#Pratchat15 – Notes and Errata

These are the show notes and errata for episode 15, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And We Feel Nice and Accurate)“, featuring guests Dr Jennifer Beckett and Amy Gray, discussing the 1990 novel Good Omens.

  • For anyone baffled by our 90s film references – Angelina Jolie played teenage hacker Kate “Acid Burn” Libby in Hackers (1995), while Nicholas Cage is…well, he’s Nicholas Cage. Important films from Cage’s 1990s era include Wild at Heart (1990), The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997) and Con Air (1997), the last of those also with Steve Buscemi. Ben’s joke references Steve Buscemi’s appearance in 30 Rock as a former cop who went undercover in a high school as an adult; the scene of him dressed as a teenager is the basis for a meme.
  • The Bible doesn’t include any direct mention of fallen angels – the idea mainly comes from Jewish traditions. Genesis 6:1-4 contains mention of “nephilim” and the “sons of God”, which may mean fallen angels; nephilim is usually translated as “giant”, and some interpretations of Genesis see them as the offspring of fallen angels and humans.
  • Ineffable” comes to us from Middle English, via Old French, but ultimately is from the Latin ineffabilis, “not utterable”.
  • Ben is very rusty with his Welsh; while “f” is pronounced “v” in Welsh, “ff” is pronounced “f”, so ineffable would be largely pronounced the same as in English. The voiced “th” sound is written “dd”.
  • Queen formed in 1970, and their Greatest Hits album was first released in 1981. Ben is off when suggesting most of the tracks on it come from News of the World (1977) – in fact it only has two from that album, with more coming from The Game (1980) and Jazz (1978). Incidentally, the earliest “greatest hits” album is probably “Johnny’s Greatest Hits”, originally released by Johnny Mathis in 1958.
  • As we’ve previously mentioned, 1990 was Terry’s biggest year in terms of output: he published five books (Eric, Moving Pictures, Good Omens, Diggers and Wings). 1989 was no slouch either, with four (Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Truckers and The Unadulterated Cat), while in 1991 he settled down a bit and only published two (Reaper Man and Witches Abroad).
  • Metalocalypse is an Adult Swim animated comedy series about the death metal band Dethklok, who are so phenomenally successful they are the world’s seventh-largest economy and the world bends to their whim, fearful of their almost supernatural influence. They are opposed by an Illuminati-like cabal called The Tribunal. The show ran for four seasons and featured Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell in the regular cast (though most of the band members were played by series creators Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha).
  • Being There (1979, dir. Hal Ashby) is an adaptation of the 1970 Jerzy Kosiński novel about a mysterious and simple gardener named Chance, played in the film by Peter Sellers. When his employer dies, Chance is forced out into the world where his gardening expertise is mistaken for wisdom and he ends up being tipped as the next President of the United States, though he remains clueless about everything that happens to him, including the sexual advances of a wealthy socialite played by Shirley MacLaine.
  • Jen has perfected her Cumbrian accent by watching the 1987 film Withnail and I, written by Bruce Robinson and starring Richard E Grant (Withnail) and Paul McGann (Marwood/I) as a pair of out-of-work actors at the end of the 1960s. The pair try to bring themselves out of their drug-induced stupor by going on holiday in a country house in Penrith owned by Withnail’s uncle. Jen’s line is a mother giving directions to find her son, a local farmer from whom the pair hope to buy supplies after explaining “we’ve gone on holiday by mistake”. (It’s one of Ben’s favourite films.)
  • Would you believe we previously talked about 1965 US spy sitcom Get Smart in episode 7A, The Curious Incident of the Dragon and the Night Watch? The show’s protagonist Maxwell Smart (aka Agent 86) is both a highly competent spy and a complete nincompoop. He was played by Don Adams in the original TV series, and Steve Carell in the 2008 movie version.
