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WOSSNAME -- July 2011 -- Main issue

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    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion July 2011 (Volume 14, Issue 7, Post 1) ********************************************************************
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2011
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      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      July 2011 (Volume 14, Issue 7, Post 1)
      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



      03) "SNUFF" NEWS
      19) CLOSE



      "Discworld is like drugs, 'cause when you can't go get coke you're
      gonna get good old cannabis, and when you can't get cannabis you'll
      lick the outside of a dead rhinoceros. So any Discworld is better
      than no Discworld."

      – Pterry's deadpan (but invisibly grinning) comment in Melbourne,
      April 2011, in response to a question about which characters/arcs
      are the fans' favourites

      "It was all smoke and mirrors, but when the smoke blew away, the
      mirrors were still there."

      – from the same session, on his skills as a journalist



      Back in April, I wailed long and loudly upon discovering that Pterry
      had been booked for one of his Australian "Imagination, Not
      Intelligence, Made Us Human" lecture/Q&A gigs just down the road
      from us (at the Wheeler Centre, Storey Hall), and I'd somehow missed
      hearing about it until all the tickets were long gone. However,
      since his Sydney Opera House gig was made available on the internet
      (as featured in the May issue of WOSSNAME), I consoled myself with
      at least being able to watch that one. But now, the Wheeler Centre
      has made the Melbourne video available, and I have to say that for
      all the excellence of the Sydney appearance, the Melbourne one
      knocks enough spots off it to change an entire leopard.

      The compere-interviewer is one Michael Williams, a Melbourne-based
      writer/editor/broadcaster who currently is head of programming at
      Melbourne's Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, and he does a
      superb job of it. The atmosphere feels far more intimate and
      relaxed, and less formal and performance-y, than of the Sydney
      video, and The Author is on absolutely cracking form as he fields
      questions from Williams and members of the audience, shares
      reminiscences and childhood anecdotes, and gets passionate about,
      well, many things.

      I've been housebound with illness lately (more than usual, that is),
      and was finding it hard to feel cheerful or positive about anything
      much, but watching the Wheeler Centre video was a great tonic. So
      here you go – click on the link below and enjoy!


      And now, back to our regular programme...

      – Annie Mac


      03) SNUFF NEWS


      Oh, Sam! Ohhhh, Sam! Oh oh oh Sam and Sam! Oh oh oh Sybil! Oooh,
      Willikins! Ohh, Havelock! Oh, Ronnie! Oh, Fred! Oh oh oh Sammies, oh
      village green, oh chickens oh posh nobs oh egalitarians oh
      sociopaths oh snuff oh me oh my!

      I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I Vimesed. I'm fairly sure you will,

      Just saying...

      (Proper review follows when it's closer to release time.)


      On Pterry's Facebook page this month, Lynsey writes:

      "Wednesday 13th July, only three months from publication of SNUFF we
      can exclusively reveal that the first five characters to grace its
      pages are:

      1. Lord Vetinari
      2. Drumknott
      3. Commander Sir Samuel Vimes
      4. Sergeant Cheery Littlebottom
      5. Captain Carrot"


      Remember, Snuff will be out on 13th October!

      Signed copies available for pre-order from August 2011 from PJSM




      According to Acorn Media, both the DVD and the Blu-Ray of Going
      Postal are now available in the USA! Each is priced at US$39.99.

      DVD extras include:

      Terry Pratchett video introduction
      Director Jon Jones audio commentary
      Bonus disc with cast interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes,
      blooper reel, and image gallery

      The site also offers Going Postal in download form. The complete
      miniseries is priced at US$31.99, or it can be purchased in the form
      of two episodes, priced at US$17.99 each.

      For more information, and to order, go to:




      Exciting enough news to repeat: this was in last month's late
      breaking news; now with extra added updates...

      5.1 GUARDS! GUARDS!

      David Brashaw of Backspindle Games said:

      "We are delighted that twenty years after Leonard [Boyd] pulled
      together his original version of the game, it has now been developed
      and will shortly be available for Discworld fans to enjoy. It's
      ironic that its being made in China... (20 year anniversary and all
      that). A great outline of the game can be found at:


      "At the time of writing the game is off to print... Officially we
      are hoping for a US release on 4 August at Gen-Con, www.gencon.com
      and a more likely release in the UK around 15 August. Once dates
      are confirmed, games and a collectible Bookmark will be available on
      pre-order at www.guardsguards.com

      More information and the occasional competition can be found on:


      "At this time it's looking like we'll be selling through our website
      to Australia & New Zealand so there'll be a bit of postage to pay,
      sorry. However you do get the unique character Bookmarks buying it
      this way. We're not doing them for Amazon or Play.com."

