Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
December 2011 (Volume 14, Issue 12, 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, L.C. Thomas
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
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
02) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
03) A MESSAGE FROM THE MASTER
04) "SNUFF" REVIEWS
05) THE NEXT PRATCHETT PRIZE
06) ISWM FREEBIE
07) REVIEW: HOGFATHER ON TELLY
08) REVIEWS: GOING POSTAL ON TELLY IN FOURECKS
09) BETTER THAN MARY POPPINS
10) PTERRY AND ALZHEIMER'S NEWS
11) DISCWORLD GAMES NEWS
12) REVIEW: JOHNNY AND THE DEAD
13) DISCWORLD CONVENTION NEWS
14) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
15) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
16) DISCWORLD DISCUSSION
17) DISCWORLD ARTS AND CRAFTS NEWS
18) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
19) DISCWORLD AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
20) ACTION REPLAY
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
"Pratchett is still the second most-read author in Britain today,
behind only JK Rowling. His back catalogue however is the number one
best selling of any author in the UK. His books have been translated
into 35 languages with notable success in US, Germany, France,
Spain, Australia and New Zealand among others. It should be noted
that Pratchett becomes ever more popular in the US and is now the
sixth most read non US author in the United States."
Australia's ABC network, in their promotional blurb for Going
Postal, which was televised on 17th December
"He had spent years in search of boredom, but had never achieved it.
Just when he thought he had it in his grasp his life would suddenly
become full of near-terminal interest. The thought that someone
could voluntarily give up the prospect of being bored for fifty
years made him feel quite weak. With fifty years ahead of him, he
thought, he could elevate tedium to the status of an art form. There
would be no end to the things he wouldn't do."
Rincewind yearning for a quiet life, in Sourcery (p. 142, Corgi
1989 paperback edition)
"I think young girls need to have their eyes opened to the different
avenues open to them in games. They can be artists, animators,
writers, designers, producers, programmers... We need to get them
fired up about technology and find the Ada Lovelaces of the future.
I think both the industry and the educational system have a role to
play to achieve this. There are so many great female role-models
within the games industry, but they rarely get the exposure they
Pratchett the Younger agitates for more women in games design,
in an article in The Guardian
02) A LETTER FROM YOUR EDITOR
Well. I thought this month's issue would be a short one, low on
content. As usual, I was exactly wrong...
We seem to have passed another critical-Pratchett-mass milestone:
enjoying Hogfather, both the film version and the original novel, is
becoming a traditional Christmas activity in more and more
Roundworld homes. Who would ever have thought this would come to
pass and isn't it wonderful! (I have to admit that re-watching
the entire extended Lord of the Rings is *our* tradition during the
year's end holidays, but then we revel in the works of Pratchett all
year anyway.) And admit it, having Hogfather on every year at this
time is better than yet another re-run of Zulu or Dam Busters, isn't
Right. We have news, reviews, updates and all the usual in this
final issue of 2011, so sit back under the Hogswatch tree and enjoy!
03) A (BRIEF, MUSICAL) MESSAGE FROM THE MASTER
In which Sir Pterry and friends sing us a seasonal carol:
04) SNUFF: NEW REVIEWS
In The Telegraph, David Langford recommends Snuff:
"Some fantasy series drag on, but Terry Pratchett's Discworld
remains a joy. In Snuff (Doubleday, £18.99), tough cop Sam Vimes
takes an enforced country holiday and inevitably finds crime among
the cowpats. Pokes at aristocratic households and Jane Austen are
seriously funny; Vimes's outrage that a racial underclass is
reckoned too vile to merit fair treatment is, well, funnily serious.
A highly readable, mature comedy, far from the rapid-fire quipping
of early Discworld..."
In the Wall Street Journal Online, Tom Shippey has nothing but
praise for Snuff:
"One of the strengths of Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series, which
has kept his readers hooked through more than 30 volumes, is that he
keeps changing his lead characters... Vimes was the disregarded
chief of a useless police force until Carrot arrived, but the Night
Watch has since pioneered equal opportunities by recruiting dwarfs,
trolls, vampires, zombies and Sergeant Angua the werewolf, not
forgetting Wee Mad Arthur, once thought to be a gnome. Vimes has
grown in stature accordingly and also become something of a
political spokesman... The great thing about such a long sequence is
that characters evolve and their relationships thicken, like an old-
fashioned stockpot. You can keep adding new ingredients and give the
whole lot a stir..."
05) THE NEXT PRATCHETT PRIZE WANTS *YOU*!
The lovely Lynsey Ogg reminds us that the Terry Pratchett Anywhere
But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Award will indeed be taking
its second run in 2012! Same blurb, different year:
"We will be looking for books set at any time, perhaps today,
perhaps in the Rome of today but in a world where 2000 years ago the
crowd shouted for Jesus Christ to be spared, or where in 1962, John
F Kennedy's game of chicken with the Russians went horribly wrong.
It might be one day in the life of an ordinary person. It could be a
love story, an old story, a war story, a story set in a world where
Leonardo da Vinci turned out to be a lot better at Aeronautics. But
it won't be a story about being in an alternate Earth because the
people in an alternate Earth don't know that they are; after all,
"But this might just be the start. The wonderful Peter Dickinson
once wrote a book that could convince you that flying dragons might
have existed on Earth. Perhaps in the seething mass of alternate
worlds humanity didn't survive, or never evolved but other
things did, and they would have seen the world in a different way.
The possibilities are literally endless, but remember, it's all on
Earth. Maybe the continents will be different and the climate
unfamiliar, but the physics will be the same as ours. What goes up
must come down, ants are ant-sized because if they were any bigger
their legs wouldn't carry them. In short, the story must be
theoretically possible on some version of the past, present or
future of a planet Earth."
COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS 2012
1. By entering this competition, you agree to accept and be bound by
these terms and conditions. All entry instructions form part of the
terms and conditions of this competition.
2. This competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over who is a
resident of the UK, other countries of the British Commonwealth, and
the Republic of Ireland, except for employees (and their families)
of Transworld Publishers, a division of The Random House Group
Limited (Publisher) and any other company connected with the
3. The closing date for the competition is 31st December 2012
4. Each entrant must submit the following in order to enter the
(a) a complete and previously unpublished work of fiction of not
less than 80,000 words and not more than 150,000 words aimed at
adult readers and written in the English language (Novel); and (b) a
synopsis of the Novel in the English language of no more than 600
words, (together, Entry).