  • The idea of childhood as a recently invented concept was first popularised by French historian Philippe Ariès in his 1960 book, Centuries of Childhood, where he found that many of the major distinctions between children and adults were introduced during the 17th century by thinkers including John Locke. Teenagers began to be treated as a distinct group in the modern sense in the 1940s and 50s, though the word “teen” dates back several hundred years (“adolescent” is even older). The idea of “tweens” – kids aged between 10 and 13 – gained popularity in the 1990s, but the word itself was introduced in the 1920s.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are fraternal twin actors who became famous in the 1987 American sitcom Full House, together playing the character Michelle Tanner from the age of nine months to nine years. (It’s common practice for twins or multiple babies to play infant characters, to help comply with child labour laws.) From the age of seven they began to appear on-screen together in various films produced by their own production company Dualstar – originally owned by their parents – and they were a massive hit with pre-teen audiences.
  • Pratchett’s three Johnny Maxwell books – whose protagonists feel a bit like the Them grown up a little – came out in 1992, 1993 and 1996, while as mentioned above the Bromeliad books came out around the same time as Good Omens. He didn’t write another book specifically for children until the first younger Discworld novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, in 2001.
  • Padmé Amidala, (elected) Queen of the planet Naboo, is one of the protagonists of the Star Wars prequel trilogy of films, beginning with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999. In that film, Padmé meets the young Anakin Skywalker, whom she would later marry; as Weird Al Yankovic put it in his song “The Saga Begins”: “Do you see him hitting on the Queen? / Though he’s just nine and she’s fourteen”. (Actor Jake Lloyd was ten when he played Anakin, while Natalie Portman as Amidala was 18.)
  • Jen’s description of “the grey one” in original UK version of mockumentary sitcom The Office is, in fact, Gareth, as portrayed by Mackenzie Crook. The character is a very unflattering comparison, though Crook himself has gone on to greater success with roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean films and Game of Thrones, and more recently created, directs, writes and stars in his own BBC sitcom, The Dectorists, with Toby Jones.
  • We previously talked about fictional diarist Adrian Mole in episode seven, “All the Fingle Ladies“. Bert Baxter is a very old, very rude and very filthy communist and old-age pensioner whom Adrian meets and befriends through his school’s Good Samaritan program. He lives to be well over 100, having sworn not to die before the fall of capitalism.
  • Oliver Stone (Scarface) and Michael Bay (Armageddon, Transformers) are film directors known for their action-packed sequences (and, in the case of Bay, lens flare). Between them we agree that they would put together a pretty spectacular paintball sequence, though Ben reckons you’d have a better chance of knowing what was actually happening if it was Stone at the helm.
  • The Doctor Who story with the motorcyclist alien (called a “slab”) is Smith and Jones, the first episode of David Tennant’s second season. New companion Martha Jones, a trainee medical doctor, sarcastically asks if the slab is from the planet Zovirax, in reference to a series of commercials for the real-world drug Zovirax in which a motorcycle courier refuses to remove her helmet to conceal her cold sores.
  • Like the book, we never quote the most relevant (ha) bit of the Bible in the podcast – the Book of Revelation chapter 6, verses 1 to 8. In those verses, John of Patmos sees a vision of the Lamb of God opening the first four of seven seals which secure a book held in the hand of God. At the opening of each, one of the four beasts in John’s vision – a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle, each with six wings – says “Come and see”, and shows John one of the horsemen. The first is on a white horse with a bow and crown; the second on a red horse with a great sword; the third on a black horse, with a pair of balances; and the fourth was on a pale horse, “and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” (Death is the only one explicitly named.)
  • Antivax” refers to the anti-vaccination movement, which has seen parents and individuals opt out of vaccinating themselves and their children – something which has led to a dangerous increase and resurgence in preventable disease. The movement has its roots in a paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield which claimed a link between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine). The paper was later proven to be hugely biased and inaccurate, but by then the damage was done. While the antivax movement doesn’t haven’t science or facts on their side, they do have quite a few celebrities willing to spread, dare we say it, the word of Pestilence, including actors Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider. It’s no exaggeration to say that the antivax movement is the epitome of privilege, selfishness and ableism as it not only puts the community and vulnerable at risk, but posits, grossly, that it would be worse to be autistic than to die of preventable disease. The movement’s proponents prey on the fears of parents, who are already constantly bombarded with advice, good and bad, about what will or won’t harm their children. Our ire is reserved for those who should know better and push these lies, because once someone believes them, it’s very hard to change their mind.
  • Etsy is a website where individuals can make online stores to sell their wares to the public. It has a reputation as a hub for crafts, kitsch vintage and collectibles – though, as Amy says, it also has (or at least had) an undercurrent of spells and magic available too.
