WOSSNAME -- Main issue -- December 2012
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Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
December 2012 (Volume 15, 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 2012 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
02) LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
03) WOSSNAME REVIEWS: A BLINK OF THE SCREEN; THE COMPLEAT ANKH-
04) PRAISE FOR THE LONG EARTH
05) "THE DUEL" PROGRESSES
06) WINCANTON'S HOGSWATCH AND TWINNING CELEBRATIONS
07) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
08) ODDS AND SODS DEPARTMENT
09) THE THINGS PRATCHETT FANS SAY...
10) REVIEW: DODGER
11) REVIEW: A BLINK OF THE SCREEN
12) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
13) DISCWORLD GAMES NEWS
14) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
15) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
01) QUOTES OF THE MONTH
"Our fondest memory will always remain eating astronomers chilli
with Patrick Moore & @DrBrianMay at 3am during a Perseid shower. A
"Pratchett, despite the slapstick, the terrible jokes and the very
clever complicated jokes, is somehow wise and grown up. As a reader
I trust him."
02) A LETTER FROM YOUR EDITOR
Here we are in the final days of 2013, a year some of probably
thought we'd never see and a year that Sir Terry Pratchett,
creator of the Discworld, thought would be past the days of his last
projected Discworld novel! Or so he told Stephen Briggs back in
1994, when Mr Briggs was conducting the "definitive" Terry Pratchett
interview for the very first Discworld Companion:
SB: Do you see yourself still writing Discworld books in ten years'
TP: No. Not even in five years' time. Certainly not on a regular
How fortunate for all of us that he was so spectacularly mistaken!
Some eighteen-plus years and twenty-one Discworld novels later (not
counting a host of ancillary Discworld publications, most of which
featured The Author in at the very least a collaborative
role), the Discworld series is far from finished... and even though
none of us lasts forever, we now know that the series will endure
with a Pratchett at the helm for longer still. So raise your
already- charged holiday glasses in a toast to the
continuinuinuation of Terry Pratchett and Discworld. Long may both
endure, and so say we all!
As you probably know by now, the fourth Science of Discworld is
ready for the printers (see item 14 below for an image of the
forthcoming cover art). In January 2013 the Dorset Humanists will be
hosting a presentation by Science of Discworld co-author about,
yes, the science of Discworld, in, yes, Dorset!
"The Science of Discworld is a trilogy (with a fourth title expected
soon) of popular science books written by Terry Pratchett in
collaboration with mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack
Cohen. Each book combines a Discworld-based story by Pratchett
interwoven with chapters on real world science by Stewart and Cohen.
In this highly entertaining presentation, Professor Cohen will help
us to view the science underpinning our world ('Roundworld') from a
completely different perspective. Join us for a talk that will
appeal to everyone with an interest in science, as well as to fans
of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series."
When: Saturday 12th January 2.00pm
Venue: Moordown Community Centre, Coronation Avenue, Moordown,
Bournemouth BH9 1TW
Tickets: free entry (donations appreciated). Everyone welcome!
Read all about it: http://tinyurl.com/d8vdla3
Word on the street is that Science of Discworld 4 will be released
on 11th April 2013. Stay tuned for more details!
Have you ever heard of the Unseen Library? No, not the UU one a
very special run of deluxe Discworld books published in our own
universe! here is a description from the Fine and Finer Editions
"These deluxe volumes were published in batches by BCA, starting in
2001, often coinciding with the release of a new Pratchett novel.
Bound in quarter leather, with lavish gilt and using high quality
paper. The endpapers feature colour maps of Discworld and the covers
a tipped in image by Paul Kidby... The Unseen Library editions were
initially very popular the run for The Colour of Magic was 7000
copies but the series ran out of steam with the final release,
Maskerade, running to only 3000. Apparently the cost of production
was high so the printing error that required Maskerade to be redone
may have killed them off. (copies of MASKARADE are naturally very
collectable!) Nevertheless, these 18 volumes contain most of
Pratchett's best work in the Discworld universe: Guards! Guards!,
Small Gods, Equal Rites etc. Copies of the more popular novels are
often more expensive, yet supplies are plentiful and conditions are
often near perfect."
If you happen to be looking for some last-minute presents and happen
to have an enormous surplus of disposable income or if, like me,
you simply want to drool longingly over some fabulous collectibles
that you might never be able to afford have a shufti at this
link. Most of the volumes are offered for prices in the hundreds,
but it seems that there are a few going for prices commensurate with
an "ordinary" new Discworld hardcover edition:
And now, on with the show!
Annie Mac, Editor
03) THE WOSSNAME REVIEWS
By Annie Mac
3.1 A BLINK OF THE SCREEN
A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction, by Terry Pratchett
This is a book no Pratchett collector should be without. Far more
than a mere collection of leftovers and oddments, A Blink of the
Screen is a fascinating portrait of the evolution of a great writer.
Many of the pieces in it were formerly unavailable to the general
public, or cached away in a collection of other authors' wildly
uneven efforts, or mouldering in the archives of local newspapers
and minor science-fiction and fantasy magazines; others are reprints
or re-reprints but having them all in one place is a good, welcome
The book certainly counts as value for money. Over 300 pages long,
it consists of a foreword by award-winning author and noted
Pratchett fan A.S. Byatt, a section titled Non-Discworld Shorter
Writings, a section titled Discworld Shorter Writings, and an
Appendix which includes a deleted scene from the novella-length
Lancre Witches story, The Sea and Little Fishes. There are also
three generous selections of lovingly reprinted illustrations
commissioned for the original publications, almost all by Josh
The non-Discworld fiction that goes back to 1963 and has been
collected for the first time here includes, inter alia, the very
short stories Solution (clever, Nivenesque, about a smuggler and the
enforcer chasing him) and The Picture; the humorous bureaucrat-
bashing shorts Kindly Breathe in Short, Thick Pants and There's No
Fool Like an Old Fool Found in an English Queue; several of
Pratchett's charming "Uncle Jim" tales that show early hints of what
would become his Discworld writing style; and The High Meggas, "seed
story" for The Long Earth, which was originally published in 1986.
