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WOSSNAME -- July 2010 -- Part 3 of 5

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  • granny_tude
    WOSSNAME -- JULY 2010 -- PART 3 OF 5 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 3 -- ...AND MORE... 15) DISCWORLD AS
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2010
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      WOSSNAME -- JULY 2010 -- PART 3 OF 5 (continued)
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      oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      ====Part 3 -- ...AND MORE...

      15) DISCWORLD AS POLITICAL COMMENTARY
      16) SUMMERTIME READING: PICK UP A PRATCHETT
      17) NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR...MOUNTAINS?
      18) IN PRAISE OF LIBRARIES...
      19) ...AND BOOKSHOPS
      20) POTENT VOYAGER: STILL HEADING FOR ORBIT
      21) WORDS TO LIVE BY
      22) DISCWORLD BOOKS: GOOD ENOUGH FOR ROYLE-TY
      23) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETINGS NEWS
      24) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
      25) REVIEW: PTERRY'S ISSUE OF SFX MAGAZINE

      oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      15) DISCWORLD AS POLITICAL COMMENTARY

      On the religious/sociopolitical commentary site World Magazine, Alex
      Tokarev references Unseen Academicals in an op-ed column about
      current politics:

      "In his latest novel, Unseen Academicals, bestselling author Terry
      Pratchett provides a clever justification for the system of checks
      and balances that slows down our legislature and executive decisions
      to the frustration of any temporary majority. The book points out
      that power can do a lot, but it can't stop people being
      stupid...."

      http://online.worldmag.com/2010/06/29/freedoms-and-restraints/

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      16) SUMMERTIME READING: PICK UP A PRATCHETT

      Writing in The Independent, Katy Guest sets out summer reading
      recommendations for adolescent readers (and older ones).
      Surprisingly, when it comes to Pratchett she chooses Moving Pictures
      rather than one of the more complex later novels, but praises the
      series overall:

      "The Discworld series continues to enthral readers with its
      elaborate mythological imagery and a background based in Terry
      Pratchett's love of science. Geeks are sexy, apparently – so go
      for it..."

      Her list is long, interesting, and worth perusing. Pratchett readers
      are generally known as exceptionally well-read across the board, but
      who knows, there might be one or three you haven't read yet...

      http://tinyurl.com/27wu849

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      17) NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR...MOUNTAINS?

      Moist von Lipwig and Postman Groat would be proud! A group of Dundee
      University students on a field trip to Mont Blanc discovered a
      bundle of undelivered airmail in a canvas mailbag that had fallen
      out of a crashed airliner some sixty years ago, and now some of the
      letters have already reached their destinations at last:

      "Now the university's conservationists are working to restore the
      correspondence, which includes family letters and birthday cards,
      before sending them on to the original authors or their relatives.
      They have already traced the daughter of a late US pilot, whose
      colourful account of his time working in India will finally make its
      way home..."

      http://tinyurl.com/3y3zdsg

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      18) IN PRAISE OF LIBRARIES...

      In Malaysian newspaper The Star, Abby Wong -- who's working her way
      up to being a Pratchett fan -- waxes lyrical about libraries, and
      about Australian libraries in particular:

      "Australians visit libraries as though they are returning home. Go
      into one on a Monday afternoon after school, and you'll see older
      students doing their homework, mothers reading to their young
      children and primary school students hovering around trolleys,
      looking for popular returns. On the floor, in the chairs, on the
      sofa or in the cafe, patrons are reading or being read to. Babies
      hardly cry, toddlers are uncharacteristically quiet for there are
      loads of books to browse, to find, to read and to borrow... Along
      the aisles, parents nudge their children to leave. At check-out
      counters, again, they nudge, at times scold, their children for
      borrowing too many books. I am amused, for this sort of scolding is
      unheard of in Malaysia. Parents and children negotiate; finally, no
      book gets left behind. The children smile triumphantly while parents
      shake their heads, wearily tailing their bookworms..."

      http://tinyurl.com/35f4wwn

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      19) ...AND BOOKSHOPS

      In the Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg, South Africa), Milisuthando
      Bongela sings the praises of a bookshop described as "a dusty little
      island of treasures owned by an aged European man" (Aziraphale,
      perhaps?) who places Terry Pratchett amongst the classics:

      "Among our (six) hands, it turned out, we had some greats: Orwell,
      Irving, Hemingway, Pirsig, Pratchett and Frank Herbert. The old man
      couldn't contain his joy. He asked us where we come from and what we
      do and exclaimed, over and over, about the great literary choices we
      had made. Then he told us that he had been a teacher and casually
      offered my friends weekend jobs..."

      http://tinyurl.com/2f5t5xq

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      20) POTENT VOYAGER: STILL HEADING FOR ORBIT

      You may remember a WOSSNAME article about the (hoped-for) flight of
      the (Roundworld) Potent Voyager, way back in our August 2008
      issue...? Well, nearly two years on, it seems no-one has achieved
      escape velocity yet. But the prize is still waiting!