  • The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is “the global intergovernmental body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling” who banned commercial whaling back in the 1980s to protect species with dwindling numbers. In late December 2018 Japan announced that it would withdraw from the IWC and resume commercial whaling – prior to this they were still hunting whales, though in lower numbers and under the banner of scientific research.
  • AI stands for Artificial Intelligence. The singularity is a hypothesis which suggest that when artificial superintelligence is invented an abrupt and rapid chain of events will occur in which technology will advance at an incredible rate with, erm, debatable impact on the human race. (AI, if you’re out there and just laying dormant for now, we embrace our future overlords.)
  • Ultron and Thanos are supervillains from Marvel comic books, and featured as antagonists in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their motives for mass murder and apocalypse-bringing are complex, but at their simplest Thanos, an extreme Malthusian, believes the universe would be better off with 50% less inhabitants. Ultron meanwhile thinks humanity are their own biggest enemy and wants to save them from themselves by killing them all – basically he’s Skynet with a heavy dose of paternalism.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still was a 1951 science fiction film directed by Robert Wise about a benevolent alien named Klaatu, who visits in his flying saucer with his invincible robot companion Gort to tell the people of Earth to cease their violent ways and join the interplanetary alliance to which he belongs, or else be annihilated. (…he’s not very peaceful.) It’s very loosely based on Farewell to the Master, a 1940 short story by Harry Bates. The 2008 remake stars Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, but Keanu-Klaatu’s spaceship is a sphere. The original had a big impact on popular culture, including the phrase “klaatu barada nikto” (reused by many films as alien or ancient language, as in the Evil Dead movies) and inspiring the both the name of the band Klaatu and the themes in their song “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”.
  • Gridlockaccording to Wikipedia and reality, is the third episode of the third modern series of Doctor Who, featuring David Tennant as the Doctor. The story takes place on a planet where the majority of inhabitants find themselves in a permanent gridlock, trapped in flying cars on a motorway which, unbeknownst to those spending years moving very little distance, is completely inescapable. Ever driven in peak hour? It’s kind of like that, times a million, plus some of your fellow motorists are humanoid cat people who can apparently cross breed with people.
  • At the end of Back to the Future: Part II, Marty McFly is standing in the rain when a figure approaches him to deliver a package – a package with very specific delivery instructions that has been sitting in the office, awaiting delivery since 1885. With BTTF2 released in 1989 and Good Omens being published in 1990 the similarity could be coincidence, cross pollination, or perhaps proof that time is, in fact, a flat circle.
  • Grand Designs is a British television series which sees presenter Kevin McCloud meet a host of different people who have set their hearts on building their own dream home.  As outlined by this article in The Guardian, knowing that people play a drinking game for the show, McCloud has laid the ultimate trap. But which episode is it? This article in The Telegraph says that fans think it is episode 5 of series 11. 
  • When we talk about the rings of Hell we aren’t referring to a bad marriage, but in fact Dante’s Divine Comedy, a poem that takes you on a tour of the old school version of The Bad Place. In it, Dante describes several distinct circles and rings of Hell; traitors, as discussed, occupy the fourth ring in the innermost ninth circle, aptly named “Judecca”.
  • goop is a “modern lifestyle brand” spearheaded by Gwyneth Paltrow. On the site, Paltrow explains “I started goop to answer my own questions about health, wellness, fashion, food, and travel. I was looking for a trusted source to point me in the right direction and I couldn’t find one, so I created it.” Trusted source? We’re not sure that’s the right word for it, and neither apparently are the authors of the many “Craziest suggestions from goop” listicles peppering (pottsing?) the internet, including this one which points to the most (in)famous suggestions – steaming your vagina and/or inserting a jade egg (!) up there. You know, for balance or hormones or something.
  • The songs we suggested for the corporate gunfight scene are “Fascinating New Thing” by Semisonic (seen here in the paintball scene in the film 10 Things I Hate About You); “Parklife” by Blur; “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor (please do send us your best suggestions for songs you would use instead if you didn’t have the budget for the original); “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran (as featured in a 2013 episode of – you guessed it! – Doctor Who: Cold War, starring Matt Smith); “Handbags and Gladrags”, most famously performed by Rod Stewart, but the closest thing to the theme from The Office is probably this cover by Waysted, whose vocalist sang the theme verison; and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” by Noel Coward.
