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WOSSNAME -- Main issue -- November 2012

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    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion November 2012 (Volume 15, Issue 11, Post 3)
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21, 2012
      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      November 2012 (Volume 15, Issue 11, Post 3)
      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 2012 by Klatchian Foreign Legion



      16) CLOSE



      "I was surprised that both my editors gave me a thumbs-up on a lot
      of the parts of Dodger, saying 'Today's kids know about vampires and
      all kinds of stuff.' They aren't the kids that were kids when I was
      a kid."

      – Pterry, interviewed by the Onion AV Club



      And here we are with the third post of the month, and it's only
      three weeks in! But once again there is a bumper crop of news,
      reviews, things, stuff and possibly whatnots. Do check out the trio
      of superb new interviews – from the New Statesman, the Onion AV
      Club, and the Daily Mirror – and give a congratulatory nod to the
      "Choosing to Die" team for winning the 2012 International Emmy for
      Best Documentary (item 4) and a nod of enormous thanks to Sir Pterry
      (with vital assistance from Rob Wilkins) for *not* dying yet (item

      From Lynsey at Transworld, here be a timely reminder to budding
      science fiction authors:

      "We are only six weeks away from this years deadline for The Terry
      Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Award. Have
      you written your submission yet?"


      Also from the world of publishing comes the news that the Pearson
      and Bertelsmann companies, better known to us civilians as Penguin
      and Random House, are merging "to recover ground lost to technology
      groups Amazon and Apple, the leaders in the ebook revolution.
      Education and media publisher Pearson said the joint venture, which
      will bring under one roof fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett, 'Fifty
      Shades of Grey' author E L James and 2012 Nobel prize winner Mo Yan,
      would be named Penguin Random House..."

      Penguin Random – I like the sound of that! To read all about it, go
      to http://tinyurl.com/caqs6rg

      And now for the rest of the news...

      – Annie Mac, Editor



      Interviewed by Laurie Penny for the New Statesman, Sir Pterry tells
      the world that Rhianna will continue the Discworld when he's gone:

      "Most science-fiction and fantasy authors who become successful must
      confront their own politics sooner or later, because inventing a
      universe from scratch and inviting millions of readers to join you
      there demands a certain moral responsibility. Writers from Ursula K
      Le Guin and Robert Heinlein to China Mieville have used the
      fantastic as an explicitly political space, imagining other worlds
      where humanity might organise itself differently. Pratchett went in
      precisely the opposite direction. He began to write like a man who
      knows that the most fascinating place in the known and imagined
      universe is this one, right here. Pratchett uses nerdy fantasy and
      slapstick comedy as tools to tell stories about racism and religious
      hatred, war and the nature of bigotry, love and sin and sex and
      death, always death, knotted into the ersatz adventures of talking
      dogs, zombie revolutionaries, crime-fighting werewolves, tooth
      fairies, crocodile gods and funny little men who sell suspicious
      sausages on street corners...

      "Decades ago, when the internet first opened up to non-specialists,
      communities such as alt.fan.pratchett quickly developed for readers
      of his books to share stories and meet each other. 'You have to have
      a bit of nerd in you to get used to it, of course,' he says. He
      sizes me up suspiciously. 'If you're not a nerd I don't want to
      speak to you. You must at least have taken the lid off your computer
      at some point?' I don't dare say no, because I suspect if I admitted
      that I work on a Mac and am worried about voiding the warranty, the
      interview really would be over...

      "You can't really understand Terry Pratchett without understanding
      Rob Wilkins, whose name I keep accidentally writing down as
      Willikins, a loyal butler-character with hidden depths who turns up
      in many of the Discworld books. Rob is, in many ways, the archetypal
      Terry Pratchett fan. He's big-hearted, fizzing with all the nerdy
      energy of a first-generation immigrant to the digital universe,
      crammed into a badly fitting black T-shirt, and utterly devoted. If
      there is a reason why Pratchett's debilitating illness has had so
      little effect on his output to date, Rob is it. He's the one who
      turns up at the house at any time of day or night to take dictation
      or fix a problem, and Terry's wife has resigned herself to the fact
      that this is part of the job...

      "When he began writing novels, more than 40 years ago, he and his
      wife, Lyn, were 'hippies, but hippies with jobs', he says. 'I had a
      beard that Darwin would have got lost in, but I worked as a sub-
      editor on a paper, and we just had about enough room in our small
      cottage to have one child. Rhianna's an only child, which is
      probably a good thing. You either go under when you're an only child
      or you become a fighter. Rhianna is a fighter.'...

      "Pratchett is whip-sharp, and talking to him makes you want to sit
      up straight and make sure your shoelaces are tied, yet he is
      noticeably frailer than his 64 years might lead you to expect, and
      occasionally he drifts off at the end of a sentence. In fact, just
      before this interview went to press, Rob contacted me to say that
      Pratchett had almost died of what they had thought was a heart
      attack, in early November, while in New York on a book signing tour.
      The pair were on the way back to their hotel from a visit to Ground
      Zero, Rob says, when Pratchett 'took a very bad turn. We were
      sitting in the back of a taxi when I noticed his breathing had
      become laboured.' A few minutes later, Pratchett passed out. In a
      written account of the incident, which he plans to publish, he
      claims not to remember much, other than feeling 'simply dreadful,
      and very cold, although sweat was pouring down my face, and I
      couldn't even focus and just seemed to be slipping away. Rob kept
      asking me if I was OK and telling me we didn't have far to go . . .
      I have to take his word for what happened next.'..."


      [Editor's note: this is an excellent in-depth interview; it's well
      worth tracking down a dead-tree copy of the issue it's in, or buying
      the digital version.]