5. Each Entry must:
(a) be emailed to the Publisher at pratchettprize@transworld-
publishers.co.uk; (b) include the entrant's full name and contact
details (including a home address and a telephone number); and (c)
be submitted as a Word document with double spacing in font size 12
point 'Times New Roman'.
6. Each entrant warrants to the Publisher that:
(a) they have not previously had a full length novel written or co
authored by them (under any name) published under a valid ISBN; and
(b) their Novel is original to them, does not infringe copyright or
any other intellectual property right and does not defame or invade
the privacy rights of any third party, or infringe any other legal
rights, regulations or laws.
7. Each entrant can submit one Entry only, and may not re-submit
work that was entered for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award in
8. The winning entrant will be offered an advance payment against
royalties of £20,000 on entering into a publishing contract with
the Publisher (Prize) and will be required to agree to license
exclusive world publishing rights in all print, electronic, audio
and any other media formats in the Novel to the Publisher on
acceptance of the Prize. At the Publisher's discretion, shortlisted
entrants may also be offered publishing deals with the Publisher.
Subject to any such contractual agreement, entrants will retain
their legal rights to their Entries.
9. Entries that do not comply with these terms and conditions (by
example Entries received after the Closing Date) will not be
accepted by the Publisher. The Publisher is not responsible for
delayed or lost Entries. Entrants are advised to retain a copy of
10. A shortlist of six entrants will be contacted by the Publisher
by 31st March 2013. The publisher will select the winner from the
shortlisted entrants and the winner will be announced by 31st May
11. Events may occur that render the awarding of the Prize
impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Publisher and
the Publisher may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend
or withdraw the Prize with or without notice.
12. Winning and shortlisted entrants agree to the Publisher's use
and publication of their name, country of residence and photograph
in relation to the Publisher's publicity activities.
13. The Publisher will use the personal details of entrants only for
the purpose of this competition. Personal details will not be kept
on file by the Publisher and will not be passed on to any third
14. The shortlisted entrants and winner's names will be available on
www.terrypratchett.co.uk from 31st March 2013 and 31st May 2013 (as
15. The Publisher's decision is final and no correspondence will be
entered into in relation to this competition. No cash alternative
will be offered.
16. These terms and conditions are subject to English law and the
exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
17. The contact details of the promoter of this competition are:
Transworld Publishers, 61-3 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA,
To read the original page on the web, go to:
06) ISWM FREEBIE
"An extract from I Shall Wear Midnight is featured in the FREE
OtherRealms ebook sampler. Go to the OtherRealms Facebook page for
details and the chance to win a PS3":
07) REVIEW: HOGFATHER ON TELLY
By Rocco Sansone at ReviewFix:
"Unlike some other holiday movies, this one delivers a holiday
message that we all can get behind. It's not corny and unoriginal.
Not to mention the comedy is very well done too. That is, if you can
handle the dry, stuffy British humor that permeates the movie
throughout. The humor itself is not forced and, if you can handle
it, will make you burst out in laughter. It should be said the
actors are the best part. Marc Warren is excellent as Teatime. He is
scary, cunning, crazy, weird and an all around great villain. You
can tell he's having fun in this role. Michelle Dockery pulls off
Susan's sarcastic personality perfectly. The only problem with her
is that they got the hair wrong.
"The best performance by far is by Ian Richardson. His voiceover for
Death is funny, scary, mysterious, ominous and just all around
great. There's no better actor for the job. There are a few
downsides for this movie though. One of them is that some people may
find it a tad too long. At 189 minutes, it should be taken in two
parts just like how it originally ran on the BBC..."
08) REVIEWS: GOING POSTAL ON TELLY IN FOURECKS
By Lissa Christopher in WA Today:
"This two-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's 'comic sci-fi' novel
is a good old-fashioned ripping yarn. I can't fault it and was held
in thrall for its entirety. It looks beautiful, the performances are
strong and the characters sublime from Stanley Howler, who's
obsessed with pins, to the unctuous, titanium-white Mr Gryle, a
banshee assassin played by Adrian Schiller..."
By Tim Elliott in the Brisbane Times:
"I have a friend who works in a post office; he says he can't decide
what is most disturbing his fellow staff members or the
ceaseless procession of urban undead otherwise known as the general
public. Moist von Lipwig might know how he feels. A lifelong
travelling con artist, von Lipwig (Richard Coyle) is finally caught
and convicted in the fantastical land of Ankh-Morpork. Faced with
death by hanging, he is spared on the condition he take over running
the decrepit local post office. Adapted from the novel by Sir Terry
Pratchett, this hyperkinetic comical fantasy brims with Gothic
indulgences: the bloodthirsty tyrant, Reacher Gilt (David Suchet),
the hilariously anal junior employees and Mr Pump, the resident
golem, who resembles nothing so much as a bald, slime-covered
09) BETTER THAN MARY POPPINS
In The Guardian, John Mullan includes Susan Sto Helit in his list of
top ten fictional governesses:
"Hogfather by Terry Pratchett Susan Sto Helit, grand-daughter (by
adoption) of Death himself, is a thoroughly sensible young
governess: 'She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself
dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death
with her own umbrella.' She educates two children and, gifted with
supernatural powers, can also protect them from the monsters under
10) PTERRY AND ALZHEIMER'S NEWS
10.1 Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die continues to garner praise and
The Radio Times, official television weekly publication of the BBC,
lists it among its top 40 programmes of 2011:
"A fog of manufactured media outrage almost engulfed this profoundly
important documentary where author Terry Pratchett asked difficult
questions about the right to self-determination. The hysteria was
provoked by the on-screen assisted suicide of Peter Smedley,
debilitated by motor neurone disease and absolute in his conviction
that he wished to die with dignity by his own hand. Choosing to Die
was haunting and sad, without being ghoulish or intrusive."
10.2 In The Examiner, disabled journalist Martina Robinson wrote at
length about her reactions to the programme. All special-interests
advocates (Terry Pratchett included!) have their axes to grind, and
Ms Robinson is no exception, but her review is worth reading:
"In 2011, famed fantasy author Terry Pratchett precipitated in a
documentary on the BBC he interviewed English people with various
amendments about whether or not they would end their lives and why.
He followed two men to Switzerland and actually stayed with one of
them while they performed the procedure. He also interviewed one man
who lived in a hospice and was not choosing to end his life. As a
disability rights activist and someone who has profound difficulties
with the idea that anyone for any reason would choose to end their
life voluntarily, this review was difficult to write...