      "We have a concept for a kind of Rockoon that we think has a good
      chance of succeeding at the N-Prize tho some details need refining.
      The core team needs to thoroughly check out some more safety, legal
      and funding issues before we involve others but we may be looking
      for volunteers from the Discworld fandom community to help us with
      our goal over the coming months and years (the deadline for the
      prize is 19:19:09 (GMT) on the 19th September 2011)."

      http://tinyurl.com/55kud5

      How it works:

      "The N-Prize offers two cash Prizes, each of £9,999.99 (nine
      thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine pounds and ninety-nine pence,
      sterling). The prizes will be awarded to the first persons or groups
      to put into orbit around the Earth a satellite with a mass of
      between 9.99 and 19.99 grams, and to prove that it has completed at
      least 9 orbits.

      "One prize (the 'single-spend-to-orbit', or 'SSO' Prize) will be
      awarded to the first entrant to complete the challenge using a non-
      reusable launch system. The other prize (the 'reusable vehicle' or
      'RV' Prize) will be awarded to the first entrant to complete the
      challenge using a partially or wholly reusable launch system. Both
      prizes carry equal status.

      "The cost of the launch, but not ground facilities, must fall within
      a budget of £999.99. Entrants for the RV Prize may exceed this
      budget, but must demonstrate recovery of hardware such that the per-
      launch cost remains within £999.99.

      "Imaginative use of string and chewing gum is encouraged. Entrants
      are responsible for everything, organisers are responsible for
      nothing."

      http://www.n-prize.com/

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      21) SO QUOTABLE: WORDS TO LIVE BY

      Here be an interesting feature on science fiction site io9, "Words
      to live by: advice from 34 science fiction/fantasy authors". It's a
      varied collection, encompassing a wide range of authors, and there
      are far more in the fascinating comments section -- with Charlie
      Jane Anders, author of the piece, looking for yet more. And of
      course Terry Pratchett is quoted in there:

      "Great science fiction and fantasy novels don't just expose us to
      other worlds and alternate timelines -- they expand our minds and
      give us compass to steer by. Here are our favorite bits of advice
      and maxims from SF books. You could do a lot worse than living your
      life according to principles espoused in science fiction books...
      here are some words to live by from science fiction. Please do post
      your own favorite maxims and aphorisms from SF in the comments -- I
      have a feeling it'll be a really amazing comment thread!

      http://tinyurl.com/3642b5j

      [My verdict? Needs more Pratchett! -- Ed.]

      Anders also links there to a thought-provoking essay on the League
      of Reason site:

      "If you've never considered the problematic aspects of the Prime
      Directive, never understood why the Vorlons require pure intentions,
      or never felt pity for a robot in agony then you haven't grasped
      the full range of ethical lessons that science fiction has to
      offer...."

      http://tinyurl.com/38gxzpc

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      22) DISCWORLD BOOKS: GOOD ENOUGH FOR ROYLE-TY

      Royle Family star Ralf Little is a dedicated Pterry fan:

      "I love Terry Pratchett's books. What makes them so incredible is
      how re-readable they are. Even if you remember certain plot lines,
      it's the wry asides and observations that make them so engaging.
      They're perfect for holidays, because you can dip in and out without
      having to focus too hard, and they always raise a smile."

      From an interview in The Independent:

      http://tinyurl.com/27u5f98

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      23) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETINGS NEWS

      Remember, the Australian Discworld group Drummers Downunder meets on
      the first Monday of every month at 7pm at Maloneys, on the corner
      of Pitt & Goulburn Streets, Sydney, Australia. Visitors to Sydney
      are most welcome. The next meet will be on Monday, 2nd August. For
      details and directions, email simlauren@...


      The Broken Drummers is a London Discworld Group that meets once a
      month on a Monday evening. Membership is free -- just come along to
      The Monkey Puzzle, Paddington, London, W2 1JQ. New members and
      visitors to London are both welcome and encouraged.

      For the date of the next meeting, email brokendrummers@...