      From the official International Emmys site:

      "The 9 International Emmy Award Winning programs and performances
      are: Songs of War (Arts Programming), Dario Grandinetti (Best
      Performance by an Actor), Cristina Banegas (Best Performance by an
      Actress), The Invisible Woman (Comedy), Terry Pratchett: Choosing to
      Die (Documentary), Braquo season 2 (Drama Series), The Amazing Race
      Australia (Non-Scripted Entertainment), The Illusionist
      (Telenovela), and Black Mirror (TV Movie/Mini-Series)... 'The
      International Academy is proud to be shining the spotlight on the
      world's best television programming and performances, for the last
      40 years, and we congratulate tonight's winners for their
      outstanding achievements as they enter into Emmy history.' said
      Academy President Bruce L. Paisner."


      from the Daily Mail:

      "After being aired in Britain the controversial television
      documentary Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die was criticised by
      religious leaders, charities, and politicians of being 'one-sided'
      and 'propaganda' for euthanasia. But not every viewer felt the same
      and on Tuesday night Sir Terry was honoured with the Best
      Documentary gong at the International Emmy Awards in Los Angeles...
      Following his win at the glitzy event, a message that read '"I will
      accept any award that isn't posthumous"; brilliant!' was posted to
      his Twitter page."


      from Contact Music:

      "Pratchett's documentary was given a hefty amount of criticism from
      religious charities and leaders, as well as politicians, who all
      considered it to be 'euthanasia propaganda'. Clearly however, the
      judges of the awards thought much more highly of the film..."


      from the Radio Times:

      "On a more serious note, Pratchett's powerful BBC2 documentary
      followed patients at Switzerland's Dignitas clinic, who had chosen
      to end their lives through assisted suicide, and was prompted by the
      author's own diagnosis with Alzheimer's. Last night's award
      follows a win for best single documentary at this year's Baftas."




      Well-known journalist and telly presenter Fiona Phillips, daughter
      of an Alzheimer's sufferer, interviewed Sir Pterry at length for the
      Daily Mirror:

      "The Discworld author first said he had [Alzheimer's] in December
      2007, just over a year after I'd lost my mum Amy to early-onset
      Alzheimer's. It was a particularly bleak period as we were told that
      my dad Neville also had it. Until then, I'd felt a bit of a voice in
      the wilderness, going on about the lack of understanding and good
      care. Terry's honesty was a eureka moment for me. Since then I had
      always wanted to meet him and he, apparently, was keen to see me.
      But it didn't seem that way when I introduced myself and went to
      shake his hand. Dressed from head-to-toe in his trademark black, a
      top hat and frock coat, he looked like an authoritarian Dickensian
      character from his Oliver Twist-inspired novel Dodger. When he
      didn't offer his hand back my heart sank a little. 'He can't see
      your hand,' his book publicist Lynsey explained. Terry, 64, has a
      form of early-onset Alzheimer's called PCA (Partial Cortical
      Atrophy) which affects the part of the brain responsible for visual

      "Terry's twinkly-eyed humour made me, by contrast, recall my mum's
      constant tears and depression. He has written eight books since his
      diagnosis and his doctor has told him he has 'Terry Pratchett's PCA,
      which isn't like anyone else's PCA.' He can no longer use a keyboard
      but, instead, has a program which enables him to talk to his
      computer... His words are very considered, his answers long and
      drawn out. If he forgets a word there's a silence as he cogitates,
      before returning to the point where he left off and continuing the
      anecdote. I try not to ask too many questions so as not to interrupt
      his thoughts. You can almost hear the determination to hang on to
      facts and to maintain his fluency...

      "Does he ever get depressed? 'No, my father was a stoic,' he replies
      before asking about my father. I tell him he was killed by the
      overuse of drugs for his Alzheimer's. 'Ah, so that was murder,' he
      exclaims... So, does Terry have an end-of-life plan? 'Yes, I plan
      to die... it's all the rage,' he cheekily retorts. 'I have a living
      will and I have friends, and I have money and I have hope. There are
      things around and I know where they can be got quite easily but I
      quite like waking up to the sunshine. I don't think about the end
      game. I've got lots to occupy my mind. It's the rage that keeps me
      going.'... "




      A fantastic interview by Tasha Robinson, who has interviewed Pterry

      "TP: Right now, I have, on what I call the naughty shelf, another
      one of those things. There is a lovely Discworld one, and a lot of
      it is done, and it's got some elegant characters, really infested
      ones, and some wonderful things in it. [Whispers.] But there's no
      fecking plot. There's no fecking plot! I'm having such fun with the
      interactions of these people...

      "AVC: It sounds like you're working on four things at once in your
      head most of the time. Is it necessary to have that subconscious
      help to keep it all straight and to make parts progress?

      "TP: Shit knows, I don't. That's just how I do it...

      "AVC: Was there a process of preparing to write Dodger? Did you
      revisit Charles Dickens, or Henry Mayhew, or any of your other

      "TP: Oh, good question. In my early teens, I read every bound volume
      of the magazine Punch. Every writer of any distinction in the
      English language, and I mean including America and England, at some
      time wrote for Punch. Jerome K. Jerome, who wrote Three Men In A
      Boat, I loved. I was very impressed when I read a piece by Mark
      Twain in Punch, and realized that despite the fact that they were on
      different continents, Jerome K. Jerome and Mark Twain had the same
      kind of laconic, laid-back, 'The human race is damn stupid, but
      quite interesting' attitude. They were almost talking with the same

      "AVC: Did you see yourself in Dodger, or did you see your
      experiences in what he's trying to do?

      "TP: If parallels are there, other people will see them. I don't. I
      can see myself in Commander Vimes, because I actually used bits of
      myself in him, because I'm a kid from the council houses, the
      tenements. So first of all, I get the OBE [Order Of The British
      Empire, a high British honor. — ed]. Ka-ching! Not too long
      afterward, an elderly lady is behind me bringing down a big
      sword—I got knighted. It's the Queen. She's quite small. When it
      was being done, my mother — I'm so glad she was alive to see
      it—she was in a wheelchair so close to the Queen, with the same
      kind of hairstyle. I thought, 'I really hope we don't mix them up
      when it's time to go home.' [Laughs.] It would have been much more
      interesting for the future of the world. You think, 'How did I get
      from there to here? Who am I to have got from here to here? What
      happened?' And Vimes is doing all this as well...

