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WOSSNAME -- June 2011 -- main issue

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    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion June 2011 (Volume 14, Issue 6, Post 2) ********************************************************************
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2011
      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      June 2011 (Volume 14, Issue 6, Post 2)
      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! As a member of the Klatchian Foreign Legion,
      you'd only forget them...
      Editor in Chief: Annie Mac
      News Editor: Fiona (not Bruce) Bruce
      Newshounds: Vera, Mogg, Sir J of Croydon Below, the Shadow
      Staff Writers: Asti, Pitt the Elder, Steven D'Aprano
      Convention Reporters: Mithtrethth Hania Ogg et al
      Staff Technomancer: Jason Parlevliet
      Book Reviews: Drusilla D'Afanguin
      Puzzle Editor: Tiff
      Bard in Residence: Weird Alice Lancrevic
      DW Horoscope: Lady Anaemia Asterisk, Fernando Magnifico
      Emergency Staff: Jason Parlevliet
      World Membership Director: Steven D'Aprano (in his copious spare
      Copyright 2011 by Klatchian Foreign Legion



      05) "SNUFF" NEWS
      15) CLOSE



      "If we have a right to life, surely we have a right to death."

      – student blogger Samuel Watkin

      "The film had a beautiful humanity about it, and Sir Terry's
      commentary and thoughts were perfect in the context. He's a much
      under-rated thinker. I admire the courage of all concerned in making
      the film, particularly Sir Terry's assistant who clearly was
      uncomfortable at several times. Assisted dying is a big subject and
      an hour long programme can only hope to touch the surface. This film
      certainly stirred things up and perhaps the UK debate will move
      forward as a result."

      – blogger 3dBloke



      How did we miss this one?! The Skylark Award, that is. The New
      England Science Fiction Association has been giving one of these out
      for 45 years now, and the 2009 one went to Pterry, but I only found
      out about it a few days ago. Blimey!

      "The Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction (the
      Skylark) is presented annually by NESFA to some person, who, in the
      opinion of the membership, has contributed significantly to science
      fiction, both through work in the field and by exemplifying the
      personal qualities which made the late 'Doc' Smith well-loved by
      those who knew him. The award consists of a trophy with a large
      lens. The winner of the award is chosen by vote of the Regular
      members of the New England Science Fiction Association, Inc. It is
      presented at Boskone, NESFA's annual convention."

      As a lifelong reader who first fell in love with the ridiculous-but-
      fun works of "Doc" Smith very early in my childhood, I'll add an
      extra raised glass and huzzah to Sir Pterry for this award!


      And here's an iconograph of Pterry's award:

      Not long now to the start the second North American Discworld
      Convention – a matter of not even three weeks now. Our thoughts go
      out to the (very) hard-working Committee. May they and their guests
      and attendees have every success!

      "Nonetheless, I admire and congratulate all those involved with the
      making of this documentary. May it stir up yet more controversy, as
      the subject is such an important one." I said that in the editorial
      for this month's early edition post, and oh my, stirring has
      certainly taken place. Debate rages, kudos and brickbats fly, and
      people are discussing this once-unmentionable subject – called
      "the last taboo" by some – at all levels of society, from the
      hallowed (yeah right) halls of government to the council-estate
      kitchen tables of Sun readers. As your Editor, I've attempted to
      track down a wide variety of links to articles, critiques, rants and
      blogposts about "Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die". And I have to
      confess that it's been exhausting and not a little heartbreaking. I
      think I'll dispense with my usual salutations of "enjoy" or "on with
      the show", but I do hope, O Readers, that you find this issue of
      WOSSNAME's reportage thought-provoking.

      Read on...

      – Annie Mac



      As the 2011 Edwards Award winner, Pterry has a gong waiting for him.
      Unfortunately he won't be able to collect it in person as he hoped:

      "The 63-year-old Pratchett had originally planned to visit the
      states from his home in Salisbury, England, but since his 2008
      diagnosis with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease,
      traveling 'is physically stressful for him and has lasting negative
      effect,' says Kim Patton, president of the Young Adult Library
      Services Association (YALSA), in a letter to those who purchased
      tickets to the June 25 event. The award is administered by YALSA and
      sponsored by School Library Journal. While Pratchett's overall
      health is good, 'the trip is more than he can handle right now,'
      Patton adds. 'No one is more disappointed about this than Terry

      "The Edwards luncheon will take place as scheduled, and Pratchett
      will videotape an acceptance speech to be shown during the event.
      Gail Carriger, an Alex Award winner and Pratchett fan, will
      introduce the video and say a few words about the author..."


      About the award:




      So many articles, so many links. Here be a selection...

      Pterry himself, talking to New Humanist Magazine for their article
      on the documentary:

      "A short time ago I had to insist to a not very youthful journalist
      that during my early lifetime anyone who attempted to commit suicide
      and failed would face a criminal charge and be locked up, presumably
      to show them life was wonderful and thoroughly worth living.

      "It would be nice to think that in the not too distant future
      someone will be incredulous when told that a British citizen
      stricken with a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease, and yet
      nevertheless still quite compos mentis, would have to go all the way
      to another country to die. They would ask for an explanation, and
      I'd be damned if I could think of one. Three decent, sedate and
      civilised European countries already allow physician-assisted
      suicide and yet, despite the fact that every indication is that
      British people understand and are in favour of assisted dying, if
      properly conducted, the government consistently turns its back on
      it. A year ago I was told by a cabinet minister that it would never
      happen in Britain and I suggested that this was a strange thing to
      say in a democracy and got a black look for my pains.

      "Initially, I thought the opposition was largely due to a certain
      amount of curdled Christianity. Despite the fact that there is no
      scriptural objection, Christian opposition came about in the 14th
      century when, because of religious wars and the Black Death, people
      were committing suicide on the basis that, well, as this world was
      now so dreadfully unpleasant, maybe it would be a good idea to make
      an attempt on heaven. Authority objected otherwise. Who would milk
      the cows? Who would fight the wars? People couldn't be allowed to
      slope off like that. They had to stay and face their just punishment
      for being born.

      "Even now I detect some echoes of that frame of mind; that
      affliction is somehow a penance for an unknown transgression. To
      hell with that! Every time the question of assisted dying is
      broached in this country there is a choreographed outcry, suggested
      overtones of Nazism and, of course, the murder of grandmothers for
      their money. And the perpetrators get away with it because the
      British have a certain tradition of bullying from the top down. 'The
      common people are stupid and we who know better must make the
      decisions for them.'

      "Well, the common people are not stupid. They might watch god-
      awfully stupid reality TV and make a lot of noise in football
      grounds and they don't understand, perhaps, the politics of Trident,
      but they are very clever about the politics of blood and bone and
      pain and suffering. They understand about compassion and, like my
      father, they are nothing if not practical about these things. He was
      incurably ill and saw no reason, given the absence of the hope of
      any cure, why he shouldn't forgo any more suffering and head
      straight for the door.