      Editor's note: I have this vague memory that the next Broken
      Drummers meet will be moved or delayed, possibly for reasons having
      to do with DWcon 2010 or Wadfest. Definitely worth checking!

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      24) IMAGES OF THE MONTH: MORE EDIBLE DISCWORLD

      A turtle-y gorgeous wedding cake:

      http://www.trashionista.com/images/discworld.jpg

      A Fourecksian birthday cake, in living colour:

      http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/discworld-cake.html#c1

      Kimberly Chapman's charming Discworld cake, complete with tutorial.
      Love the elephants!

      http://kimberlychapman.com/crafts/cakes/discworld/discworld.html

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      25) THE AUTHOR AS EDITOR: PTERRY DOES SFX

      by Annie Mac

      Over the years, I've had a more than nodding acquaintance with the
      world of professional journalism, so I know that when it comes to
      the production of newspapers and magazines the duties of an editor
      most frequently involve sitting back on the editorial fundament
      while overworked sub-editors scurry around frantically doing the
      real work. Apparently, though, Terry Pratchett wasn't aware of this
      when he took on the job of guest editor for SFX Magazine's issue
      196... and a good thing that turned out to be!

      Our dear Sir seems to have rolled up his black leather jacket
      sleeves and taken a hands-on interest, suggesting directions and
      adding editorial notes at the start of some of the major features.
      As he says in his editorial at the start, "If you like what you read
      this month, it was down to me. If you don't like what you see, then
      it was SFX's fault and you should send your hate mail to the usual
      place. *I* do." (It's not the magazine's policy to include smileys,
      but they are plainly there.)

      I have to admit that I have almost no other issues of SFX to
      compare, because at nearly twenty Fourecksian dollars per
      airfreighted issue it's a bit out of my budget, but issue 196
      certainly looks good. It's bright and brash and professional, and
      the standards of writing and presentation are excellent all the way
      through (unlike a certain far longer established and revered
      magazine I won't mention by name in case thunderbolts strike me
      down). And yes, I did read it all the way through. Even the back
      inside page essay by Pterry himself about something called Oblivion
      Modding, which has to do with open-source tweaking of his favourite
      computer game (Elder Scrolls IV) and -- like all computer gaming and
      RPG -- is totally Not My Thing.

      There is an excellent multi-page Pterry interview by head SFX honcho
      David Bradley (p.98, with a fantastic Spencer Murphy photograph of
      The Author on the facing page) that gives us the interviewee's
      answers rather than reprinting the interviewer's questions -- nice
      one! As Pterry says in his editor's note at the top of the page,
      "The best thing you can do when interviewing somebody who's well
      known for one thing is ask them questions about something entirely
      different."

      The content is wide-ranging across the genre. There are the expected
      film and telly news items, reviews, profiles of actors and artists
      involved in SF multimedia, and other interviews including the lead
      feature (p.48) on the delicious Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame.
      Some standouts for me were the analysis of science fiction film
      classic Blade Runner (p.66), a behind-the-scenes report on the
      making of Going Postal (p.62), a compendium of "Authors who shaped
      SF" (p.86, first of a three-part series), and best of all, an
      extended article describing the works and influence of author John
      Wyndham (p.92). I first encountered Wyndham's books as a very young
      child and was utterly enthralled; they are very much of A Certain
      Period -- as Pterry says in his editor's note -- but I have re-read
      several Wyndham novels quite recently and I found that they didn't
      feel in the least dated.

      And of course there are numerous features on books, because this is
      after all the SFX Summer of Reading. In an era where more and more
      potential young readers are confronted by a dizzying whirl of non-
      text media, especially in the SF and fantasy arena (film, telly,
      computer games, and their myriad related resin models and other
      random merchandise), it's good to see a cutting-edge genre magazine
      encouraging people to read, read, read!

      I was excited when I first heard Pterry was going to be the guest
      editor of a leading genre magazine, and he's done a fine job. I also
      get the impression that he had a fine old time doing it. Our
      favourite author has reached a level of success and fame where he
      could do whatever he bloody well pleases, so how good is it that
      he's choosing projects that further increase *our* enjoyment?

      In the words of William S. Preston, Esq., and Theodore "Ted" Logan:
      "Most excellent, dude!"


      Editor's note: unfortunately, SFX don't appear to offer back issues
      for purchase, but to view a facsimile of the issue 196 cover and
      features, go to:

      http://www.sfx.co.uk/2010/04/30/sfx-issue-196/

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      End of Part 3 -- continued on Part 4 of 5.
      If you did not get all five parts, write: interact@...
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      Copyright (c) 2010 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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