      "AVC: You mentioned the scene of Dodger fighting a mugger while
      wearing women's clothing as being in the book for the movie. Do you
      hope to see a movie made out of Dodger?

      "TP: One always hopes. And now we've got our own production company.
      We might be able to do something..."





      The Progress Theatre of Reading will present their production of The
      Fifth Elephant (adapted by Stephen Briggs and directed by Chris
      Moran) in January 2013.

      When: Thursday 17th to Saturday 26th January 2013
      Venue: Progress Theatre, Reading, Berks
      Time: 7:45pm (with Matinees on Saturday 19th and 26th at 2:30pm)
      Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions), available in advance from Reading
      Arts Box Office (phone 0118 960 6060, booking fee applies) or by
      application in person at the Hexagon or Town Hall.



      The Studio Theatre Club's world stage premiere of Dodger will take
      place on 22nd to 26th January 2013!

      How to book:

      Send your ticket order (with back-up choices if you're after Friday
      or Saturday tickets); your cheque (payable to 'STC' – £8.50 per
      ticket), and a stamped, self-addressed, envelope to:

      Studio Theatre Club (Dodger)
      PO Box 1486
      OX4 9DQ



      Reviewed by Damian Perry

      Last Friday night I went to see Guards! Guards! As performed by the
      GemCo Players. I was excited, looking forward to seeing a giant
      dragon setting things on fire all over the stage, and to see our
      Chair, Carmela, playing Sybil Vimes. Well, I got to see Sybil!

      If you haven't seen (or read) Guards! Guards! then... well, I think
      this review will be almost completely meaningless to you. But
      basically, it is the story of Carrot, a human raised as a dwarf,
      come to the big city to join the Watch – he had heard it would
      make a man out of him. And then, there's a bloody great dragon
      terrorising the city.

      The show was an outstanding success. It is always a bit of a gamble,
      watching Pratchett plays on stage. A director with no sense of
      humour, or a cast with no comic timing can really destroy the
      master's work. This was not the case in this production. The crowd
      were roaring with laughter in a number of places, and chuckling for
      most of the rest of the show.

      The biggest bones my wife and I had to pick with the show were the
      length (it started at 8 and the first act finished at 9.30. The
      second half dragged a little as the jokes thinned out and the hour
      got later) and the Footnote. I get it. The Footnote is a very
      difficult plot device to use on stage. It is completely necessary
      when trying to put across the essential Pratchett-ness of a show,
      but as a completely written device, it often doesn't translate well.
      But it was overused in this production. The actor (I'm sorry, you're
      probably a fine actor!) wasn't comfortable in the role, was very
      forced in her humour and folded her glasses one too many times. The
      director could have easily dropped at least half-a-dozen of the
      interruptions, letting the cast take some of the exposition, or
      letting the audience fill in the gaps.

      Apart from that one little '*' the cast were mostly excellent. There
      were a wide range of ages involved, but for the most part, age had
      nothing to do with talent. Obviously I thought Carmela did a great
      job, especially when we first saw her – or the heavy dragon armour
      that surrounded her. She had a good relationship with Vimes and a
      great stage presence.

      I was surprised to see that four of the characters were played by a
      Grade Four student, but happily, he was one of the stand-out comedy
      parts in the show. His Brother Dunnikin especially had me in
      stitches as he mumbled about chastised thuribles and the three
      dollars he would never see again.

      Dibbler was my next favourite. During intermission he mingled with
      the audience, selling chocolates (sometimes for double the price)
      and assuring us that he was 'cutting his own throat'. He had a real
      presence on stage and played three very different characters. My
      wife felt that his Thieves' Guild Head was a little over the top,
      but I was happy.

      The Guards were (again, mostly) well-cast. Colon was very amusing,
      Vimes had a great physicality and good comic timing. Carrot took
      awhile to get used to because of all of the guards he is the one
      that is described the most in the books. But he had a goofy,
      innocent expression that was instantly endearing and he played off
      against the other characters with a real skill. Nobby was a case of
      mis-casting rather than bad acting. He was out of place in the
      ensemble, but wasn't a bad actor, just a bad Nobby.

      Vetinari and Wonse were both well-cast and Wonse's range of
      expression was excellent as the play progressed. He worked well with
      his secret brotherhood, who in turn, played a number of bit parts
      throughout the play.

      Who have I missed? Of course, the Librarian! His costume wasn't the
      best, and he forgot that he was a mon- er, an ape, some of the time,
      but he was hilarious, especially when playing charades. He made Ook
      mean exactly what he wanted it to mean, every time. Apparently he
      also doubled as Death – a seven foot robed skeleton with glowing
      blue eyes and scythe. Very effective.

      All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely. My seven-year-old daughter
      loved it. My wife loved it. It was definitely worth the drive out to



      8.1 SNUFF REVIEW

      In Fife Today, reviewed by Gordon Holmes

      "Even when he doesn't live up to his high standards, he is still
      head and shoulders above the vast majority of writers, and when he
      is on top form... well, read 'Wyrd Sisters' and you'll soon know
      what I mean. This is, incredibly, the 39th Discworld novel and when
      you consider his ongoing battle with Alzheimer's, that Pratchett can
      continue to produce work so clever and funny, with his on-the-mark
      insights into the darker aspects of human nature, is nothing short
      of genius... 'Snuff' deals with serious issues and as such has fewer
      laugh out loud moments but is still a compelling story..."