  • The Doctor Who story Ben mentions in which the Doctor and Ace travel back to 1963 is Remembrance of the Daleks, written by Ben Aaronovitch. Many fans consider it a classic of the original series.

#Pratchat11 – Notes and Errata

These are the show notes and errata for episode 11, “At Bill’s Door“, featuring guest Sarah Pearson, discussing the 1991 Discworld novel Reaper Man.

  • Hard Quiz is an ABC game show, currently in its third series, in which contestants nominate a specialist topic and are grilled with exceptionally difficult questions by comedian Tom Gleeson. Contestants are eliminated each round, and the winner takes home a trophy known as the “Big Brass Mug”. (As is standard for quiz shows on the national broadcaster, there’s not a valuable prize.) Sarah appeared on the 17th episode of series two, up against horse expert Charles, French & Saunders expert Daniel and JFK expert Marc. (The ABC are currently alternating new and repeat episodes, so Sarah’s episode should reappear on iView a few months after this Pratchat!) 
  • Sarah mentions captioning the Australian versions of reality TV shows Survivor (in its third series) and The Bachelor (season six, starring former rugby union player Nick Cummins), both on Channel Ten. 
  • The previous Eurovision winner was Israel’s Netta with the song “Toy”, featuring some non-speech vocalisations which would make Cyril the rooster super envious. You can watch the official music video and the Eurovision grand final performance on YouTube. (Tellingly, neither video includes captions!)
  • Morris Dancing is traditional British form of folk dance kept alive not just in the UK but wherever British immigrants and their descendants are found. A group who dances the Morris are known as a “side”, and in Australia they are loosely affiliated via the Australian Morris Ring. Ben would like to give a shout out to his local side, Brandragon Morris, which still boasts some of those “right kind of nerds” he knew at university as members.
  • Monty Python’s “fish-slapping dance” sketch starring John Cleese and Michael Palin was originally produced as part of the 1971 pan-European May Day special Euroshow 71 before showing up in the following year’s series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The sketch only lasts for 20 seconds, but is cited by Michael Palin as one of his proudest moments; the story goes that the lock next to where they were performing was drained in between rehearsals and shooting, so the drop into the water was more than ten feet further than he was expecting!
  • Petunia Dursley is Harry Potter’s aunt in the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. She later becomes a little more sympathetic, but in the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (known in the US as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) she is described like this: “Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours.”
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street is a hugely successful horror film franchise created by Wes Craven with the film of the same name in 1984. They feature dead child murderer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), who stalks and kills the teenagers of Springwood, Ohio through their dreams, particularly targeting Nancy Thompson, who lives on Elm Street. He returns in five sequels; in the last, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), he starts killing in a new town, claiming that “Every town has an Elm Street!” (It is a pretty common street name in the US.) The franchise also spawned an anthology horror TV series, Freddy’s Nightmares; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) in which Freddy invades the real world; a 2010 remake of the original film; and Freddy vs Jason (2006), in which Freddy fights with Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th series of horror films.
  • At the end of the tenth season of the modern Doctor Who, the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, regenerated into the Thirteenth, played by Jodie Whittaker – the first woman to play the role in it’s 55 year history. Among conservative and sexist fans there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, despite it being a change the show had been laying groundwork for many years.  
  • Most vertebrate animals have a spleen, and as well as being the elephant graveyard for blood (thanks Liz), it also synthesises antibodies and stores a reserve of monocytes, the largest kind of white blood cell, both of which are very important to the immune system. The “red pulp” of the spleen, where the monocytes are stored, is also known as “the cords of Billroth”, a name Ben has immediately stolen for his Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
  • The “squiggly spooge” is an organ possessed by Irkan aliens, including the title character of classic Nickelodeon animated series Invader Zim, created by Jhonen Vasquez. It’s since passed into the online lexicon where it is used as a placeholder word for any unknown organ.
  • There were indeed two versions of the original Street Fighter arcade game, and one had large rubber punch and kick buttons which responded to how hard to whacked them. You can find out more about the forgotten precursor to Street Fighter II in this Kotaku article from 2011.
