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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, 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!
Episode 22 - released, by pure coincidence, on International Cat Day - features Elizabeth, Ben and resident Pratcat Asimov for a look at one of Pratchett's oddest books: 1989's humorous examination of all things feline, The Unadulterated Cat. Cats these days just aren't a patch on the ones you used to get: untameable aloof outdoor beasts who are more likely to trap you in a neighbours' house with a broken leg (long story) than to sit nicely on your lap and purr. The Campaign for Real Cats has had enough of modern, "fizzy keg" cats, with their bows and bells and posing. This is the Campaign's guide to identifying, understanding and appreciating honest-to-Bastet real cats. Pratchett teams up with cartoonist and illustrator Gray Jolliffe to give us a tongue-firm-in-furry-cheek guide to the world of cats in one of his rare non-fiction works. It's the kind of thing you buy the cat lover in your life for Christmas, full of chapters detailing the types of cats, their names, the games they play and "advice" on how to deal with them. Are you a cat lover? Did this ring true for you? We'd love to hear from you - and to hear your cat stories, and any real cats you've identified in fiction! Use the hashtag #Pratchat22 on social media to join the conversation. In September we return to the Discworld - and its most real of cats, Greebo - as we head to the opera for Maskerade, the 1994 book which brings the witches to Ankh-Morpork! Our guest will be teacher and opera singer Myf Coghill. We'd love your questions - send them to us via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat23. And as mentioned in this episode, we'll soon be releasing our first bonus episode just for subscribers! All bonus episodes will be available to anyone who subscribes, so if you're interested, jump over to our Support Us page for details. Show Notes and Errata: Asimov lives with Liz and is our resident "Pratcat". He was previously audible in the background of episode 10, We're Gonna Need a Bigger Broomstick, and episode 18, Sundog Gazillionaire. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @asimovthecat.Best-selling humorous cat books include How to Tell if Your Cat is Planning to Kill You, several volumes dedicated to Internet sensations Grumpy Cat and the LOLcats of I Can Has Cheezburger?, and other books that draw on similar themes to The Unadulterated Cat, including Cats Are the Worst and Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed.Eric Ernest Jolliffe - the wrong Jolliffe - was an Australian cartoonist and illustrator who led an adventurous life, including work all over Australia and serving as a camouflage officer with the RAAF in World War II. He is best remembered for his magazine and newspaper strips Saltbush Bill and Sandy Blight, and his own magazine, Jolliffe's Outback.Gray Jolliffe's anthropomorphic penis character, Wicked Willie, was the star of both a series of comic books and also a straight-to-video series of animated shorts directed by Australian Bob Godfrey, best remembered for his work on the children's animated series Roobarb and Henry's Cat.Real Men Don't Eat Quiche is a satire of masculinity, originally subtitled "A Guidebook to All That Is Traditionally Masculine". It was written in 1982 by American humorist and screenwriter Bruce Feirstein and stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year. Localised adaptations were subsequently written for the UK and Australia, the latter by Australian playwright and author Alex Buzo. Nathan W. Pyle's strange planet series of comics about aliens trying to understand life on Earth is available at his web site,, and on his Instagram at @nathanwpyle. Pyle experienced some controversy in April 2019 over an old tweet, but his cartoons remain a delightful commentary on the absurdities of our world. Both the cat name cartoon and the vibrating cat cartoon are still on Instagram.Operant conditioning is a form of learning where a behaviour becomes more or less frequent because of posi...
For our twentieth episode we finish our first Pratchett series! Elizabeth and Ben are joined by writer Dr Lili Wilkinson to discover the final fate of Masklin, Angalo, Gurder and the rest of the Nomes in the 1990 conclusion to the Bromeliad: Wings! (If you need to catch up, you can find Truckers in episode 9, and Diggers in episode 13.) When Masklin arrived in the Store, he learned that the Thing - an ancient artefact handed down for thousands of generations - wasn't just a useless box, but could speak. It warned him of the destruction of the Store, helped him escape with all the Store Nomes in a truck to the quarry, and revealed that Nomes came to Earth from a distant star. Masklin knows the Nomes can't run from humans forever. It's time to find a proper home of their own. So with the help of the Abbott Gurder and explorer Angalo, he's going to sneak onto a Concorde and go to Florida to hijack a satellite so the Thing can talk to their starship and fly them to another planet. Not that Masklin understands what most of those words are... The Book of the Nomes concludes with a rollicking, fast-paced adventure that doesn't shy away from some big questions about identity, religion, philosophy and taking risks to do what's right. Picking up from where we left him at the start of Diggers, Wings follows Masklin, Angalo and Gurder as they travel vast distances, meet their own gods and eventually have a close encounter of the Nome kind. Did you find the ending satisfying? How does the mix of fantasy and sci-fi tropes site with you? Do you wish there'd been more stories of the Nomes? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat20 on social media to join the conversation. Last month we had to delay the release of our live show from Nullus Anxietas VII, discussing the short story Troll Bridge with author Tansy Rayner-Roberts, but it will be released in between this episode and the next one. And speaking of the next July we're visiting a distant part of the Disc and finally catching up with everyone's* favourite inept wizard, Rincewind, as we'll be joined by David Ryding of Melbourne City of Literature to return to the Discworld series with Interesting Times! Get your questions in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat21. * Well...all right. Ben's favourite inept wizard. Though Catweazle, Ergo the Magnificent and Meredith are all up there as well. Show Notes and Errata: Dr Lili Wilkinson is an author based in Melbourne. She's written a dozen books for young adults and middle grade readers, including The Boundless Sublime (about a girl who gets sucked into a cult), After the Lights Go Out (in which a girl is prepped for the apocalypse by her Dad...and then it happens), and Green Valentine, a romance featuring shopping trolleys, a lobster costume and a whole lot of gardening. Lili also started, an online community for bookish teens, and the Inky Awards, Australia's only reader's choice award for YA fiction. Watch out for her new picture book Clancy the Quokka in October 2019. You can find Lili online at and on Twitter at @twitofalili.The supersonic passenger aircraft Concorde was a joint project of the United Kingdom and France, and operated between 1976 and 2003 by Air France and British Airways. With a top speed of over twice the speed of sound, it could cross the Atlantic in half the time of other airlines, and boasted luxury service for its passengers. But it was loud, environmentally unsound, and very expensive, so it was never adopted by other airlines, and the planes were eventually decommissioned. The thing about the gap in the plane was mostly true: due to the heat generated by the extreme speeds, the fuselage would expand by as much as 30 centimetres at top speeds. The design accommodated this, manifesting in a gap in the inner wall between segments of the cockpit. One pilot left his hat in the gap deliberately during the final flight of one o...
