This month, Ben flies solo with guest Andy Matthews as they reach back into Pratchett’s earliest fiction to discuss Beatrix Potter, writing practice, The Matrix…oh, and Terry’s 1973 short story for the Bucks Free Press, “RIncemangle, the Gnome of Even Moor”!
The suspiciously familiar-sounding Gnome Rincemangle lives a sad, solitary life on the strange and mysterious (but also wet and cold) Even Moor. One day an owl tells him about the wonders of the nearby human village of Blackbury, so off he goes, accidentally hitching a ride on a lorry to department store. There he discovers he’s not the only Gnome in the world – but is the Store truly as much of a paradise as it seems?
Written on Thursday evenings for “Uncle Jim’s” children’s page when Pratchett himself was just 25 years old, this story forms the blueprint for the novel Truckers, published sixteen years later. How has Pratchett’s writing evolved over time? Is Andy right that “yearning” lies at the heart of his most successful work? Would this story amuse or frighten your children? Which of his other short stories should we give the full episode treatment? And is Pratchett the undisputed king of “fishing in his own stream” (sorry again, Ryn), or is this something all writers do, just less obviously? Join the conversation using the hashtag #Pratchat64.
Guest Andy Matthews is a comedian, podcaster and most recently an author. He writes and performs sketch comedy with Alasdair Trembly-Birchall, both live and on the podcast Two in the Think Tank, and the pair previously hosted the ABC radio comedy science quiz The Pop Test. Andy is also the Director of Stupid Old Studios, a podcast and video production studio in Melbourne, and the author of two volumes (so far) of Gustav & Henri, a “science fiction mystery time travel detective story” about friendship and snacks starring a dog and a pig, illustrated by Peader Thomas. You can find Andy on Twitter at @stupidoldandy, and his podcast at @twointank.
You’ll find notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
For our March episode, we’re going where Pratchat has never gone before: into Pratchett’s nonfiction! Author, publisher and roleplayer Peter M. Ball joins us for a collection of Pratchett’s scribblings about genre, fandom and Neil Gaiman. The specific pieces are “Kevins”, “Wyrd Ideas”, “Let There Be Dragons” and “Notes From A Successful Fantasy Author”, plus “Neil Gaiman: Amazing Master Conjuror” and Neil’s foreword to the book in which all of these were collected, 2014’s A Slip of the Keyboard. You’ll find all of those (except the foreword) in the book’s first section, “A Scribbling Intruder”. Send us your questions about them via email to email@example.com, or on social media using the hashtag #Pratchat65.