There are a fair number of stories that are technically second-hand
reprints, as they were originally collected and published in 2004's
Once More* with Footnotes, but given that OM*WF was meant to be a
special publication for WorldCon attendees, there were very few
copies of it printed and most Pratchett fans probably have never
seen much of its contents, so their inclusion here is justified. The
re-reprints include and be warned, this list is long but even
so, not complete Incubust (less a story than a cutely nerdy
drabble); Final Reward (a delicious tale of an author's
deliberately-killed- off creation coming back to haunt him; much,
much more fun to read than, say, The Dark Half, Stephen King's take
on the same subject); Turntables of the Night (which counts,
perhaps, as Early Death even though it has an original post-Mort
publication date of 1989); # ifdef DEBUG + "world/enough" + "time"
(I'll say it yet again: this is one of the all-time great science
fiction short stories, head and shoulders above even Robert
Heinlein's classic By His Bootstraps); Hollywood Chickens (a
howlingly funny short that walks all over the William Goldmans and
Howard Waldrops of this world); The Secret Book of the Dead (a twee
but truth-filled poem about pets' mortality); Once and Future (a
flawed but clever take-with-a-twist on the King Arthur legends); FTB
(possibly a cousin of Hex!); The Hades Business (his earliest
published story, presented with a needlessly apologetic foreword;
yes, the writing is rough and unpolished compared to his later work,
but even so it is of a standard that many published and even
successful authors *never* reach); The Ankh-Morpork National
Anthem (the full lyric and the story of its creation, both in
Roundworld and Discworld history); Medical Notes (a short catalogue
of uniquely Discworldly afflictions such as Attention Surplus
Syndrome and Paranoia Inversa); Thud A Historical Perspective
(the title says it all); and Death and What Comes Next (about
uncertainty... and inevitability).
We also get The Sea and Little Fishes (Granny Weatherwax is forced
by circumstance and Mrs Earwig to be "nice"; the ensuing
horror is every bit as horrible as you might imagine); the Punch and
Judy-themed Theatre of Cruelty (in which Carrot investigates a
possible murder in a very Carrot-like fashion); and the famous Cohen
short story (and nascent film epic) Troll Bridge (while it's
fantastic as a standalone story and self-contained satire of fantasy
convention, in the context of the evolved Discworld canon it clangs
with wrongness. However, this probably makes it a very good way to
introduce non-Discworld readers to the series. Just a thought...)
And there's more! The marvellous A Collegiate Casting-Out of
Devilish Devices in which A.E. Pessimal comes to do a time and
motion study at Unseen University, with predictably hilarious
results. Sir Joshua Easement: a Biographical Note (2010)
Pratchett's contribution to the National Portrait Gallery's
"Imagined Lives" series, in which famous authors were invited to
provide faux biographical details for anonymous period paintings;
it's great fun to read and has a familiar feel as shown by this
sample: "Such of his papers as survive give a tantalising hint that
in failing to discover the Americas, he may inadvertently have
discovered practically everywhere else..."; the text of a short
speech, A Few Words from Lord Havelock Vetinari, on the occasion of
the twinning of Ankh-Morpork and Wincanton in 2002; and lastly,
Minutes of the Meeting to Form the Proposed Ankh-Morpork Federation
of Scouts (I found it clever but mild; my husband, on the other
hand, giggled madly, so your mileage may vary). All of these are
introduced by short observations from the author about the
provenance or original circumstances of publication of each.
All in all, A Blink of the Screen is a literary meal that satisfies.
If I had to pick a personal favourite from this huge and varied
collection, it would probably be the deleted scene from The Sea and
Little Fishes; I can see why it was deleted in the first place,
because the tone of it is much darker than the rest of the finished
story, but frankly that very darkness lifts it to a much higher
level of emotional impact. One can also see in it the seeds of some
important parts of Carpe Jugulum and the Tiffany Aching stories.
A Blink of the Screen is more than a reference and more than a
history. It's a compendium that can be re-read over and over, and a
fine addition to any Pratchett bookshelf. Highly recommended.
3.2 THE COMPLEAT ANKH-MORPORK
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork is truly a marvel. I was looking forward
to its publication, and I have to say that it exceeded my
expectations in every way. Starting with the exquisite slipcase,
which is a facsimile of the City Guide's hard cover and contains a
sturdy pocket for the removable map itself and a sturdy pocket
is needed, as the map is huge! you open it to find a gorgeous
book in which no detail has been overlooked, from the rich blue-and-
gold of the covers to the subtly marbled endpapers and the
parchment-like paper of the pages to the flawless print quality of
the many images. It's a fabulous thing to look at, and it brings the
Citie of One Thousande Surprises to life as never before.
In The Compleat Ankh-Morpork you will find a treasure-trove of
"Essential Information for the Traveller", covering notable laws and
ordinances, public transport, accommodation, where to eat (and,
especially, drink), where to buy stamps or send a clacks message, a
guide to various entertainments, and a guide to places of worship.
There is a Guilds guide, a guide to Clubs and Societies, a section
of the Unseen University, a selection of Walking Tours of the City,
a Directory of Principal Pumps and Wells, and a detailed set of
"Maps of the Shades and Environs". And then you have the main
event(s): a fully illustrated 35-page Directory of Ankh-Morpork
Merchants, Traders and Services, and the Annotated Directory of the
Streets, Alleys, Roads, Lanes and Yards of Ankh-Morpork, giving
exact map locations for all and fascinating histories for many.
And oh, the illustrations! The original Ankh-Morpork map and
gazetteer, The Streets of Ankh-Morpork (Corgi, 1993), was created by
the collaborative duo of Pterry and Stephen Briggs, drawn
beautifully by Stephen Player and illustrated also
beautifully by the multitalented Mr Briggs. This time around,
the art and text of the Guide is a collaboration between Pterry and
The Discworld Emporium (Bernard and Isobel Pearson, Reb Voyce, and
Ian Mitchell) and is every bit as beautifully drawn and illustrated,
but the difference lies in quantity rather than quality. To call the
illustrations "lavish" barely does justice to their impact. The
sheer number of them! The detail! The complexity! The way they seem
to combine all the various official visual realisations of this
great city, from the earliest Map to The World of Poo! (My personal
favourite is the full-page illustration on page 102, which would
surely bring a tear of delighted approval to Hogarth's eye were he
still among the living.)
Most of all, The Compleat Ankh-Morpork is a testament to the way the
Discworld universe has grown, evolved... and grown up. Yes, the
tradition of using wonderfully awful puns as names has continued
in addition to the many amusing place and street names we already
knew, we also now know that the great city of Ankh-Morpork contains
Over-Easy Street (coming off Tenth Egg Street, appropriately), Fair
Fowl Lane, Wartson Hall Road, Turney Down, Backhand Forth, Robes
Pier and Amper Sands, to name but a few but there is also a
wealth of the kind of ingeniously daft (and oddly believable) names
that made us fall in love with the Big Wahoonie in the first place.