"On the whole, I thought that the movie was very well made and
thought-provoking. I was a little disappointed that they did not
have anyone who was opposed to assisted suicide in the documentary.
I always thought the BBC was a little more evenhanded than that. I
also like the fact that anyone with an Internet connection can watch
the documentary free..."
10.3 SIR TERRY IS "MINDFUL OF HIS NOVEL FUTURE"
An article-interview in by Charlotte Heathcote in The Express:
"If you were looking for signs of Alzheimer's, (or, to be specific,
his particular form of the disease: posterior cortical atrophy,
which he has described as sitting 'on top of Alzheimer's') you would
be hard pushed to find them. On one occasion, he forgets who wrote a
book he liked. Talking about Nation, his moral story for children,
he says the book dragged him through a field of 'tissues' then he
pauses until the word 'thistles' comes to him (and he blames the
blip on the large brandy he's enjoying over our lunch). Which means
he's no different to anyone who hasn't been diagnosed with
Alzheimer's. Now 63, he was only 59 when he was diagnosed but thus
far, at least, he feels the disease hasn't had a great impact on
most aspects of his day-to-day life. 'I know I've got it because
I've seen the scans,' he concedes. Otherwise, because the disease
means he doesn't always see what's before him, the main irritant is
that he can no longer drive. 'I was having some difficulties
driving. It was just more stressful and made me wonder what was
going on so it was a big relief to get shot of it,' he says
philosophically. After all, he has his wife Lyn and assistant Rob to
chauffeur him around. In fact, as far as he's concerned, the main
change is more spiritual than physical: 'I have nothing else to
fear,' he says. Pratchett has done a remarkable job in highlighting
the appalling lack of research into Alzheimer's (just three per cent
of the funding granted to cancer), a disease which, terrifyingly,
lies in wait for an estimated one in three of us..."
10.4 Cook for a Cure
For our UK readers, from the Alzheimer's Research UK team:
"We're bringing the fight against dementia to the nation's dinner
tables with Cook for a Cure a dinner party with a difference!
Hosting your own Cook for a Cure dinner party is not only a good way
to get together with friends and family to have a great time, it's
also a brilliant way to help raise funds for research into
Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Choose your dishes, pick a
theme (if you want) and ask your guests to make a suitable donation
to attend your event. Then all you have to do is draw up your guest
list and let the fun begin. Download the pack here:
and you'll have all the information you need to make sure your Cook
for a Cure dinner party goes without a hitch. You can download a
seasonal recipe every month:
"There are more than 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK
and every 3.2 minutes someone else develops the disease. These
figures are set to double within 30 years. Research is our only hope
of finding a cure. We are the UK's leading dementia research
charity and one of the world's top five non-government funders.
With your support we will defeat this terrible disease now
let's Cook for a Cure!"
The pack includes a Cook for a Cure Booklet, Invitations, Gift Aid
Form, Donation Return Form, and Feedback Form.
11) DISCWORLD GAMES NEWS
REVIEWS OF "ANKH-MORPORK"
by Adam van Langenberg
[Editor's note: Adam is a Fourecksian maths teacher and enthusiastic
player of all sorts of games, virtual and physical. Having recently
borrowed WOSSNAME's house copy of "Ankh-Morpork" and played it with
a number of other gameheads, here is his assessment.]
I was worried when I heard about the new "Discworld: Ankh-Morpork"
game. Book, movie and TV-show themed board games often work better
as something to round out the collection, rather than a game you'd
actually want to play. Would this game live up to the Discworld name
or would it be another version of "Star Wars: Monopoly"?
For example, take the 2002 game, "Thud", by Trevor Truran.
Essentially, it was an abstract game with a Discworld costume thrown
on top. Imagine a game of chess where your side is made up of one
piece only, but different from your opponent's. It had some
interesting mechanisms and was by no means the worst game in the
world, but it didn't shake my world either. It was the type of game
that would probably require several plays before you really got into
swing of it. Unfortunately by that time you'd probably also realised
that it wasn't very fun.
My worries left me when I discovered that the designer of
"Discworld: Ankh-Morpork" was Martin Wallace. Wallace is best known
as the creator of complex economic games such as Brass and
Automobile. A wonderful designer for sure, but would his style of
game really fit into a Discworld theme? Fortunately, yes.
So how does "Discworld: Ankh Morpork" work? Each player (2 4)
takes on the role of a Discworld character, such as Commander Vimes
or Lord de Worde and attempts to take control of the city. You see,
Lord Vetinari has disappeared and there is a power vacuum that needs
to be filled.
This is an area-control game. The game board is a (wonderfully
drawn) map of Ankh-Morpork, divided into twelve areas, such as Nap
Hill, Unreal Estate and The Shades. Players have a hand of cards
based on Discworld which allow you to perform various actions which
can include spreading their minions across the city, constructing
buildings in different areas or even performing the noble art of
assassination. Sergeant Colon, for example, lets you remove trouble
from an area and place a minion, whereas Death lets you perform two
assassinations and then place a building.
Too much activity in an area can lead to Trouble and careless play
can lead to dragons, demons or, far worse, Bloody Stupid Johnson.
Owning buildings grants players special powers, but only one
building can exist per area so there is often a struggle to be the
first to build.
What really makes this game shine is how the secret missions work.
Each player's character is kept a secret until the end of the game
and each has a mission to complete in order to win. For example,
Chrysoprase needs to bring his net worth up to $50, whereas Vimes
simply needs to prevent anybody else from winning by the time the
cards run out. As the missions are kept secret, you must use
deduction to determine who the other players may be, and obfuscation
to hide your own identity. Players need to be on the lookout for
every single victory condition that might be near completion. Clever
players might try to meet more than one to throw off the others.
By far, however, the best feature of this is the fact that your
victory conditions must exist at the start of your turn. This means
that not only do you have to achieve your goals to win, you have to
hope that nobody else manages to ruin them before your next turn.
This creates a very tense atmosphere. In a four-player game I played
I met my goals three times but had to watch my opponents tear my
plans apart twice before eventually winning.
Some may not like the random element to the game, but others will
find that it lends itself perfectly to the Discworld theme. There is
a twelve-sided die included with the game that leaves out the number
that cannot be named (it's the one between seven and nine) and
instead bears the mark '7a'. I'm sure most Discworld fans will
appreciate this touch. For those of you familiar with Wallace's
work, you may have realised that this game is remarkably similar to
"London", which only came out in 2010. In fact, "Discworld: Ankh-
Morpork" is clearly based entirely on "London", with a few extra
features thrown in. "London" isn't as cut-throat, but is slightly
"Discworld: Ankh-Morpork" is a lot of fun, well suited to an evening
of laughter and betrayal among friends. Best suited to a laid back,
light hearted group of gamers, this game is well worth a look.