      For further enquiries:

      David Brashaw & Leonard Boyd
      Backspindle Games Ltd
      Tel: 07760 337578

      Two pages of iconographs at Boardgame Geek, showing some of G!G!'s
      pre-release activities:


      Extracts from a long, detailed review of the game, by gaming
      podcasters/bloggers Little Metal Dog:

      "Guards! Guards!, at first appearance, is a reasonably
      straightforward game to play. You move around the board
      collecting/pressganging various volunteers (taken from the books)
      all of whom have various attributes. These can either be charmed
      into joining your ragtag band – screw that up and you can always
      resort to good old bribery to get them onto your team. Once you've
      moved to a space on the board that shows one of the spells you need
      to collect, you declare that you're about to head on a Spell Run –
      in other words, you're going to try and get the spell home. The
      board is split into four quadrants and you declare which ones you'll
      be passing through in order to get back to your start space...

      "The game captures the chaos of the Discworld well – you'd hope
      so, of course, as anything that comes out bearing Terry Pratchett's
      name needs to be cleared as worthy by the man himself. The artwork
      throughout the whole game is provided by regular Pratchett
      contributor Steven Player, and his gloriously grotesque style really
      gives the game a distinctive flourish. Each volunteer card also has
      a quote lifted directly from one of the books – as mentioned
      above, this is definitely a labour of love. It's a game where you
      need to be watching what everyone else is doing and taking your
      chances at the optimal time – or just figure that you'll have as
      much of a laugh by kicking opponents when they're down. Where many
      licensed games fall down on the actual content, the guys from
      Backspindle have created an entertaining (if challenging) title that
      well deserves a look. Fans of the series will appreciate the detail
      that has gone into its creation, while those not into the Discworld
      will find a solid game that could well spark a new interest..."


      5.2 ANKH-MORPORK

      This exciting new Discworld board game will be out in September,
      with a launch party at leading UK games specialist Eclectic Games.
      Here be the press release, verbatim:

      Ankh Morpork needs you! Lord Vetinarii is dead, or missing, or
      possibly on holiday. Regardless, there's a chance for the power-
      hungry to take control of the city, or complete the plans his
      Lordship has been so inconsiderately standing in the way of. Players
      take on a hidden role with differing ways to win, and play cards to
      place minions, build buildings, control areas, assasinate
      inconveniences (other players' minions), gain (or lose!) money and
      do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals.

      On Saturday 3rd September, eclectic games in Reading will be hosting
      a Launch Party for Martin Wallace's latest boardgame, Ankh Morpork.
      Dripping with Discworld flavour, boasting gorgeous artwork and fun,
      compelling gameplay, Ankh Morpork more than lives up to the high
      standards associated with both Discworld and Treefrog Games. Martin
      Wallace will be here all day to demonstrate the game, explain the
      finer points of what the differences between the Thieves Guild,
      Fools Guild and Seamstress Guild cards mean from a design point of
      view, and will probably deface your copy of the game with his
      signature if you ask him politely. There will be cake, a small prize
      for the best Discworld fancy dress, and of course, the game will be
      available to purchase.

      Eclectic Games is open from 10am to 6pm, and is located at 36,
      Market Place, Reading, RG1 2DE. Telephone 0118 959 8250. Our website
      is www.eclecticgames.co.uk and we can be reached by email via



      For more information about how to play, the collector's edition, and
      so forth, go to:





      "Award-winning author and Alzheimer's Society supporter, Sir Terry
      Pratchett, has been named Health Champion of the Year by the UK's
      leading health experts and journalists. The award, presented at the
      Medical Journalists' Association (MJA) Summer Awards, acknowledges
      Sir Terry's tireless campaigning and awareness-raising of dementia-
      related issues. Sir Terry, who has a rare form of dementia called
      Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), said of his award: 'I am, of
      course, very pleased to have won this award but must point out that
      all I had to do, some years ago, was find out that I had this
      wretched disease. It took no courage to freely talk about it in
      public, indeed, it would have taken more courage to do nothing.'

      "In addition to Sir Terry's award, Alzheimer's Society's national
      media team beat off strong competition to be presented with the
      'Health Charity of the Year' award..."



      Oxford University neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield, on a recent
      visit to Australia, praised Sir Pterry's efforts on behalf of
      Alzheimer's awareness and research and said the world needs more
      like him:

      "She said Sir Terence Pratchett, a best-selling British novelist who
      has chronicled his experience with Alzheimer's disease, deserved
      accolades for his efforts. 'I think we need more people like him who
      have suffered and are willing to talk about it,' Baroness Greenfield
      said... 'Without appropriate funding for dementia research, too many
      parents and grandparents will be lost to a condition for which more
      effective answers can be found. We can beat dementia. Governments
      are just not trying hard enough'..."



      As reported in This is Somerset:

      "Care Services Minister Paul Burstow yesterday announced a multi-
      million pound boost in funding for the fight against dementia after
      a high profile campaign led by West author, Sir Terry Pratchett. The
      cash will be used for research into the condition that will affect
      more than a million Britons within 10 years, including more than
      100,000 in the South West. Mr Burstow launched a 'route map for
      dementia research' which pledges up to £20 million over five years
      for four new biomedical research units. It also commits the Medical
      Research Council to increase funding for neurodegeneration research
      by 10 per cent to £150 million by 2015..."