      "And people also understand that, especially if you don't have much
      money, long-term care in the UK can be somewhat problematical at
      best. And yet the government sits there like an ancient Pope, hoping
      that it will all go away."

      To read this on the web, in the New Humanist blog article, go to:

      Teacher, author and UK resident Kevin Yuill has some interesting
      thoughts after viewing Choosing to Die:

      "Death is only the absence of life. It is – at least for non-
      believers like me and Discworld author and assisted-suicide
      campaigner Terry Pratchett – not a 'journey' but the terminus, not
      an experience but the end of all experiences... Terry Pratchett's
      BBC TV show this week, Choosing to Die, reflected a variation on
      this theme. It conveyed utterly understandable confusion and an
      array of fairly unpalatable options. As Pratchett said, 'I have a
      head full of questions and I want to get some answers'. After the
      programme, most still remain unanswered... There are many points
      that Pratchett gets right, not least his choice of Thomas Tallis as
      his ultimate 'desert-island disc'. He is also right that anyone,
      rich or poor, should be able to buy or make a deadly cocktail of
      drugs without the paternalistic intervention of the state. But he
      fails to explain why anyone else would assist a suicide. It is an
      act that we can all accomplish – with a little forward planning
      – unaided..."


      The programme brought back painful memories to BBC medical
      correspondent Fergus Walsh:

      "I was working late last night so watched the programme this
      morning. The final 15 minutes made very difficult, emotional and
      compelling viewing. For me, the documentary brought back memories of
      Dr Anne Turner who ended her life in Zurich five years ago. She had
      a progressive degenerative condition, supranuclear palsy. Dr Turner
      invited the BBC to witness her last day in Switzerland. I travelled
      with a camera crew to interview her on the morning of her death,
      asking whether there was anything anyone could say to change her
      mind. But like Peter Smedley she had a quiet determination and was
      unmoveable. Her story was turned into a film, 'A Short Stay in
      Switzerland', starring Julie Walters.

      "There were clearly very uncomfortable moments for Sir Terry who
      observed the cheery conversation between Mr Smedley, his wife and
      the two Dignitas helpers... Like others who travel to Switzerland to
      die, Dr Turner wanted the law changed to permit assisted suicide in
      Britain. Many who have progressive disorders fear not being fit to
      travel, so they go to Dignitas earlier than they would have wanted.
      Sir Terry Pratchett, who has Alzheimer's disease, is an advocate for
      assisted suicide in Britain, and said witnessing a death had not
      changed his opinion..."


      A round-up of some early press reactions in The Week's The First
      Post, covering The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, and The


      ...and many news/opinion articles and blog posts. Here be some...

      On the BBC websites:

      "Sir Terry, who made the film to establish whether he would be able
      to die at a time and in a way he wanted, said seeing what Dignitas
      did had not changed his mind. 'I believe it should be possible for
      someone stricken with a serious and ultimately fatal illness to
      choose to die peacefully with medical help, rather than suffer,' he
      told BBC's Newsnight. Asked about the sanctity of life, Sir Terry
      responded: 'What about the dignity of life?' Lack of dignity would
      be enough for some people to kill themselves, he said..."

      (includes a brief video extract from the Newsnight programme)


      Charlie Russell, who directed "Choosing to Die" and its predecessor
      "Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer's", gives his thoughts:

      "He is brilliant at wrestling with the moral conundrums that the
      subject throws up – not least because he is genuinely considering
      some form of assisted death for himself. But I was still surprised
      at how emotional he found the experience of making this film. I had
      never seen him cry until we went to Switzerland... Everyone involved
      in the production, no matter what their views on legalising assisted
      dying, has been profoundly affected by the experience..."


      "Author Sir Terry Pratchett has defended his BBC Two TV documentary
      about assisted suicide, amid criticism from anti-euthanasia


      In The Guardian:

      "But Pratchett's film, which also focuses on the cases of two other
      men facing similar choices, is likely to reopen the debate over the
      legal and moral constraints on assisted dying. Pratchett, the author
      of the Discworld series of fantasy novels, who was knighted in 2009,
      will be glad if it does. He backs assisted death, he tells the
      magazine [Radio Times], 'because if someone knows they can die when
      they want to, they can treasure every day. They can think, "The
      grandchildren are coming over tomorrow" or "It's nearly Christmas so
      I'll leave it till the new year... it's a bit painful but we can
      hang in there." So someone is doing an incredibly human thing,
      something that no animal can ever do – actually controlling, if
      not forestalling, their own death – and getting some pride out of
      that, I suspect.'..."


      Ben Dowell in The Observer, the Guardian's Sunday incarnation:

      "Pratchett, the creator of the Discworld novels, who was 60 when he
      was diagnosed three years ago, said his decision to start the formal
      process did not necessarily mean that he was going to take his own
      life. He claimed he remained unsure about whether to carry through
      with his own death, saying that he changes his mind 'every two
      minutes'. He added that his wife, who chose not to appear in the
      film, did not want him to take his own life but that if he did
      choose to die he would prefer to do so in England and in the
      sunshine. Pratchett also revealed that he would not 'go to the
      barricades' for people who wanted to die because they had grown
      weary of living..."


      The Guardian's TV critic, Sam Wollaston:

      "Everything about this moving but not over-sentimental film really
      makes me think assisted death for the terminally ill is not just a
      good idea but a human right (more importantly Pratchett feels the
      same and the news at the weekend was that he's signed up). But
      there's a moment, when the poison takes its grip, when it's very
      hard to watch..."


      Reporter Haroon Siddique on the criticism:

      "Michael Nazir-Ali, the retired Bishop of Rochester condemned the
      programme as 'science fiction', while Care not Killing (CNK)
      described it as 'a recipe for elder abuse and also a threat to
      vulnerable people'. Asked why he wanted to make the film, Pratchett
      told BBC Breakfast: 'Because I was appalled at the current
      situation. I know that assisted dying is practised in at least three
      places in Europe and also in the United States. The government here
      has always turned its back on it and I was ashamed that British
      people had to drag themselves to Switzerland, at considerable cost,
      in order to get the services that they were hoping for.'..."


      An opinion piece by the very opinionated Michael Wenham:


      ...and another from a Kevin McKenna:


      ...and a charming, intelligent and idiosyncratic view of living and
      dying with dignity by the award-winning journalist Suzanne Moore:

      "To be pro-choice on assisted dying means simply to me to be
      entirely pro–life..."