For episode eighteen we go back to Pratchett's science fiction beginnings as - in the evening between the two days of the 2019 Speculate festival - author Will Kostakis joins us to talk about the 1976 standalone novel, The Dark Side of the Sun! Dom Sabalos is about to become Chairman of the planet Widdershins when he is messily assassinated. Well...mostly. When he survives against all odds, he discovers his death had been predicted using probability math. The same science also predicts he will discover Joker's World, the mysterious home of the vanished ancient species thought to have laid the foundation for all intelligent life. Dom sets out to fulfil his destiny with his alien mentor Hrsh-Hgn, his new robot, Isaac, and a strange, lucky creature from his homeworld's swamp. Filled with references and homages to prominent science fiction authors like Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert, The Dark Side of the Sun is the first of Pratchett's two early science fiction novels. It features the first appearance of many names and concepts he would later come to reuse in various forms in the Discworld. It's a short, fast-paced book with big ideas - not least Pratchett's own take on the classic sci-fi trope of a vanished, ancient precursor species known only through mysterious artefacts. But does it work? Is this an early sign of genius, or a run-up for someone who needed more time to come into his own? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat18 on social media to join the conversation. Don't forget that you can see Liz and Ben at Nullus Anxietas 7, the Australian Discworld Convention, on April 13 and 14! Watch out for our bonus live episode, recorded at the convention, in an upcoming special episode. Next month it's back to the Discworld as we crank up the volume and rock out with Death! Yes, we'll be reading Soul Music, so get your questions in via social media by mid-April using the hashtag #Pratchat19. Show Notes and Errata: Will Kostakis is a writer and award-winning author. He's written many short stories and four novels, all for young adults, including The Sidekicks and The First Third. As mentioned in the episode, his first fantasy YA novel, Monuments, will be released in September 2019. You can find out more about Will and his work at, or follow him on Twitter at @willkostakis. Since the 1990s many have claimed that if you play Pink Floyd's hit 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon while watching MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939), the songs supposedly sync up with the vision. Fans of "Dark Side of the Rainbow" (as it's known) suggest hitting play when the lion roars for the second or third time, and claim the experience is profound, but the band and producers say any synchronicity between them is just a coincidence.Terry Pratchett's first published novel was The Carpet People in 1971, five years before The Dark Side of the Sun. He was 23 at the time, but had started work on the book considerably earlier; the revised 1992 edition is described as being "co-written by Terry Pratchett, aged seventeen, and master storyteller, Terry Pratchett, aged forty-three"."Galaxy Song" was written and performed by Eric Idle for the 1983 film Monty Python's Meaning of Life. In a Python reunion live show which toured in 2015, Brian Cox appeared in a filmed insert nitpicking the song's accuracy. It's mostly close enough for rock and roll; in one of it's most accurate lines, it actually says the galaxy is "100,000 light years side-to-side", not 30,000. (Ben also made this mistake in an episode of re:Discovery.)Gilpin's Space is a 1986 novel by Russian-born American sci-fi author Reginald Bretnor. It paints a dystopian authoritarian future in which "eccentric genius" Saul Gilpin steals a submarine and uses it to successfully test his new hyperdrive engine. The novel follows a group of his friends who follow his instructions to steal another submarine and escape the oppressive regime at home ...
In episode 26, Michael Williams of The Wheeler Centre joins Liz and Ben to get into the holiday spirit with the very Christmassy 1996 Discworld novel Hogfather. It’s Hogswatch, and the Assassins Guild of Ankh-Morpork has accepted a very unusual assignment, and Lord Downey has given it to the very unusual assassin Mr Teatime. But who would want to kill the Hogfather? And how would you even accomplish such a thing? As Death fills in for the Fat Man delivering presents, his granddaughter Susan is reluctantly drawn to investigate, teaming up with the newly created Oh God of Hangovers. But much more than the joy of children is at stake – for without the Hogfather, will the sun even rise tomorrow? Hogfather brings to life a character previously mentioned only in passing rather paradoxically by replacing him with Death, who gets a sort of working holiday. It’s our second and final adventure with Susan, and the wizards get heavily involved – as does their arcane thinking machine Hex. It’s full of not-quite-Christmas cheer, black humour, true pathos and a pure expression of many of Terry’s most deeply held beliefs. Could this be the ultimate story of Christmas? Do its themes of belief and justice hit the mark? And what kind of creature would you call into existence if there were excess belief sloshing around? Use the hashtag #Pratchat26 on social media to join the conversation and have your say! Guest Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. They have a year-round program of talks, interviews, panel discussions, podcasts and writing. Find out more about what’s happening at @wheelercentre on Twitter and Instagram, or check out videos of past talks on YouTube. You’ll find all the Wheeler Centre’s upcoming events at, as well as a collection of Michael’s writings and events. You can also find Michael on Twitter at @mmccwill. The Sci-Fight comedy debate over the topic “Santa is Real” features a great line-up of comedians and scientists, including previous Pratchat guest Nate Byrne (episode 24). It’s on at Howler in Brunswick on Thursday December 12, 2019. Details and tickets via Next month we continue through the Discworld with 1997’s Jingo, a tale of nationalism, war, racism and greed, which also has a submarine in it. We’ll be recording in the week or so before Hogswa- er, Christmas, so get your questions in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat27. 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!
In our nineteenth episode it's back to the Discworld as we join Death, and meet his granddaughter Susan, as writer and illustrator Fury joins us to talk about the 1994 Discworld novel, Soul Music! Susan Sto Helit doesn’t have time for anything silly – not for grief, not for tiny skeletal rats who are here to inform her of SQUEAK, and most definitely not for this new craze sweeping the disc. But music with rocks in it has other ideas, and doesn’t care who gets swept up in the swell. With her long lost grandfather (the one with the bony knees) missing in action however, Susan has no choice but to take on the family business and try not to *erm* rock the boat. Pratchett is never one to shy away from the big themes and Soul Music packs a lot of punch into a deceptively simple plot. Exploring the complexities of grief, and the idea that family is more than just genetics, the 16th Discworld continues the story from where Mort left off, and introduces us to some new (sadly one-off) names that we quickly grow to love. Packed with more music references and jokes than one could shake a stick with bells at, this is one that was Imp-possible to put down. Got a favourite Discworld band name? Or an idea as good as My Little Binky? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat19 on social media to join the conversation. As mentioned this episode, keep an ear out for our first live show, recorded at Nullus Anxietas VII, where we discuss the short story Troll Bridge with author Tansy Rayner-Roberts! It'll show up in the podcast stream soon. Next month we head to the skies and cling on for dear life as we finish the Bromeliad trilogy with Wings! Get your questions in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat20. Show Notes and Errata: Fury is a writer and author based in Naarm/Melbourne. Their book, an experimental graphic novel memoir titled I Don't Understand How Emotions Work is available here. You can find Fury's book I Don't Understand How Emotions Work here. The Valhalla Cinema was a cinema in Melbourne which specialised in audience participation films - and in its early days you had to bring your own seats. Opening in 1976, it later relocated to Westgarth and changed names. The Wikipedia entry has a charming story about a rather eventful screening of The Blues Brothers - though we doubt that this was the one that Pterry attended (if, indeed, he attended at all). Look, the French Foreign Legion have a long and storied history, but in popular culture they are the go-to reference of the group you join when you want to get well away from your life. Brendan Fraser's character in The Mummy? French Foreign Legion. Why are denim trousers called jeans? They're named after the city of Genua, where the original fabric was manufactured. Read more about their history here. I know. We hoped they would be named after Gene Wilder too. Rebel Without a Cause is one of James Dean's most famous films and is often credited with kicking off the idea of the teenager. Minder and Arthur Daley is a character from Minder, a British comedy-drama series that ran from 1979 to 1994.Animorphs, first a book series, later adapted into a TV show, followed the adventures of a group of friends who had been given the power to morph into different animal shapes in an attempt to fight back against a secret alien invasion on Earth. Their enemy were the Yeerks - a parasitic species which would occupy the body of a host and control them. Is Sioni bod da real Welsh? According to the Discworld Wiki  "Bod Da is Welsh for Be Good, therefore Sioni Bod Da is Johnny B. Goode."  'The Day the Music Died' is the name given to the tragic day where musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson were killed in a light aircraft accident. It served as the inspiration for this Don McLean song. Both Holly's wife and mother heard the news from media rather than authorities (his wife, Maria Elena,