Blatant Moorsfoot, First On The Right Street, Proven Fruit, High
Trouser Lane, Diribitory March, Butter Gusset Lane, Loopers Maw,
Feathermist Vennel, Small-But-Delicious-Fishes Avenue... the list of
wonderful names goes on and on yet never wearies. The Directory of
Principal Pumps and Wells alone contains more punnery than you can
shake a Fools Guild bladder-on-a-stick at. And for the er um more
fandom-oriented aficionado, there is the fun of finding all the
"insider" names (for instance Harkin, a "place close to the Cattle
Market, renowned for small back-room operations, the production of
quack medicines and brewing")... and for the rest of us, the fun of
wondering "Who is Frederick Hillam and why does he have a crescent
named after him?"
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork combines in one volume the whimsy of the
various Discworld Almanacks and the visual delights of some of the
best of Discworld art. If I seem ridiculously enthusiastic about it,
I assure you that I mean every word of praise. The only cavil I can
come up with is that the map itself seems to be of a thinner and
lesser-quality paper than its 1993 predecessor, but given its
increased size and the fact that it is a double-sided printing
on the reverse of the map is an iconograph-style panorama of the
whole of the city, so anyone wanting to frame and hang it might have
to consider buying a second copy, and that might be entering the
realm of the truly obsessed this is probably an unavoidable
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork is superb. It is, in my opinion, the best
of all the ancillary Discworld publications. It is, in a word...
compleat. Buy it, pore over it, get lost in it. You'll never look
back especially if you find yourself on Don't Look Back Street!
04) PRAISE AND KUDOS FOR THE LONG EARTH
WOSSNAME congratulates Sir Pterry and Stephen Baxter on The Long
Earth being voted best science fiction book of 2012 by the reader-
driven site Goodreads. TLE won the category (science fiction) with
Also, The Independent lists The Long Earth as one of its most highly
recommended "books of the year" in science fiction, fantasy and
horror, calling it "a rollicking tale:
05) "THE DUEL" PROGRESSES
On Irish media news site IFTN:
"Pre-production has begun on Irish animation 'The Duel', with
acclaimed fantasy writer Terry Pratchett on board as executive
producer. Dublin-based Giant Animation Studios developed the idea
and began pre-production after award-winning writer Pratchett
approved an initial treatment... The project is a collaboration
between Giant Animation and the Animation Hub; a collective of
animators from Ballyfermot College of Further Education and Trinity
College Dublin. The aim of the Animation Hub is to work on high end
projects that have an educational/incubation remit, where students
get hands-on experience on a full production delivered by a
"Sean Mullen, Alex Sherwood and Ben Harper of Giant Animation wrote
the script and will direct the short. Giant's Daniel Spencer and
programme leader of the BA (Hons) Animation Gareth Lee are
producing. David Lloyd is the executive producer with Pratchett...
'The Duel' is due for completion in August 2013."
O6) WINCANTON'S HOGSWATCH AND TWINNING CELEBRATIONS
Here be a blogpost from the lovely Muriel Lavender, performance poet
and Discworld fan:
"I've given several poetry performances this weekend as part of the
10th anniversary celebrations of the twinning of Ankh-Morpork, the
greatest city on the Discworld, with Wincanton in Somerset home,
naturally, of the Discworld Emporium and the finest Hogswatch
celebrations you'll see anywhere. It's an overwhelming thing to have
been part of the love, warmth and passion of all those Discworld
devotees, who brought together all those other warm and passionate
Discworld devotees from around the globe... I believe Sir Terry
Pratchett himself describes his most dedicated Discworld followers
as 'Bloody Loonies'. It's clear that his regard for these Loonies is
both warm and mutual. I was privileged to be part of all this
inspired lunacy this weekend. Speaking of Sir Terry, he came in
during my performance and took a seat. That was a very special
moment for me. The generosity (and, it must be said, devoted fandom)
of the Discworldians who attended the auction, raised over £2900
for The Research Institute for the Care of Older People..."
Muriel's page includes a number of photos from the day, including
some very impressive Discworld costumes!
From This Is Somerset:
"The town welcomed hundreds of visitors as part of the three-day
annual Hogswatch celebrations. An army of Pratchett fans joined
local dignitaries in celebrating the tenth anniversary since
Wincanton was twinned with fictional Discworld city Ankh-Morpork. A
civic ceremony was held in the town hall on Saturday to mark the
milestone. Despite Saturday's scheduled grand parade from the
Discworld Emporium to Market Square falling victim to the foul
weather, organisers were delighted to see that 'the spirit of the
occasion was not dampened'. Reb Voyce, who works at the Discworld
Emporium, said: 'We had so many new people travelling into the town
from all over Europe. It's a truly unique event to celebrate a
unique link that Wincanton has with Discworld...'"
From the Western Gazette:
"The Compleat Ankh-Morpork is the newly-released travel guide to
Pratchett's famous fictional metropolis. Each book includes a giant
double-sided street map and aerial view along with a comprehensive
trade directory and gazetteer. To mark the book's launch, an army of
loyal fans travelled from far and wide to Wincanton in
traditional Discworld attire... Treacle Mine Road, Peach Pie Street
and Morpork Street are among Wincanton's streets showcasing its
fantasy phenomenon. Bernard Pearson, owner of the Discworld Emporium
on the town's high street and good friend of Sir Terry, pioneered
the twinning of the town with Ankh-Morpork ten years ago. He said:
'This latest book is the culmination of a year's research and
artistic endeavour, and a testament to Pratchett's genius as a
fantasy writer. All of us at the Discworld Emporium are proud to
have played a part in it's production, and pleased to further
strengthen Wincanton's ties with Ankh-Morpork in the tenth
anniversary year of the famous town twinning.'...
"Colin Winder, mayor of Wincanton, said: 'Hogswatch is absolutely
great for the area, anything that gives us wide publicity has to be
(includes a lovely photo)
[Editor's note: Wincanton's mayor has an eerily appropriate surname
let's just hope he doesn't share certain less salubrious
qualities with the former Patrician of Ankh-Morpork!]
07) DISCWORLD PLAYS NEWS
7.1 REMINDER: THE FIFTH ELEPHANT IN READING
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.