      In The Telegraph:

      Ceri Radford in the Culture section:

      "I doubt whether many people who watched a preview screening of the
      film would recognise the view, put forward by anti-euthanasia
      campaigners, that it 'glorifies' suicide. I found it almost
      unbearably sad. Without television you can vaguely imagine Dignitas
      as a place where people, terrified at the idea of suffering a
      painful death, or simply fed up with life, go to be helped to die.
      But you don't know what it looks like: a little blue house with a
      garden on a mundane industrial estate. TV is an accessible and
      visceral medium, allowing us to confront the indescribable reality
      of a man, chatting and joking one moment, choosing the next to
      swallow a glass of poison in one gulp rather than wait for his
      illness to run its course. Whatever you think of the views of
      Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer's and wants the UK to change
      its laws on assisted death, this is a brave piece of television, not
      a cheap polemic..."


      Allison Pearson seems to be a bit undecided, or something:

      "The BBC received 900 complaints about Choosing to Die. Barely a
      murmur when you consider that 700 irate viewers rang in to protest
      that extended motor racing was allowed to bump off Antiques
      Roadshow. Anti-euthanasia campaigners said the Pratchett documentary
      painted an idealised picture of assisted death rather than
      contributing to an honest debate. That isn't so. It was a deeply
      thoughtful and moving programme orchestrated by a 63-year-old word
      wizard under the curse of Alzheimer's. Sir Terry is angry that
      terminally ill Britons, like himself, have to go to Switzerland to
      be put out of their misery. He fancies dying on his own sunlit lawn,
      drinking the fatal draught while listening to Thomas Tallis.

      "It's a seductive picture, isn't it? As seductive as those TV
      commercials for Quietus, the over-the-counter suicide kit in
      Children of Men. Set in the UK in 2027, P D James's dystopic novel
      imagines a time when adults are encouraged to kill themselves with a
      product which soothingly offers to take the choice out of your
      hands. You can be sure, dear reader, that when the state-sanctioned
      putting down of the sick, the disabled and the elderly comes, it
      won't look like a factory run by Joseph Goebbels. It will look
      like a lifestyle choice. Make that a deathstyle choice. That's
      why, although Sir Terry, the lovely Smedleys and anyone in fear of a
      prolonged, painful death have my deepest sympathy, I feel we have to
      be vigilant and hold the line..."


      Telly critic Catherine Gee gives a thorough and neutral review of
      the programme:

      "Pratchett's condition has reached a stage where he can no longer
      type so, as we saw, is dictating his new novel Snuff to his
      assistant, Rob Wilkins. It was through Wilkins that some of the
      film's balance was found. He is clearly uncomfortable with the
      idea of assisted death and, when they visited the Swiss euthanasia
      group Dignitas, he decisively commented, 'It feels so wrong.'
      However, this was Pratchett's film and the argument he put forward
      here was that assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be
      legal in the UK – a view that has naturally drawn criticism from
      an anti-euthanasia group...

      "Of course, for many terminally ill people, the warm, safe,
      relatively pain-free death offered by Dignitas is not an option. It
      costs around £10,000 and many could either not afford it or would
      not wish their families to have to pay for it, though this issue was
      skirted around in the film. The argument for such a facility to be
      made available in the UK is certainly a powerful one – as are the
      arguments against, such as the risk of overzealous doctors taking
      advantage of bewildered elderly patients or that most religions
      forbid all forms of suicide. ..."


      Andrew Hough reports on a number of UK cases where the deceased's
      family or doctor could have been prosecuted under the current
      British laws:


      In The Independent and the Irish Independent:

      Robert Epstein reviews the programme:

      "It was far from easy to watch, not least when, choking, Smedley
      asked for water – a request that was denied. Which answers
      complaints from some quarters that the programme made the process
      seem too much of an 'easy' way out. What's more, the impact of
      seeing a life drain away has been matched by the immediate impact
      the documentary has had in pushing the issue of assisted death back
      on to the national agenda. It has made us talk about something we
      would rather not, and has done so without being mawkish or


      Sherna Noah, reports on the post-broadcast storm:

      "[The BBC's] commissioning editor for documentaries Charlotte Moore
      said that she did not believe the 'carefully edited but unflinching'
      scene could have been left out. When Peter decides he is ready, he
      is seen drinking a liquid to prepare his stomach for what is to come
      while sitting at the kitchen table. Then, sitting on a sofa with his
      wife at his side gently rubbing his hand, he drinks a second liquid,
      after which he falls into a deep sleep and dies. Ms Moore said: 'It
      is an extremely powerful and challenging scene – raw yet moving –
      but above all it is honest. Some people may question why we included
      this scene in the final cut. But in my view I don't see how we could
      omit it... To gloss over Peter's final moments would be to do a
      disservice to Peter, to Terry and to the viewer...'"


      In The Mirror:

      Reviewer Jane Simon:

      "I can't imagine anyone wanting to witness a stranger's death
      – on television or anywhere else – but in Sir Terry's own
      words: 'What you are about to watch may not be easy, but I believe
      it's important.' The BBC isn't the first broadcaster to go down
      this route. Three years ago Sky showed the suicide of another motor
      neurone sufferer at the same clinic. And this latest programme
      follows the recent BBC documentary Inside The Human Body, which
      showed an 84-year-old cancer patient take his dying breath. But for
      Sir Terry, the trip might be a recce for a journey he will one day
      be taking himself..."


      In The Sun:

      David Lowe speaks to actor Chris Larner, who accompanied his dying
      wife to Dignitas last year, about his reactions to the programme:

      "The heartbreaking scene, filmed at the Dignitas suicide clinic
      outside Zurich, was difficult viewing for most people. But it hit
      Chris especially hard – for only last November he was with his ex-
      wife, Allyson Lee, when she died there aged 60.... While it brought
      back painful memories for actor Chris – who starred as Clingfilm in
      the 1990s ITV drama series London's Burning – he supports the
      challenging and shocking documentary. Chris, 52, from Streatham
      Hill, south London, says: 'As someone whose personal circumstances
      have taken them to Dignitas, I was impressed by BBC2's handling of
      the subject... Assisted suicide isn't nice or pretty and I think the
      show recognised that. I can understand why people find it troubling
      because, at the end of the day, none of us want to die. Allyson,
      whose wellbeing was virtually nonexistent, was very clear it was her
      right to do what she wanted with her life. Besides the fear of
      eventually losing her sight, speech and ability to swallow, she was
      devastated about being unable to walk and her loss of
      independence...' ... Chris has been so deeply affected by his visit
      to Dignitas that he has written a play, An Instinct For Kindness,
      about the experience. He feels strongly that assisted suicide should
      be legalised in the UK and says: 'I don't see why people like
      Allyson should have to face a journey to Switzerland for a dignified
      death when they could have one here...'"