In episode 24, meteorologist Nate Byrne joins Elizabeth and Ben for a Discworld tale of murder, golems and nobility in 1996’s Feet of Clay. Two old men have been murdered in Ankh-Morpork, but they’re not the worst of Commander Vimes’ woes. His best Sergeant is six weeks from retirement; his worst Corporal might be the Earl of Ankh; his newest recruit is an alchemist with some pretty strange ideas for a dwarf; and someone has poisoned the Patrician, though he’s damned if he can figure out how. And somehow, the golems are involved… Content note: this episode contains brief discussion of (fictional) suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help, use the Wikipedia list of crisis lines to find one local to you. Following on from Men at Arms (from way back in episode one!), Feet of Clay evolves the Watch – and its leader – even further, and introduces some of Pratchett’s most memorable supporting characters: Cheery Littlebottom, Wee Mad Arthur and Dorfl the golem. It gets a bit deep on questions of artificial life, gender expression and identity, and is a heck of a mystery novel to boot. Did you figure out “whatdunnit”? Who’s your favourite new character? And what do you think the Pratchat coat of arms and motto should be? Use the hashtag #Pratchat24 on social media to join the conversation and let us know what you think! PS – we recorded this just before the casting announcements for The Watch television series, so don’t be disappointed when they don’t come up! We’ll find a place to discuss them in the near future. Guest Nate Byrne is a meteorologist, weather presenter and science communicator. He presents the weather for ABC News Breakfast, which means he gets up very early and had been awake for around 14 hours when we recorded this episode, making his jokes and insights even more impressive! You can find Nate’s writing for the ABC here, and follow him on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Next month we’re joined by author Claire G Coleman as we head back to the early days of Discworld with Equal Rites. Plus our subscriber-only bonus podcast, Ook Club, has launched! You can subscribe for as little as $2 a month to check it out. You’ll find all the details on our Support Us page. You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
In our seventeenth episode we join everyone's favourite dysfunctional coven - and guest, writer Nadia Bailey - as we return to Lancre for the 1992 Discworld novel, Lords and Ladies! The Lancre coven have returned from their trip abroad, but despite the impending royal wedding of Magrat and King Verence, all is not well in the Ramtops: it's circle time, when the walls between worlds are thin, and in the witches' absence someone has been toying with powers beyond their understanding. As usual Granny Weatherwax thinks she can sort everything out herself: facing down a young witch wannabe and keeping the Gentry at bay. But Granny is off her game. Is it the arrival of an old flame? Or is her time as a witch of Lancre nearly up? She'll need Nanny and Magrat's help to see off the threat of the Lords and Ladies... Bringing us back to the witches after only one book away, Lords and Ladies is a particularly Pratchett take on the ancient Celtic stories that inspired modern ideas of fairies and elves. One of the few novels to cross the streams between the witches and wizards, it also gives us more of a glimpse into Esme Weatherwax's past, hints at the future of witchcraft (and royalty) in Lancre, and introduces the infamous "Trousers of Time". Is this your favourite witches novel? What do you think of the parallel universes, other dimensions and alternate timelines it describes? And is this the best take on elves since Tolkien? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat17 on social media to join the conversation. Don't forget that you can see Liz and Ben at both Speculate 2019 on March 15 and 16, and at Nullus Anxietas 7, the Australian Discworld Convention, on April 13 and 14! Plus Ben's new show, You Chose Poorly, plays at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from April 1-7. Next month, to tie in with our appearance at Speculate, we'll be leaving the Discworld and blasting off into outer space as we discuss one of Pratchett's early sci-fi novels, The Dark Side of the Sun, with writer Will Kostakis! We'll likely be recording around the time of Speculate 2019, so get your questions in via social media before March 15th using the hashtag #Pratchat18. Show Notes and Errata: Nadia Bailey is an author, journalist and critic whose work has appeared in The Australian, The Age, The Lifted Brow and many others. The Book of Barb, an unofficial celebration of the surprisingly popular supporting character from the first season of Netflix "kids on bikes" drama Stranger Things, was her first book; it was followed by The Stranger Things Field Guide in December 2018. In between Nadia wrote The World's Best BFFs, a book of profiles of celebrity best friends. All three are published by Smith Street Books. You can find Nadia online at, and she tweets at @animalorchestra.There are two examples of Steven Moffat writing women who marry men who follow them around in Doctor Who - first in his most famous episode, Blink, and then in the Christmas special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. There are similar behaviours in his other work, going all the way back to Press Gang. We previously mentioned The Craft in our Witches Abroad episode, but it's worth mentioning here that one of its stars, Fairuza Balk, made her major screen debut in another film referenced this episode: Return to Oz (see below).The Last Unicorn (1982) is an adaptation of the 1968 fantasy novel by American writer Peter S. Beagle, and has a pretty star-studded voice cast including René Auberjonois, Alan Arkin (who plays the incompetent magician Schmendrick), Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow (who plays the titular unicorn), Angela Lansbury and Death himself, Christopher Lee! It has music written by Jimmy Webb, including songs performed by the band America.Narnia is a fantasy world invented by English writer C S Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia books. The White Queen first appears in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950),
In episode seven, comic book creator and illustrator Georgina Chadderton, aka George Rex, joins us to discuss the ninth Discworld novel: Faust Eric! Published in 1990 - alongside four other novels, making it one of Pterry's most prolific years - it's a shorter novel, originally published in a large format with lavish illustrations by Discworld cover artist Josh Kirby. (Also, fair warning to the pun-averse: Elizabeth really goes to town in this one...) Eric Thurslow is surprised to find that he has summoned a demon who looks suspiciously like a wizard - but not as surprised as Rincewind the inept wizard is to have been summoned. Freed from the Dungeon Dimensions, he now finds himself compelled to grant wishes to an adolescent demonologist - and to his even greater surprise, it seems he's able to do so! Meanwhile, following along behind across space, time and dimensions, Rincewind's faithful Luggage is catching up to its master - and just as well, because the Prince of Hell isn't too pleased that his plans for Eric have gone awry...   Eric is the fourth book to feature Rincewind - last seen in Sourcery - and like his previous appearances it's a romp across the Discworld to places (and in this case times) previously unseen. Sometimes regarded as a bit of an addendum to the main Discworld series because of its short length, Eric wears its parody - and its classical allusions - proudly on its sleeve. Did you like Eric? Did you read an edition with the illustrations? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat7 on social media to join the conversation. We skipped ahead to make sure we could chat with Georgina while she was in Melbourne, so we're going back a step for our June episode, where librarian Aimee Nichols will join us to talk about the very first City Watch book: Guards! Guards! We'll be recording it soon, so if you'd like us to respond to you on the podcast, get in quick! Ask your questions via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat7A. (What, you expected us to actually use the forbidden number?) Show Notes and Errata: You can find Georgina and her delightful autobiographical comics online at, and also on Instagtram as @GirlRexDoor. She was in town on a residency with 100 Story Building, where Ben works facilitating creative writing workshops for young people. George's Etsy shop is full of cool comics, postcards, badges and prints.In case you've somehow been hiding under a pop culture rock, 2 Faust 2 Furious is a reference to the sequel to car/heist/action film The Fast and the Furious, which was titled 2 Fast 2 Furious. There are now eight films in this franchise which features Vin Diesel (in every film except 2 Fast 2 Furious), Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell and Jason Statham. The only other one with a punny name is the eighth, titled The Fate of the Furious.George's 24-hour comics are produced as part of 24-Hour Comics Day, an annual event in which comic creators are challenged to create a 24-page comic in a single day. 24-Hour Comics Day has run in some form every year since 2004, when it was originally organised by publisher Nat Gertler, and one of its most famous proponents (and long-time participants) is Scott McCloud, the creator of Understanding Comics."Time is a flat circle", now the subject of many memes, is derived from a scene in the first season of True Detective. It refers to the theory of "eternal return", which states that existence repeats itself over and over in very similar ways. Ben's favourite iteration of this from fiction is the Time Prophet, a character from the weird Canadian-German sci-fi series Lexx, who could see into past cycles of time ("not very clearly mind you") to predict the future of the current cycle.You can see George's image of Angua and Gaspode (inspired by our Men At Arms episode) on her Instagram, and her version of Tiffany Aching is on the Fan Art page of her web site.