7.2 REMINDER: DODGER IN ABINGDON
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
7.3 REVIEW: GUARDS! GUARDS! IN EMERALD, FOURECKS
Reviewed for WOSSNAME by Sir Jase
Last Sunday my family and I headed up the hills for our first taste
of live Discworld with Guards Guards by the Gemco Players. After
complimentary sherries (which were also complementary to the
experience) and an assurance to one CMOT Dibbler that one programme
each was enough thanks, we headed into the intimate theatre at the
Gem Community Arts Centre.
The amateur cast handled the play with an enthusiasm which engaged
the intimate but full theatre. They delivered the jokes well and
played the physical comedy with no hesitation. Supporting cast held
their end up and allowed a number of standout performances. Carmella
Pezzimenti played an appropriately robust and hearty Lady Sybil with
just a touch of softness and Adam Ballis played his characters with
relish, especially a particularly affronted Urdo Van Pew. Adam
Houham's descent into madness as Lupine Wonse almost made me forget
I was watching a comedy for a while.
The brotherhood provided plenty of laughs, notably ten year old
Caleb Hope's Brother Dunnykin harping on about his three dollars,
and the three watchmen had good chemistry as a team. Having not seen
a Discworld play before, I was interested to see how the Librarian
would work, but Jordan Galt injected sentences of meaning into every
We did find Footnote a little distracting. The schoolmarmish
character was played well enough, but we noticed that the slow
expository style did disrupt the comedic flow in the faster scenes
delivering the footnote with the same pace as the rest of the
action would have felt more integrated.
The set was well constructed, using limited space with versatility
a rotating set to one side allowed quick, unobtrusive changes,
and the director's good use of the whole area helped to engage the
audience. The heads of the watchmen poking above the rooftops made
for good visual comedy. Errol was adorably puppeteered, and lighting
and special effects lent depth and magic to the action on stage.
Overall, a great afternoon was had by us. In her first major
production Evie Housham has directed an energetic band of Gemco
Players to a very enjoyable show.
08) ODDS AND SODS DEPARTMENT
8.1 STEPHEN PLAYER INTERVIEW
Some extracts from a recent Plain Ketchup podcast interview with
Discworld illustrator Stephen Player:
"Is it true you rather draw from memory and imagination than pure
"What seems to be strange in America is that referencing things
seems to be completely acceptable. When I was a child, if you were
found to have copied it from a photograph, then that negated the
whole thing. Everybody would be like "You cheated," so I forced
myself to learn to draw so that I could draw things from imagination
because that's all that was valid. It was a strange little "Village
of the Damned" that I was living in because it doesn't seem to have
affected anybody else.
"You were the concept artist on the film Hogfather. Your work
inspired their wardrobe designers, CGI artists, and set designers.
To actually see things that you designed in existence, how surreal
"I'm very aware of how art changes from the conception to being in
the movie, so I didn't expect my designs to appear as I did them,
but there were a lot of things in that movie that were straight from
my drawings. I was quite surprised. The sock eating creature was
pretty much 100% from what I drew, and Hex the computer, and of
course the bone castle.
"Do you still have any drawings from when you were a kid?
"Recently, my sister had found some portfolio that was stuck under a
bed forever, full of my stuff from school. So yeah, I suddenly
discovered this whole treasure trovewell, I know treasure isn't
quite the wordbut it was actually strange, like meeting old
friends you'd almost forgotten. And then, 'Oh my God, I spent hours
and hours over that drawing.' What I should say is that they were
not as good as I remembered because that would show humility, but I
was actually kind of impressed. Because I teach now, you see, so I
know the levels that tend to be around, and I was actually pretty
good for that age."
Player also talks about the process of designing the very first
Feegles in Wee Free Men. To listen to the entire interview, go to:
8.2 ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH ROUNDUP
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine are experimenting with a new
use for "brain pacemakers":
"The surgery marks a new direction in clinical research and it's
designed to slow or halt the ravages of Alzheimer's. Instead of
using drugs, this study uses low-voltage electrical charges
delivered directly to the brain. In 2010, as part of a preliminary
study, the devices were implanted in six Alzheimer's patients in
Canada. Patients with mild forms of the disorder showed sustained
increases in glucose metabolism, an indicator of neuronal activity,
over a 13-month period. A second patient will undergo the same
procedure in December. 'Recent failures in Alzheimer's disease
trials using drugs such as those designed to reduce the buildup of
beta amyloid plaques in the brain have sharpened the need for
alternative strategies,' states Paul B. Rosenberg, site director of
the Johns Hopkins clinical trial. Some 40 patients will receive the
brain stimulation implant over the next year at Johns Hopkins and
four other institutions in North America as part of the ADvance
Study led by Constantine G. Lyketsos and Andres Lozano. Only
patients whose cognitive impairment is mild enough that they can
decide on their own to participate will be included in the trial...
The surgery involves drilling holes into the skull to implant wires
into the fornix on either side of the brain. This is a brain pathway
instrumental in bringing information to the hippocampus, and the
portion of the brain where learning begins and memories are made..."
Scientists in the UK have created brain cells from skin cells, to
study diseases such as Alzheimer's:
"Cambridge scientists have, for the first time, created cerebral
cortex cells those that make up the brain's grey matter from
a small sample of human skin... [this procedure] will enable
scientists to study how the human cerebral cortex develops, how it
'wires up' and how that can go wrong (a common problem leading to
learning disabilities). It will also allow them to recreate brain
diseases, such as Alzheimer's, in the lab. This will give them
previously impossible insight, allowing them to both watch the
diseases develop in real time and also develop and test new drugs to
stop the diseases progressing. Dr Rick Livesey of the Gurdon
Institute and Department of Biochemistry at the University of
Cambridge, principal investigator of the research, said: 'This
approach gives us the ability to study human brain development and
disease in ways that were unimaginable even five years ago'...
"Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, the
UK's leading dementia research charity, said: 'We are really pleased
to have contributed funding for this work and the results are a
positive step forward. Turning stem cells into networks of fully
functional nerve cells in the lab holds great promise for
unravelling complex brain diseases such as Alzheimer's...'"
A study has found new information about how the tau protein, an
Alzheimer's indicator, spreads in the brain:
"In the study, the researchers used genetically modified mice to
have a human gene for abnormal tau protein in the frontal lobe,
where tau is supposed to begin its accumulation. The brains were
analyzed over a period of 22 months to map the protein's spread.