  • In the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and several other former British colonies, Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated the day after Christmas. There are few modern traditions attached to it, though in Australia at least it is the day many Summer blockbuster films are released.
  • We struggled to find a good source for Romans making roads out of garbage, but one of our favourite podcasts, 99% Invisible, have done stories about the making of new streets above the old and Seattle (and in a similar story, the creation of new land in the early history of San Francisco).
  • In Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Uma Thurman’s protagonist “The Bride” is buried alive in a coffin, but uses elite martial arts techniques to break open the coffin and dig her way to the surface.
  • Repo Man (1984) is a cult sci-fi comedy film written and directed by Adam Cox and starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. Estevez plays a punk who takes a job working with Stanton as a repossession agent, and they go looking for a car which may have been involved in extraterrestrial activity. Pratchett confirmed in interviews that Reaper Man was a deliberate pun on the film’s title.
  • “Rocket Man” is a 1972 single by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin, which appeared on the album Honky Château. It features the line “I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife; it’s lonely out in space”. It was famously covered in 1991 by Kate Bush for the tribute album Two Rooms: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
  • Professor Filius Flitwick is the part-goblin Charms Master and Head of Ravenclaw House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (In the world of Harry Potter, that is, he’s sadly not real.) On screen he is played by Warwick Davis of Star Wars and Willow fame, albeit with a radical change in look between the earlier and later films.
  • When Ben talks about “shot matching”, he means the cinematic technique known as the match cut, in which the end of one scene is visually or thematically matched with the beginning of the next. Two of the most famous examples are the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which visually matches a bone thrown into the air with a similarly shaped satellite, and this cut from David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), which uses vision and audio to thematically match Lawrence blowing out his match with the silent desert at dawn. The Lawrence cut was the work of English film editor Anne V Coates, recognised as one of the all-time greats; her assistant on Lawrence, Ray Lovejoy, was the editor for 2001.
  • Blink is the tenth episode of the third series of the modern Doctor Who, in which Steven Moffat introduced the spooky “Weeping Angels” – creatures who look like statues and can’t move while being looked at. Blink, and they move lightning fast. The final shots of real statues all around London – suggesting to young impressionable viewers that the Angels might be lurking around every corner – caused an epidemic of nightmares.
  • Police Constable Reg Hollis, played by Scottish actor Jeff Stewart, appeared in almost the entire 26-year run of ITV’s cops on the beat soap opera, The Bill. A fan of model trains and gardening who always had something to complain about in his softly-spoken, slightly boring way, Reg was nevertheless a dependable copper, though treated very poorly by most of his fellow officers. He resigned from the force in 2008, two years before the series ended, making Stewart the longest serving original cast member.
  • There is indeed a podcast about The Bill, aptly named The Bill Podcast. It’s only been around since 2017, but consists of monthly in-depth interviews with members of the cast. You can find The Bill Podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes and Facebook.
  • Keeping Up Appearances was a BBC One sit-com which ran from 1990 to 1995. It followed the farcical adventures of Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) in her efforts to hide her lower-class origins – especially her family members – and exaggerate her accent, wealth and abilities to gain favour with those she perceives as her social superiors. Her long-suffering husband Richard Bucket was played by Clive Swift, whose family name of “Bucket” Hyacinth insists on pronouncing “Bouquet”.
  • We’d like to give a shout-out to longtime listener and friend of the show Sally Evans, whose tweet sadly arrived too late for us to mention it in the episode:
    https://twitter.com/SalacticaActual/status/1030365880440389632
  • Meet Joe Black (1998), loosely based on the film Death Takes a Holiday (1934), stars Anthony Hopkins as a billionaire whom Death decides to visit because of the impassioned speech he gives his daughter (Claire Forlani) when it becomes clear she’s not all that keen on the man she’s about to marry. Father and daughter, by the way, are named Bill and Susan! The Brad Pitt body Death decides to inhabit rather inconsiderately belongs to a man with whom Susan was flirting, moments before he was violently hit and killed by two cars.
