truth" works well.

      It isn't so much a different angle - it's more that the camera pans back.
      The
      characters speak and act exactly as the would in a Watch centered novel. The
      difference is that we have no commentary on what they think and feel. To my
      mind Angua is drawn especially well -in just a few lines. "The Truth" could
      easily have been a Watch novel - an interesting intellectual exercise for
      anyone with time on
      their hands. But it wouldn't have been "The Truth". And it wouldn't have
      worked
      so well. Terry Pratchett's multi-layered resonances continue to be enigmatic.
      In the
      space of a few lines we overhear a practice session form the Guild of
      Conjurers.

      Those of us who recognise that we are listening to the voice of Tommy Cooper
      (a
      great British Comic of the 70s and 80s but I suspect little known outside the
      UK or to anyone under 30) can raise a little extra smile. It seems a strange
      extravagance though for an author who manages his franchise so well.

      Is the novel about the truth? I guess so - in a way. De Worde's truth is
      what
      the people need to know. Sacharissa's truth is what people want to know.
      Vime's
      truth is what he wants to know - mostly who did it. Then there is eternal
      truth
      compared to the truth wrapped around tomorrow's fish and chip. Don't expect
      deep
      philosophy but some big questions get a brief toss on the spatula of comedy.

      At the end though, the hero of this novel is the Discworld itself - more
      specifically it is Ankh-Morpork the lightning rod that connects the Discworld
      to what passes for us as reality. You get to think and laugh at the same
      time.
      Painless thought is as good as painless dentistry. Don't know about you but I,
      for one, want to know what happens next.
      ******************************************************************************
      *
      End of Part 1, says my computer -- continued on Part 2




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