For the second time – and coincidentally for another of the books in The Long Earth series – we’ve made a change in our schedule! Our next book will still be The Long War, as announced in #Pratchat44, but we’re postponing that until August. Our forty-fifth episode, #Pratchat45, will instead discuss Pratchett’s 1987 short story, “Twenty Pence, With Envelope and Seasonal Greeting”. Listen or read on for more information; and we’ve included a short (silly) out-take from an old episode as a little thank you treat.
Please get your questions in for the short story using the hashtag #Pratchat45, or for The Long War using the hashtag #Pratchat46. As usual you can send them via social media, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because Ben can’t help himself, here are a few brief episode notes:
- The Long War is probably Pratchett’s second or third longest book. It’s 500 or 512 pages, depending on the edition – we don’t have a word count – but using the page count as a rough guide his longest novel is Unseen Academicals, which clocks in at 514 or 533 pages in its paperback editions. This is considerably longer than his earlier works, which are short by comparison to most fantasy novels. (You can find some amazingly detailed stats on the earlier Discworld books up to The Amazing Maurice on The L-Space Web; and yes, Ben is now very keen to try and complete this work for all of Pratchett’s novels. Stay tuned…)
- Melbourne’s latest lockdown lasted two weeks, from May 28 to June 10, 2021. Many restrictions remain in place at the time of recording, including limits on the number of visitors to private homes.
- You can get information about and tickets to The Lost Con, which is happening online on Saturday July 3rd, 2021, at the Australian Discworld Convention website.
- The out-take is from #Pratchat12, “Brooms, Boats and Pumpkinmobiles“, featuring guest Jackie Tang and discussing Witches Abroad.
- Echidna spines are not actually hair, but they are made of the same protein, keratin. We previously mentioned this in #Pratchat36, but there are two kinds of keratin: alpha-keratin, which is found in all vertebrates, and beta-keratin, found only in reptiles and birds. Echidna’s spines are made of a harder form of alpha-keratin, similar to the keratin in human fingernails – and surprisingly, using conditioner on your nails (and presumably echidna spines) supposedly makes them stronger and healthier, not smoother!
- We previously discussed Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzerelli, the 50s greaser with a heart of gold from classic 1970s sitcom Happy Days, in #Pratchat10. (He’s the character who originally – and literally – “jumped the shark”.)
- The social media network Vine, owned by Twitter, allowed users to post six-second looping videos. It operated from 2012 to 2016, when it was shut down for new uploads; the archive of old content remained until 2019 (though you can still see stills of videos if you follow a Vine link). You can find compilations of some of the best Vine videos on YouTube – please tweet us your favourites! (For contrast, TikTok launched in 2017, though it is the international version of the Chinese original, 抖音 (Douyin), which began operation in 2016.)
- Ben is remembering Marutaro the Pygmy Hedgehog, who was indeed a Vine superstar in around 2014. They were one of two hedgehog finalists in the Animal category for the 8th Shorty Awards in 2015.
Thanks as always to all our listeners, and especially to our subscribers.