They discovered that tau spread to different regions of the brain
across the synapses. These new clues might provide a way to stop the
neurodegenerative disease from getting worse. Karen E. Duff, a
pathologist at the Columbia University Medical Center, in New York
City, states that this follows what they see in the earliest stages
of human Alzheimer's disease. Scientists knew that the disease
spread from one region in the brain to others, but brain scans and
autopsies remained inconclusive. The tau pathology starts in the
entorhinal cortex, and spreads from there. An effective treatment,
which would emulate how physicians treat cancer, would include early
detection and some form of a new treatment at the early stage of the
disease, when it's most amenable to treatment..."
8.3 BUY THIS BOOK!!!
As reviewed in item 3.2 above: here be details regarding the
purchase of that most excellent artefact, The Compleat Ankh-Morpork.
No Discworld-lover's home should be without one. No, really.
"This magnificent guidebook is the culmination of a year's research
and artistry, a feat only possible with the vision, direction and
penmanship of one Sir Terry Pratchett. As proud producers of this
marvellous tome we can confidently say that The Compleat Ankh-
Morpork is one of the most detailed, and finely crafted fantasy maps
ever devised. Contained within is a comprehensive gazetter and trade
Directory, along with all the civic and municpal information deemed
useful to the inhabitant, or visitor to the Big Wahoonie. Also
included is a spectacular double-sided pull-out map measuring a
whopping 95 x 85cm. One side boasts a detailed plan of all known
streets, cuts and alleys, while the other bears an artistic
rendition of Ankh-Morpork so beautiful that it is guaranteed to stir
wonder in the hearts of any Discworld fan."
The price is £23.00. Yes, you might get it cheaper on a certain
enormous and world-spanning commercial website, but that isn't
really the point and if you order from the Cunning Artificer's
Discworld Emporium, not only are you supporting a business at the
very heart of Discworld-dom, but you will also get a beautiful extra
that's totally exclusive to the pride of Wincanton:
"As we were lucky enough to have a hand in producing The Compleat
Ankh-Morpork, we're giving away 'The Compleat Story' with every copy
in celebration of it's release, and as a thank you to our loyal
customers. This A3 double-sided behind-the-scenes tale will give you
a special insight into our involvement in the project from
conception to 'compleation'. Features material from the cutting room
floor, insider information and, we're delighted to say, a little bit
For more information, and to order, go to:
And while you're there, adding a mere tenner will get you a related
and also fabulous Ankh-Morpork keepsake:
"Fed up? Need a break? Looking for a change? Why not rent a place
in the most interesting part of the most exciting city in any
Multiverse? For just £10.00 you could have a pied-a-terre in the
'folklorique' and fragrant heart of Ankh-Morpork!
"Send no money today and you could miss out on the opportunity of a
lifetime, or sign up with Portal Properties, sole agent for Unreal
Estate at the Discworld Emporium, and secure an affordable living
space in a most desirable dwelling house in the Shades. We have a
portfolio of properties available to rent now - Just leave it all to
us; with space at a premium and many neighbourhoods being populated
by newcomers of various species, our team of experts at Portal
Properties will find the right place for you.
"As soon as we receive your down-payment, a short-term lease will be
drawn up on the property we have selected for you. This will be sent
to you along with our terms and conditions. No references required!
You will be sent three legal sized, colour sheets inside an
attractive property portfolio. The first sheet is your lease and
tenancy agreement, the second sheet outlines the position and nature
of your property and surroundings and the third sheet deals, mainly,
with your conditions of tenure. Each lease is good for a year and a
day and has the relevant duty stamp."
For more information, and to order, go to:
8.4 NADWCON UPDATE
For those of you planning to attend next year's NADWcon, membership
discounts still apply until the end of December! A full adult
membership 9ages 13 and up) costs $99 now but will go up after New
year's Eve to eleventy ($111, for any non-hobbit-savvy).
Child memberships (ages 6-12) are now $49.50, going up to $55.50 in
January; family memberships (up to two parents/guardians and their
dependent children), now $297, will become $333; memberships for
children ages 5 and under are free. There are still supporting
memberships available until the end of this month, priced at $33.
For further details, including qualifications for dependent
children, go to:
Confirmed guests for the convention, which will run from 5th 8th
July 2013 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, include Sir
Pterry (health permitting) and Rob, Pat Harkin, "Team Artificer"
(Bernard Pearson, Reb Voyce and Ian Mitchell), Esther M. Friesner,
and The Long Earth co-author Stephen Baxter.
09) THE THINGS PRATCHETT FANS SAY...
Sean Hosking says...
Just finished reading Snuff. Went straight out and bought world of
poo for my 5 year old son. lol. Now tonight to start Dodger! Hooray.
Can't wait. Snuff was awesome by the by. If I could have a man
servant to watch my kids it would be Willikins hands down. That guy
is as tough as 2 dollar steak.
Paul Davis-Cooke says...
Like millions of other people with this terrible addiction, I have
everything Sir Terry has published, some in more than one format. My
self control has been so undermined that I cannot resist the
temptation to read, re-read and continuously torture myself with his
outpourings. Dodger is a triumph and has only one fault, it should
be three times as long. I was so immersed in the atmosphere that I
didn't want it to end. I am still waiting to wake up on discworld
and find that all this was a crazy dream, but The Long Earth,
Nation, Dodger, is there nothing he can't do?
Estelle Pieters says...
My very beloved husband recently passed away, he introduced me to
Terry Pratchett many years ago, and in his last few months re-read
every novel Terry had written, the amazing humour and truth and
wonderful way of looking at life made his last months more bearable
for him. Thankyou to a great author, you will always be cherished.
Les McCormick says...
You were the first author to make me laugh VERY loud on a public
bus. Ill never forget that. From that i was hooked. Before that, I
had read things, very quietly. I still remember the moment, and the
bus that i caught. thank you Terry, thats what started me reading,
PASSIONATLY. I have always found it hard to relax, to get my brain
to stop ticking. But after reading your books i found a way to
relax. THANK YOU Terry. If you are ever in Sydney I would love to
but you a drink. As you good Sir changed my life.
Alexandria Hadkinson-Dunn says...
You are a genius of our times sir and my partner and I think you are
Mishka Greene says...
You are a great writer:) have thoroughly enjoyed nearly your whole
catalogue, and will again:)
Robert Benson says...
I had a really weird dream last night about Discworld. Lord Vetinari
passed away and Moist Von Lipwig became the new Patrician of Ahnk-Morpork.
Rogahar Zealus says...