      ...otherwise known as the semi-legendary Pat Harkin, gentleman,
      scholar and aficionado of all things Pterry (and very nice man, as
      your Editor can confirm) – and also one of the subjects of a
      Guardian article on, well, superfans:

      "One could inventory the shelves and surfaces and cabinets that fill
      his house in Leeds and never quite be certain there was method in
      them. Examples: a souvenir potato shrivelled with desiccating gel; a
      fibreglass facsimile of a medieval trunk; a box of fake teeth; a
      real and rather sharp scythe (with a blunt replacement "party
      blade", part of a Death costume, which had to be imported from
      America); a murky jar reputedly containing an onion grown and
      pickled by Sir Terry Pratchett; a photograph of Sir Terry,
      shirtless, signing books; a shell casing fired by Sir Terry; a
      knighthood certificate bestowed by Sir Terry; a convention lanyard
      worn by Sir Terry... Ah yes. A theme is beginning to emerge... What
      it grew into was a life inside one of the world's most active fan
      communities. Now Harkin visits multiple conventions, in many
      countries, several times a year, often acting as their compere and





      8.1a Pterry's pre-NADWcon phone interview with Madison, Wisconsin
      journalist Jeanne Kolker, in which we learn that Madison is
      important for geological reasons and that it was also the scene of
      one of Pterry's first book signings, attended by a tiny handful of

      "It took a long time coming because, way back when I started, my
      American publishers were not particularly good and didn't really
      know how to sell me. The upturn began when my agent, the late Ralph
      Vicinanza – he was Stephen King's agent – worked out how many UK
      copies of my hardcovers were being sold as imports in the United
      States. And then two publishers merged and out of the merger I got a
      new publisher who knew my name – always a good thing – and a new
      publicist who had read my book – always a good thing – and that's
      when the thermometer started to rise. And pretty soon I was doing
      signing tours, and in fact one of the first ones I did was in
      Madison... I think I had about 26 people..."


      8.1b NADWcon videos, iconographs, and blogs

      Lots and lots of NADWcon videos on YouTube! The extensive forestcats

      In which Pterry and Rob burst into song:

      The Luggage:

      Librarian quilt auction:

      Pterry and Neil Gaiman:

      The NADWcon blog on LiveJournal:

      NADWcon on Twitter:

      A very happy-looking author at the end of the con:

      The huge floral clock from the gala banquet:

      Some photos of Pterry and Neil enjoying themselves during their

      Lovely detail from the Librarian Quilt:

      A summing-up of NADWcon 2, by chair Emily Whitten:

      "It's been a privilege to work with Terry, our other amazing guests,
      and all of the wonderful and talented people who have been a part of
      making each of the NADWCon events happen, and to witness such
      amazing contributions, dedication, and hard work from the Honored
      Guests, convention committees, staff, program participants, and
      volunteers. I am honored by the confidence that was placed in me and
      the other fans by Sir Terry and all who attended the conventions,
      throughout the process of putting these events on in proper
      Discworld style; and touched by the support and goodwill that has
      been extended towards myself and the rest of the convention
      organizers over the years. I am also very honored to have received
      such a high public accolade as that of being made a Dame of
      Discworld, and will try to do the title proud (and only show off my
      bloomers on very special occasions!)..."


      ...who also gets her (ever-articulate and enthusiastic, and indeed
      why not!) say in "Mrs Palm's" post-mortem:


      from blogger Judith or Not:

      from blogger madgeniusclub:

      For trainee librarian Jen Moore, NADWcon was her first-ever fan
      convention, and she loved it:

      8.2 WADFEST 2011

      Barely a month now until the the tenth anniversary Wadfest!

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

      Some details of the goings-on-to-be, provided by Rob Lupine via the
      Esteemed Competition:

      The Murder Mystery is looking for suspects. Details and how to
      apply can be found here:

      Saturday Night Talent Show, details here:

      Followed by the Light Parade:

      And the All Day Walk Around Masquerade as usual:





      The Nash Theatre, who are commendably big on orangutans, are
      currently presenting their production of Wyrd Sisters:

      "Terry Pratchett is a longtime supporter of The Orangutan
      Foundation, which works to protect the forest habitat of these
      intelligent creatures – after all, as Pratchett lovers will know,
      the librarian is an orangutan! In fact, all performing rights for
      Terry Pratchett's plays are paid directly to The Orangutan
      Foundation in the UK. Nash Theatre is also supporting The Australian
      Orangutan Project. Paul Kidby, the official illustrator of Terry
      Pratchett's books has given us permission to use his original
      illustration of the Wyrd Sisters & in return we shall be making a
      donation & holding a raffle during the run of the show to raise
      money for the Australian Orangutan Project. So when you come to see
      the play you will have the opportunity to do something for the
      planet as well as enjoying a fantastic (in every sense of the word)

      When: July 28, 29 & 30
      Venue: Nash Theatre, Merthyr Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New
      Farm, Queensland
      Time: 7:30pm
      Tickets: Adult $20, Concession $15, Members/School Students $12
      Bookings: Phone 3379 4775 or email nashtheatre4@...




      Mort, presented by the Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul,
      Minnesota, continues its run through the first week of August.