...and by Paul Goodhead on bit-tech:
"The basic premise of the game is that Lord Vetinari, occasionally
benevolent dictator and general Ankh-Morpork string-puller, has gone
missing, creating a power vacuum that a number of prominent city
figures are trying to fill. These are the roles that the players
assume, and each role has its own victory conditions - Chrysoprase,
for instance needs to amass a $50 fortune, while Dragon King of Arms
needs to get eight trouble markers down on the board. The real twist
to the game, though, is that the player roles are kept secret, so
nobody knows who is who and, by extension, what they need to do to
win. This make playing Ankh-Morpork a gloriously suspicious event,
with everyone second guessing their opponents moves in order to work
out which character they're playing, while simultaneously trying to
move subtly towards their own stated goal. Meanwhile, throwing the
proverbial orang-utan wrench into the works are the city-wide random
events, which spice up the game by doing anything from burning down
buildings to summoning a hoard of marauding demons. Thankfully,
despite these events and the almost over the top power of some of
the playing cards, the game never feels totally random. Those of us
who played the game all agreed that we could pick a long term plan
or tactic and stick to it, rather than having to just play on the
12) REVIEW: JOHNNY AND THE DEAD
By young reviewer Groovy Dhruv in The Guardian:
"This book is not a must, but for a book you would read to pass the
time the story's fine. But it is as hilarious as nothing I can
describe in words, reading this book I was laughing so hard that the
13) DISCWORLD CONVENTION NEWS
13.1 NADWCON 2013 NEWS
Drumroll, please: The city picked to host NADWCon 2013 is ...
After giving this (very tough) choice a great deal of thought and
discussion, we are delighted to announce that the CITY OF BALTIMORE
will be the site for the next North American Discworld Convention in
The dates are July 5th 8th
The con hotel is the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront located in
Baltimore's fabulous Inner Harbor area.
We believe that Sir Terry and the Discworld fans will be in
experienced and capable hands with the Baltimore team and we look
forward to working very closely with them as we support their
preparations and plans. The steering committee members and our
consulting team were extremely impressed with Baltimore's creative
and well organized plans for 2013, plans detailed in a comprehensive
bid that ultimately came in at over 30 pages. It was clear to us
that this team is a triple threat: they have have the convention,
stage and real world skills needed to provide an memorable, well
organized and fun convention for all concerned.
Both bidding cities have a great deal to offer visitors and that
made the choice all the more difficult.
For those of you who have not been to Baltimore before, we believe
that you are going to love what you find. There is a great deal to
see and do in the immediate area (and Washington D.C. is only a
short train ride away). The inner harbor hotel they have chosen will
fit our needs wonderfully and provide for the kind of mingling and
meeting spaces for our guests that we feel is so important the
success of this affair. It is also within easy walking distance of
many interesting, historical and family-friendly sites as well as a
wide variety of food choices and prices. The city itself is within
easy reach for both our international and U.S. guests and the bid
committee has given a great deal of thought to making our time there
enjoyable. Wait till you see what they have planned!
The bid chairs were informed yesterday, as were Terry & Rob. The
Baltimore Chair writes:
I would like to take the opportunity, on behalf of the bid
committee, to thank the GoC for their hard work, effort and
diligence in the selection process. Having spoken with (the Boston
chair) a couple of times over the last few months I'm hoping and
sure that there will be collaboration between the Boston and
Baltimore bid committees in forming the convention committee at
large over the next few weeks.
We look forward to working with the GoC over the next few days,
weeks and nineteen months in developing and executing the North
American Discworld Convention for 2013. (Our staff members) will be
touch next week to discuss the corporate structure required for the
convention to operate efficiently and effectively.
Chair, North American Discworld Convention 2013
We would like to thank both bid committees and their chairs for
their hard work in producing these bids. Thanks also to our
consultants who so generously gave us their time and advice and to
the fans for their enthusiasm and patience.
We know that our Terry, Rob and our attendees appreciate the
dedication shown by both groups and we again offer our
congratulations to the team in Baltimore. (1) We ask that Discworld
fans the world over give them their full support. The members of
the GoC and our consulting team look forward to working with all
here to make NADWCon 2013 the best one yet.
Update 3:55 PM Richard added this today to answer some questions
from our Facebook fans:
I'm excited to be chairing the Con for 2013 and look forward to
sharing all the wonderful things we have planned in due course.
Including, what we think, is a great hotel rate. Just bear with us
as we get our ducks (or should that be flamingos) in a row. We'll
let you know all the details in good time.
Thanks and hope to see you all in Baltimore in 2013,
See you in Baltimore ....
13.2 AUSDWCON 2012 NEWS
Dear Students and Staff,
Happy Hogswatch to one and all! Exciting things are afoot at Unseen
University in preparation for the Convivium next July in Adelaide,
South Australia, Roundworld.
GUESTS OF HONOUR VISITING LECTURERS
We are pleased to announce the Guests of Honour for the Convivium are
the following visiting lecturers:
Daniel Knight, Emeritus Professor of Silicate Biology and Condensed
Metaphysics (Untied Alchemists), of Snowgum Films.
Pamela Munt, Superbus Professor of Vindictive Astronomy and Thespian
Studies (Thespia), of Unseen Theatre Company.
Martin Pearson, Lecturer in Applied Zoology and Fretwork Teacher
(Lancre), of... well, anywhere you hear folk music.
You can find out more information about our guests at
PROGRAMME AND ACTIVITIES
There are many lectures and other activities to keep you busy during
the Convivium. They include the Entrance Examination, Commencement,
Gaudy Night, the Maskerade, the Wizard's Excuse Me, Try Wizarding,
the Winery and Gourmet Tours, and many many more. Our visiting
lecturers shall also be contributing to the programme with a
presentation by Snowgum Films, and performances by Martin Pearson and
Unseen Theatre Company.
You can see a full list of confirmed and potential activities at
However, many activities will require volunteers to be run - so if you
have an idea of your own, or would like to just take one from our
suggested list, please do so!
MERCHANDISING AND SURVEY
Those of you using social media may have seen a sneak peek at some
special Convivium merchandise when we passed 100 Facebook and 50
Twitter disciples. This merchandise will be available for online sale
to anyone early in 2012.