In episode three, comedian Cal Wilson is back to discuss the book that started her passion for Terry Pratchett - Sourcery! The fifth Discworld novel, published in 1989, it features the return of the inept wizard Rincewind. Rincewind is very happy to have left his adventuring days behind him, working as assistant librarian at Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, the Disc's premiere college for wizards. But just as a new archchancellor is about to be named, the young boy Coin arrives. He is the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son - a Sourcerer, a source of raw magic, something not seen on the Disc since the ancient time of the Mage Wars. As he takes over the university and wizards across the world awaken power they've never known, the end of the world draws nigh...and Rincewind just can't seem to avoid getting involved. Rincewind was Pratchett's first protagonist, and this novel exemplifies all the things that make us love him: genre-awareness, unrepentant cowardice, reluctant heroism, lack of any skill at wizardry and fierce self-identification as a wizard. It also sees the return of the Luggage, a living chest which follows Rincewind wherever he goes. It was a delight for us all to see these characters again, and we have grand plans to go back to their beginnings in the very first Discworld novels... In the meantime, when you've finished listening to this episode, get ready for the next one by reading Wyrd Sisters! We'll be recording on January 14th, so get your questions in ASAP if you'd like us to answer them on the podcast. Show Notes and Errata: Cal is still on Twitter at @calbo. Her new live stand-up show, Hindsight, will be playing in multiple cities at festivals throughout 2018: this page at lists a bunch of them. (You can also see the poster she mentions; it really is good!)Freddie Mercury was a first son of a son of undetermined order, so his magical powers clearly came from somewhere else.Ben talks a lot about Dungeons & Dragons this episode; if you've no idea what it's all about, his article "What Even Is Dungeons & Dragons?" will get you up to speed.The Age interview with Terry featuring his thoughts on J K Rowling is still online here: "Mystery lord of the Discworld", Peter Fray, November 6, 2004.A person who doesn't realise they're no good at what they do might have a form of cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, named for a 1999 psychological study.Hook turns might not be widely used by cars outside of Melbourne, but they're a common way for bicycles to turn across traffic at cross intersections in many parts of the world.The Annotated Pratchett File (APF for short) is a brilliant source of information on the various references in the novels. We also recommend the Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki, also hosted by the L-Space Web.
In episode five, comedian Richard McKenzie joins us to discuss that rare beast, a Discworld tale that stars no wizards, witches, watches or Death, and isn't part of any of the ongoing storylines: Pyramids! The seventh Discworld novel, published in 1989, it's chock-full of jokes, footnotes, gods and characters - but we'll see almost none of them ever again... Pteppicymon XXVIII - Teppic for short - is heir to the throne of the ancient river kingdom of Djelibeybi. But the kingdom is broke, having spent its money on pyramids, and in order to give him a profession, Teppic is sent to the best school on the Disc: the Assassin's Guild in Ankh-Morpork. Seven years later he's just taken his final exam when his father dies. Teppic is now King (and God) of Djelibeybi earlier than planned - and after so long away, he finds the ancient traditions of his homeland stifling. Can even the King challenge the authority of the kingdom's high priest, Dios? Though it features none of his most beloved characters, Pyramids is nonetheless a favourite among Discworld fans - not least because the first quarter of the book takes us into the classrooms of Ankh-Morpork's most famous guild. What do you think of this tale of tradition, family and mathematics gone wrong? Let us know! Use the hashtag #Pratchat5 on social media. Richard hosts trivia twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, at the Cornish Arms on Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne. Make sure to use a Pratchett pun in your team name if you go! You can read the full show notes and errata for this episode on our web site. Our next book, for our April 8th episode, takes us outside the Discworld - and indeed the fantasy genre - for 2012's tale of Victorian London: Dodger! Joining us to talk about toshers, geezers and peelers is a man who's no stranger to fancy words, and better known by his initials: crypto-cruciverbalist and former Letters & Numbers dictionary master, David Astle! We'll be recording on March 24th, so get your questions in before then if you'd like us to answer them on the podcast. You can use the hashtag #Pratchat6 to ask them via social media. (And check out the Episodes page if you want to see a bit further into our future schedule!)