      A study has found that orangutans may, like humans, experience "mid-
      life crisis":

      An international team of researchers assessed the well-being and
      happiness of the great apes. They found well-being was high in
      youth, fell to a low in midlife and rose again in old age, similar
      to the "U-shape curve" of happiness in humans. The study brought
      together experts such as psychologists, primatologists and
      economists... 'What we are testing is whether the U-shaped curve can
      describe the association between age and well-being in non-human
      primates as it does in humans,' psychologist and lead author Dr
      Alexander Weiss of the University of Edinburgh told BBC Nature. Dr
      Weiss hoped the results would show a similar curve because of the
      close relationship between humans, chimpanzees and orangutans. The
      study showed that male and female humans, chimpanzees and orangutans
      have the same U-shaped curve despite differences in social roles,
      and the phenomenon is therefore not uniquely human. The sample
      subjects included 508 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and orangutans
      (Pongo sp.) of varying ages, from zoos, sanctuaries and research
      centres. They were assessed by zoo keepers, volunteers, researchers
      and caretakers who had worked with the primate subject for at least
      two years and knew its behaviour. The animals were numerically
      scored for well-being and happiness on a short questionnaire, which
      was based on a human well-being model but modified for use in non-
      human primates...


      An older article about happiness and lifespans in orangutans shows
      that happiness is a true life-extender for these apes:

      "A team of researchers in the UK and US devised a method to measure
      the happiness, or subjective well-being, of captive orangutans. In a
      follow-up study seven years later, the scientists found that happier
      primates were much more likely still to be alive... The team, led by
      Dr Alex Weiss from the University of Edinburgh, asked the people who
      worked closely with each captive orangutan to participate in the
      study. He asked the keepers and carers to complete a questionnaire
      about individual animals they knew well; assessing the orangutans'
      personalities and attitude. 'The assessment was modelled on
      [established] methods of assessing human well-being,' Dr Weiss
      explained to BBC Nature. The questionnaire posed four key questions,
      including how much time the orangutan in question spent 'happy,
      contented and enjoying itself'. It also asked the human participants
      to imagine how happy they would be if they were that orangutan for a
      week. By working out a happiness score for each of nearly 200
      animals, the team was able to see how happiness influenced the
      orangutans' lives..."



      Also in the New Statesman (see Laurie Penny interview, item 3
      above), a political analysis by Helen Lewis of the Discworld series:

      "One of the commonest misconceptions about Pratchett's books is that
      their fantasy setting somehow divorces them from the real world and
      its concerns. But as the Discworld series developed, its themes
      became increasingly political (with both a big and a small 'p').
      Take Feet of Clay (1996), possibly my favourite in the series. It is
      an interrogation of power as an ancient vampire herald called
      Dragon, King of Arms searches obsessively for the 'true ruler' of
      the city-state of Ankh-Morpork – while Captain Carrot, the only
      living descendant of the last monarch, steadfastly refuses to
      acknowledge that he is the heir, preferring to serve in the City
      Watch... Similarly, Going Postal is about capitalism. It tells the
      story of a notorious conman given a second chance if he promises to
      revive the Post Office. This is a shambolic bureaucracy, but one
      that offers steady jobs to the old and the slightly simple –
      unlike the rival 'clacks', a semaphore system where equipment is run
      into the ground and profit is put before the workers' safety... The
      moral cores of the series are Vimes and the witch Granny Weatherwax,
      characters to whom Pratchett has returned again and again. Both are
      feared – Weatherwax's nickname from the trolls is 'She Who Must Be
      Avoided' and to the dwarves she is 'Go Around the Other Side of the
      Mountain' – but they are also unbending in their principles..."




      Alex Leung said...

      My copy of the Ankh-Morpork cityguide just arrived in the mail
      today!!! So very happy! As a cartographer AND someone who works in
      the guidebook publishing industry can I just say thank you! You have
      done an absolutely amazing job. Love it!

      Rachel Matalon said...

      Hello. I just want to say thanks to Patrick Couton, the man who
      translate T. Pratchett's books in french. Thanks to his work, french
      people can appreciate T. Pratchett's humor. It was not easy.

      Tanya McIlwraith said...

      I met a man in Berlin who recognised us as Scottish because we
      sounded like the Feegles! He told us he learnt English by reading
      Discworld novels when held in an "institution"!

      Bill Howard said...

      At work we have several bulletin boards, one of them being "books".
      This post made me laugh out loud: The other day I got home from work
      to a rather irritated significant other. She's been reading the
      Watch (Sam Vimes) books from Discworld, on my insistence, and
      finished Snuff about two days before. Since then she's tried to read
      three different books – Mills and Boon or what I'd call penny
      dreadfuls and even an attempt at Twilight. Now she hates me because
      she can no longer stand poor authors. I've pointed her in the
      direction of Peter F. Hamilton for her sci-fi fix, and suggested she
      read the rest of the Discworld books before trying any other fantasy
      authors, but the hilarity of the situation made it impossible but
      that I had to recount the event here. An (almost) direct quote:
      "You've ruined bad writers for me. I hate you."

      Rick Hippy (or possibly Gaspode, to judge from the spelling) said...

      i remember the 1st time i ever went on hoilday by plane, in the gift
      shop i purcased "reaper man", i giggled all the way there... after
      checkin in2 my hotel i desided an explore was in order and came
      across a an open area were people were possing 4 photos with a man
      dressd up as death!.. long story short, i demanded he drop what he
      was doing and come 4 a drink with me, my treat. what followd was 1
      of the most entertaing nights of my life. me on the piss with
      death(real name pablo) in amsterdam. and its all thanx 2 u. :)



      By Ian Nichols in The West Australian:

      "Make no mistake, this book is an entertaining read, filled with
      oddness and laughs and one or two tears, plus the usual acerbic
      Pratchett insights and Baxter plot intricacy. The trouble is, it's a
      bit too full, and it is very obviously the beginning of a series,
      right up to the teaser at the end. So many plot elements are left
      unresolved, so many characters crying out for further development
      that the book becomes a jumble sale of orphans. The immense threat
      from the other worlds makes an obligatory appearance, driving all
      before it in waves of creatures that can step naturally. Then
      there's the the unforeseen disaster for which Lobsang had prepared
      comes and goes. The necessary love interest. The sub-plot of the
      colonists and their ambitions. And all the other sub-plots that are
      simply tossed in and seem to be forgotten about – until the next in
      the series. The idea is big, an immense tapestry which can contain
      just about any story you wish to tell, and that's the problem.
      Pratchett and Baxter have tried to tell too many stories and
      introduce too many plot elements in one middling-sized volume...."