However, we are also planning to offer Convivium Attendees Only
exclusive merchandise that will only be available to attendees. In
order to get an idea of what sort of merchandise to offer, we would
like you to complete a short survey for us available at
Just a gentle reminder that if you have any questions about the
Convivium, or would like to chat to other fans, we have forums at
which need love and attention!
Of course, we are also on Facebook at http://facebook.com/UnseenUni
and Twitter at http://twitter.com/UnseenUni
INFORMATION AND TICKETS
For further information on Unseen University Convivium 2012, and to
purchase tickets, please visit and browse through our website at
Chair of Indefinite Studies (Programme and Activities)
Unseen University 2012
University of Adelaide, 6-8 July 2012
 Gaudy Night is a gala dinner held on Saturday 7th July. There is
an additional cost for this activity.
 The Winery and Gourmet Tours are held on Monday, 9th July. There
is an additional cost for these activities.
 We wish to make sure the merchandise is of good quality before we
sell it to you, so we have to wait until our own order arrives!
14) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
REVIEWS: WYRD SISTERS IN EDMONTON
"This is a challenge for a volunteer theatre group. Many of the
Walterdale cast seemed anxious at first, performing in front of an
almost full theatre for opening night, but they all settled into
their roles by the mid-point, with many performing multiple roles.
The acting overall was solid, though of course there were some
standout performances. Witch Magrat, as portrayed by Mandy Stewart,
was probably the most notable. As her vibrant green dress stood out
from her otherwise black-clad coven, so, too did her acting. She
expertly weaved her way through every scene in the ever-changing
role, playing the naïve witch when necessary, thrusting the perfect
emotion into her comedic lines, and easily convincing the audience
of her love for the Fool... The other remarkable performance was by
Andrew Mecready, who played Duke Felmet. One can't help but feel
sorry for the Duke, obviously mentally ill, clearly delusional and
in danger of harming himself, and even more obviously controlled by
his Queen. His mental illness may have been brought on by killing
his brother, a fact borne out early in the play; Mecready's
portrayal of gouging his hands, forever attempting to rid them of
blood long since washed away, with knitting needles, a cheese
grater, and whatever else was handy was the perfect portrayal of the
over-top caricature crafted by the grand Terry Pratchett..."
...and a lyrical, quirky blog review by lolkoenig27:
You are at the Walterdale Playhouse on a cold and snowy Wednesday
evening. Imagine three witches, assembling around a huge kettle...
'Wyrd Sisters,' a play by Terry Pratchett, doesn't seem to be
different from others plays at the first glance: There are witches
with magical power. There is a King, who got murdered by his cousin.
There is a homeless baby, which now is the real king since his
father got killed, but doesn't know it yet. There is a troupe of
traveling actors, hired to solve the problem. There is a fool, who
is observer and adviser, but swore to be loyal to his king as long
as he breathes. You will find yourself surrounded by the spirit of
Shakespeare. It feels like you just traveled back in time, back to
the 17th century. The traditional costumes used by the the
Walterdale Theater group and the language in which the play is
written helps you to believe that. You just entered a different
timezone. Hamlet's hopeless whispers and Macbeth's tragedy are
almost touchable. You might think now the play is boring, because it
simply seems to be another Shakespeare adaption. But this is not
quite true... A truly clever written piece full of word games,
sarcasm and hidden winks next to tragedy, foolishness and confusion.
You will laugh and cry. You will find yourself shocked and
disgusted. You can feel the love Stephen Briggs brought into the
REVIEW: GOING POSTAL IN GRANTHAM
"Although not wowed by their latest show at the Guildhall, I was
certainly entertained, although it did take a while to get going.
But when it did, it drew you in and the cast had me and the rest of
the audience laughing away at times. I've reviewed a number of the
society's productions, and am always pleased to see some familiar
faces who always entertain. One such face belongs to Chris Dakin, a
regular leading man who plays Moist von Lipwig. He shows a real
confidence on stage and his lines are always read in an easy manner
which gives his character realism... The award for best comedy
performance has to go to Rupert Tyrer. Applause was at its loudest
after his appearances as Igor and Mad Al. His mad gestures as Igor
were hilarious, and although it was difficult to understand a word
of his crazy babbling as Mad Al, his antics, and the dancing we were
not meant to see in between scenes, were very funny! The entire cast
did a great job, especially Kay Haw as Lord Vetinari. She really
looked the part with her wig and goatee, and gave a convincing
portrayal of the mysterious character. Meanwhile, Kevin O'Neill and
Mark Brown were a great double act as Tolliver Groat and Stanley,
two larger than life postmen..."
REVIEW: WYRD SISTERS IN GATA
"Sir Terry Pratchett's tale is loosely based on Macbeth and adapted
for the stage by long-term collaborator Stephen Briggs. It is part
farce, part pantomime, with a touch of Blackadder and Monty Python
thrown in. And this upbeat yet challenging production is a bit like
tasting Marmite likely to get a 'love it' or 'hate it'
reaction. Anyone with even the smallest appetite for madcap laughter
would lap it up. It took Javea Players out of the comfort zone into
uncharted waters and the show can be heralded a success thanks to
the group's teamwork a production needing the talents of the
techies backstage as much as the actors treading the boards.
Congratulations to team leader, director Christyn Nossell, for
blending together skeleton scenery, computer generated scene
changes, special effects, and some wonderful moments onstage..."
15) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
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). 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, London's original Discworld
meeting group, will be from 7pm on 2nd January 2012 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 6.30pm. The next
meeting will be on 2nd January 2012. 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 from 6pm on 2nd January 2012 at The
Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco. For more information contact:
Daniel Hatton at daniel_j_hatton@...
16) DISCWORLD DISCUSSION
NO FIRE WITHOUT...
Another Reason Why I Want to Move to Ankh-Morpork:
I don't know what's more depressing, the headline or the comments.
Really? Last I looked, Vetinari wouldn't permit formation of any
sort of fire brigade at all. At best, the Watch might step in to
supervise standers-by on a haphazard basis. *daha*
I thought there was a volunteer Golem fire brigade. The watch didn't
have to do too much, since they'd begun to free themselves.