I'd just like to say thankyou, Sir Pratchett, for bringing me an
entire childhood and continuing early adulthood of joy and laughter
from your excellent Discworld series :) I still have my father's
full collection of original paper and hardbacks of every one thus
far, save for Dodger which I plan on buying in short order. :D You
are a master of the written word, and you have my eternal thanks.
Sean P Barry says...
Just read your interview on A.V. Club website. Your closing comments
inspired me to come here and comment. You said you wish to be
remembered as "a really great writer", but you don't think you are.
Considering how many hours of happiness and entertainment your books
have given me Sir, I think you're a bloody fantastic writer, thank
Alexandra Weisman says...
Just finished reading Snuff! I absolutely loved it! Thank you Sir! A
million thanks! It was such a pleasure reading it!
Brandon Tasha Bledsoe says...
Read "The Long Earth" today. So irresistibly captivating &
enthralling, I couldn't put it down until the end!
Kath Whitehead says...
I've made a convert! My friend asked me to loan him s few of my
discworld books, he's now hooked and keeps asking for more! He
managed 54 years without Pratchett, now he can't wait for next book!
Shea DuPree says...
The media player I use(VLC) just released an update called
"Twoflower" that they report will help with all the Ogg problems
I nearly widdled meself!
Abbie Boniface says...
I have been reading the Wee Free Men to my kids. My son (6) just
said 'Ah Crivens, I've just spilled my juice!'
Dave Blackburn says...
It's beginning to smell a lot like Hogswatch,
Down at the old stockyard. Chops and hams and bacon rinds,
Rendering the lard...
Rebekah JosiLynne Sloan says...
Every Christmas for the past few years it has become tradition to
watch Hogfather. Today I put the movie on for me and my 7 year old
daughter and about halfway into the first night she says "I believe
in Santa and the Hogfather." Me thinks I will be putting a Hogfather
present under the tree this year!
Sam Annear says...
Seriously, my favourite author. Have to say, Death is my favourite
character, but utterly love them all. And The Wee Free Men!
Keith Hawkins says...
Why do my family make me wait until Christmas or my birthday to get
the next book. At nearly 60 years old it is too long to wait for the
few good bits of life.
Jenny Wu says...
I can't express how much Sir Terry's work has meant to me. I read
(or listen to Nigel Planer or Stephen Briggs) when I feel sad or
stressed or lonely or happy. Now i'm watching Going Postal for the
first time and remembering how much i love the characters. Thank you
Silane Arthon says...
Terry Pratchett... That's the name that connects people together...
France or Germany or England... We all know your books and we
always have something to share thanks to them. You bring light and
fun in my life and your books helped me to have something to say to
people from a different cultures not only because we love them
all, but also because I found another point of view about life
thanks to "Meme Ciredutemps" (Granny Weatherwax). I hope your books
will be studied in the universities soon because it's much more
useful and fun than "classics" ;)
Thor Martin Berg says...
Terry Pratchett your books make me smile, cry and laugh no matter
what mood I am in. Thank you for that.
Barak Brudo says...
I'm from Israel. You are one of my favorite authors and since I
admire your genius I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.. You've
created Thud as a way for two very different people with a long
history of hate and bloodshed to find understanding, to see the
other side's point of view. I know it's a long shot, but could you
maybe do something like it for the Israelis and Palestinians? we
could sure use some good narrativium around here. Thanks in advance
and be well. for a long, long time to come.
10) REVIEW: DODGER
Reviewed by Mohsin Siddiqui on Pakistan website Dawn:
"Pratchett has covered war, enslavement, demonic possession, and
most worrying of all the meaning of being human. Diagnosed with
Alzheimer's some years ago, Pratchett can't be faulted for having
taken a turn towards the negative. In his latest novel Dodger,
however, Pratchett has again taken an upbeat tone...
"Dodger is told exclusively as a narrative by its protagonist, which
means that the worldview you might expect from Pratchett is somewhat
restricted to Victoriana. That said, it remains smartly,
unapologetically aware; politically, socially, and economically. The
target audience is clearly young adults, but Pratchett manages a
sensibility that avoids condescension in any way. He refuses to
elide or conceal the stark misery of life in Victorian England, but
he does not harp on it to excess either; there is no sense that he
is doing anything other than documenting reality. This is
underpinned by the evident inspiration that Pratchett found in
historical fact and fiction, but Dodger manages to avoid losing its
own internal voice in the reams of 'actual' detail... Rather than
individuals having to overcome their own darker side, or grand
rebellion against the forces of evil, Dodger is a story of ethics
and of unexpected heroism. Dodger has grown up in an environment
where betrayal and competition are as natural as oxygen, but the
innate goodness in him consistently wins out... Dodger is generous,
courageous and possessed of an almost aggressive loyalty that seems
to be utterly absent from his milieu. This could easily have turned
him into boring character. Thankfully, the goodness exists hand-in-
hand with a stubborn practicality..."
11) REVIEW: A BLINK OF THE SCREEN
By Colin Hicks, on The Pratchett Podcast page:
"This is well worth buying but I suspect I am preaching to the
converted here even if you are lucky enough to own 'Once more
with Footnotes'. There is about a 30% overlap in content but as OMWF
was published over 8 years ago it has a lot of new content... Each
story has a short forward by Sir Terry even only to say he cannot
remember writing it. Or to say he had to be restrained from re-
writing it to make it presentable..."
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Hicks also offers a short review of Lawrence Watt-Evans' unofficial
Discworld companion book, "The Turtle Moves":
"Has anyone read The Turtle Moves, The: Discworld's Story So Far by
Lawrence Watt-Evans? I bought this book 4 years ago and I am doing a
quick re-read. It's a light hearted Tongue in Cheek, effectively a
fan review written by an American author, of the discworld books. Up
to Making Money. For Discworld fans it won't tell you anything new
and for non discworld fans it has a lot of spoilers but... it does
not take itself seriously and is inoffensive. I don't think I would
pay the Amazon price, but if you can pick a copy up cheap on ebay go
ahead. And it explains some of the jokes it only took me 20
years to get the Plain of Reality and AirPlane joke in the Colour of
12) DISCWORLD GROUPS MEETING NEWS
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 3rd January 2013, 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 4th January 2013.
The next meeting of the Broken Drummers, London's original Discworld
meeting group, will be from 7pm on Monday 7th January 2013 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
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 7th January 2013. For more information
Daniel Hatton at daniel_j_hatton@...