      By Harry Ritchie in The Guardian:

      "This year's fourth Pratchett is a collection of his short works. It
      kicks off with 'The Hades Business', a story about the devil's
      attempt to mount an ad campaign to boost hell, which for some reason
      has been languishing unvisited for the last 2,000 years. Clever,
      neatly constructed and funny, this is an amazingly precocious work,
      written when Pratchett was 13. In a sign of things to come, what
      started as a homework assignment (marked 20 out of 20 by the young
      Pratchett's lucky English teacher) was published in the school
      magazine and then in a proper fantasy magazine, earning the
      schoolboy a £14 fee, which he invested in a typewriter... There
      follow a few more school-mag storyettes, then some pieces from his
      apprenticeship on local newspapers – children's stories written as
      'Uncle Jim' for the Bucks Free Press and some satirical journalism
      for the Bath Evening Chronicle. Eager Pratchettians will note that
      one of those early Uncle Jim pieces features a storyline that would
      later be expanded to form the basis of Truckers and a gnome called
      Rincemangle, whose name prefigures that of Discworld's rubbish
      wizard Rincewind. Similarly, the idea of countless, easily accessed
      parallel worlds in 'The High Meggas' would turn up again a quarter
      of a century later as the basis for The Long Earth... The real
      surprise of this book is that there are so few standalone stories in
      it. 'Short stories cost me blood,' Pratchett admits. He reckons he's
      written fewer than 15 of them in his career – a paltry return by
      his own preposterously prolific standards. As a result, this book,
      subtitled on the dustjacket 'collected shorter fiction', is more
      accurately labelled 'shorter writings' on the contents page, and the
      conventional stories are accompanied by all manner of bits and




      The City of Small Gods is a group for fans in Adelaide and South
      Australia. TCoSG have regular dinner and games nights, plus play
      outings, craft-y workshops, and fun social activities throughout the
      year. For more info and to join their mailing list, go to:


      The Broken Vectis Drummers meet on the first Thursday of every month
      from 7.30pm at The Castle pub in Newport, Isle of Wight. The next
      meeting will probably be on Thursday 4th December, but do email (see
      below) to check. All new members and curious passersby are very
      welcome! For more info and any queries, contact:


      The Wincanton Omnian Temperance Society (WOTS) meets on the first
      Friday of every month at the famous Bear Inn from 7pm onwards.
      Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome! The next WOTS meeting will
      (probably) be on Friday 7th December.

      The next meeting of the Broken Drummers, London's original Discworld
      meeting group, will be from 7pm on Monday 3rd December 2012 at the
      Monkey Puzzle, 30 Southwick Street, London W2 1JQ.

      "We welcome anyone and everyone who enjoys Sir Terry's works, or
      quite likes them or wants to find out more. We have had many
      visitors from overseas who have enjoyed themselves and made new
      friends. The discussions do not only concern the works of Sir Terry
      Pratchett but wander and meander through other genres and authors
      and also leaping to TV and Film production. We also find time for a
      quiz. The prize is superb. The chance to set the quiz the following

      For more info, contact BrokenDrummers@...


      The Northern Institute of the Ankh-Morpork and District Society of
      Flatalists, a Pratchett fangroup, have been meeting on a regular
      basis since 2005 but is now looking to take in some new blood
      (presumably not in the non-reformed Uberwald manner). The Flatalists
      normally meet at The Narrowboat Pub in Victoria Street, Skipton, N
      Yorks, to discuss "all things Pratchett" as well as having quizzes
      and raffles.

      Details of future meetings are posted on the Events section of the
      Discworld Stamps forum:


      Drummers Downunder meet on the first Monday of every month in Sydney
      at Maloneys, corner of Pitt & Goulburn Streets, at 6.30pm. For more
      information, contact Sue (aka Granny Weatherwax):


      Perth Drummers meet on the traditional date of first Monday of the
      month, from 6pm at The Vic Hotel, 226 Hay St, Subiaco. The next
      meeting will be on Monday 3rd December 2012. For more information

      Daniel Hatton at daniel_j_hatton@...



      From pop-culture blog Across the Pond TV comes a transcription from
      some amusing video footage...

      "Today at B&N at Union Square, NYC, Terry Pratchett and Rob Wilkins
      had a discussion about Terry's new book Dodger. The conversation was
      wonderfully derailed several times, and they got to share other
      Pratchett news about The Watch TV series and Nation and so on (I'll
      be sharing those on this blog in forthcoming posts), as well as
      tangents about things like Doctor Who. Below is the transcript and
      video of Sir Terry's opinion on the casting of the Doctor.

      "Rob: David Tennant could play anyone. He could play Moist von

      "Terry: I was there for the first episode of Doctor Who. The thing
      about Doctor Who, if you are a real Doctor Who fan, you might know
      that when the BBC put it out, not many people watched the first
      episode, but those that did were telling people about it. So, on the
      next Saturday, they repeated the first one so that people could see
      what it was all about. Just a piece of trivia, but there it is,
      because I was there, hiding behind the settee.

      "Rob: William Hartnell was no David Tennant, though, I'm sorry.

      "Terry: No, but David Tennant is a definite David Tennant. He is the
      best Doctor Who of ever because he is an actor. The best of them
      are..funny, the modern ones are just bloody clowns. A bit like you
      [Rob], but nevermind.

      "Rob: That's okay. I'll audition for the part.

      "Terry: Ha!




