Fifty Years of Terry Pratchett

UPDATE FROM TERRY JULY 2010

FROM MIDNIGHT TO SKIP DIVING

Folks,

I Shall Wear Midnight is totally finished; we spent the better part of three days last week doing the final proof-read and let me tell you that the only way to proof read a manuscript with maximum accuracy is to listen to it read aloud.  Well, it is for me at least.  When it’s a simple matter of reading, the brain has a tendency to helpfully fill in the words that are not actually there.  It’s also extremely good for picking up repetitions.  And it’s also extremely good for picking up repetitions..

So here we are basking in the sunlit uplands and find ourselves already some 20,000 words into the next adult Discworld book, based largely around Vimes, with the working title Snuff.  A word that has, as you probably know, at least two meanings.  Remember, you read it here first!

I’m sure that most of you will have heard of the Long Earth, three pieces of writing I did around the time of Wyrd Sisters but put on one side because the Discworld suddenly became so successful.  Who knows?  In another trouser leg of time I might have written it, sold it successfully and become a science fiction writer instead of a fantasy one.  In which case I would have been, I suspect, slightly poorer but would have at least been a BSFA Guest of Honour 🙂

I will be working on this shortly with Steve Baxter, whose hard science fiction I admire greatly.  It needs two people to do this book – in fact it needs a committee,   given that the central thesis is ‘more worlds to conquer than there are numbers’.  Of course, as it turns out, there is just a little snag..

I am sure you have all seen the press release (copied below) regarding the ‘Anywhere but Here, Anywhen But Now’ award.  However, can I please reiterate that you shouldn’t contact us directly about it as I will not get involved in any way until the end of the year.  Best of luck even so. 

The Carnegie Award; well, it’s come and gone and, as I forecast, Nation did not win, but Neil Gaiman was gracious enough to give me a heap of praise in his acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book

I have to tell you, I’ve learned a lot about awards and how they work during my career and am still baffled.  Why did The Amazing Maurice win the Carnegie instead of Johnny and the Dead?  I was astonished when it won and so was my editor; I remember the amazement in her voice when she phoned to tell me. I have now taken the view now that getting on to a short list is usually the trick.  This at least proves that you have written a book that is potentially winning material.  After that, all bets are off.  For good or ill it’s then all down to the people judging this time, the current fashions, the people you’re up against and, for all I know, the current position of the planet Jupiter. 
Ladies and gentlemen, we can announce the auspicious results of a raid on Mob Films lock-up recently, which revealed a veritable treasure trove of props and costumes, largely from Going Postal but with a few from the Colour of Magic and Hogfather.  I’m aware that there are a number of cons taking place around the world, and frankly some of the props are heavy; for example we have the deadly coffin from the Colour of Magic for which the purchaser will need to bring their own pall bearers. A lovely piece though.

We also have the omniscope and stand that features in Going Postal that breaks down into two smaller pieces. It’s big, wonderful and heavy. We have the clacks used by Adorabelle Dearheart; magnificent, but bulky – though you should be able to be take it away in a car if you leave the kids behind.

In the heavy but not big category we have a number, probably a dozen, of heavy metal clacks levers. They’re individually engraved as the property of the clacks company and would be just like the real thing if the real thing was real.

There’s also a few costumes; Angua’s helmet, cloak and leather straps.  Two clacks-men outfits, both with caps but one missing trousers… don’t ask.

However, still in my trembling hand, we have the very shiny patent leather boots as worn by Adorabelle. They have stiletto heels, but we can’t tell you how high until we get a bigger ladder. They are slightly worn, after all they’ve been in a movie, but we expect vigorous bidding on this item – especially from me!

 This might be the time to add that all the items are, well, props and we have unfortunately been unable to get the omniscope to work properly. Generally speaking everything looks pretty serviceable to us, and indeed massively designed in some cases, but they are nevertheless items which were destined to have a short life in front of the camera. Adorabelle’s boots however are, I’m assured, the very best that Soho could provide.

We must warn you that not all of the items will be auctioned at the upcoming UK convention. There are quite a number of other Discworld conventions known to us that will be taking place in the next year or so, and it would be nice if there was at least one decent item that could be auctioned off at every one. Common sense tells us that some of the props are just way too heavy to go transatlantic and also that, since one purpose of this exercise is to raise money for charity, the UK convention is likely to be where the largest amount can be raised. At the very minimum, however, I think we could make certain that every con currently known to be happening will get something. We know where they are!

Stop Press!  The Mob, in their boundless generosity, will be providing us with enough small props to allow every registered attendee at the UK convention to have one. Well, yes, they might well be pins!

Finally, we’re currently all in shock here because of the sudden death of Ken Roberts, our friend and shepherd who kept his flock of sheep in my fields.  Apparently he died instantly on Saturday, with his dog sitting next to him.  While that is a way that we would probably all like to go, I suspect that we would have liked to have got at least into our sixties first, unlike Ken.  News like this puts the world into perspective…

All the best.