      When: Friday and Saturday nights, 29th/30th July, 5th/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:


      WOSSNAME recently reported on the world premiere of the musical
      version of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Now, with
      the advent of The Complete Performance Pack of The Amazing Maurice
      and his Educated Rodents, everyone can do the musical Maurice!

      "Sir Terry Pratchett's ingeniously upended tale of the Pied Piper,
      has a roving band of highly intelligent rats as its heroic
      protagonists. Matthew Holmes' script and songs capture the plot in a
      captivating musical for children to perform and everyone to
      enjoy.Perfect for upper primary school performances. The complete
      performance pack with its photocopiable script and piano vocal score
      includes everything you need for rehearsing and presenting the final
      show, plus there's full audio support on CD so you don't need to
      read a note of music..."

      The Complete Performance Pack of TAMAHER will be available from mid
      August. For more information, go to:


      Originally posted on the web at:


      A review of Purple Theatre's production of The Truth by American
      visitor jschnei:

      "Now, this was community theater so elaborate scenery and costumes
      couldn't really be expected but the cast did such a great job with
      their parts that it almost didnt matter. The dark light effect was
      really quite good though I don't know if you hadn't read the
      book if you would understand what was going on. There were some
      stumbling and awkward or rushed transitions but that is to be
      expected with the first performance. Sometimes they went so quickly
      through the story it was like watching the high school cliffs notes
      performance of your favorite book. Part of me understand that
      because it is a long book and was a very long play but I missed many
      key parts I love from the book.

      "On a side note, the theater put together an amazing program
      (available for two pounds but totally worth it) that was made to
      look like a newspaper complete with want ads and character profiles.
      It was full of great Terry Pratchett jokes that made me smile..."



      A few months ago (March issue), WOSSNAME published an item about the
      upcoming world stage premiere of Snuff:

      "Stephen Briggs and Studio Theatre Club are planning to stage the
      first official performance of Briggs' adaptation of Snuff on 15 to
      19 November at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon (UK). Tickets will go
      on sale on 10 September. Tickets will go *very* quickly, so mark the
      September date in your calendars!"

      At the time, this information appeared to be current and correct.
      However, things appear to have changed:

      "DISCWORLD PLANS? It's still a little way off but we're planning to
      stage Terry Pratchett's 'SNUFF' in 2012."


      A case of Watch This Space, perhaps...



      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
      28th July. Details, discussions and organisation of extra events
      (such as play outings) are held on their email mailing list, so do
      sign up at



      The next meeting of the Broken Drummers will be on Monday 8th August
      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 Monday 1st August. 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 1st August at The
      Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco.

      EDITOR'S NOTE: the above meeting dates for August are correct to the
      best of my knowledge, but as the UK Drummers, who traditionally meet
      on the first Monday of each month, are gathering on the second
      Monday this month, it's worth contacting the relevant organisers for
      Sydney and Perth Drummers to check the August date.



      In "L(J) Space", the leading Discworld community on LiveJournal,
      charliesmum wrote:
      "As depressing as this is to contemplate, I get the distinct
      impression that with each new book Pterry is writing, he's wrapping
      up loose ends and saying goodbye. I know in Unseen Academicals he
      threw a couple nods to older books, and in I Shall Wear Midnight we
      got the reappearance of Esk, a one-off character from one of his
      earlier works, and there are other examples. My question is this.
      Which minor or one-off character or characters would you like to see
      make an appearance before Discworld ends forever (hopefully several
      years from now) I'd love to see Victor and Ginger again. What about

      They're not minor characters, but Pteppic and Ptraci (especially
      because of the whole Pterry thing).

      Seconding Pteppic. I'd also like to see what Maurice has been up to.
      My own private theory is he's managed to get a group of young girls
      to dress up in silly costumes to fight crime and give daft speeches.
      And he'll live the cushy life while giving them some fake advice,
      and stay back home at nights. By 'eck there could be a fanfic in

      Not minor, but I really hope he writes the next instalment with

      Agnes. (I would love for her to interact with Tiffany!) And also,
      though this isn't what you asked, I'd like to see a really troll-
      centric book. There have been quite a lot of dwarfy ones, but the
      closest look we got at troll society was Thud! and that made me want
      to know a lot more. Something about the other races we barely see –
      gnolls, kvetch, various undead – would also make me a very happy
      girl :D

      I'd love to see a troll book as well. I love Detritus.

      Detritus is awesome. He's been in the series since what, book one?
      He's grown so much. *adds Ruby to the Characters I Want To See Again

      Brick! I want to see how he is now that Detritus and Ruby are his
      foster (adoptive?) parents.

      Esk was the one I'd really wished to see again, and she has appeared
      already. To be honest, I think I'd like to see what kind of girl
      little Esme will become.

      I want the Carrot as King issue resolved (although not really).

      I want to read about Carrots puppies. Will they play with Sam Jr ?

