WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6
- WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued)
====Part 2 - MORE NEWS AND THE SUCH
9) APF MEET IN GERMANY
10) ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH'S WHICH WITCH QUIZ
11) THE ATE'NT DEAD COLUMN
12) DISCWORLD PRESENCE IN ONLINE COMICS
13) PROMISING NEWS FOR ROUNDWORLD IGORS
14) GOING COMPARATIVELY POSTAL
9) APF MEET IN GERMANY
This is about to take place, but if any of you are already on your
way, feel free to write the meet up for WOSSNAME! Submissions to the
usual place (see bottom of page)
Alt.fan.pratchett member Uwe says: 'It is a while since we had a
meet in these parts. So it became time to organise a meet again. No
particular theme, but fun will be mixed with some history. There's
already a number of attendees to ensure the event is feasible, but
as always The More The Merrier is true. Meet-Newbies are welcome as
well, of course.'
The important points:
What: A meet
Why: Because it is far too long since the last one
Where: In Siegen, Germany (about midway in the triangle of Dortmund,
Frankfurt a.M., Koeln (Cologne)
When: Saturday 27th of October, starting in the afternoon 15:00h
The meet will start in the Shamrock pub near Central Station
(Hauptbahnhof Siegen). Come one, come all. Hey, isn't it Oktoberfest
10) ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH'S QUIZ
(1) ...isn't actually a witch?
b. Mrs Drull
(2) ...suffered death by baking?
c. Aliss Demurrage
(3) ...had a natural age of under 21?
b. Goodie Hamstring
(4) ...went a-Borrowing and forgot to come back?
c. Granny Postalute
(5) ...pulled out one straw too many?
a. Goodie Whemper
(6) Which soup is recommended for witches in the Magavenatio
d. Leek and potato
(7) What was unusual about the witch of the Gnarly Ground?
b. She was made of stone
(7a) Which item of donated clothing shocked Granny Weatherwax?
c. A cloak with a red lining
11) THE ATE'NT DEAD COLUMN
Pterry ate'nt dead! You might be surprised at how many people didn't
The Nottingham Pterry fans were a bit worried:
...and so were the gang at alt.books.pratchett:
A brief edited transcript, in case the link doesn't work:
I have just heard that pTerry has had a stroke, but I can't seem to
find confirmation or denial of this. Is there any news? Is pTerry
OK? -- Geoff
In the radio interview Len Oil linked to a couple of days ago,
Pterry mentioned he'd had a mild stroke recently, but wasn't even
sure *when* he'd had it, and the only effect seems to be that he can
no longer tie a tie. -- Dave
It is old news. Last Weekend he did a book signing in Plymouth and
according to my son he was in good health. -- Reader in Invisible
On a related note, I had a somewhat similar experience recently
while directing a stage production of Jingo. To help those
unfamiliar with Terry's work to get into the right frame of mind I
had our Footnote do a short rundown before the curtain opened. One
night when she mentioned that she would quite like to meet Terry a
supposed fan in the audience cried out that she was too late as
Terry had died in a car accident last year... Quite how these
rumours start is beyond me. -- redtiger
Sensationalism. People hear stroke. Stroke? Must've been lethal. So,
he's dead. He's dead? How'd he die? I dunno. Car crash or something,
perhaps? Did you hear he died in a car crash? In the words of a Mr.
Twain, "The rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated." --
Having checked into this for another fan about 2 weeks ago, I can
confirm that the "ill health" report is somewhat exaggerated -- esmi
Also, continuing the James Nicoll Ate'nt Dead story, it's becoming
somewhat recursive. Some blogger pointed out the Wossname mention
to Mr Nicoll, and he's blogged about Wossname blogging about him!
Included in the comments thread is an exchange that's right at home
in the Discly universe:
* You do realize that eventually the two men will be historically
concatenated, leading to citations of "James Nicoll, 1846-2052,"
* Nah, considering how many times they've gotten this wrong he'll be
lucky to get "1961-1918"
* My God... James is living in negative time! He's crossed over into
the antimatter universe.
12) THE ARCHCHANCELLOR'S LOOKING A BIT...TWO-DIMENSIONAL
Another Discworld reference in the Unspeakable Vault webcomic:
13) GENTLEMEN, THTART YOUR THCALPELTH
"Igor-style human, animal parts assembly on horizon"
I wonder *which* Igors they had in mind...
14) A TALE OF TWO POSTMEN
by Steven D'Aprano
...or two tales of postmen, actually. Two tales, two postmen, and
they knew a thing or two about stories...
Perhaps the most significant theme of Terry Pratchett's Discworld
novels is that of the power of stories. It runs deep in his work,
sometimes coming right to the surface, in Witches Abroad, Hogfather
or The Amazing Maurice; other times it is merely hinted at here and
Of all the stories, those about hope are the most powerful. People
will believe what they want to believe, and sometimes what they fear
to believe, but either way they often make it true by believing it.