      French artist Boulet's stylish interpretation of *those* Four


      From Spike Livingstone, an interesting ballot:


      Pratchett fan Mila Puhakka's fine drawing of the Grim Squeaker:


      From Jesse Bates, a photo of Pirate, who is a very believable
      Roundworld Greebo:


      The excellent Broken Drummers logo:


      B. Alex Frain noticed a sign that would please Susan:


      ...and finally, the obligatory Humorous Vegetable:




      In a long, well-constructed and articulate review, blogger Random
      gives Dodger high marks:

      "Pratchett's homage to Charles Dickens, a story he has probably
      wanted to write for a long time, is very much interested in this
      toshing business, literally and metaphorically. From the very start
      we get a strong sense of that... The approach to imagery is
      obviously Dickensian but identifiably Pratchettian at the same time.
      Come to think of it, Pratchett donning the mantle of Dickens is an
      alignment of literary traditions that makes a lot of sense. Their
      works are compatible in terms of social and ethical themes, wit and
      tableaux (the city, mostly). Not to mention sheer volume and
      popularity. In Dodger these similarities are amped up, and Pratchett
      has made considerable efforts to mimic the sentimentality and
      pathetic fallacy typically found in Dickens...

      "Admittedly, Pratchett's Victorian London could be more vivid and
      detailed, but even as it is the tour is worth the time spent. Mostly
      because of Dodger, a guide that can take you from the smelliest
      nooks to the poshest crannies. He is a decently-imagined and written
      character, but in addition to that he is Pratchett's primary
      focusing lens in this novel..."


      ...and so does blogger Fyrefly, on hearing the audio version:

      "This book's got everything one might expect from a Pratchett novel:
      sympathetic characters, a smart sense of humor, and a down-to-earth
      perspective on the world and on growing up. It was maybe not as
      sharply satirical of some of the other of Pratchett's books that
      I've read, although it made its points quite clearly about choosing
      who you want to be, and the way in which perception is not truth,
      particularly the perception of who someone is, and even if it were
      truth, truth can be shaped and manipulated and looked at from
      different angles. Sometimes, perhaps, it makes those points a little
      too clearly; there were times when it seemed like Dodger was
      repeating himself, having the same revelation he'd had a few
      chapters ago. But they're smart revelations that maybe bear
      repeating, so I didn't mind too much. There's also enough action to
      keep the readers busy, and a surprising depth of character, not only
      for Dodger, but also for a number of the secondary characters as
      well... Stephen Briggs yet again does a wonderful job with the
      audiobook narration; his dry tone is just a perfect match for
      Pratchett's sense of humor..."


      ...whereas blogger OmniRambles, an apparent self-declared wit, hates
      it with a passion; an unsurprising reaction since this blogger seems
      to fail to get any of the book's elements:

      "This book was an unpleasant surprise from one of my favourite
      authors... In most respects, Dodger is the opposite of what I have
      come to expect from reading dozens of Pratchett novels. Usually,
      Pratchett's stories have multiple, complicated plot lines but this
      effort has only one very thin, predictable one. Usually, the
      characters are surprising and unique but Dodger's are relentlessly
      cliched (including racial stereotyping). Usually, Pratchett is
      hilarious and satirical but this book is not very witty and provides
      only a minimum of social commentary on Victorian London..."


      USA Blogger Chris Gladis, left cold by sport in general, had a bit
      of hard going with Unseen Academicals:

      "If my attitude seems kind of lackluster or disinterested, keep in
      mind that it's probably not Sir Terry's fault. The book, you see, is
      about football. Not the sissy-pants American kind where the guys are
      so afraid of grievous bodily harm that they wear protective armor
      all the time, but the good, old-fashioned British kind, wherein
      people get their heads cracked open by cobblestones and die on the
      streets... Seriously, I couldn't care less about football. The
      book's not really even about football, to be honest. It's about
      identity and self-image, two things that are inextricably tied up in
      sports and sports fandom. The book is a lot less subtle than usual,
      pretty much hitting you over the head with a mallet and saying, 'You
      are who you choose to be!!' over and over again...

      "It's hard for me to filter through the sports aspect of this book,
      which is disappointing because it's something that a lot of people
      will probably enjoy. There's something about the devotion to a sport
      or to a team that is very important to most people that I just don't
      get, and so my general lack of interest in this book is entirely my
      fault, and not Terry's..."


      ...but blogger Matt, who thought it would be a hard 'un to enjoy,
      felt the love:

      "To be perfectly honest, I ended up putting it down the first time
      that I tried to read it. The business with the Megapode within the
      first handful of pages was a bit of a turn off for me. This second
      time around, I soldiered on past the silliness (which was actually a
      rather coy set-up for a satire that I completely missed on the first
      go around) and I was completely blown away. Unseen Academicals is
      pure Pratchett. Love, the importance of family, social tolerance,
      sportsmanship... All of these themes written into the rich tapestry
      that Pratchett has created with the birth of Discworld nearly 30
      years ago..."


      ...and blogger Joe Praba gave it a short but enthusiastic thumbs-up:

      "Rating : 5 of 5 stars An absolute pleasure and joyful read this!"


      Blogger Edouard Stenger enjoyed Jingo:

      "Ankh Morpork is at war against Klatch and Terry takes the occasion
      to show how wars are preposterous and completely unnecessary. As
      always, Pratchett offers a great caricature of our world and how
      utterly stupid we can be. I had a huge laugh at the bits hinting on
      H.P. Lovecraft works as there is a Dagon Street and curious Squids.
      (Yes, I read The Call of Cthulhu and a few other unmentionable H.P.
      Lovecraft's novels). This book is a good opus of the Discworld
      series. Strongly recommended if you liked the others!"


      ...as did blogger leftoverrecipes:

      "While I loved this book, this shouldn't be your first book in the
      series – it would be better to read at least one more of the Night
      Watch books (Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Night
      Watch) first. Jingo captures perfectly the absurdities of war, while
      at the same time mourning war's inevitability. Jingo makes you
      think about politics and war in a different way than you did before.
      Jingo also looks at racism and preconceived ideas about different
      cultures. And Pratchett achieves this while making you laugh. In my
      opinion, this is one of his best books. Highly recommended..."


      Finnish blogger mervih is back with a review of Men at Arms:

      "The new recruits are really the stars of the book along with
      Carrot... Also, Gaspode the talking dog steals pretty much every
      scene he's in... As usual, Pratchett has strong themes in the book:
      racism (or rather speciesism since Discworld has different species)
      and the way that power corrupts..."


      ...and also reviews Guards! Guards!:

      "Lady Sybil Ramkin is a significant secondary character... in
      defiance to the fantasy traditions of small and young and delicate
      little princesses, Lady Ramkin is big, fat, middle-aged, and tends
      to wear rubber boots. Along the way Pratchett makes wry observations
      about dwarven culture, the nature of libraries, and the nature of
      humans. Oh and the discussions near the end about how one chance in
      a million will always succeed is priceless..."


      Blogger Dave Brendon gets to grips with The Long Earth:

      "The Long Earth takes the parallel-Earth idea to an entirely wide-
      spread level, because instead of 'the world next door' being opened
      to a select few scientists and marines, 'the worlds next door' have
      been opened to practically all of humanity, to anyone who can 'step'
      from our world, the Datum, to the worlds 'beside' it... There were
      also some character-spotlights, I'll call them, that served to
      explain what kind of effect the emergence of the Long Earths had on
      people – and I ended up really enjoying these spotlights because
      they showed, to a much greater degree than with Joshua, how the Long
      Earths affected people – who saw it as an opportunity to move
      toward a better way of life; who saw it as a new way of exploiting
      the environment; who became so captured by the Long Earths that they
      just couldn't settle down anymore because there was suddenly so much
      more within stepping distance. I actually wouldn't have minded at
      all if the entire book consisted of these spotlights, that's how
      much I enjoyed them. :-)

      "Plot-wise, The Long Earth unfortunately disappointed me... when the
      'climax' came I felt a bit let-down, almost cheated – the idea of
      the climax, and the danger that Joshua and Lobsang have been trying
      to find out about, is an interesting one, but it just didn't have
      the impact I was expecting. Also, there was another, smaller climax
      in the novel that had, confusingly, a bigger impact than the 'big'
      climax – at least, that's my opinion... Don't get me wrong – The
      Long Earth is entertaining, pacey, surprising and interesting and it
      seems to me that both authors did a brilliant job of balancing what
      they both brought – as individual writers – to the table (there are
      plenty of genuinely funny moments), but I just can't shake the
      feeling that The Long Earth as an idea is just too big, almost too
      chaotic, to have made the novel work has it should have..."


      ...while it's a bit of a labour of strained love for blogger Zoe

      "I know it's a co-authored work (which has been done well before
      with Gaiman) and I know it's not Discworld. And that's fine, because
      an author should always be trying something new. And I admire that,
      and I admired the plot of Long Earth. It involves lots of delicious
      what-ifs and timey-wimey stuff. Yay for that. But what happened to
      Pratchett? The absence of the beloved author was made glaring by the
      moments in the book that were pure Pratchett, the moments that shone
      amongst the general pabulum of the book itself. It took me two weeks
      to finish this, and I had to force myself through the first 100
      pages. It was like a dear friend had invited me to a party, and I
      was really excited to go, but then I got there and the wine was
      cheap, the snacks dry and the company less than stellar. And for the
      first two hours of the party, I wanted to fall upon a knife. But
      eventually it got sort of better and it didn't feel too wasteful..."


      ...and photographer and blogger Paula Kamysz was definitely not
      impressed, but devoted plenty of time and textspace to reviewing
      fairly and to highlighting her chosen hits and misses:

      "It was so mediocre that I'm not sure what to say; it's hard for me
      to believe that Terry Pratchett had a hand in this. .. The authors'
      dichotomy was so apparent that I could have highlighted who wrote
      what, split the sections out, and written two different books... I
      recommend it for people who aren't so jaded by formula scifi that
      they'd rather jump legs-first into a stump grinder than read more
      trash. I recommend it for those people, too, but with the caveat
      that you put on blinders and use it as down-time reading so that it
      doesn't become toilet paper..."


      The mysterious datbookreviews neither loved nor hated Making Money:

      "I felt like I was waiting for things to kick off through most of
      the book. They did, mind you, but not to an epic level. I think that
      a lot of things were 'bigged up', such as the invention of bank
      notes, but never really used... It was all a bit samey really, and
      without the subtle rivalry between Lipwig and Reacher Gilt... Mr
      Lipwig is still Mr Lipwig of course, but he seems to have lost some
      of his charm. Or at least, we see less of it. There is less of his
      wit and intelligence in devising solutions to all the problems of
      the bank, and more focus on.. nothing, really. I still enjoyed
      Vetinari's persona in the book, his style is still crisp and unique,
      so we're all swell there..."


      A post about the Discworld witches novels by Filipina blogger Lala

      "A few months ago, I have finished reading all of Sir Terry
      Pratchett's Witches novels. There are 10 in all so far, including
      the three Tiffany Aching series. I loved every single one of them.
      And I have never laughed so hard reading as when I'm reading
      Pratchett. He has found my funny bone. I just get him. Or he gets


      Media Studies student The Rambling Wanderer offers a 500-word essay
      on why Pratchett is "my favourite author":

      "I have great admiration for Terry Pratchett, and this has impacted
      me greatly. All of the characteristics I listed above have impacted
      me profoundly. The first time I read Terry Pratchett was in grade 3
      in the school library. I'll admit I chose his book because the
      cover looked interesting, but I am glad it caught my attention. His
      books have been a companion to me while growing up. He provided the
      worlds to which I could escape and never begrudged me for it. His
      books and worlds had many levels. You could just escape into the
      world for a short time, and that would be all, or you could study
      his books, pick up the hidden messages and themes and still be able
      to escape into the books. He blended pastime with study and
      instilled in me a sense of enjoyment in writing. He wrote for
      himself, and he wrote fantasy because it was a way to portray a
      world he sees. To him fantasy is a perspective, and his books show
      this with the relatively average and normal going-ons becoming
      fantasy with just a dash of the unexplained or special..."