      I'd like to see more of William de Worde and his crew. I was happy
      for his brief appearance in "Unseen Academicals", it would be nice
      to see another book where he played a bigger part.

      tonker and lofty

      And Maladict, because Maladict has style.

      i would love to see mal, but i kind of feel like it's unlikely that
      terry will return to Borogravia. whereas tonker and lofty are
      outside Borogravia post-book. i think. so there's some hope!

      I'd kinda like to know what Susan's been up to, considering her last
      boyfriend just kinda... disappeared. Also I love the idea of Moist
      as the next Patrician, but I don't think I want to see it happen.
      ...I know it's not likely, but I'd like for Death to have company or
      otherwise be happy. It breaks my heart whenever I think about how
      lonely he is.

      I guess, the one character that I really want to get to know better
      is Young Sam but I get the feeling my wish will come true with

      [It certainly will! – Ed.]

      I've always wanted to know what happened in Klatch after Jingo. It'd
      be cool to see Prince Khufurah and 71-Hour Ahmed again.

      There seems to have been a pattern in the last few books – Tiffany,
      Lipwig, Watch, Tiffany, Lipwig, wizards, Tiffany, Watch (in
      October). That leaves the Witches and Death – neither arc has had a
      new book in over a decade. Personally, I'd like to see what Death
      has been up to. I honestly never liked the stand-alone much

      Brutha. I know he wasn't a minor character, but Small Gods is my
      favorite one-shot, and I find him... restful.



      In The Guardian's children's books section ("by kids, for kids"),
      young reviewer Charlie writes:

      "Within the Discworld series there are different stories but my
      favourite is the Tiffany Aching series with the fourth book I Shall
      Wear Midnight as the latest installation. The previous instalment's
      being The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and The Wintersmith. These
      are primarily aimed at children, however I am 17 and I find them
      simply hilarious... This is a fabulously witty book which had me
      laughing out loud on multiple occasions (all of course due to the
      slightly crazy faeries) and I recommend it to children over the age
      of 10 years as it touches on the death of a baby. Never-the-less it
      is a fast paced, magical adventure and I read them over and over





      by Daniel Orner

      The Science of Discworld is an interesting experiment. Here we have
      Terry Pratchett, noted fantasy author extraordinaire, and Jack
      Stewart and Ian Cohen, two highly educated scientists, teaming up
      for a book. The book consists of alternating chapters: one chapter
      tells a story, the next talks about the science hinted in it. The
      science chapters are about twice or three times as long as the
      story ones, though, so what you have is a book on science
      illustrated with wizards.

      The story isn't much of one – it's more of an extended skit
      revolving around the wizards of Unseen University and a hastily
      promoted Rincewind. An accident with a thaumic reactor requires a
      high-powered project to drain excess magic power. Ponder Stibbons
      thinks this is the perfect time to look into the Roundworld Project
      - a pocket universe in which, oddly enough, there is no magic, no
      gods, and no discworlds. Instead, there seems to be a lot of space,
      ice, big balls of fire, big balls of rock, and no turtles
      *anywhere*. In short, Ponder has created our own universe.

      The story is more compact than usual but no less hysterical – Terry
      has molded the wizards into an extended Monty Python sketch and he
      knows exactly what to do with them. He introduces the reader to
      notions expounded on by the science chapters by having the wizards
      interact with the Roundworld Project – and their intriguingly
      bumbling reactions to it are designed to keep your interest while
      the scientists have their go.

      The science itself is remarkably specific. Although it touches on
      biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy, the main theme is
      *history* – the history of the universe, the solar system, the
      planet and the beings on it. There are a few digressions – such as
      the nature of coincidences, or the inspired term "lies-to-children"
      to demonstrate that a simpler, less accurate understanding is often
      required before a more realistic one can be reached – but this
      topic is the basis for the book.

      Funnily enough, though, scientific history is one of the *least*
      well understood areas of science, perhaps second only to
      neuroscience in the number of ways it keeps contradicting itself.
      The fact that a second edition of the book was released a scant few
      years later indicates just how fast people are changing their minds
      about what happened long ago and what happens far away. It's like
      reconstructing a novel given only the bones of two of the main

      Cohen and Stewart also have no hesitation telling us just how
      depressing our universe is. Scientific history is measured in
      millions or billions of years; the few tens of thousands which
      humans have been around for is a drop in the bucket, unnoticeable
      and easily swept away. There is no room for art or spirituality in
      this yawning abyss – the authors acknowledge their existence but
      make no bones about their unimportance when compared to science.

      The level of discourse is a bit rocky – sometimes the authors go a
      bit too fast with introducing new concepts or don't adequately
      explain them in a way a layman might understand. Other times the
      prose can get droning or tedious, as when they start discussing
      specific time periods and exactly what happened where. As
      scientists and not authors, they don't make any real effort to
      captivate the audience; they simply state what is. It's not quite
      as bad as reading a textbook, but it's miles away from a good yarn.

      The Science of Discworld can be a hard book to read fully. You may
      find yourself skimming bits of the science chapters, and no wonder.
      The Pratchettian ones are delightful if lightweight, and the one
      thing the other chapters – at times ponderous and unwieldy – will
      certainly do is give you a much, much larger perspective on the
      world around us.