There was. Previous books stated that the Patrician didn't like the
idea of paying people to put out fires, since, given the Ankh
Morpork mentality, the firemen might try to drum up business by
I swear I heard Vimes going "You do the job that's in front of you"
in my head while I was reading that article. And he sounded pretty
...and afterwards he'd go and see Vetinari about it to make sure
rich folks would pay higher taxes to avoid something like this in
Problem here is that people don't want to pay taxes, so they changed
the system into this travesty. If firemen accepted the fee from
people whose house was burning down in order to put it out, no one
would pay the annual fee at all anymore and there'd be even less
money for the fire fighters than there's now. The next fire they
might not even be able to put out because of lack of equipment. So
it's really a flaw in the system. Vetinari relies on the fact that
the city is densely populated and if YOUR house is on fire MINE is
in danger as well, so people are motivated to help each other out in
such a situation.
17) DISCWORLD ARTS AND CRAFTS NEWS
The 2012 Discworld calendar is The Independent's number one
recommendation on their top ten calendars list!
£10.50 at forbiddenplanet.com or of course from PJSM Prints:
18) IMAGE OF THE MONTH
Stephen Player's Death. Er, that is, Death-the-anthropomorphic-
personification as drawn by Discworld artist Stephen Player:
19) DISCWORLD AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
On Foyles' official book blog, Ben Sweeny waxes lyrical about Snuff:
"I think it is a beautiful book, which is something special for an
author who's books have always had striking and idiosyncratic
covers. For a Pratchett novel it has a style that wanders from his
standard style and humour. As a long term fan, I found this a
pleasant and unusual surprise. That's not to say that it is lacking
in his trade-mark brand of humour. It contains some of his funniest
jokes to date. I also believe that for a novel which is likely one
of the last in the series it is curiously also one of the most
D.A Lascelles gives us an essay titled "Terry Pratchett: Tracing the
evolution of a writer":
"In order to keep things simple, I am not going to discuss The
Carpet People or any of the non-Discworld novels. I am keeping thing
solely in the province of his best known creation... The Colour of
Magic introduces us to the Discworld as a vibrant and chaotic
fantasy realm and takes us on a travelogue which spans a significant
part of the disc. We meet one of Pratchett's most memorable
characters the cowardly wizard, Rincewind and are introduced
to a plethora of characters and plotlines, each of which parodies an
element of fantasy literature. For example, the character of Hrun
the Barbarian is your typical musclebound thug of an adventurer, the
classic Conan the Barbarian stereotype, while Bravd the Hublander
and the Weasel (two characters who have brief appearances in the
story) are clearly derived from Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Grey
Mouser. A part of the intention behind the Discworld is also to
subvert many of the fantasy cliches and so Rincewind, our main hero
for the first few books, is a wizard who is neither brave nor
capable of casting spells... We also later (in the sequel, The Light
Fantastic) get Cohen the Barbarian, the ludicrously wonderful
subversion of the Conan schtick in the form of a barbarian hero who
is still adventuring well into his eighties...
"From these parodies in the early books, there slowly develops a
complex and involved world. As the series develops we see more and
more of the world and meet more characters. For many of the early
books there is still the sense that Discworld is a parody of a
fantasy realm and that Ankh Morpork, Pratchett's fantasy city, is a
play on the concept of Lieber's Lankhmar. At some point, however,
things change. It is a slow change and a subtle one, taking place
over a number of novels and with the development of several
storylines and characters. I think it begins properly with the first
Night watch book, Guards! Guards!, as Pratchett clearly needed a
grittier and more realistic setting for the somewhat noirish
adventures of Captain Vimes and the members of the Night Watch..."
Blogger Flynn the Cat has created a *very* long, detailed page
titled "Never Start With The First Discworld Book:, about Discworld
reading order, the evolution of Pratchett's writing, and all that
sorta wossname, and including many instructive iconographs, video
footage, oodles of comments threads, links, and even a poll:
"This page is an attempt to create a starting point for people
interested in Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series and a
compendium of the available material and reviews here on Squidoo.
There's a terribly shocking lack of reviews here, so I've started by
listing all the books... If it isn't obvious, I love Pratchett's
books. I first read The Bromeliad and The Carpet People years before
I knew he was famous (I was around eight or ten) and later
recognised him as the author of the Colour of Magic and the Light
Fantastic in my high school library, when I was twelve. Of course, I
was a compulsive reader and would have read them regardless!
"There are some books I didn't really like the first time around
Mort, Making Money, Monstrous Regiment and Soul Music being examples
but have grown on me with rereading. Monstrous Regiment is now one
of my favourites. Others I loved the first time, and still do
Thud, Maskerade, Jingo... There are definitely different styles, and
I've noticed that the people who loved Going Postal and Making Money
usually don't like Thud, Unseen Academicals and Night Watch as much
(and the inverse). I love being able to play 'spot the reference'
and guessing what storylines or themes are being parodied or
tributed. And the puns that don't hit you for another paragraph
still kill me although I'm a lot more suspicious now and spot them
much more quickly..."
A review of Hogfather by The Incurable Bluestocking:
"Susan is close to being my favourite thing about Hogfather, just
because her voice is so distinct and such a joy to read... What
Hogfather does best, though, is explore the correlation between
belief and being human. This is something Pratchett ponders on
frequently in his works (as does his friend Neil Gaiman) the
idea that belief creates gods and other figures. That is not new,
though it's given a delightfully weird edge in Hogfather, as the
wizards of the Unseen University start accidentally creating the Oh
God of Hangovers and the Cheerful Fairy and the Eater of Socks (in
whom I fervently believe now) out of the extra belief left sloshing
around by the Hogfather's absence. But what Pratchett really does
magnificently here is tie that capacity for belief with what it
means to be a human, what it means to be this marvelous sentient
creature, this marvelously narcissistic creature who thinks the
whole universe is inside of its head and secretly believes the whole
universe was created just to lead to its own existence...
"For what it's worth, the move adaptation (currently available on
Netflix Watch Instantly) is magnificent. It's remarkably true to the
book, and what few cuts there are are ones I don't notice, because
they trim all those parts of the books I tend to forget about
anyway. They tighten and streamline the plot without losing the
quirky sense of serendipity that governs Pratchett's world. It's
joined the ranks of my must-see holiday films..."
Blogger Jennifer Payne loves Discworld novels to bits, except for
"The fifth book in the series, we see the return of Rincewind ...
and that may just be my problem. Perhaps our bumbling wizard is a
little too bumbling for me? I do like the luggage that follows him
around, and that may be what kept me reading to page 131 but
beyond that, it didn't hold my interest. Usually the Gods don't
allow wizards to get to the point where they can have an eighth son
preferring to let them mess about with their own diluted form of
magic, to ward off any grabs for power or unnecessary explosions. So
when the Unseen University receives a visit from Coin the new
kid on the block they're a little unprepared for the magical
fallout. After putting the book down half way through, I went and
read a summary of the rest of the plot & that happily satisfied my
curiosity until it's time for the next Pratchett extravaganza..."