      In the Irish Times:

      Bernice Harrison's review:

      "In the stark way a well-made documentary can, it showed the reality
      of going to Dignitas, a phrase that has become shorthand for
      assisted suicide... 'People come in live and leave dead,' said
      Pratchett, whose tone throughout was inquisitive and pragmatic.
      Although he could understand Smedley's decision, he struggled with
      Andrew Colgan's choice. The 42-year-old with multiple sclerosis, who
      seemed disturbingly well, explained opting for Dignitas by saying
      that his quality of life was becoming unbearable. He had attempted
      suicide and failed and was afraid his illness would progress to the
      point that he wouldn't be able to travel – so he took the decision
      sooner, in Pratchett's opinion, than he needed to. It was a tragedy,
      according to Pratchett: not the choice to die but the timing..."


      Liz Murphy on the issues facing Irish law and assisted suicide, in
      the wake of Choosing to Die debates:

      "The existing law in Ireland states that it is illegal to assist a
      suicide in any way. The maximum sentence is 14 years' imprisonment.
      Even the act of buying a plane ticket for the person who intends to
      die in Dignitas could be a crime, says Tom Curran, spokesman for
      Exit International Ireland, an advocacy group for assisted suicide
      and full-time carer for his partner, Marie, who has multiple
      sclerosis. 'The only way that there will be any clarification on the
      situation is when someone is prosecuted, but I certainly don't want
      to be one of those people and neither does anyone else,' he says.
      When asked if he is lobbying for a change in the law, Curran's
      exhausted expression says it all. 'I don't have the energy,' he
      replies. His primary role in Exit International is directing people
      to information on assisted suicide. In May of this year, gardai
      detained two women on the morning they intended to travel to
      Dignitas. Curran says they were warned of the legal consequences of
      assisted suicide and consequently did not make the journey. One of
      the women had MS. Curran says at least six Irish people have
      travelled to Dignitas to die. The debate is an emotive one and an
      easy target for sensationalism in the media, which can skim over the
      complexities of the issue. 'I think the more we put these matters
      forward for informed discussion the better,' says Dr Tony O'Brien,
      consultant physician in palliative medicine in Marymount Hospice and
      Cork University Hospital..."


      In the Herald Scotland, a selection of readers' letters:


      In the Daily Mail:

      A piece liberally scattered with screencaps from the programme, of
      Peter Smedley's final moments and death... and one very significant
      item at the very end of the text:

      "Assisted death is not allowed in Britain but the Director of Public
      Prosecutions recently revised rules stating it is illegal to help
      anyone kill themselves. Keir Starmer said he would not prosecute if
      the motivation of relatives and friends is shown to be purely
      compassionate and there is no personal gain."


      The view of Jan Moir:

      "I can see that to be in control of one's death is particularly
      important in the wake of a shattering diagnosis, the one blip of
      comfort in a world that has become intolerable. Yet I have
      reservations about it being a selfish decision, leaving devastated
      wives, husbands, sons and daughters wondering why they weren't
      enough to make their loved one want to live. Should we be allowed to
      choose to die? It is one of the polarising questions of our age,
      with ramifications not just for the individuals and their families,
      but for everyone. However, watching Pratchett's rosy, unquestioning
      documentary — an advertorial for death, with its lush music and
      sweeping views of the Swiss countryside — made me very glad that
      the UK remains resistant to euthanasia..."


      In the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times:

      "Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies spoke out as author Sir Terry
      Pratchett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, used a
      controversial TV documentary on Monday to highlight procedures at
      the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The MEP, whose North West
      constituency includes Ribble Valley, argues that it is wrong that
      British citizens suffering unendurably and with no hope of recovery
      should have to travel to Switzerland to die at a time of their own
      choosing. Mr Davies, who has made a study of procedures in Belgium
      and the Netherlands where they are legal, says that less than 2% of
      people who die in those countries seek help to do so. Almost all do
      so at home, with their family around them. But he argues that the
      availability of such assistance gives comfort and relief to many
      more people who are fearful of a death without dignity. Mr Davies
      said: 'This is a matter of human rights. While palliative care will
      always be the choice for the great majority facing an otherwise
      painful death, people for whom life has become intolerable should
      not be forced to live against their will. Their wishes should be
      respected and to deny them medical assistance to die is cruel and


      Peter Goodspeed of Canada's National Post presents anti-views:

      "Choosing to Die examines the debate raging around euthanasia and
      assisted suicide. If abortion was a huge social issue in the last
      half of the 20th century, as post-war baby boomers began to
      reproduce, euthanasia and assisted suicide are poised to unleash
      similar legal, medical and ethical debates across Europe and North
      America as populations grow steadily older... But while advocates
      like Mr. Pratchett tout assisted suicide and euthanasia as a
      legitimate medical option for the terminally ill, their opponents
      around the world dismiss the claim. They say death on demand
      perverts the practice of medicine and opens the door for the
      coercion of vulnerable and suffering people..."


      The New Statesman's round-up of "sharply divided fallout from the
      author's provocative programme on euthanasia":


      Wales Online gives many column inches to anti-assisted-death
      campaigner Baroness Finlay of Llandaff:

      "Baroness Finlay, a professor of palliative medicine, who is based
      at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, was one of the main opponents of
      Lord Joffe's Bill to make assisted suicide legal in the UK, which
      was defeated in the House of Lords in 2006. Currently up to 20
      people from the UK go to the Dignitas clinic to die. But if the UK
      did allow assisted suicide, along the lines of the system in place
      in Oregon in the USA, it has been estimated more than 1,000 people
      could die in this way. Baroness Finlay said: 'A change in the law
      would, for the first time in this country, legalise killing people.
      When you change the law you don't just change it for a small number
      of very clear-minded people but you remove protection for lots of
      people who are very vulnerable who can easily be made to feel a
      burden by their families and the care system...'"


      A well-presented essay on the programme and the ethics of assisted
      dying by sixth-form student Matthew Rallison, who is doing his work
      experience at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics:

      "Campaigners for Care Not Killing argued that portrayal of suicide
      would lead to further suicides. This assertion also has little
      basis. Pratchett never endorses suicide, in poor health or
      otherwise. The emphasis is upon personal autonomy as two mens'
      journey to Dignitas (euthanasia clinic based in Zurich) is followed.
      Pratchett offers equal respect to an individual's decision to live
      with illness just as much as he respects those choosing to die; no
      option is judged morally proper. Furthermore the process of using
      Dignitas involves extensive health evaluations, tests of clarity of
      thought, travelling to Switzerland and around £10,000. There is
      nothing impulsive about the procedure and such a programme could not
      'open the floodgates'. It is important to consider whether
      euthanasia is morally correct in itself. For me, this argument is
      overwhelmed via belief in one's autonomy, which extends to how one
      dies. In theory rather than practice, euthanasia is a debate of


      ...and not forgetting the relevant Twitter tag page:

      ...and to sum up, a thought-provoking piece by Edward Lawrence in
      The Guardian that asks just how one defines "quality of life" in
      terms of the issues in Choosing to Die:

      "Now we all know what quality means. Likewise, we all know what life
      means. But no one knows what "quality of life" means. There is no
      arbiter to decide what "quality of life" means, nor is there a
      quality of life control department. In fact if quality of life was a
      product, perhaps it would be sold by the travelling medicine shows
      of the Wild West... Quality of life is a nebulous concept, which
      means all things to all people. It is useless to try and encapsulate
      in a simple phrase what adds quality to a person's life. But it
      doesn't stop the great and not so good as using it as if it were a
      moral top trump card which negates every possible argument against



      05) SNUFF NEWS

      5.1 THE FIRST LINE...

      "The goblin experience of the world is the cult or perhaps religion
      of Unggue. In short, it is a remarkably complex resurrection-based
      religion founded on the sanctity of bodily secretions."