      Note: This book is out of print in North America; trying to find it
      is an effort in futility. Do what I did, and order it from Amazon
      UK – even with shipping it's a reasonable price, especially if you
      buy all three Science of Discworld books at once, as I did.


      by Daniel Orner

      The Wee Free Men is marketed towards young adults, but really
      there's little to differentiate it from the normal Discworld canon
      except that the protagonist, Tiffany Aching, is only nine years
      old. Living down on the Chalk, on a farm that specializes in sheep
      (as most do on the Chalk), Tiffany is very unlike most of her peers
      and equally unlike the sort of plucky young leads that tend to
      populate young adults' books.

      Tiffany's world has no schools, little education, and lots of hard
      work. Her age is never even considered as an excuse to run around
      and play – she makes cheese, and does it well. Tiffany is,
      amazingly, bookish and intelligent (one of the only books their
      family owns is a dictionary, and she read it cover to cover – no
      one told her she shouldn't). She's also courageous to a fault, and
      has a tendency to observe rather than take part. In short, she's
      everything that a budding young witch should be.

      Tiffany's encounter with Miss Tick, a shrewd but somewhat pathetic
      older witch, touches off her journey of discovery. Starting with
      her encounter with Jenny Green-Teeth, a water monster, she soon
      finds herself overrun with Nac mac Feegles, tiny blue
      fairies^Hpictsies who wear kilts, enjoy drinking, fighting, and
      stealing, and are nigh-unkillable. Although uncomfortable with
      their cheerful audacity, she soon must enlist their help in
      rescuing her rather sticky baby brother from the clutches of the
      sinister Queen of the Elves.

      While we first saw the Feegles in Carpe Jugulum, they're a little
      more understandable and a little more personable this time round.
      And by far, they're one of the funniest things Terry's ever
      written. I don't know what it is about a Scottish accent, even a
      written one, that makes everything in it sound hilarious. Probably
      the same thing about an Indian and Yiddish accent, I suppose, but
      the cross between farce, slapstick and juxtaposition of the crass
      and the high-brow make them a goldmine of comedy.

      Interestingly enough, Tiffany herself does not make a giant leap of
      personality in the course of the book (or, indeed, all of her
      books). I've always found it faintly difficult to believe the sheer
      distance between teenage protagonists at the beginning of their
      books (brash, foolish, stupid) and at the end (world-weary,
      intelligent, kind). Tiffany has a little ways to go, but not much;
      and she has no one to teach her but herself. As a character says
      near the end of the book, with witchery, first you take the exam,
      then you find out how you passed it.

      Tiffany is resolutely and constantly down to earth. She's arguably
      further along than even Magrat in Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad,
      whose rather damp, hopeful views of witchcraft tended towards mystic
      sigils, complex spells and sabbats. Tiffany must use her eyes and
      ears, but more importantly her instinctive knowledge of the the way
      things are and how they must be.

      What really makes this book stand out, though, is not necessarily
      the journey or the characters, but the history and geography. Terry
      paints the Chalk with a steady hand, showing us a hard-working land
      with little time for magic and even less time for those who take
      advantage of their fellows. Tiffany's narrative is often
      interrupted by memories of Granny Aching, an almost mythical figure
      to many, but simply her grandmother to her. These vignettes give a
      broader view of the place and the people in it, and the solid
      grounding that led to the creation of such a unique protagonist.

      The Wee Free Men is vintage Pratchett – aged to perfection and
      distilled to a concoction that warms the soul. By turns funny,
      contemplative, harrowing, and thought-provoking, it's a narrative
      that sucks you in and puts you in a larger context, with great
      humanity. It's an excellent read no matter how old you think you

      Both reviews were originally posted at alt.books.pratchett



      It seems that Morris dancing is undergoing an enormous resurgence,
      thanks in no small part to the Discworld novels and their millions
      of fans. Traditional troupes, less traditional troupes (the videos
      of black-clad dancers doing the Border Morris would bring an
      appreciative tear to Nanny Ogg's eye), testosterone-raddled teenage
      male Morris troupes, troupes of Morris *women*, and at least one
      troupe of Morris women, the Belles of London, who are known to dance
      in corsetry...everything's coming up Morris, it seems!

      An article about the Belles of London:

      ...and video:

      Border Morris by the Witchmen and the Wicket Brood:


      A nicely brooding one, danced to drums instead of squeezeboxes:

      ...and one by a troupe called Wayzgoose!

      ...and Hunters Moon:

      ...oh, and cardboard Stormtroopers with familiar hankies:

      And where would be be, Morris-wise, without our FAQ from
      Roundworld's own "Lancre Morris Men"?

      "Morris Dancing as we know it today can safely be said to be as
      English as tea and crumpets. The widely held belief is that the
      dance originated from North Africa and was introduced to Europe via
      Spain during the 15-16th centuries by the Moors. Many of these
      people converted to Christianity during this period and were called
      'Mourrisco' by their fellow countrymen. The term for their lively
      dance style was taken as far north as Paris where the style was
      described as 'mourris (Moorish) dance'. It does not take much
      imagination to see how the dance was brought home to the then major
      port of Bristol by sailors and gained popularity in the surrounding
      area of the Cotswolds where it is still mainly concentrated. The
      name being anglicised as Morris dance. Probably thanks to their
      African origin, the dances were carried out by the men of the tribe
      and this seems to have survived through the ages..."