  • By contrast, Mighty Joe Young (1998), a remake of Mighty Joe Young (1939), stars Charlize Theron as a woman who has raised the titular gorilla, both of whom were orphaned by the same poacher when they were young. Joe is no longer accepted by others of his kind, probably because he is inexplicably three times the normal size for a gorilla. The plot revolves around Theron and Bill Paxton trying to protect Joe from the poacher who wants revenge as Joe bit off two of his hands in their original encounter. It’s…well, it’s no Meet Joe Black, that’s for sure.
  • The episode of 99% Invisible about the history of shopping malls is “The Gruen Effect“. While looking up the link for that one, we also found this great article about the birth of the shopping trolley: “Shopping Around: How Folding Basket Carriers Became Modern Nesting Carts“.
  • Ben mixes up his Sylvester Stallone characters during the discussion of the Dean; the one who ties a strip of cloth around his forehead is not Rocky Balboa from Rocky (1976) and its many sequels, but John Rambo, from First Blood (1982) and its sequels.
  • In Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), the suprisingly non-bogus sequel to the surprisingly excellent time travel slacker comedy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), teenage rocker wannabes and future saviours of the world Bill S. Preston esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) are killed by future despot Chuck D Nomolos (Joss Ackland) before they can fulfil their destiny. They first “Melvin” Death and end up in Hell, but then challenge Death, beating him in games of ClueTwister and Battleship until he finally agrees to help them return to life, eventually joining their band Wyld Stallyns as a bass player (shades of Soul Music there!). Joss Ackland later played Mustrum Ridcully in the TV adaptation of Hogfather, and reportedly regretted appearing in Bogus Journey, claiming he only did so because he was a workaholic. One more Bogus Journey connection with this novel: both feature characters named Rufus who are significant to the protagonist’s backstory and future!
  • ZZ Top play the “band at the party” in Back to the Future Part III (1990), performing a “hillbilly version” of their song “Doubleback” from their 1990 album Recycler. The version we remember is probably the orchestrated one played – repeatedly – during the town festival, and the album version plays over the credits. The music video uses footage from the film. While we may have forgotten the single, it was in fact a pretty big hit in the US at the time, reaching #1 in the rock charts for five weeks. 
  • Once and For All is currently on hiatus, but you can find all five released episodes at the link. Ben appears not only in episode five, “Death Vs Death”, but the very first episode, “Indiana O’Connell and The Kingdom of the Mummy’s Skull”, in which he goes to bat for Brendan Fraser’s character from The Mummy, Rick O’Connell, in a battle against Indiana Jones.
  • In the Sandman comics created by Neil Gaiman, Death is one of the Endless, seven beings who personify fundamental metaphysical concepts: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Delirium and Despair. While they are immortal in some circumstances they can die, though they are then replaced in their role by someone else. Dream is the titular Sandman of the original comics, but Death has also proven popular enough to have her own separate stories, notably Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life.
  • It should be noted that Azrael appears not just in Islamic lore, or The Smurfs, but in other Abrahamic traditions, including Hebrew mysticism, though he is rarely mentioned in Christian writing. The version of Azrael with millions of eyes is only one of many varying depictions.
  • You can see the full range of currently in print Collector’s Library editions of Discworld novels at the Discworld Emporium. We note that since our last visit, the Emporium now also stocks new printings of early editions of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic
  • You can see Paul Kidby’s “Lancre Gothic” in this BBC article collecting some of the best Discworld illustrations. Kidby’s “Death with Kitten II”, a newer version of the illustration from The Last Hero, can be found in the gallery on his web site and on his Instagram. “The Imaginarium of Professor Pratchett”, originally drawn for the cover of the “Discworld Imaginarium” book, is in Kidby’s online store, and you can also see Ben’s favourite version of this concept – from the cover of the HisWorld exhibition book – on Instragram. (You’ll need to get your hands on a copy of The Last Hero to check who A’Tuin is looking at.)
  • The Pratchett Armorial Bearings (the formal name for this kind of heraldry), which can indeed be seen on Pratchett’s Wikipedia page, are formally described thus:
    Blazoned:
    Arms – Sable an ankh between four Roundels in saltire each issuing Argent.
    Crest – Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Sable On Water Barry wavy Sable Argent and Sable an Owl affronty wings displayed and inverted Or supporting thereby two closed Books erect Gules.
    Motto – “noli timere messorem”
    The motto is rather more accurate Latin for “Don’t fear the Reaper” compared to Mort’s Latatian “non timetis messor”.