      (as Ptweeted by Pterry on his Ptwitter page)


      It's a footnote:

      "It was all a mystery to Vimes, who was absolutely sure that it was
      impossible to tell the difference between a chicken fart and a
      turkey fart, but there were those who professed to be able to do so,
      and he was glad that such people had chosen this outlet for their
      puzzling inclinations rather than, for example, fill their sink with
      human skulls, collected in the high street."




      ...though not a hairy orange one, we presume. Librarian and teacher
      Jonathan Hunt interviewed our favourite author at length on behalf
      of the School Library Journal, and a jolly good job of it he did,
      too, tackling subjects such as humour in literature, whether or not
      a "series book" should be considered as a standalone for awards,
      working in a library, and much more:

      "I had a letter from an American mum who said she found it very
      harrowing to read The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents to
      her little girl who was seven, and she noticed she was getting
      rather more upset than her child was. The little girl patted her on
      the hand and said, 'Don't worry, mum, it will all turn out right.'
      And that showed, I think, that the little girl had grasped one of
      the rules, which is that if you're writing for kids you can to a
      certain extent drag them through this dark and fearful night and
      that's perfectly OK if there's sunshine at the end...

      "In those days, there was still just an idea that a child who went
      into the adult library should be kept under some surveillance. And
      indeed in one of the local libraries, children were not allowed in
      the adult library until the librarian thought they should be
      allowed. But since I was working in the library that meant that I
      was de facto an adult and so I read, I think, the very best of




      7.1 NADWCON NEWS

      Not quite the last minute for announcements, but getting there...

      For those of you who might be able to make it to Madison for
      NADWcon, there are still a few memberships available:


      Also, some tables still going for the Gala Banquet:


      Remember, the Gala Banquet proceeds all go to the Orangutan
      Foundation and the Alzheimer's Research Trust!




      "As I write this, we've sold 856 memberships out of 1,000"

      – NADWcon's Mrs Palm, 13 June 2011

      "I did the math the other day and it turns out that I've known Terry
      Pratchett for almost 18 years. I've spent some of that time at
      various of his West Coast signings trying to a) feed him (why does
      no one feed these people?) and b) finding ice for his hand when
      it became swollen after he had cheerfully signed pretty much
      anything for over four to six hours at a stretch. I'm happy to say
      that I don't have to worry quite so much about ice at NADWCon
      except, perhaps, to find some for his drinks. I'll still make sure
      he eats. We're both a little older and our cinnamon bun and bear
      claw days are well behind us in more ways than one. (In my case,
      they went straight to my ... oh, never mind). It's healthy veggies
      in the Green Room, now. Hummus, no doubt, will be involved. It's
      hard to get as excited about mashed chickpeas as I would about, say,
      a great bear claw. On the other hand, we both look *good*."

      Shamble Making Class
      A shamble is a handmade device used by Witches to detect or amplify
      magic. A conversant Discworld Witch can assemble a shamble in a
      matter of seconds using stuff like strings, twigs, leaves, feathers,
      beads, coloured paper, an egg or even a beetle. The whole thing
      looks like a "cat's cradle", or some sort of nest made of rubbish.

      We will have materials and tokens available to add to your shamble
      but you are welcome to bring some items of your own to add if you
      wish. Now, I want to be verrra clear about this. A shamble, as you
      lot know, usually contains a live object, like an egg or in certain
      cases, a Feegle. Now then, (You! – yes, you there in the back I'm
      talking to you) will be finishing your Shamble at home where you
      can add the live elements yourself, and, let there be no mistake,
      cats (You, in the back there, are you listening?) cats, as I said,
      are not any part  of this. So take it home to finish, and clean up
      any resultant mess yourself.

      My thanks to everyone who came forward when I first posted the
      request for panelists for some of our panels back in May. We are
      now in great shape. I could use a few more costuming panelists for
      these two panels:

      Dress to Express:  
      Identity is often defined by clothing in the Discworld novels – a
      strategic rolled-up sock or a washerwoman's skirt in Monstrous
      Regiment; a pointy hat in the witch and wizard books; or a badge, a
      breastplate, and cheap boots in the Watch books. Come join us for
      this examination of clothing choices and effects in the Discworld
      and elsewhere. We'll discuss how to dress for Discworld and
      related events like Steampunk and fantasy conventions. Whether your
      character is high style or low comedy, we'll discuss budget
      busting fun and cheap-but-looks-fab costuming effects. We'll
      talk about what works and what has gone deeply, badly, horribly
      wrong in our own attempts to get that perfect look.

      Tools of the Trade: The Seamstress Guild's Guide To Using... Oh,
      Let's Just Call Them Props

      Get your minds out of the gutter, people; this panel is about
      costume items we flaunt like fans, hats, jewelry and those little
      boots that Terry Loves, as well as the essential but unseen, a.k.a.
      Items of a Delicate Nature. (You, there in the back, stop

      Join our guild members as we go beyond the dress and corset and
      discuss the elements of costuming that often get overlooked from the
      wig down to the toe ring. This is a panel brimming with information
      no good Seamstress should be without. Spectators are welcome, but
      must keep their hands to themselves! otherwise, we're good to go. 

      The Dark Clerks Come To NADWCon
      Many of our attendees want to volunteer at the con – it's a great
      way to make friends and honor Terry – but not everyone wants to be
      on a panel, run a game or teach a class. Some people have a
      different kind of skill set. They like to manage things behind the
      scenes, quietly and with little bloodshed. If you see someone in a
      dark coat, a bowler hat or a pinstripe corset then I urge you to
      exercise both courtesy and caution for you may well be in the
      presence a Dark Clerk. The members of this Discworld Guild; calm,
      capable, stylish, and, quite possibly, armed, do far more than
      shuffle paper. They bring order out of chaos. 

      If you have a Dark Clerk in your soul, you will be happy to hear
      that Millie Shapiro Baker and Co. are organizing a, first ever,
      North American branch of the Dark Clerks Guild. She writes: 

      "Do you like filing, organizing, paperwork, and, of course, working
      for Lord Vetinari to make the city of Ankh-Morpork run smoothly?
      Then by all means, grab your stationery, don your pinstripes, and
      join on up!"