13) DISCWORLD GAMES NEWS
REVIEW: GUARDS! GUARDS! BOARDGAME
Reviewed by Phil on gaming site The Shell Case:
"For starters, you get a lot of stuff in the box. A small forest of
card board in fact and the production value is excellent. Everything
in full colour. Everything made from good stock produced to a good
finish. It's a weighty box and includes a four panel fold out
boards, cards, counters, profiles and counters and tokens of various
types. The premise of the game is as typically Discworld as players
must go in search of magic spells that have been stolen from the
Unseen University, right out from under the Librarians nose. Oook...
"I think the greatest strength to this game is the determination of
the writers to keep it feeling Discworld. Aside from the characters
you meet along the way and attempt to charm or bribe into your
service, the items you can acquire are familiar too, such as
Rincewind's hat. Fate will dictate that Death takes you for a Curry
or you can get run over by Luggage. Those new to Discworld won't get
every reference, character, or gag but that's fine because most of
it is funny on its own merits but for fans it'll be the little
touches that really gets their nerd juices flowing... Where Guards!
Guards! really excels is the extremely tactical nature of the
game... basically there's lots of hooning around the city trying to
avoid being kicked in the face whilst, in turn kicking others in the
face. Discworld Noir this ain't. If I'm honest, because there is so
much to remember you can find yourself a little confused on your
first outing but I think that's slightly more to do with the
rulebook as it could, for me, be slightly more logically laid out.
But it's a relatively minor grumble from what is actually a superb
game. Especially if you're a fan of the Discworld novels..."
14) IMAGES OF THE MONTH
Pterry looking very pleased to be close to a very attractive
Seamstress at the Wincanton Hogswatch 2012 celebrations:
Best Hogfather ever?
...but then again...:
Pterry and Tony Robinson sharing a laugh:
The Paul Kidby cover art for Science of Discworld 4!
Is it Rincewind's Red army?
Possible sighting of a newborn Star Turtle...
Mrs Cake cross-stitch, by Ellie Spencer:
15) AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
Blogger and author SJ Higbee is back with a review of Dodger, giving
it ten out of ten:
"This is something of a departure for Pratchett there isn't a
single fantastical detail in this adventure. Although, his version
of Victorian London bears more than a passing resemblance to Ankh-
Morpork, the bustling city state of his Discworld series so much
so, I was half expecting Corporal Carrot to come marching around the
corner accompanied by a troll and a werewolf to investigate the
whole business. However, this time around, we have to make do with
the likes of Charles Dickens, Henry Mayhew and Sir Robert Peel.
So is Pratchett's foray into historical fiction successful?...
Pratchett has the knack of producing a vivid backdrop that not only
gives a memorable setting to all his action, but somehow manages to
become another distinctive character in its own right a very
neat trick to pull off. So the wealth of historical detail woven
into the story becomes part of the fun. And, this, being Pratchett,
"Which disguises what is actually a grim tale. Of poverty and
desperation. Of cynical seduction and the callous disposal of a
beautiful young girl, once her rich, powerful husband tires of her.
Of an intelligent boy whose future at one point, was to live a short
life roaming the sewers, but wrapped up in the adventure story of a
beautiful girl needing to be rescued... There is more than a nod in
the direction of Dickens with the unfolding storyline, but
ultimately, it is Pratchett's own themes that surface his
dislike of the complacent rich, his loathing of social injustice,
the belief that one person with a burning sense of what is right can
change a system even if the result is often not what was
originally intended. And above all, his affection for humanity,
which suffuses this offering. Once again, I think the category of YA
is somewhat superfluous this is Pratchett...."
Blogger Tanya Cienfuegos reviews Dodger:
"I have had trouble getting into his non-discworld stuff before. I
was worried that the same would happen with Dodger. I worried
needlessly. Dodger was a great read that I finished in 3 sittings.
The Victorian setting was very reminiscent of the discworld...
Dodger himself surprised me a lot. From the description from the
cover blurb, I imagined someone like, well, Nobby Nobbs and there
are some hints of that in Dodger but with some Vimes-esque badass
and self-doubt mixed in. He was an incredibly sweet and awesome
geezer and reaffirms my admiration for Sir Terry's talent for
creating amazing characters. The mystery girl herself, known as
Simplicity, was a fascinating girl who still intrigues me. She and
Dodger were great to watch and even more so when they were
together... I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read Sir
Terry's books or who is just a fan of the Victorian era..."
...as does blogger olyzwords:
"This is a fun and humorous novel. Every once in a while a book
comes along that hits several 'sweet spots' for me. This is one such
book (Another example is Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon for very
different reasons). The sweet spots for me in this novel are:
Victorian age London, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, and a host of
cameos from contemporaries of the time such as Charles Babbage.
Terry Pratchett shows his usual wit and style..."
Blogger Goldenbookwyrm meets Witches Abroad for the first time:
"As with all Discworld books, Pratchett spends much of the time
making fun of typical Fantasy cliches, most noticeably the ones
surrounding witches and fairy godmothers. Not only is it funny, but
it adds depth to the story, because once a character basically
screams, 'Hey, look at me! I'm living up to a stereotype!', you
start to pay attention to what's going on underneath and why the
character would choose to do so. I think that's pretty cool. My
favorite part of this story is Greebo, Nanny Ogg's terrifying cat.
Every scene he's in is amazing. I want a Greebo of my own. :) I also
love the sub-plot about the mirrors and why witches should never
stand between two of them..."
Blogger isobelreads was somewhat perplexed by Night Watch:
"Having read and loved the first ten or so Discworld novels, all
hilarious, inventive and readable to the point of addiction, I was
really looking forward to Night Watch. Unfortunately it seems that
the Discworld seems to have moved on quite a lot since my last
visit! This book is the sixth in the City Watch series, of which I
have read none, and so it's littered with obscure references and
in-jokes that I completely missed out on. There were also characters
that I was clearly meant to know and love, of whom I knew nothing...
The plot itself gripped me, but due to the nature of the series,
little time was spent on character development, so I didn't care
too much about the people involved. There were tons of little events
and conversations that happened in the past that were clearly meant
to compare or contrast hilariously with the future counterparts of
the people involved, but they lacked significance to me. Regardless,
though, the book was still riddled with comic characters, and
hilarious one-liners, and I didn't struggle to get through it..."