      In a review of a review, blogger Carolyn Pollard reviews AS Byatt's
      review of Snuff in The Guardian last year. A fascinating little
      piece of deconstructing deconstruction:

      "I personally have never before read a review in which the title
      itself has been broken down, and so this makes a pleasant change.
      These small bits of detail are what make for a good review, and it's
      refreshing to see other similar snippets, such as the referral to
      past works of Pratchett's... It appears that Byatt herself may not
      be the master of humour, but she has skilfully overcome this matter
      in quite a clever way – instead of making her own jokes about the
      book, she instead directs us to the humour to be found within... You
      will find that Byatt may not be the best reviewer you will ever come
      across, but she has not failed to deliver an insightful detailed


      The latest blog review from Cheryl Mahoney is a solid prop for

      "There's no Fagin, but there is Solomon, a wise old Jewish
      watchmaker who gives Dodger a place to sleep and helps him stay on
      the straightish and somewhat narrow path. There's no Oliver Twist,
      but there is Simplicity, a young woman Dodger rescues from a couple
      of thugs – a young woman who turns out to have crowned heads of
      Europe intensely interested in her... All in all, I didn't love the
      book, but there is a great deal here to like very much. There's
      enormous fun in the various historical figures Dodger's path
      crosses–from Fleet Street journalist Charlie Dickens to up-and-
      coming politician Benjamin Disraeli, and a host of others I didn't
      have enough historical grounding to recognize (but there's a helpful
      afterword). We also wander into fictional territory when Dodger
      meets Sweeney Todd, more sad than demonic and a powerful lesson
      about the tendency of the world to create the story they want to

      "My favorite things are a couple of character quirks. First,
      especially near the beginning, Dickens has a tendency to make a
      remark, get a look in his eye, and hastily jot something down–as
      when he made a reference to 'our mutual friend.' I would have loved
      even more Dickens quotes sprinkled throughout – though there may
      have been more that I just missed. Second, I love Solomon's
      religious life. He frequently explains situations to God, perhaps
      when someone is doing something a bit, well, dodgy. But Solomon will
      make matters clear to Him, in a lightly humorous and never offensive
      way. It has much the same feel as the beginning of the song 'If I
      Were a Rich Man' in Fiddler on the Roof..."


      Pratchett newbie Oscar AzAl loved Making Money:

      "Terry Pratchett fuses fantasy and reality in perfect harmony making
      the mixture genuinely natural. The reader's perception is that of a
      likely story with bits of plausible unreality... This has been my
      first book by Pratchett and I loved it. Some friends and bloggers
      speak wonders of this author and I've been given several of his
      books as presents. It was about time I read any and I'm definitely
      going to read some more..."


      Blogger Eric on Eleventh Stack enthuses about the Bromeliad trilogy:

      "Even though Pratchett is probably best known for his Discworld
      series of books (which are excellent, by the way) I'm interested in
      telling you, dear Eleventh Stack blog reader, about The Bromeliad
      Trilogy. These are three novels (Truckers, Diggers and Wings) that
      Pratchett wrote for a YA audience that are as accessible for older
      folks as they might be for younger folks. Yes, the book is about
      nomes, and yes, some of these nomes live in a department store for a
      time (see...describing it sounds kind of dreadful!) but the
      overarching ideas of discovery, of attempting to come to grips with
      the nature of belief and the evolution of those beliefs, and the
      conflicts of having to come to grips with all of this while dealing
      with other people are also present and are excellently discussed. In
      addition, it's funny. It's REALLY funny. And it's a good story. It's
      a REALLY good story..."


      Blogger Ash is back with an overview of the Tiffany Aching series:

      "The Wee Free Men introduces the notorious Scottish pictsies, the
      Nac Mac Feegles and sets the context of their meeting Tiffany... I
      could say with conviction that this is yet another beautiful story
      amongst the Discworld books. It turns hilarious at points where
      readers are introduced to the simple world of the Nac Mac Feegles
      and their famous gonnagles...

      "A Hat full of Sky... The book explores Tiffany's frustrations with
      the craft and the fact that witches live a second-hand life compared
      to the wizards. She is put to test constantly having to choose
      between what's cool and what's the right thing to do...

      "Wintersmith... Tiffany finds herself drawn to the dance and
      inadvertently treads the danger zone catching the interest of
      Wintersmith, the anthropomorphic personification of winter. What
      follows is an interesting courtship...

      "I Shall Wear Midnight – The last book of the series serves more
      of a coming of age story for Tiffany who is busy juggling her
      personal and work life. It also explores the challenges Tiffany
      faces in the wake of being accepted as a Witch and her relation with
      her parents..."


      And finally, blogger Carol Wuenschell's long and respectful literary
      "love letter" to Sir Pterry:

      "The addressee is Terry Pratchett, a writer whom I first discovered
      decades ago, one who grew on me steadily until by now I can't
      imagine the world without his books in it. He's a writer whose books
      I have read – and in some cases, re-read – to my children during
      their formative years. Over the years, I've become so intimately
      acquainted with Terry's prose, that I find myself thinking about him
      on a first-name basis – this despite the fact that I have never
      met the man and don't expect to. My children got used to having
      their mother stop after a particularly delicious passage and say,
      'Oh Terry!' – and then re-read the passage aloud just to savor

      "Yes, I do love Terry Pratchett. He's a master of humor (of course)
      but also of story-telling, of characters, and of the well-turned
      phrase (those Oh Terry's). There is often a seriousness underlying
      the humor. (Check out the Terry Pratchett Quotes link, below. His
      wit and wisdom are just boundless.) And the thing that most endears
      him to me is his keen observations of humankind – both as
      individuals and in aggregate. In the earlier Discworld books, the
      observation is sharp and biting. In the more mature works, the
      sharpness is not lost, but there is also something I can best
      describe as a subtle affection..."



      16) CLOSE

      Do remember that there's still a week to run on the Cult Classic
      Theatre's Kickstarter appeal for their 2013 exclusive premiere stage
      production of Good Omens:


      And that's it for the moment, but who knows, we may yet be back
      before the month is out – especially if Fernando remembers to cast
      your monthly horoscope. WOSSNAME wishes a very happy Thanksgiving to
      all our USA readers, and we'll see you again soon!

      – Annie Mac


      The End. If you have any questions or requests, write:
      Copyright (c) 2012 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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