      * Dark Clerks Facebook page:

      * Dark Clerks Yahoo group:

      We have need of both Igors and Dark Clerks at NADWCon. The program
      readth thusly, 

      Igors & Dark Clerks Wanted

      Have you already signed up to volunteer as an Igor or a Dark Clerk
      during the Convention? If you haven't, would you like to? Attend
      this session to find out details on what's expected of you or how
      you can help, and maybe also a little info on the perks of being a
      creative, inventive, and adaptable Igor or a Dark Clerk, one who
      knows where all the bodies are buried... or will be.* 

      * and who has the paperwork to prove it. 

      We can use Igors and Dark Clerks with special skills or
      qualifications. If you're one of those and would like to help out
      (or have already offered your aid), showing up here would be the
      first step in learning what we might need you to do. Can you spare
      an hour or two to volunteer at NADWCon? Write to Margaret Grady, 
      Volunteer Director & Vice Chair, at volunteer@...

      Black Ribboner Morning Meet Up 
      Not everyone will be quaffing at the Seamstress Guild parties. For
      example, Mrs Palm will be there but she's not about to quaff, not in
      that gown, so I've added in a program note for Discworld folks,
      myself among them, who avoid z B-word.

      NADWCon is one big party but not everyone wants to drink copious
      amounts of alcohol, eat junk food or push themselves to the point of
      exhaustion. This meet up is for folks who are trying to stay a
      sane in the hustle and bustle of a busy con. It isn't a 12 Step
      meeting or Rational Recovery or Spiral Steps although all those
      folks are welcome. Nor is this a formal meeting of any kind. It is
      simply a Meet Up of Early Birds who want a quiet, peaceful beginning
      to the wonderful day ahead and a little support from like-minded
      folks in order to get through it. Place and times to be announced
      on The Boards That Are White. Ve vil not be having z little zing
      zong, oh, no. Just z coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. 

      The Jimkin Bearhuggers Whisky Talk
      Thanks to a cunning fan, we are introducing yet another new
      tradition at NADWCon with the first ever, semiannual Jimkin
      Bearhuggers Whisky talk: Wherein we consider the definitions for
      Whisky, Bourbon, and Scotch and, within Scotch, Blended, "Vatted",
      Single-Malt and single-barrel types. We will also discuss the
      specifics of wood/barrels, aging in general and age statements. We
      will then look at a map of Scotland and cover the styles and flavors
      by recognized regions and some specific distilleries across
      Scotland. There are Irish and Japanese (and maybe other) Single Malt
      Whiskeys which are "like" Scotch, but can't officially be called
      "Scotch" if they're not produced in Scotland. If we have time, we
      can talk about "beer" and the difference between grain and malt and
      how a Maltster converts one into the other. Later on, we can test
      what we've learned. Madison's best brew pub is 3 blocks away.

      Hair Braiding Workshops at NADWCon
      This makes my day... John Wardale, the gentleman giving our
      Bearhugger Whisky Talk, is also teaching our hair braiding
      workshops. Clearly, he is a man of many skills. It's BYOB (bring
      your own brush). Enjoy. Our instructor will teach attendees how to
      make ropes, 4-strand "round" braids, classic (3-strand) French and
      (3-strand) Dutch (or inverted-French or underhand) as well as a
      Crown braid (technically a horizontal modified (3-strand) French
      braid) and other advanced ideas like 5 and 7-strand fingering
      techniques; as well as shapes like hearts, spirals and a pullup-
      weave. **Tailored to the desires and abilities of the audience.
      Age 7 - 70.
      Limited to: 20 attendees. Sign up sheet at front desk. First come,
      first served.*

      * We think this will be very popular so we may try and schedule two
      of them. 

      ** I have no idea what any of this means but it sounds wonderful.  

      "I'm glad that Sir Terry will not have the pressure of hundreds of
      autographs to write on the spot... the book plates will make a
      lovely keepsake, and he won't have the stress. I want Sir Terry to
      enjoy this convention as much as we all will."

      – Maribeth, on the NADWCon Facebook page  

      Editor's note: all of the above, and much more, can be found at:

      7.2 WADFEST 2011

      It's the tenth anniversary of Wadfest, and that little gathering-
      inna-field of Discworld fans has grown and matured (though blessedly
      not, I'm told, too much of the latter). This year the theme is "The
      Future and Beyond", with appropriate decorations on the Wadfest
      website. There will be fun, games, food, filk, Feegles,
      competitions, merchandise, and no doubt copious quantities of
      exciting local beverages. A certain author has been known to drop

      When: 19th 20th 21st August 2011
      Where: Trentfield Farm, Church Laneham, Retford, NOTTS.
      Tickets: http://www.wadfest.co.uk/page12.html



      Photographer and con attendee Tom gives his impressions of the first
      Dutch Discworld convention:


      Some fun iconographs. There seemed to be a number of Pterry hats
      and Pterry beards, and a video of the real hat and beard owner:


      ...and possibly the best Twoflower ever:





      Having had a great time last year with their production of Wyrd
      Sisters, Collingwood RSC – that RSC stands for Random Salad
      Company, apparently – will present Jingo, this year's Discworld
      production, in July.

      When: four shows only, Tue 12th-Fri 15th July 2011
      Venue: New Theatre Royal, 20-24 Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DD
      Time: 7.30pm all shows
      Tickets: £8 Stall and Dress Circle (£6 concessions), £12 Upper
      Circle (£10 concessions)
      Box Office: 02392 649000 or book online at:



      The Sinodun Players present their production of Maskerade in July.

      Director Paul Cleverley, a Pratchett fan and Alzheimer's research
      advocate, says, "We're raising funds via the Just Giving website,
      justgiving.com/maskerade, where you can join a team led by Granny
      Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Agnes Nitt or the Phantom him (or her!) self.
      The team with the most donations wins and the winner will be
      announced on the gala evening of Friday, July 15."

      When: Mon 11th July to Sat 16th July 2011, with a Gala Evening on
      Fri 15th July
      Venue: Corn Exchange, Market Place, Wallingford, Oxfordshire,
      England OX10 0EG
      Time: 7.30pm all shows
      Tickets: £10 (discount night £7.50 on Monday 11th), available from
      the box office 7pm-8pm every evening and 10am-1pm Fridays and

      For more details, go to:


      The Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, will be
      presenting their first-ever Discworld play, Mort, in July and

      When: Friday and Saturday nights, 22nd and 23rd July, 29th and 30th
      July, 5th and 6th August
      Venue: Historic Mounds Theatre, 1029 Hudson Road, St Paul, MN
      55106. Phone (651) 772 2253
      Time: 7.30pm all shows
      Tickets: adults $15, children under 12 and seniors $10
      To book online, go to http://tinyurl.com/4yuqkhv

      For more information, go to:

      You can follow the company's production diary on Facebook:


      The Purple Theatre Company present their production of The Truth in
      June and July:

      "Purple make a triumphant and hilarious return to Discworld with
      Terry Pratchett's The Truth, adapted by Stephen Briggs. With the
      help of some dwarves and a printing-press, William de Worde is about
      to invent Discworld's first newspaper. But filling his pages with
      reports of pub meetings and pictures of humorously-shaped vegetables
      will quickly become tiresome. However, dark forces are plotting to
      overthrow the city's ruler with charges of embezzlement and
      attempted murder. This will lead William, with the help of fellow
      reporter Sacharissa Cripslock, to investigate the charges and
      uncover a conspiracy that could unbalance the whole of Discworld and
      make a great front-page headline! Parents are advised that the show
      contains implied (but not actual) bad language."