Blogger Charity mentions a new Christmas tradition:
"I once heard a woman say 'our Christmas tradition is to make
turnovers and watch Hogfather.' That's the British for you.
Hogfather is a film adaptation of a satirical novel by Terry
Pratchett. It revolves around an assassination attempt against the
Hogfather (Santa Clause), which temporarily makes him vanish,
leaving Death to take his place and deliver presents to the children
of the Discworld, much to the distress of Death's granddaughter,
Susan. Her desire to have a 'normal' Hogswatch (Christmas) goes
astray as she tries to discern the whereabouts of the Hogfather.
"Not everyone appreciates Terry Pratchett. His motto is 'if it
exists, it can be made fun of.' He belittles the government, he
takes pokes at religion, he mocks culture's fascination with
vampires, he creates a world in which monsters actually do live
under the bed (until Susan bangs them over the head with a poker and
kicks them face-first out the back door into the snow) and Death is
actually quite a likable fellow, albeit somewhat clueless when it
comes to human traditions. Some of his books are hilarious, others
questionable, and a few are even dull, but none of them are what you
might call 'normal.' I like them due to my askew sense of humor..."
Blogger Lance Schaubert pens a paean to Pterry in the form of a
Thief of Time review:
"My first introduction to Pratchett Thief of Time reminded
me just how much scifi-fantasy and video game lore rests inside my
subconscious. Terry made jokes about things I didn't even know I
found funny, smashing up humor from seemingly unrelated fields in an
amusing amalgamation of dork. Examples? The Igor with a lisp. The
Yeti who can save his life if he senses danger (think Super Mario)
and continue onward; if he dies, he can always start over from where
he saved, but with the advantage of a memory of the future. DEATH's
complete misunderstanding of jokes. The Monks of History who use
martial arts like okie-dokie and deja-fu (time as a weapon). There's
auditors grey, shapeless beings who assign metrics to everything
in the universe and explode if they taste chocolate. There's
procrastinators tools the Monks of History use to borrow wasted
time from one place and insert it where time flies. There's even a
fifth horseman of the apocalypse. The original four are DEATH,
FAMINE, WAR, PESTILENCE. The fifth's name? Ronnie. Ronnie's a dairy
man and outside of the otherworldy-red horse that pulls his dairy
cart, he runs a normal business of shipping milk and cheese around
the city. I could go on, but the experience is somewhere between
reading Vonnegut and Douglas Adams with bits of Rothfuss's blog
Blogger Dooliterature spreads to word about the Sir Terry Pratchett
Reading Challenge 2012:
"Ok, here's a challenge I am super excited for, as Terry Pratchett
is my absolute favorite author. This is a challenge hosted by Once
Upon a Time which I found via A Novel Challenge. The rules are thus:
"Any format, any book, so long as it's Pratchett. Re-reads are also
perfectly acceptable! Books need to be started and finished between
January 1st 2012 and December 31st 2012. You can set your own goals,
whether you want to read 5 books or go for the whole Discworld
series, that is entirely up to you. Be realistic or go crazy, there
are no penalties if you don't meet your goal, in fact the only real
goal is to read some Pratchett..."
Blogger and former English Lit teacher Fantasynibbles muses on the
best way to create a new Discworld fan:
"My Mum surprised me tonight by asking to borrow a Terry Pratchett.
She's never read any before and I want her to love them. Now it's
been a million years since I first got into Pratchett, and over the
last few years I've been finding them a bit tired, which is a real
shame. I kind of can't remember the awesomeness of loving them to
death and racing out to get the new one each year any more. I do
always get them, but as much out of habit now as anything else. But
anyway, my question is this, which one would you recommend as a
starter novel for the uninitiated? I'm thinking definitely not
Colour of Magic or Light Fantastic. I think Mum would be a Witches
kinda person, although I suspect she'd have a soft spot for
Rincewind. Overall the DEATH novels are coolest though, no? Should I
start her off with Mort? Or, given the season, maybe Hogfather would
be a good bet? ..."
Blogger Bronnypop is helplessly in love with our favourite Commander
of the City Watch:
"I first met His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh, Commander
Sir Samuel Vimes (Blackboard Monitor) in 1989 in Guards! Guards! (a
book that continues to be my favourite out of all Terry Pratchett's
novels). At the time, he was a mere Captain of the City Watch, and
I a recently-married student. We have grown up together, Vimes and
I, although I have not attained the heady heights of nobility and
career stardom that he has. Like millions of fans worldwide I am
worried that Snuff, the latest title by Pratchett, may also be his
last, and I am both pleased and saddened that of all the characters
and stories he could have chosen, it's Vimes who is the hero of
Snuff... Snuff is a delight, a fabulously funny, heart-warming tale
of mystery and murder on a policeman's holiday, that is also about
justice and slavery, nobility and prejudice and standing up for what
you know to be right. It is one of the very best books I have read
recently, and has only cemented my ongoing love for Vimes, Duke of
Ankh, Blackboard Monitor, and policeman extraordinaire..."
Blogger Sanzbooks is delighted to have discovered Discworld:
"What a funny book! It reminded me of Douglas Adams. I enjoyed the
characters and the plot but mostly I enjoyed the Discworld Universe
itself. It was so colorful, so vibrant, that it had my imagination
fired up. I can't wait to move ahead in the series, but seeing as
it has 39 books, I'm slightly intimidated. But I'm happy to have
discovered this series nonetheless. Looks like Pratchett will soon
become a favorite..."
Blogger Dan Swindlehurst offers a long, well-made essay, The Genius
of Terry Pratchett:
"Why am I writing about Terry Pratchett? Well, when I was young,
probably between the ages of about 7 and 14, I loved his books and
have many fond memories of reading them. In 2008 I learned that
Terry Pratchett had early-onset Alzheimer's disease, and in 2010 I
found out that he had been involved in campaigning for the rights of
people to commit suicide, and the right's of others to assist in
suicide... I've recently returned to live in the UK and have been
nostalgically revisiting my past, and picked up a copy of The Colour
of Magic, the first Discworld book. It reminded me of how talented
Terry Pratchett is and how crushingly depressing it is that he has
been struck down with such an awful disease. I've begun re-reading
the Discworld series and the shear [sic] brilliance of Pratchett's
imagination and talent inspired me to write this post, and hopefully
this will inspire someone else to read these books or even to go
back and revisit them...
