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  • Not A Granny
    WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 2 - MORE NEWS AND THE SUCH 9) APF MEET
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 26, 2007
      WOSSNAME -- OCTOBER 2007 -- PART 2 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 2 - MORE NEWS AND THE SUCH




      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
      time there?



      Which witch...

      (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



      Pterry ate'nt dead! You might be surprised at how many people didn't
      know that...

      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[1], 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.




      Another Discworld reference in the Unspeakable Vault webcomic:




      "Igor-style human, animal parts assembly on horizon"


      I wonder *which* Igors they had in mind...


      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
      shell games:

      "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
      novel here:


      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
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