      When: Wednesday 29th June to Saturday 2nd July 2011
      Venue: Compass Theatre, Glebe Avenue, Ickenham, Hillingdon UB10 8PD
      Time: 7.30pm all shows
      Tickets : Wed £10.50, Thu £12.50/£10.50 concessions, Fri & Sat
      £12.50 (no concessions)
      To book tickets, go to http://tinyurl.com/4xkpue4 or call the
      Compass Theatre direct on 01895 673200



      By Ilona Bartsch, a WOSSNAME exclusive

      The most recent rendition of a Discworld novel by Pamela Munt and
      the Unseen Theatre Company is a pleasant, entertaining and funny
      night out. The production is true to the story and carries through
      much of the humour and many of the characters that make Discworld
      so popular.

      The staging is simple but the use of more complex sets would
      probably detract from the action: I think that when staging a
      Discworld play one has to either go to the extreme of expensive
      special effects or keep it as simple as possible. By using a bare
      minimum of props and set the stage allows the audience to recreate
      Lancre in their heads, much like when reading the books. A lighter
      touch with the smoke machine would have been welcome though.

      Most of the characters were true to form and seeing them onstage
      after reading the books for so long is like meeting old friends.
      Hugh O'Connor had the voice and stride of Death JUST RIGHT; and
      Lucy Haas-Hennessy's Magrat was suitably whimsical, squinty and
      exasperated in turns. Duke Felmet, as played by James Loader, gets
      visibly crazier as the play progresses, aided admirably in his
      descent by Samm Blackmore's Duchess.

      On the negative side, many of the scene changes were clunky and
      jarring, although the ones that did work worked very well. There
      were a few issues with pacing and delivery, especially on funny
      lines where the cast clearly expected a laugh. This is not
      pantomime, and when there is a pause in the dialogue whilst waiting
      for laughter it can spoil otherwise engaging work. I have to again
      mention the overuse of the smoke machine; some of the effects
      created by it were quite atmospheric but by the end of the night I
      had sore eyes and the air was thick with smoke.

      The highlight of the show, for me, was the final play within a play
      scene. The chaos of an opening night was captured perfectly, and
      Death's cameo was rather fun. Marlon Dance-Hooi as the Fool was
      excellent throughout, and he brought an innocence and intelligence
      to the character that contributed greatly to the story and the play
      as a whole. In some ways the Fool is the most important part in this
      production: he is the one that speaks about the power of words and,
      in the end, the wisest character of all.

      I recommend this production to anyone who likes the Discworld,
      Shakespeare, or laughing. Three and a half stars.

      ...and a review by Stephen Davenport in The Australian Stage:

      "The fun begins even before the show commences. In the foyer, just
      in front of the stocks, Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler is giving away
      free programmes with every gold coin donation. He's hamming it up
      with promises of rat-on-a-stick (cocktail sausages) during the
      interval. The full-house is enthusiastic... As per usual, director
      Pamela Munt and her fine ensemble provide ample entertainment value,
      with cleverly drawn characters, using minimalist sets... The entire
      cast is clearly having a ball on the stage and delivering the
      cutting lines of this script – an adaptation by Stephen Briggs and
      reworked by Pamela Munt. These high-jinks render themselves to the
      appreciative audience. Yet the ensemble is smart about a lot of
      things, including the vital importance of at times underplaying
      their parts. This ensures Wyrd Sisters is seriously funny..."


      Wyrd Sisters (original adaptation by Stephen Briggs, reworked for
      Unseen Theatre Company by Pamela Munt) continues through 25th June
      at the Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide South
      Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com (no booking fee)
      or 82270505 ($2 per ticket booking fee applies)



      The City of Small Gods Terry Pratchett Fan Club meets on the last
      Thursday of the month from 6.30pm at the Ed Castle, 233 Currie St,
      Adelaide (South Australia). The next meeting will be on Thursday
      30th June. Details, discussions and organisation of extra events
      (such as play outings) are held on their email mailing list, so do
      sign up at


      Anyone for Werewolf? Then Adelaide is the place, and tCoSGTPFC is
      the organisation! tCoSGTPFC's Danny explains:

      Werewolf isn't specifically a Discworld game, but it's something
      we've picked up from the various conventions. It's a story-telling
      game in the vein (pun intended) of Mafia.

      Players are either Villagers or Werewolfs (identity kept secret) and
      a narrator controls the story. Each night (players close their
      eyes), the werewolves choose a victim. Come morning, (players open
      their eyes), the victim is revealed (and is dead), and the remaining
      players (villagers & secret werewolves alike) start throwing
      accusations around at each other. A vote is held to see who the
      majority of players think is a werewolf, and that person is then
      lynched by the town (not literally, btw). So generally, two players
      "die" for each "day" of play. Obviously, the villagers want to kill
      all the werewolves, and the werewolves want to outnumber the
      villagers. There are special villager cards which can be used too.
      The Seer/Fortune Teller, who has the power to (once per night)
      select a player and the narrator tells them (silently) whether the
      player is a villager or a werewolf. The Hunter, who can take someone
      else out with them when they are killed. Cupid, who picks two people
      to be lovers at the start of the game – and when one lover dies, the
      other must commit suicide in the most tragic and melodramatic way
      possible. There are others, but those are my favourites.

      Some more info here: http://eblong.com/zarf/werewolf.html
      and the official site for the card set that I've bought:


      The next meeting of the Broken Drummers will be on Monday 4th July
      at the Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London W2 1JQ.



      Drummers Downunder meet on the first Monday of every month in Sydney
      at Maloneys, corner of Pitt & Goulburn Streets, at 7pm. The next
      meeting will be on the 4th of July. For more information, contact
      Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax) on kenworthys@...


      Perth Drummers meet on the traditional of first Monday of the month.
      The next meeting will be on the evening of Monday 4th July at The
      Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco.



      The Pratchett Prize logo:

      The Discworld Reading Order Guide:

      Totally awesom-, erm, hard-rocking Lego HEX with wizardly operator:

      ...and some moving images!