Back in April, Liz and Ben attended the seventh bi-annual Australian Discworld Convention, Nullus Anxietas VII! They enlisted fellow convention guest (and friend of the podcast), author Tansy Rayner Roberts, to discuss the earliest Discworld short story: 1991's Troll Bridge! Cohen the Barbarian has led a long life, but his greatest glories and biggest adventures seem far behind him. It's time to tick a few items off his bucket list - starting with facing a troll in one-on-one combat. But when he and his annoying talking horse reach one of the few troll bridges left on the Disc, things aren't as straightforward as they were in the old days... With the Snowgum Films adaptation of Troll Bridge being screened at the convention, it seemed only right to cover the source material in this, our first ever live show! Like a lot of Pratchett's work, Troll Bridge is by turns silly and deep, drawing on the traditions of Tolkien and Howard while at the same time pointing out that their worlds couldn't stay the same forever. Did you find it poignant? When do you think it happens in Cohen's timeline? And is a short story enough for an entire podcast? We'd love to know! Use the hashtag #PratchatNA7 on social media to join the conversation. We'd like to extend our warm thanks to everyone who attended the convention; you all made us feel so welcome, and it was such a special experience to be among so many Discworld fans, speaking on panels and chairing debates and meeting you all! Especially big thanks to those of you who came to be in our first live audience, and to the massive team of hard-working volunteers at Nullus Anxietas, without whom fan conventions like this just couldn't happen. That goes eig- er, one more than sevenfold to Suzie Eisfelder, Lisa Lagergren, Steve Lewis and all the other members of the committee, who organise such a massive undertaking every two years. We hope to see you all in Sydney in 2021 for Nullus Anxietas 7A! We hope to do some more live shows in the future, probably as bonus episodes like this one. Regular episodes will continue to be released on the 7Ath of each month...and in episode 21, coming up next in July 2019, you can find out what Genghiz Cohen did next as we discuss Interesting Times. Show Notes and Errata: Tansy Rayner Roberts is an award-winning writer and podcast host. She's written fantasy novels, short fiction, feminist essays and much more; of particular interest to Pratchat listeners is Pratchett's Women, a collection of essays about the women in the Discworld novels. She co-hosts the podcasts Galactic Suburbia (about sci-fi and writing in Australia) and Verity! (about Doctor Who), and has her own fiction podcast Sheep Might Fly. You can find Tansy on the web at, on Patreon at, and also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.Troll Bridge was first published in the 1991 anthology After the King: Stories In Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien, the most recent edition of which was released in 2012. Other authors in the collection include Stephen R. Donaldson, Jane Yolen, Gregory Benford, Emma Bull, Poul and Karen Anderson, Judith Tarr, Harry Turtledove, Karen Haber and Charles de Lint, among others. The story was reprinted in 2001's The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy (which also features stories by Neil Gaiman and Terry Jones) and A Blink of the Screen, a 2012 collection of Pterry's short fiction.The short film Troll Bridge by Snowgum Films was adapted for the screen and directed by Daniel Knight, and stars Don Bridges as Cohen, Glenn van Oosterom as the horse and John Jenkins as Mica. It was a mammoth undertaking, especially considering it's a fan film, albeit an extremely polished one: the cast and crew all worked without pay, with production costs paid for by a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It's currently screening in film festivals and fan conventions around the world, but you can still pre-order a digital,
In episode fourteen we celebrate 35 years of the Discworld by going all the way back to the beginning! Writer and podcaster Joel Martin joins us for a bumper A’Tuin-sized discussion of the very first Discworld story, adventure, chronicle, tale...The Colour of Magic, published in 1983! Rincewind, a wizard unable to cast spells, makes a living of sorts in the mighty city of Ankh-Morpork through his gift for languages. But his gift gets him more than he bargains for when he becomes the guide to the Discworld's first tourist. Fresh off the boat from the distant and obscenely wealthy Counterweight Continent, naïve Twoflower has come armed with a phrasebook, a demon-powered picture box and his magical Luggage full of enormous gold coins, determined to see the barbarians, brawls and beasts he's read about in stories back home. But seeing them is the easy part - surviving to talk about them is another matter entirely... Though we've often talked about the differences between the earliest books and those that came later, The Colour of Magic introduces Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind, Death and of course Great A'Tuin and the Disc itself with varying degrees of familiarity. Split into four sections - The Colour of Magic, The Sending of Eight, The Lure of the Wyrm and Close to the Edge - it manages to be both homage and parody of multiple beloved fantasy genres, while at the same time trying to establish its world - and author - as something new. Do you think it succeeds? Did you start at the start? Use the hashtag #Pratchat14 on social media to join the conversation and tell us! We'd also love to see some fan art of the Luggage based directly on the text, rather than Kirby's ubiquitous, fleshy baby-legged version. This is our final episode for the Year of the Justifiably Defensive Lobster (aka 2018), but we'll be back in January, when we'll fire up Queen's Greatest Hits and kick off proceedings with one of Pratchett's most celebrated novels: Good Omens! Yes, we're getting in to cover Pratchett's collaboration with Neil Gaiman before said co-author and Amazon Prime bring their version to subscribers' screens in 2019. (Don't worry, it'll be on the BBC at some point too.) With twice the authors, we're expecting twice the questions (though we'll try and stick to our usual running time of under two hours), so send them in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat15. Show Notes and Errata: Joel Martin is a fantasy author whose several novellas and novels include his own take on classic sword-and-sorcery, The Broken World (whose protagonist is not Kane, but Karn). For more about him and his work, visit his web site,, or follow him on Twitter at @thepenofjoel.Joel's writing discussion podcast is The Morning Bell, co-hosted by Luke Manly and Ian Laking. It's recorded live at the Brunswick Street Bookstore. Liz has been a guest a few times, most recently on episode 46 (February 2017), while Ben has been on just the once, for episode 63 (November 2017).  Listen to the entire back catalogue and find out more at Joel is director of Melbourne's new speculative fiction writing festival Speculate, returning in 2019 for its second year; Liz and Ben were guests the first time around and will be again in 2019. You can see both of them in the short film made for the 2018 festival here, or visit to find out more about what's in store for 2019.A note on this episode's title: we've opted to parody a parody in order to name a discussion of a parody. (Does that make it a parodyox?) The film in question is National Lampoon's Vacation, which was released in 1983 - the same year The Colour of Magic was published! (Though you might argue our title is closer to the sequel, National Lampoon's European Vacation, from 1985.)Liz's comment about eye anatomy refers to the fact that as well as the structures found in regular human eyes which are sensitive to light - rods for dim light,
For our twelfth episode we're joined by editor and bookseller Jackie Tang of Neighbourhood Books in Northcote as we discuss Witches Abroad! The twelfth Discworld novel, published in 1991, Witches Abroad is the second to star the Lancre witches, who return only two books later for Lords and Ladies. Witch Desiderata Hollow has died and passed on her fairy godmother wand to Magrat Garlick, the youngest of the Lancre witches, along with a note telling her to go to the distant kingdom of Genua to stop a servant girl from marrying a prince - without Granny Weatherwax. Which of course means Granny - and Nanny Ogg - are definitely coming. As they make their way across the Disc by broomstick and riverboat, experiencing all that travel has to offer, they find themselves increasingly drawn into warped stories - and Granny may not be letting on all that she knows about what they'll face when they arrive...  As well as providing an extended parody of the English travelling abroad, Witches Abroad is mostly about stories - where they come from, how they influence us, and what they really mean when you stop to think about them. As well as traditional fairytales, Pratchett lampoons everything from The Wizard of Oz to Disney princesses and even Middle Earth. So what did you think of Witches Abroad? Use the hashtag #Pratchat12 on social media to join the conversation. In our next episode we'll be going back amongst the Nomes for book two of the Bromeliad - Diggers! As usual we'd love to get your questions for the podcast; send them in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat13. Show Notes and Errata: "Voodoo" is a popular culture distillation of several religions, but especially Haitian and Louisiana Vodun, themselves derived from West African Vodun and influenced by many other traditions, including Christianity. Some rituals involve summoning spirits known as lwa or loa, intermediaries between the physical world and the creator deity (Bondye, Mawu or others depending on the tradition). Famous loa include Baron Samedi, a loa of the dead, and Papa Legba, who exists at the crossroads between the material and spiritual worlds. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a 19th century Russian writer. His works are social commentary, mostly in the form of farce and satire. The Government Inspector is his best known novel, but he is mostly remembered for his many short stories including Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Overcoat and The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich. (His name is pronounced GO-gl, which is more or less the only way we don't try to say Mrs Gogol's name during the podcast.)Of the Discworld books we've covered so far, Wyrd Sisters, Sourcery and Moving Pictures all begin with a death. Pyramids, Men at Arms and Reaper Man all have deaths close to the beginning that are vital (if you'll excuse the term) to their plots.The prose poem Desiderata was written by American writer Max Ehrman in 1927, though it didn't become widely known until the early 1970s. You've almost certainly read or heard at least one of the verses. The poem's copyright status has been a matter of contention over the years, in part because it was printed unattributed in a church leaflet accompanied by the church's founding date, leading some to believe it was much older and therefore in the public domain. As a result the Annotated Pratchett File has a copyright notice asserting Erhman's authorship rather than any quotes, but by contrast you can read the whole thing on Wikipedia. The word "Desiderata" is Latin, the plural form of "desideratum": a thing wished for, or - you guessed it - desirable. It is indeed the source of the English word "desire".We ruined our browser history so you wouldn't have to: Echidna penises are indeed unusual. They are very long for their body size, and with not three but four prongs, more like those seen in reptiles than other mammals. They only use two of the prongs at a time, though.
For our ninth episode we leave the Discworld again as author Amie Kaufman joins us to discuss Truckers. One of four novels Pratchett published in 1989, it introduces the Nomes - Pratchett's second group of tiny folk living at the edges of the human-sized world. Masklin is the young hunter in a group of Nomes: four-inch tall fast-living people struggling to survive on rats and the scraps they can scavenge from the human world. After two Nomes are killed by a fox, Masklin convinces the group to hitch a ride on one of the humans' enormous vehicles, and they find themselves in the Store: Arnold Bros (set 1905), a wondrous place filled with food, warmth - and more Nomes than they have ever seen. As they try to adjust to the peculiar ways of life in the Store, its electricity revives "The Thing", an ancient Nome artefact handed down for generations. It reveals to Masklin that Nomes were stranded on Earth millennia ago, but there's hardly time to understand what that means before The Thing warns of immediate danger: the Store will be demolished in just fourteen days...  Truckers is a middle grade book - it has chapters and no footnotes! - which is nonetheless charming for "adults of all ages", as Sir Terry liked to inscribe copies. In Masklin, Grimma, Granny Morkie and the other Nomes are echoes of Pratchett characters we love, and it's perhaps surprisingly sophisticated in its satire, social commentary and love of wordplay. It forms the first part of "the Bromeliad" trilogy (a name explained by the sequels), but is also a complete and wonderful story all on its own. We'd love to hear what you thought of Truckers: use the hashtag #Pratchat9 on social media to join the conversation. But do try to use small words... Amie Kaufman is on social media, but if you really want to keep up with what she's up to, we recommend hitting her web site, Her novels include the The Illuminae Files YA sci-fi trilogy, co-authored with Jay Kristoff, and for younger readers Ice Wolves, the first in a new middle grade fantasy series. We'll head back to the Disc next time when we grab a bag of banged grains and take in a few clicks in Moving Pictures! We haven't currently confirmed our guest, but we'll be sure to tell you who they are when we can lock in a date! You can still ask questions to be answered on the podcast by sending them in via social media; use the hashtag #Pratchat10 so we can find them! 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!
Have a surprise bonus mini-episode of Pratchat! We’ve mentioned Night Terrace a few times, but not gone into too much detail. So, outside of our usual schedule, Liz asks Ben all about this time travel radio comedy series from Splendid Chaps Productions. What’s it about? Who are the main characters? How would they fit into the Discworld? You’ll also get a bit of behind the scenes info and hear some excerpts from the first two seasons. If it sounds good to you, hop on over to the Night Terrace crowdfunding campaign before November 22, and help get a third season made! You’ll hear excerpts from the Night Terrace episodes “Sound & Führer”, “Moving House” (both by John Richards), “Time of Death”, “Ancient History” (both by Ben McKenzie), “Sense & Susceptibility” (also by John Richards) and “The Outsourcing” (by David Ashton). Anastasia Black is played by Jackie Woodburne; Eddie Jones by Ben McKenzie; Sue Denholm by Petra Elliott; the Vraxnols by Toby Truslove and previous Pratchat guest, Cal Wilson (episodes one and three); and Carole by Cate Wolfe. We hope you enjoyed this little diversion! If you want more excerpts and info about Night Terrace, look up the hashtag #NightTerrace on social media, or visit If you listen to the series, you may also enjoy the companion podcast On the Terrace.
Welcome to Pratchat! In this special 10-minute introductory episode, Liz and Ben talk about their first Pratchett experiences, introduce the Discworld, and put forward their cases for which book they should read first, Mort, or Men at Arms, before announcing the winner of the closely contested public poll. If you want to go in not knowing which one it will be, then don't look below! Okay, I think all the spoiler-concerned have looked away now... It was Men at Arms! So get yourself a copy and get reading, as we'll be discussing it on the very first proper episode, which will be released on November 8th. We'll probably even have art and a theme tune and everything by then! In the meantime, you can watch this site for more info about the book itself, and our plans - including some thoughts about our long-term reading order. But if you have thoughts on anything we mention in the intro, please leave a comment and let us know!
For our eleventh episode we welcome Pratchett fan Sarah Pearson to the mic to discuss a Discworld novel of two halves: Reaper Man! The eleventh Discworld novel, published in 1991, Reaper Man is the second book to focus on Death and the newly stable faculty of Unseen University. The faceless bureaucrats of the multiverse have decided Death is sentimental and inefficient, and he's been fired! While he heads off to live among humans for his remaining time - until his replacement comes to claim him - his absence means those who die sort of...don't. That includes Windle Poons, 130-year-old wizard of Unseen University, whose return as a zombie gives him a new lease on life - much to the horror of his fellow faculty members. But Death's absence is having other weird consequences: objects spring to life, non-human species spawn their own Deaths, and strangest of all, a warehouse in Ankh-Morpork mysteriously fills with small glass orbs... Reaper Man's two mostly separate plots - Death's forced retirement, and the wizards' investigation of the alien lifeforms - bring back not only Death but also Windle Poons and the faculty of Unseen University, both introduced in Moving Pictures, alongside cameos by familiar faces like CMOT Dibbler and Fred Colon. Plus we meet a bunch of new and memorable characters: the Death of Rats, the Auditors of Reality, Mrs Cake and her daughter Ludmilla, and undead activist Reg Shoe and his friends from the Fresh Start Club. It's a big cast, but then with two separate plots there's plenty for them to do! We'd love to hear what you thought of Reaper Man; use the hashtag #Pratchat11 on social media to join the conversation.
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 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 six, word nerd and crypto-cruciverbalist David "DA" Astle joins us to discuss our first non-Discworld novel: Dodger! Published in 2012, it's set in Victorian London and is heavily inspired by the work and style of Charles Dickens, and also that of Punch magazine co-founder Henry Mayhew, author of London Labour and the London Poor - both of whom appear as characters! In the first quarter of Queen Victoria's reign, a young woman falls from a carriage during a London storm - followed by two threatening men. Out of a nearby sewer grate springs Dodger, street orphan and accomplished "tosher" (sewer scavenger), who fights them off before Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew happen by and take the woman to safety. Dickens enlists Dodger's aid in investigating their mysterious charge, who is clearly on the run but refuses to speak of herself or those coming after her. Dodger will need to be sharp as a razor and to have all the luck the Lady of the Sewers can give him in this adventure - but will he be the same Dodger when it's over? In a spot of time travel, we leap forward to one of Pratchett's last books. More serious than many of his other works, though still light in tone and written in a very Dickensian style - including chapters! - Dodger is quite a departure for Pratchett in many ways while still remaining essentially Pratchetty. (Pratchettesque?) What do you think of Dodger? Let us know! Use the hashtag #Pratchat6 on social media to join the conversation. You can find David Astle online at, itself a haven of word puzzles and anagrams, and he's on Twitter as @DontAttempt (a joking translation of his cryptic crossword-maker initials, DA, which some see as proof of difficulty!). His latest work is David Astle's Gargantuan Book of Words, which is available now through publishers Allen & Unwin, but watch out for Rewording the Brain and 101 Weird Words and Three Fakes, appearing in 2018. You can also catch him on the wireless on ABC Melbourne. You can read the full show notes and errata for this episode on our web site. We return to the Discworld for our May 8th episode, though we are going slightly out of order to read Eric, the first illustrated Discworld book! And who better to discuss it than an illustrator? So we'll be joined by Adelaide-based artist and comic book creator, Georgina Chadderton (aka George Rex)! This one is recorded hot on the heels of our April episode, so by the time you read this we may have already asked for your questions, but even if you missed that callout you can still join in on social media with the hashtag #Pratchat7.
Twenty-one today! In this episode, Elizabeth and Ben are joined by David Ryding of Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature as we rejoin Rincewind and some of his old friends in the 17th Discworld novel: 1994's Interesting Times. Rincewind, the worst student Unseen University ever had, has been quite literally to hell and back. But when a summons arrives in Ankh-Morpork requesting the presence of "the Great Wizzard", his old faculty bring him home, then send him to the far-flung Agatean Empire. All is not well on the Counterweight Continent: rebels are (gently) questioning centuries of enforced order, inspired by the revolutionary pamphlet "What I Did on My Holidays". The ruthless Lord Hong plots to change the Empire forever. The walls have failed to keep out a horde of barbarian invaders - seven of them, in fact. And it's about to be visited by a very special kind of butterfly... Pratchett revisits characters from his first Discworld novels, as Rincewind is reunited with Cohen the Barbarian in Twoflower's homeland. But in 2019, twenty-five years after it was first published, his depiction of a comic fantasy Asia leaves a bit to be desired. There's plenty going on, and some stirring speeches, but it's also hard to ignore that nearly all the main characters are white folks "saving" a nation inspired by real-world Asian countries from itself. Is there a clear message in the book? How does this sit on the evolution of Pratchett's work from parody to satire? And were you glad to see such old favourite characters return, or could you have done without them? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat21 on social media to join the conversation. We hope you enjoyed our first ever live show, recorded at Nullus Anxietas VII, where we discussed Cohen's previous adventure in the short story Troll Bridge! We hope to record more bonus episodes in future, and you can help us do it by supporting Pratchat. In August we leave the Discworld and indeed fiction to read one of Pratchett's oddest books: The Unadulterated Cat, his 1989 collaboration with cartoonist Gray Joliffe, in which he makes the case that the only "real cat" is one that destroys gardens, eats wildlife and makes a thorough nuisance of itself. If you have questions, send them to us via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat22. Show Notes and Errata: David Ryding has been Director of the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature office since its establishment in 2014 (though Melbourne has been a City of Literature since 2008). Prior to that he was director of the Emerging Writers Festival, then executive director of the NSW Writers Centre (now know as Writing NSW). You can find out more about what he does at the City of Literature office at, and they're also on Twitter at @MelCityofLit. If you're looking for other great literary podcasts made in Melbourne, you can find some listed on their site here.Men at Arms is the fifteenth Discworld novel, published in 1993. We covered it in episode one, Boots Theory, with Cal Wilson."Inscrutable" is a word long associated with stereotypical depictions of Asian cultures, especially the Chinese. It stems from a lack of effort to understand the differing cultural conventions encountered by Europeans, and seems to have reached a height in Victorian literature.Bill Bryson is an American-British non-fiction author whose work covers language, travel, history and science. His best known works include Notes From a Small Island, The Mother Tongue and A Short History of Nearly Everything. The white saviour is a trope in which non-white characters are unable to save themselves, and are rescued from disaster by a heroic white character. The Wikipedia article lists a large number of examples."Eurogames" are a tradition of modern boardgames with their roots in post-war Germany. Such games often focus on strategic depth and a balance of luck and skill. The Settlers of Catan,
In episode thirteen, award-winning author Marlee Jane Ward joins us to talk Diggers! Published in 1990, Diggers picks up where Truckers left off, splitting the story of the Nomes in two. (You can catch up on Truckers in episode 9.) The Nomes, having fled the destruction of the Store in a stolen lorry, have spent six months - something like five years in Nome time - making a new life in an abandoned quarry. But as humans start to take an interest in their new home, Grimma must hold the quarry Nomes together - no easy task when Nisodemus, the acting Abbott, is trying to convince them all to return to the old ways of the Store. Meanwhile Dorcas, the engineer who made the Long Drive possible, has made a secret discovery in one of the old quarry sheds - a mighty beast, known only as Jekub... With many of the main characters from Truckers exiting the novel quite early on, Diggers focuses on Grimma and Dorcas, with the books' events happening concurrently with those in the third book, Wings. Among its many themes are Pratchetty commentaries on religion, faith, community and responsibility, as well as many new jokes about the ways in which Nomes misunderstand humans - or, perhaps, understand humans perfectly. Have you read Diggers? What did you think? Use the hashtag #Pratchat13 on social media to join the conversation. We particularly want to see your original drawings of Nomes (see the original description from Truckers in the notes below), and to hear what you think about the exciting news of the The Watch TV series being officially greenlit by BBC America!  November 24, 2018 marks a special Pratchett anniversary - 35 years since the publication of the very first Discworld novel! That's right, we're going back to the very beginning to read The Colour of Magic and find out if it really is a very good place to start, with help from fantasy writer and freelance editor, Joel Martin! We're sure you have loads of questions, so please send them in via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat14. Show Notes and Errata: Marlee Jane Ward's best known works are the YA sci-fi novella Welcome to Orphancorp - winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Young Adult - and it's sequel Psynode, both published by Seizure. A third and final book in the series is coming in 2019. You can find out more about Marlee at her web site,, or by following her on Twitter at @marleejaneward.Marlee's story "The Walking Thing" and Liz's story "Naming Rights" can both be found in the short story anthology Best Summer Stories published by Black Inc.Neil Gaiman is an English writer who started out as a journalist, but became better known for his comic book work. His most famous series, Sandman for DC's mature imprint Vertigo, chronicles the life of Dream, also known as Morpheus, one of the seven Endless, anthropomorphic personifications of concepts including Destiny, Despair and, yes, Death. (See the Once and For All podcast for a comparison.) Gaiman was the first journalist to interview Terry, soon after the publication of The Light Fantastic, and the two quickly became friends. Neil has since gone on to become a best-selling novelist, award-winning screenwriter and, most recently, a TV producer, in order to keep a promise to Terry that the television adaptation of Good Omens - the novel they wrote together, based on an idea of Neil's - would be good.The creepy little girl with long black hair who walks weirdly is Sadako, the vengeful spirit of a young girl murdered and thrown into a well in Ring, a 1998 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata. It was remade in English as The Ring in 2002, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. Both versions follow the plot of the 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki, which was been made into an earlier 1995 film and a television series in 1999.Ten is indeed an aspirational age for outdoor nomes, but is about the expected number of years for Store nomes.