"Much of the writing in the Discworld series is breathtaking. I'm
trying to write a book at the moment and really appreciate the
quality of Terry's prose; it's clear and simple, but insightful and
very funny. I hardly ever laugh out loud when reading a book, but do
laugh a number of times when reading his novels, much to the
annoyance of anyone in the same room/bus/tram as me..."
Blogger Random Alex has mixed feelings about ISWM which isn't to
say that he doesn't recommend it:
"Overall, I have loved the Tiffany Aching books a great deal. I love
that we have followed a character from the age of eight or so, as
she discovers that she has to do something that will set her apart
from everyone else, and then goes through with it anyway. I love
that that character is a girl. I love the way Pratchett has played
with and inverted all sorts of tiresome notions from fairy stories
and society more generally in writing these stories. I also love
that Tiffany is a witch, because I adore the very concept of
Headology. Plus, Nac Mac Feegles for the win...
Part of my trouble with this story is with the plot; not the
details, but in some of the ways it gets places. There's a feeling
of disconnect between some sections, of moving too abruptly from one
idea or action-scene to the next, which made me less than
comfortable. I liked the vibe overall, though, of dealing with
gigantic issues from history (quite literally) at the same time as
dealing with very personal issues. The combination of 'all witches
are eeevil' with 'how will I live with being a witch?' made a lot of
sense, and the two complemented each other nicely..."
Blogger VoVatia offers a short, surprised review of Snuff:
"Samuel Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is on
vacation in the country with his wife and son. If you know anything
about Vimes, though, you know that he can't go anywhere without
finding a crime to fight. In this case, there's a case of smuggling,
drug trafficking, and the murder of a goblin. Not that the latter is
really all that frowned upon, as despite the leaps in equal rights
that have taken place on the Discworld, goblins are still considered
basically vermin. They have their own society and language, however,
and looking the other way when a sentient being is killed is never a
good idea. I didn't find much humor in the story, which is fine, but
it's kind of weird to note that a series that started out as comic
fantasy has gotten so serious over time..."
Blogger Dion is also well pleased with Snuff:
"Like most Discworld books Snuff effortlessly mixes humour, satire
and some seriously heavyweight issues and somehow manages to tell a
rollicking good tale at the same time. It's not laugh-out-loud
funny in that many places but there are plenty of chucklesome
moments. There is food-for-thought aplenty but it's never forced
down the reader's throat, rather delivered in nutritional bite-sized
chunks... Overall Discworld fans should find Snuff like a
comfortable old pair of hiking boots. The terrain may vary but
there are plenty of new areas to explore, the experience is always a
pleasure and the quality is beyond doubt..."
Blogger Procrastin8or gets gleefully into the spirit of Hogswatch:
"This is a wonderful tale. Death, Susan and Bilious (the 'oh god' of
hangovers) take us on an amusing and sometimes deeply profound
journey on the importance not so much of Christmas in isolation
but of imagination, tradition and belief. Though some may
perceive a religious message here, it is important to remember that
Pratchett is agnostic. Any doubts about this are dispelled when
Death tells Susan 'humans need to believe the small lies so that
the bigger ones (such as justice) are more bearable'. The same
conversation also contains the one amazing line that epitomises what
this book is about: 'if Hogfather had died, the sun would not have
risen on the Discworld, instead a flaming ball of gas would have
illuminated it'. Pure poetry."
Blogger Drive Me to Geek gets political in an essay titled Where's
Sam Vimes When You Need Him: Pratchett and the "Occupy" Protests:
"What's always drawn me in is his ability to use humor and fantasy
to create startling clear social commentary. And he always seems to
do it best in 'The Watch' books* and I would say it's mainly because
of the main character, Sam Vimes. I'll fully admit that he is my
favorite character in Discworld (and probably in my top ten
characters in all of fiction). I was quite happy to see my affection
was shared by Pratchett who, in a talk I attended, said that Vimes
was among his own favorites as well. Pratchett's use of Vimes as
tool for political commentary is so clear to me that, when we
launched the most recent Iraq War, one of my first impulses was to
re-read Jingo, which looks at nationalism, racism, and war
the Pratchett lens of humor and fantasy...
"There's been a lot of political analysis about the militarization
of police and how it led to the horrors we've been seeing at the
Occupy protests. And tucked away in a fantasy novel, written months
before the protests began and published only a few weeks in is a
not-so simple policeman, with a not-so simple thought... I can only
wonder what the headlines would have been if there were only more
Sam Vimeses on the police forces of our country...."
Blogger Lady Garfunkel notes how Pterry can bring banking into
fantasy *without* the politics:
"I'd read a little Terry Pratchett a long time ago. The Carpet
People, I believe it was, a book for children. Which was quite
charming. Pratchett is rather acclaimed and prolific on the fantasy
scene, and his Discworld series is very popular. There are closing
in on forty of them, and they all take place on some kind of
mythical flat-earth. The one I stumbled upon, Making Money, is a
fairly recent entry and a direct sequel to something that's come
before, from what I could gather. I wouldn't say it's the most
exciting fantasy novel I've ever touched it deals with banking
and the practicality of introducing paper currency in place of the
goldish type. But I have to praise Pratchett's style. He shares
the absurd humor of Douglas Adams, always a welcome element. The
funniness carries the book over the essentially boring bits about
economy and gold-minting. Plus, there are Golems..."
Blogger Greta van der Rol is ecstatic about Snuff:
"In this book I giggled at a six year old boy besotted with poo
(well, they are, aren't they)? I read the conversations between Sam
Vimes, reluctant Duke of Ankh, Commander of the Watch, reformed
alcoholic and one-time blackboard monitor from Cockbill Street in
the Shades, and his patrician wife Lady Sybil, and giggled some
more. They reminded me in many respects of my own conversations with
my husband, accompanied by 'yes, dear' and knowing when to say
nothing. Sir Terry described the machinations of a country manor
house not with meticulous description but by playing out the
interactions of the characters. He did the same with a country pub.
As always, there is a mystery, which Sam notices because while he's
supposed to be on holiday, is a policeman ever on holiday? We have
unlikely characters who discover that they could be heroes,
prejudice in its most ugly form and politics at every turn. Vimes is
the hero, of course, but he's no Captain America. He is on the side
of Justice despite having to prevent the dark side of his psyche
from winning the internal battle. I was along for the ride, every
step of the way..."
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