      "Morris dances can be performed with sticks, handkerchiefs or bare
      hands and each is specific to a tune and dance. What you may have
      been told is that there are lots of traditional styles each
      originating from separate areas or villages. These variations or
      traditions mean any dancer who is in a large gathering will know
      exactly what he is going to do when the squire announces...'Constant
      Billy in the Bledington tradition'. The dance will be performed,
      using long sticks, to the tune and steps of that region. This means
      in theory, no-one should be doing any extra steps or movements or be
      carrying their handkerchiefs. There are around 20 major traditions
      practiced today and around 200 popular dances so you can see the
      possibility of 4000 or so entirely different..."


      Also, a little musical bonus, aka Roundworld's own version of All
      the Little Angels:




      NADWCON plushies Death of Rats and Librarian playing the new
      Discworld board game "Guards! Guards!":


      Banananana art:




      15.1 ANTHILL INSIDE!

      "Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed a
      framework for decentralized coordination based on the eusocial
      behaviors seen in ant colonies... The primary purpose of the Ant-
      Based Cyber Defense is to reduce the level of required human
      involvement in problem detection and resolution while retaining the
      human ability to intervene as desired. The second purpose is to
      enable separate enclaves to cooperate in their cyber defense while
      maintaining their privacy and proprietary data. A hierarchy is
      needed to give the humans at the top a single point of access to
      enclave-wide security information, but the monitoring and resolution
      are decentralized, bringing the sensor to the data rather than vice-
      versa... Currently, development is underway in to use the digital
      ant approach as a security mechanism.."


      15.2 SOMETHING EERIE...

      "Monday's keynote was given by MIT professor Robert Langer, a
      brilliant biotechnologist and entertaining speaker, who provided an
      inspiring review of his work developing drug delivery systems and
      other treatment technologies that combine biology, chemistry, and
      electronics. His current work involves cartilage tissue engineering,
      including the remarkable accomplishment of growing an ear-shaped
      structure on a rabbit, and also the re-growth of spinal tissues in
      animals. He encouraged the audience to persevere, noting that in his
      early days of work, 'no one believed in what I was doing,' and
      predicted that ALD will become a mainstream technology with wide


      Thanks go to several readers including mailinutile for these items!
      – Ed.


      Duncan of BU wrote to say:

      "Sounds like the USPS could use a reformer... Or at least hire Moist
      to deliver a letter:

      "'A love letter written to a Pennsylvania college student and
      proclaiming "love forever" was finally delivered – 53 years late.
      But the tender note written in 1958 still waits forlornly in the
      mailroom at California University of Pennsylvania as officials
      search for its intended recipient, Clark Moore, now about 70 years
      old and living near Indianapolis, according to university
      spokeswoman Christine Kindl. The letter, sent from Pittsburgh and
      postmarked February 20, 1958, arrived in the mailroom last week,
      Kindl said. 'No one here has any idea why it was delayed,' she said.
      The letter had been addressed to Mr. Clark C. Moore, then a junior
      at the university, which was known at the time as California State
      Teachers College, she said. It included a return address, but little
      other information about the sender, who signed the letter, 'Love
      Forever, Vonnie'."




      Blogger Transremaxculver has posted a fine essay on the Discworld
      series and the meaning of Discworld:

      "It seems to me that the Discworld takes one step to the side of the
      world as we know it. In this sense the Discworld is our world, but
      liberated from the restrictions of having to fiddle about getting
      every little geographical and historical detail absolutely right. As
      well as this it seems that because, it is one step to the side, it
      is able to offer up things that most people really know about
      Roundworld anyway, as 'realities' of the Discworld, without the
      reader feeling the need to argue any political points. Because of
      this Sir Terry is able to litter the landscape of the Disc not just
      with fantastical creations, and fascinating characters, but also
      with truisms..."


      Also, here be another essay by the same blogger – "Sir Terry
      Pratchett. What he means to me.":

      "I don't think there is a single published story of his that I have
      not read at least once, though naturally some stick in my mind more
      than others. I was introduced to the Discworld by a friend, who's
      main advice was to read every footnote. At the time I didn't really
      understand what she meant, but now I do. There sometimes seems as if
      there is enough inspiration in just one of Sir Terry's footnotes to
      write an entire new novel..."


      ...and a third, a pleasant ramble about Discworld witches and
      headology that leads into musings about the Milgram Experiment:

      "I tried in an earlier article to describe what I think the
      Discworld is, though I wasn't particularly successful: but given
      that Sir Terry Pratchett: the author of books concerning said
      circular flat planet rotating atop the backs of four great elephants
      standing on the carapace of a 12,000 mile long turtle, says he
      doesn't know what it is any more, I am I suppose in good company.
      I wondered if a better way to go would be to think about the
      characters on the Discworld, and what better place to start than my
      favourite Discworld character Granny Weatherwax..."


