Writer and editor | Host Pratchat | Her most recent fiction work is about grief, time travel, and a thermos.
In episode 31, Liz, Ben and returning guest Joel Martin step sideways into the infinite earths of Pratchett’s 2012 collaboration with Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth. In 2015, plans for a strange but simple box-shaped device called a “Stepper”, powered by a potato, are posted online. Kids all over the world build them and discover that the boxes let them step “East” or “West” into other Earths. There are thousands of such worlds – perhaps millions – all subtly different. But they do have one thing in common: there are no humans on any of them. Fifteen years after “Step Day”, human society is irrevocably altered, and experienced far-stepper Joshua Valienté is offered a new job: to step further from Earth than even he has ever been, and explore the mysteries of the Long Earth in the company of a Tibetan motorcycle repairman reincarnated as a supercomputer… Based on ideas from Pratchett’s 1986 short story “The High Meggas”, written before the popularity of The Colour of Magic led him down a particular leg of the trousers of time, The Long Earth is the first in a series of five novels set in a near future world forever changed by the existence of limitless worlds next door. An epic journey across millions of worlds, Pratchett chose to work with his friend Stephen Baxter, a prolific science fiction author whose work encompasses hard future sci-fi, speculative evolution, alternate history and sequels to classic novels by the likes of H. G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke. That all seems quite a distance from comic fantasy – but the pairing just works. So – it’s five years since Step Day. Would you visit another Earth? Could you pick which bits were Pratchett, and which Baxter? And what kind of potato is in your stepper box? Use the hashtag #Pratchat31 on social media to join the conversation! Guest Joel Martin is a writer, editor and podcaster who previously appeared on Pratchat in episode 14, discussing the book that derailed the Long Earth back in 1986, The Colour of Magic. Joel is also the director of the Speculate speculative fiction festival (specfic.com.au). His latest work is the short story Hunting Time in Strange Stories Vol. 1, scheduled to be published this month by 42books. Joel’s writing podcast, The Morning Bell, is currently on hiatus, but you can find the full back catalogue at themorningbell.com.au. Find out more about him at thepenofjoel.com. Next month we’re stepping back onto the Disc to meet adventurous nine-year-old Tiffany Aching, in 2003’s The Wee Free Men! Get your questions in via the hashtag #Pratchat32 by around May 23rd. You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site. Want to make sure we get through every Pratchett book? You can support Pratchat for as little as $2 a month and get subscriber bonuses, like the exclusive bonus podcast Ook Club!
For our thirtieth episode, Liz and Ben take a break from reading books and instead read your comments and questions, looking back on both Pratchett’s work and their own. Which one of Dibbler’s schemes would you fall for? What’s your least favourite Discworld novel? Are there any good Pratchett-inspired games? What line would you quote to sum up Pratchett’s style of humour? We want to hear your answers to all the questions you asked us! Use the hashtag #Pratchat30 on social media to join the conversation. You can find Elizabeth on Twitter as @elizabethflux, where you will find links to her articles and some very good puns. (Ben is flinching already.) You can also find her (and her impractical outfits) on Instagram as @elizabethtiernan. You can find Ben and his projects via his web site benmckenzie.com.au, on Twitter at @McKenzie_Ben and Instagram at @notongotham. For creative story-based activities, check out the social media of 100 Story Building; they’re on Twitter at @100StoryB. Next month’s episode we’re returning to our original plan for this month: we’ll be reading Pratchett’s 2012 parallel universes collaboration with Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth, the first in a series of five novels. Get your questions in via the hashtag #Pratchat31 by late April! You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site. Want to make sure we get through every Pratchett book? You can support Pratchat for as little as $2 a month and get subscriber bonuses, like the exclusive bonus podcast Ook Club!
We’ve made a change in our schedule! Our next book will indeed be The Long Earth, as announced last episode, but we’ll be postponing that to May. Our thirtieth episode, #Pratchat30, will instead feature Liz and Ben answering your broader Pratchett questions. Listen or read on for more information. If you’re new to Pratchett, this is your chance to ask how or why to get into his work, and of course to invite the inevitable argu- er, discussion about where to start. If you’re new to Pratchat, this is your chance to ask more questions about books we’ve already covered – see our Episodes page for a list! We also welcome comments and feedback on our previous discussions: what did we get wrong? What do you want more of? And for everyone, this is a chance to give us your questions and comments about Pratchett’s work as covered so far on the podcast: questions that aren’t tied to a specific book, or span many of them. We want to hear them all! But please, no spoilers for books we’ve not yet covered. Check the Books page if you’re not sure. We’re recording on April 3rd, 2020, so get your questions in by then via social media (use the hashtag #Pratchat30) or by email to chat@pratchatpodcast.com. We hope you understand our need for this change in the schedule, but we’ll still see you on the 7Ath! And as always, a big thanks to all our listeners, and especially to our Pozible supporters. Your help means more right now than usual, and we’re very grateful for it. If you’d like to support the production of Pratchat, find out more on our Support Us page.
In episode 29, Liz, Ben and guest Fury join Rincewind on a journey to a strangely familiar land in Pratchett’s 1992 loving Discworld parody of Australia, The Last Continent. (A quick content note: this one has more swearing than usual, but we bleeped the c-bombs out.) The Librarian of Unseen University, long ago turned into an orang utan, is suffering from a magical illness. Archchancellor Ridcully and his faculty could help him – if only they knew his original human name. Unfortunately the only person likely to remember is former Assistant Librarian Rincewind, and the wizards sent him to Agatea – and then accidentally propelled him across the Disc. He ended up in XXXX – aka Fourecks, aka the Last Continent, aka “that place far away full of deadly animals” – but he’s managed to survive. The locals out in the desert seem friendly enough, at least until he asks when it will rain. But something isn’t right. The land needs a hero. What it’s got is the Eternal Coward… Pratchett came to Australia many times, and his experience of the country seems to have rubbed off. Fourecks affectionately parodies Australian music, slang, politics and culture, including Mad Max, The Man From Snowy River, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, thongs, corks on hats, the cultural cringe, Vegemite, pie floaters and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. It’s quite the ride for the Australian reader… Rincewind is moulded into the stereotypical “bush hero”, but his touchstones aren’t entirely post-invasion – Pratchett also tries for a nuanced and deep Discworld interpretation of Aboriginal culture and beliefs, even if he doesn’t include any actual Aboriginal characters. Do you think he makes it work? Could you follow all the Australian references? Is there enough of a plot, or is it just an excuse for a bunch of jokes? Use the hashtag #Pratchat29 on social media to join the conversation! Guest Fury is a writer, illustrator and performer who previously appeared on Pratchat in episode 19, discussing Soul Music. They were recently seen in Gender Euphoria, a touring multi-disciplinary show celebrating trans experiences which has played in Melbourne and Sydney. Fury’s book I Don’t Understand How Emotions Work is available online now. You can also find out more about them at their web site furywrites.com, or follow them on Twitter as @fury_writes. Next month’s episode was going to cover Pratchett’s 2012 sci-fi collaboration with Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth, but we’ve had a change of plan! Instead, we’ll be taking a month off from book discussion to answer your questions about how to get into Pratchett, about past episodes, and about his work in general. Listen out for a special announcement with more information, and get your questions in via the hashtag #Pratchat30 by April 3rd. You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site. Want to make sure we get through every Pratchett book? You can support Pratchat for as little as $2 a month and get subscriber bonuses, like the exclusive bonus podcast Ook Club!
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Creator Details

Episode Count
38
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
2 days, 17 hours