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, 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!
Episode twice-the-number-which-must-not-be-spoken (i.e. sixteen) takes us inside the Church of Om for a story of faith, religion and truth as we're joined by the Reverend Doctor Avril Hannah-Jones to discuss the 1992 Discworld novel, Small Gods! Brutha is a lowly novice in the Omnian Citadel, dismissed by his superiors as a simpleton whose only notable talent is an extraordinary memory. He's the last person expecting to hear the Voice of the Great God Om, though Brutha has his doubts: Om is supposed to manifest as a mighty golden bull or pillar of flame, not a one-eyed tortoise. Om's not happy either: this isn't how he planned his return from the celestial realm, and no-one but Brutha can hear him. Before god or novice can figure out what's happening, Brutha is recruited by Deacon Vorbis - head of the feared Quisition - for a mission to nearby Ephebe: a nation of heretics, democracy and philosophers, one of whom has dared to pen a treatise describing the world as a flat disc which travels through space on the back of a turtle... One of the few truly standalone Discworld novels, Small Gods focuses on how humans of the Disc create gods, rather than the other way round - for good and for ill. Drawing on the best and worst traditions of monotheism, Galileo's defiance in the face of Catholic censure, and big philosophical questions, Small Gods still manages to be full of Pratchett's trademark humour and humanism, and a long-time favourite for many fans. Do you rate it amongst the best Discworld novels? Would you recommend someone start with it? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat16 on social media to join the conversation. It's been a big year already for the Pratchat crew: we've launched our subscription service - a huge thank you to all our supporters! - and Liz and Ben will be appearing at both Speculate 2019 in mid-March, and Nullus Anxietas 7, the Australian Discworld Convention, in mid-April! Plus Ben will be performing a new show, You Chose Poorly, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from April 1-7. Next month it's back to the Ramtops as the witches return home in Lords and Ladies with writer, critic and editor Nadia Bailey! ! We're recording that episode hot on the heels of this one's release, so get your questions in via social media before February 16th using the hashtag #Pratchat17. Show Notes and Errata: The Reverend Doctor Avril Hannah-Jones is a Minister in the Uniting Church and an all-round wonderful human being. Always a geek, Avril rose to fame in 2011 via Adam Hills' ABC comedy show In Gordon Street Tonight with the foundation of the Church of the Latter Day Geek, which for some reason got more attention than any of the work she has done advocating for LGBTIAQ rights or asylum seekers. Avril also appeared in the Seven/Religion episode of Splendid Chaps (mostly in part two, but you may also want to listen to part one), and on Doctor Who and the Episodes of Death. You can read about her adventures at her blog, Rev Doc Geek, follow her on Twitter at @DocAvvers, or head along to a Sunday service at Williamstown Uniting Church.The film Highlander (dir. Russell Mulcahy, 1986) stars Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, the titular highlander, who discovers he is one of the immortals - seemingly ordinary humans who cannot die unless decapitated, and who are drawn to fight each other, stealing the magical power of other immortals whom they defeat until only one remains to collect "the Prize". As well as being very 1980s, it has a killer soundtrack by Queen, songs from which can be found on their 1986 album It's a Kind of Magic.We're pretty sure the cake Liz is thinking of is Breudher, a delicious buttery Sri Lankan cake with a Dutch influence. Teen Power Inc. is a series of thirty books written by Australian author Emily Rodda (and others), first published in the 1990s. They feature six teenaged protagonists who create the titular agency to make some extra cash,
We kick off the Year of the Incontrovertible Skunk with our fifteenth episode, heading not to the Discworld at all, but to Earth, 1990! Two guests - academic Jen Beckett and writer Amy Gray - join us as to tackle a book written by two authors: Good Omens, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman! The time has come for Armageddon: the End of Days, the Final Battle between Good and Evil. Which comes as rather a shock to the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale, who've been more or less friends for centuries, and rather enjoy Earth the way it is, thank you very much. But can they really do anything about it in the face of the ineffable plan of God? Or when everything that happens has been foretold by a 16th century witch - as interpreted by her descendant, Anathema Device? And has anyone asked the Antichrist himself what he thinks? Well no, of course not. They don't know where he is. Good Omens was Sir Terry's first collaboration with another author, and Gaiman's first novel, written while he was still working on his biggest comics success, Sandman. In part a parody of The Omen, but joking about everything from motorways to computers and the Greatest Hits of Queen along the way, it's an epic tale of Armageddon soon to arrive on the small screen via Amazon Prime and the BBC - adapted by Neil himself. Did you come to this as a Pratchett fan, or a Gaiman one? Did you cross over and start reading the others' work? And how different do you find it to the rest of Pratchett? We'd love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat15 on social media to join the conversation. Dr Jennifer Beckett lectures at Melbourne University in Media and Communications. Her specialist areas as a researcher include Irish cinema and cultural studies, social media, and transmedia world-building. (Jen's basically an expert in all the cool parts of popular culture.) A current focus for Jen is the connection between social media and trauma, as explored in her most recent article for The Conversation: "We need to talk about the mental health of content moderators". Amy Gray has written for The Age, The Guardian, the Queen Victoria Women's Centre and many other publications and organisations. She's currently working on her first book, hopefully to be published in 2019. You can find out more and support her independent writing via her Patreon. You can also find her on Twitter at @_AmyGray_. You can find full notes and errata for this episode on our web site. We love bringing you Pratchat every month, but in order to make sure we can stick it out to the very end - and cover every one of Sir Terry's books - we need your help! We've started an optional subscription service via Pozible which will help us keep making Pratchat for you, and even let us do it better; find out all about supporting Pratchat on our new Support Us page. Next month we'll continue the religious theme as we're joined by the Reverend Doctor Avril Hannah-Jones for an examination of faith, Discworld-style, in Small Gods! Send in your questions about gods (big or small) via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat16.
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Podcast Details

Oct 7th, 2017
Latest Episode
Mar 7th, 2020
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