      Blogger Incurable Bluestocking reviews Witches Abroad:

      "Fairy tales emphasize, as few things do, the power that a story
      has. And when it comes to that point, no-one, but no-one, hits the
      nail quite so firmly on the head as Terry Pratchett. I'm so
      grateful to him for giving me the phrase 'theory of narrative
      causality'. It explains so much of what I believe about stories
      and about life (and about how little difference there is between the
      two, sometimes — and how much)... I love this book. Next to Lords
      and Ladies, it's my favourite of the Discworld Witches series,
      because it mixes together so many things that are just wonderful
      treats for me — fairy tales, folklore, the power of stories, the
      ambiance of New Orleans, the family dynamics. It's also just so
      much fun. I love when you can tell that an author must have just had
      a blast writing a book, and that gleeful sensation permeates Witches
      Abroad. It's a wonderful book that gets better each time I revisit
      it, because I'm always noticing something new. As with the whole
      of this series, I heartily recommend it — particularly if you'd
      like to have some deep thoughts and ponder some meaningful things
      without having to read a particularly dense book to get there..."


      Blogger Shuggie reviews Carpe Jugulum:

      "Carpe Jugulum is certainly a lot of fun. It has some interesting
      things to say about Faith. I'm not sure there was anything
      radically new in it. As I've said by this stage, book 23, we've
      touched on most of Pratchett's favourite subjects before, so
      there's a lot of familiar ground. But these are characters I enjoy
      spending time with. I liked the vampires, I like Agnes and I still
      like Nanny and Granny – though her black-and-white belief in her
      own rightness pushed me on that..."


      A shortish review of ISWM by blogger The Crimson Scar:

      "Unlike most of Pratchett's novels, which hit the ground running,
      I Shall Wear Midnight starts out rather slowly and gathers steam as
      it progresses. Is it worth the wait? Most definitely. If you read
      the other Tiffany Aching novels, then you'll be glad to take
      another journey down the path to adulthood with Tiffany – the
      nine-year-old girl who read the dictionary for fun (because no one
      told her not to) is slowly but surely coming into her own; if
      you've never read another Discworld book in your life, you'll
      still be delighted by the twists and turns of this coming-of-age
      tale. One thing I've always enjoyed about [Pratchett's] writing is
      his ability to delve straight into the human condition, the human
      psyche, with such grace and ease and humor that readers can fool
      themselves into believing they're only reading a fantasy novel..."


      A loving, detailed and good-humoured review of Soul Music by The
      Labyrinth Librarian:

      "This book can be seen as a companion to the earlier Moving Pictures
      as an examination of and homage to popular culture. By transplanting
      it to the Discworld, Pratchett is able to look at rock music from
      the point of view of people who've never even thought about such a
      thing before, and who can more easily see the magic of it. And of
      course, it's his big chance to make as many music jokes, puns and
      references as humanly possible... It's a sort of love letter to rock
      and roll and all that it has brought us. From teenyboppers to punk
      to the horrible misuses of leather and spandex, it holds a mirror up
      to the way that rock music has influenced our modern culture. But it
      does not mock, oh no. It shows great attention to and reverence for
      this young art form that has done so much to change the world. To
      list all the references made in this book would be nearly
      impossible, but the amount of work and thought that went into making
      it is quite clear. More importantly, though, the book addresses some
      questions that are a little deeper than the simple rock and roll


      A longish, well-intentioned though ultimately rather incompetent
      analysis-cum-review of Sourcery by Sarah of Skells. Worth reading in
      a how-not-to-do-it way, perhaps:


      Musings on the wisdom of Pratchett by thesilverhorde:


      ...and to finish, a short, surprised-thumbs-up review of TAMAHER by
      blogger Jay:




      From PJSM Prints come four rather amazing-looking Paul Kidby prints,
      all well known to Discworld fans. All prints are hand-signed by Sir
      Pterry in silver pen (see below) and mounted; each print is 420mm X
      297mm and is from an exclusive limited edition of 950.

      The prints are: a worldscape of the Disc, with elephants, tiny sun
      and of course Great A'Tuin, as seen from space; a portrait of Death
      resting his chin on his steepled fingerbones; another of Death, with
      kitten; and the iconic Greebo "Something wicked this way comes"

      Price for each print is £30.00

      For more information, and to order, go to:


      About that silver pen: Pterry ptweeted on his Ptwitter account,
      "Just signed mounts with silver pen... it looks like brandy removes
      Sharpie ink from fingers. Well, that's my excuse."

      [It's worth noting that the Great A'Tuin print is apparently already
      sold out, but as the "NOW SOLD OUT" image doesn't feature Pterry's
      signature, it's worth checking anyway – Ed.]


      14) CLOSE

      And now it's back to bed for me. We'll see you soon with your July
      horoscope and any late-breaking news...

      – Annie Mac


      The End. If you have any questions or requests, write:
      Copyright (c) 2011 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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