      An orangutan in Vienna who has learned how to take photographs:

      ...and another orangutan in Dublin, rescuing a drowning bird:




      Reader Sami Mikhail writes:

      "I've read, I believe, most everything PTerry has written. I recall
      reading loads on Morris Dancing, but do not believe I've ready
      anything about Dwile Flonking. Question: Have I just missed it, or
      are there limits to the ridiculousness that PTerry will report/write
      on? Just seems like something that would show up in the Ramtops..."

      How right you are, Sami! According to Wikipedia, dwile flonking may
      have been invented by the Great Goon Bentine some time between 1960
      and 1966, but there are those who claim a much earlier provenance.
      At any rate, it's a wonderfully daft-sounding game:

      "The pastime of Dwile Flonking involves two teams, each taking a
      turn to dance around the other while attempting to avoid a beer-
      soaked dwile (cloth) thrown by the non-dancing team... Appropriate
      and seasonal dress is important... A 'dull witted person' is chosen
      as the referee or 'jobanowl' and the two teams decide who flonks
      first by tossing a sugar beet. The game begins when the jobanowl
      shouts 'Here y'go t'gither!' The non-flonking team joins hands and
      dances in a circle around a member of the flonking team, a practice
      known as 'girting'. The flonker dips his dwile-tipped 'driveller' (a
      pole 2–3 ft long and made from hazel or yew) into a bucket of
      beer, then spins around in the opposite direction to the girters and
      flonks his dwile at them. If the dwile misses completely it is known
      as a 'swadger' or a 'swage'. When this happens the flonker must
      drink the contents of an ale-filled 'gazunder' before the wet dwile
      has passed from hand to hand along the line of now non-girting
      girters chanting the ancient ceremonial mantra of 'pot pot pot'.

      "A full game comprises four 'snurds', each snurd being one team
      taking a turn at girting. The jobanowl adds interest and difficulty
      to the game by randomly switching the direction of rotation, and
      will levy drinking penalties on any player found not taking the game
      seriously enough... the team with the most number of points wins,
      and will be awarded a ceremonial pewter gazunder..."


      Here be some iconographs of dwile flonking (or in this case, dwyle
      flunking; spelling seems to be as random and optional as the other
      rules) in progress:



      An article with the headline of "Crackdown on begging in Derby City
      centre" gives one the impression that the local police include at
      least one Discworld fan, who's familiar with the Canting Crew:

      "Police in Derby are cracking down on beggars in a bid to cleanup
      the city. The operation called Pratchett, involves undercover
      officers patrolling the city in the evenings, targeting hot spots
      and known offenders. Sergeant Nick Allgood, from Derby City Centre
      Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "Some beggars can be quite
      aggressive. 'It is sometimes not far off robbery in some cases, with
      people feeling intimidated into handing over money to make them go
      away. It also gives a negative impression of the city.'...
      'professiona'l[sic!] beggar Darren Walker who is said to have been
      making up to £250 a day on Derby streets... was banned from asking
      for money in England and Wales for five years..."




      Blogger Becky Levine on Tiffany Aching as a muse:

      "So where does the writing lesson come in? Here: To really use these
      thoughts, to really see past all the illusion and even all the
      things she'd like to believe, Tiffany has to be still. She has to,
      as another witch tells her early in the book, 'open your eyes... and
      then open your eyes again.' She has to look..."


      Blogger p0serge3k does some deep thinking about Good Omens:

      "What with the rapture coming and going more or less unnoticed (see,
      I didn't want to go to heaven on Saturday–I'd have missed Doctor
      Who), I've been thinking a lot about what a funny thing an
      apocalypse is. If you ask me, contradictions are more or less
      inherent in its nature. The foremost of which is best represented by
      a rather blasphemous opinion I hold: heaven sounds painfully boring.
      I quite like earth, thank you very much, despite–no, because of
      all its flaws. What's the point of life (or afterlife as the case
      may be) if there are no problems to solve, no conflicts to resolve,
      no goals to work for or improvements to be made? What fun is any of
      it if it's all perfect? That's what I think Good Omens is about.
      It's about the pros and cons of life on earth, about the balance of
      power in a world which may be a giant chess board, or a complex
      Solitaire spread, or a disc riding on the backs of four elephants
      standing on the back of a turtle. Alright, probably not that last
      one. Good Omens is about right and wrong as opposed to Right and
      Wrong. It's about prejudices realised and destinies averted. It's
      about free will and whether free will was ever really all that free
      to begin with. It's about mad old women who weren't mad at all when
      you got right down to it, and it's about very astute ducks..."


      Blogger and student bookwormz4 reviews Maskerade, as read by
      candlelight in the wake of the recent Alabama tornadoes:

      "Maskerade by Terry Pratchett is a take off The Phantom of the
      Opera. The main character is Agnes Nitt, an incredibly fat girl with
      a skinny person named Perdita X hidden inside. She's (sorta) in
      training to be a witch, but doesn't like it so she runs away to
      Ankh-Morpork... Needless to say, much hilarity ensues. But at the
      same time, Terry Pratchett makes a really good point about the masks
      we wear in our lives. Oh, why can't we study books like this in


      Blogger Mary on the "Pratchett experience":

      "At the beginning of 2011, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to
      finally plunge myself into the Discworld of Terry Pratchett. For
      years, I'd heard about his work and knew that I'd love his style,
      but I was intimidated by the breadth of his work and wasn't sure
      where exactly to plunge... Shortly after I made this New Year's
      Resolution and had definitely decided to pursue it, a very nice guy
      who worked in the same office where I worked on my college campus
      came in with a large paper bag of books to get rid of. The majority
      of these books were by Terry Pratchett... I'm constantly in awe of
      how well Pratchett has created this world. When I read these books,
      I feel that Ankh-Morpork is a real place and I suppose that's how
      you're supposed to feel..."


      Blogger L.S. Engler reviews Mort:

      "It's impossible for me to not enjoy a Discworld book, but I really
      did like Mort, with a handful of the usual little quirks of
      Pratchett's writing that I'm sometimes not fond of. When he writes,
      he has a tendency to be opaque in a way that makes you wonder if
      you're missing something, but, no, he brings it around to en
      explanation eventually and I wonder if I should have caught it
      earlier... I can only have the utmost respect for the man who wrote
      a line like the following: 'Like a reluctant cork from a bottle,
      like a dollop of fiery ketchup from the upturned sauce bottle of
      Infinity, Death landed in the octogram and swore.' He just had such
      a clever and exceptionally creative way to turn a phrase and twist a
      metaphor that it's absolutely no surprise that his works continue to
      delight and entertain me..."


      An unidentified blogger on a site called msbplbooks reviews Only You
      Can Save Mankind:

      "In this allegory Pratchett juxtaposes the violent nature of video
      games and the Gulf War (but really any war for that matter). Though
      not heavy handed in my estimation, there is a clear moral to this
      story, that violence should only be a last resort after we have
      listened well and tried every other alternative. This isn't the best
      science fiction I've ever read, but it is very good. It has a plot
      and conflict that youths wi<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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