Blogger Jonathan Feinstein reviews the Stephen Briggs audiobook of
Nation, and the post's title ("If Only Anthropology Classes Were
Like This!") tells you his opinion of it:
"The story has heart. It also has a lot of sound anthropological
theory behind it and yet it is told with both serious respect for
its subjects and some very funny humor. Most of all, this is a book
that while entertaining you will also have you thinking about just
what a nation is and what it takes to make one... Had anyone but
Stephen Briggs read this it could never have been as enjoyable to
listen to. I've said in the past that I have never heard Mister
Briggs read badly and this is certainly no exception. His pacing,
voices and grasp of Pratchett's expressive writing simply cannot be
matched. I do not think anyone reads Pratchett as well as Stephen
Briggs and this is saying something considering his readings have to
be compared to those of Nigel Planer, Tony Robinson and others whose
readings I have enjoyed immensely. Perhaps it is the subject matter,
but I think this was also one of Stephen Briggs' best readings..."
...and blogger Dave Thompson feels the same way about it:
"A rollicking adventure above and below the cobblestone streets of
London ensues. And it's a pure, simple, listening delight the
kind of book you don't want to stop listening to. This is not a
retelling of Oliver Twist. Instead, Dodger himself becomes the
inspiration for one of the characters in that novel, and for a lot
more of Dickens' work. (Spotting all the Dickensian Easter Eggs in
this is great fun.) Without a doubt, though, this is a love letter
to Charlie Dickens, Henry Mayhew, and the working class of London.
"The plot isn't the most original or complicated, but it's written
and told expertly. Best of all: the characters are ones I want to
hang out with over and over again. The relationship between Dodger
and Charlie crackles it's just a joy to witness the respect and
rapport and that builds between them... Dodger is straight-up
historical fiction. If there's a speculative element to it, it's so
slight I can't recall it. There's also a certain retro flavor to it
not just in the Victorian London setting, but in the way
Pratchett tells the tale. It's very easy to imagine this as a Guy
Ritchie film... After listening to Dodger, I'm really excited to
explore more of Pratchett's work..."
Blogger and writer of children's stories Luke Thomas French was
delighted by The World of Poo:
"A lovely little insight into the smells and sounds of Ankh
Morpork. Reading this reminded me how it felt to get lost in the
worlds of Enid Blyton and Rupert Bear novels. Pratchett does a
great job painting just how it feels to be a young boy on a holiday
adventure. As a big fan of Snuff and all things Discworld, I
particularly enjoyed the attention to detail: The signature from
Miss Felicity Beedle to young Sam Vimes; the 'Other titles in this
series' list; and, of course, the ever-growing collection of poo,
which excited Young Sam Vimes' imagination so much in Snuff. I did,
however, find myself feeling a little bit like a tourist on a
monorail throughout the story. Whilst all the characters were
charming in their own quirky way, I was hoping my knuckles would
turn even a slightly lighter shade of pink eventually. It wasn't
the thrilling ride down Old Treachery I was hoping for, but all in
all an enjoyable read..."
On Bubble Bath Books, bloggers Bubby and Sissy have a rollicking
conversation about Witches Abroad that is almost as much fun to read
as the book itself:
"Sissy: This book is not for people who take themselves too
seriously. Terry Pratchett is a wickedly funny satirist and overly
stuffed shirts might find him silly. But as I told my friend the
other day, if you don't take time for silliness in your life, your
soul becomes constipated... In Witches Abroad, Pratchett revisits
many familiar fairy tales. He teaches us about sensible magic and
manages to crack me up on every page. Even the character names are
hilarious. I tried to read funny bits out loud to my 17-year-old son
today and he just looked at me like I was a blooming idiot.
"Bubby: Yes! That's the same reaction I get from my husband. I own
almost everything Terry Pratchett has written and I often find his
books so hooting funny that I laugh out loud. I try to share the
funniness with my family but they are too closed-minded to
appreciate dry British humor. That's the disclaimer with these
books. It seems that a reader will either find them side-splitting
or just a pain in the side. There doesn't seem to be much middle
ground. If you appreciate old BBC television shows like 'Fawlty
Towers' or 'Keeping Up Appearances' then you will enjoy Terry
Pratchett. If not, well, just move on to the next review...
"Sissy: Unrestrained frivolity. Monty Python (but more literate and
less crude) meets The Brothers Grimm meets Sabrina the Teenage
Blogger Barb Drummond makes a general observation on Pratchett and
underlying truth in great fantasy:
"Terry Pratchett is one of the world's biggest selling authors,
though his genre, that of fantasy, is often derided by 'serious'
writers and critics. But to create a fantasy world as complex as he
has achieved, takes a level of understanding and skill that leaves
most authors eating his dust... He does this in part by reading
history widely. By knowing what did happen, he is better placed to
create things that may happen, and often shows an extraordinary
depth of human understanding. That he writes with such humour only
adds to his genius, and teaches the reader lessons without ever
Blogger and fantasy fan (and mother of a former non-reader)
humanitysdarkerside is back with her review of A Blink of the
"I read Pratchett's story from when he was 13 without much hope of
entertainment. But, you know. There is a reason Pratchett is my
favorite author. He simply has the gift. And that is the feeling I
am left with after reading this book. Pratchett does well in a great
many genres. Death as a disco-lover, football cards, heroes that are
resurrected, x-mas cards that draw you in, silly laws and
regulations, alternate earths, evolving chickens, biographies, the
Discworld: this book has it all. The art of Josh Kirby is excellent.
Seeing it in such vivid colors is a delight. Like all of
Pratchett's books, A Blink of the Screen shows the world to me as
it is. Sure, you have to strip away the fantasy bits first, but the
people are real in all their glory and horror..."
On the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's blog Story Pockets, blogger
Amy delightedly reviews Where's My Cow?:
"I'm not sure which I like more about this book, the text or the
illustrations. I don't visualize characters when I readit's more
blur and shadow and general sensebut Vimes and the cast of Ankh-
Morpork are so vividly and humanly portrayed that I can't picture
them looking any other way but this. The facial expressions slay me.
When Vimes takes down Where's My Cow?, you can almost hear Sam
squealing, with his outstretched arms and toothless joy. Even the
pet dragon and the teddy bear look attentive, imitating the animals
along with Vimes. (Ever see a wee dragon try to oink? You've got
one. And Vimes, if you know Vimes, as a hippo? Hee.) But it's Vimes'
story that brings down the house. A grinning book flies off the
shelf, flowers lean forward from a wall painting, and even the
chickens peer up from the poor chewed board book to spit like
Coffin' Henry. Here is where older readers of Discworld might
appreciate the cameos, but again, it's not strictly necessary. You
don't have to know who Lord Vetinari is to smile at the goofy salute
Vimes and Young Sam give him, or to know that Sam finds his daddy
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