And nobody has a more practical grasp of the power of stories than
Moist von Lipwig, the Postmaster General of Ankh-Morpork in Going
Postal: he's even better at selling sizzle than C.M.O.T. Dibbler --
possibly because, unlike Dibbler, when Moist sells you the sizzle,
there's always the hope that it might contain a steak (with Dibbler,
the best you can hope for is something that once was in a cow).
Being a con-artist who has made a very good living selling false
hope, Moist has a rather jaundiced view of hope: "And this was known
as that greatest of treasures, which is Hope. It was a good way of
getting poorer really very quickly, and staying poor. It could be
you. But it wouldn't be." [Going Postal]
Commander Sam Vimes is another character who is very aware that
police get their authority from such a belief, that they can operate
only because people believe that they can: "Coppers stayed alive by
trickery. That's how it worked. ... It was all smoke and mirrors.
You magicked a little policeman into everyone's head. You relied on
people giving in, knowing the rules. But in truth a hundred well-
armed people could wipe out the Watch, if they knew what they were
doing. Once some madman finds out that a copper taken unawares dies
just like anyone else, the spell is broken." [Thud]
The authority of, er, the authorities is not the only shared
illusion (or possibly delusion) that Pratchett refers to. Another is
money, the major theme of his most recent novel, Making Money. Back
in 2004, in Going Postal, Pratchett hinted at Making Money with the
words of Reacher Gilt: "You think about money in the old-fashioned
way. Money is not a thing, it is not even a process. It is a kind of
shared dream. We dream that a small disc of common metal is worth
the price of a substantial meal."
Making Money tells the story of Moist von Lipwig's efforts to direct
that dream in Ankh-Morpork, taking the city off the gold standard
and reforming its banks, making them more suitable for Vetinari's
plans for the city. In doing so, he has to wean them off one dream
-- that gold has inherent value -- and onto another: that a promise
to pay a dollar is no different to a dollar.
But let's go back to postmen. A quarter of a century ago, science
fiction author David Brin published a story about another postman
who sold dreams. In The Postman, Gordon Krantz is an itinerant
story-teller barely surviving in the shattered remains of a post-
nuclear-war America. Facing death from exposure overnight, Gordon
stumbles across a long-dead postman and dresses himself in the warm
uniform. More by accident than deliberately, he passes himself off
as an official of the Restored United States of America -- a
postman. To his surprise, the old postal uniform has the power to
bring hope to the scattered survivors; as he travels from village to
village, the dream of a restored nation brings distrustful villagers
together and becomes self-fulfilling. Encouraged by the lie, or no,
the myth that the country was healing itself, the independent
fiefdoms and villages of Oregon band together to restore their state
against the predations of misogynistic, slave-holding survivalists.
Both Gordon Krantz and Moist von Lipwig were forced into their roles
as postmen. Gordon took on the role more or less by accident,
putting on the uniform of a long-dead postman to save his own life
only to find that abandoning the charade was harder than continuing
it. Moist also chose to become a postman rather than die, although
in very different circumstances.
Their characters are quite different: Gordon is an idealist, a
surprisingly gentle soul for somebody who survived sixteen years of
the malicious anarchy that followed the aftermath of the bombs and
war-plagues. He is wracked with guilt for lying about the Restored
USA, long after it becomes obvious to even the most dim-witted
reader that the lie has taken on a life of its own. It took Gordon a
long time to notice that the myth he was spreading was more than a
mere lie and that the more people believed it was true, the more it
actually became true.
In contrast, Moist is a rogue and a liar and a cheat and knows
himself to be. Even when he developed something of a conscience,
Moist's guilt wasn't over the fact that he lied, but for the
thoughtless, selfish uses he had put those lies to. Unlike Gordon,
Moist knows the power of hope and of self-fulfilling illusions, and
felt few qualms about using it against the piratical robber-baron
Reacher Gilt and his cronies.
It has been said that the most fundamental principle of magical
thinking is that if you believe something strongly enough, it will
become true. If that is so, then although they are very different
characters in different worlds, both these tales of postmen show the
real magic of the world. The core of David Brin's novel is that
civilisation survives because we believe it will survive: bombs and
plagues and even nuclear winter alone can't kill it, and if a
conscious decision to turn our back on civilisation can, then a
hopeful myth will resurrect it from the ashes. Terry Pratchett's
novels show similar themes, such as this description of the
financiers who came in to clean up the mess left by Gilt and his
"They'd saved the city with gold more easily, at that point, than
any hero could have managed with steel. But in truth it had not
exactly been gold, or even the promise of gold, but more like the
fantasy of gold, the fairy dream that the gold is there, at the end
of the rainbow, and will continue to be there for ever provided,
naturally, that you don't go and look."
And that neatly foreshadows Making Money, which, at heart, is also
about the power of stories and belief.
* * *
For those interested in The Postman, you can read the Wikipedia
article on it here:
and David Brin's comments on the Kevin Costner movie based on the
End of Part 2 -- continued on Part 3 of 6.
If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion