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 georgerexcomics.com, 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.
- “Colony collapse disorder” (CCD) is when a majority of a worker bee population abandon their hive, leading to the collapse of the rest of the colony. It has become a serious problem over the last decade, especially in the United States, though the causes are not well-identified; everything from pesticides to climate change and modern commercial beekeeping practices have been suggested. Bees are an essential part of the pollination cycle for a great many food crops.
- The two previous times Rincewind found himself suddenly able to wield magic were in Sourcery! (see episode three) and The Light Fantastic.
- The character of Faust or Faustus was based on real-life 16th century German astrologer and alchemist Johann Georg Faust, who had many misadventures and was the subject of many rumours regarding his supposed magical powers. He died (possibly in an alchemical explosion) leaving a mutilated corpse – evidence, according to his enemies, that the Devil had come to collect him personally. The tale of his “deal with the devil” – selling his soul via the demon Mephistopheles, in exchange for almost unlimited magical power, mostly because he was bored – became a popular German legend, with the two most famous adaptations being for the theatre: Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus in 1604, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s more snappily titled Faust in 1808. In both versions Faust interacts with Helen of Troy.
- The Tenth Doctor is prevented from regenerating and prematurely aged about 1,000 years by the Master in the episode Last of the Time Lords, causing him to shrink and lose all his hair. Many fans compared the tiny CGI Doctor (who even had a tiny version of the Tenth Doctor’s brown suit) to Dobby the house-elf, as seen in the Harry Potter films.
- Adrian Mole is the protagonist in a series of comedy novels by Sue Townsend. The first two – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – were written largely for teenagers, depicting the trials of an adolescent during the Thatcher years in Britain. They have been adapted for radio, stage and most famously television, and even as a stage musical! Several later books, less well-known outside of the UK, followed Adrian into adulthood and middle age.
- The Road to El Dorado (2000) is a DreamWorks animated film about two 16th century Spanish con artists who head to the New World with Cortés and find El Dorado, the mythical City of Gold, where they pretend to be gods. It stars the voices of Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Armande Assante and Edward James Olmos.
- In the 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Robin (played by Eric Idle), is accompanied by minstrels (led by Neil Innes) whose songs about Robin’s bravery include grisly details of things that supposedly don’t scare him. He abruptly tells them to stop singing before things get too awful.
- “Goetia” is a form of ritual magic involving the conjuration of demons, most famously drawn from the 17th-century grimoire (or book of magic) The Lesser Key of Solomon, which lists 72 demons that may be summoned in a section titled “Ars Goetia“. These entities – supposedly summoned by King Solomon himself – are often referred to as “goetic demons”, and their names have been frequently used in pop culture for all manner of demonic and evil entities. As well as prompting the name of Vassenago in this book, Vassago – the third demon, and a Prince of Hell – has also been referenced in comic books, videogames and novels.
- Gachnar, the Dark Lord of Nightmares and the Bringer of Terror (according to him), appears in the fourth season Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Fear, Itself. (Ben’s synopsis is mostly correct.)
- The scene Liz refers to is from Ace Ventura: When Nature calls, when Ace forces his way out of the rear end of a rubbery mechanical rhino after the fan and hatch both malfunction. In the first Police Academy film, officious Lieutenant Harris crashes a motorcycle and flies into the back of an open horse float, where it is implied (but not shown) that he gets his head…er…stuck. 1995 and 1984 sure were different times for film, huh.
- Miffy is the English name of Nijntje, the young female rabbit protagonist of a series of books created in 1955 by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. There are 26 books in the series, most published since 1990, though Bruna retired in 2014 and died in 2017. The stories are hugely popular and have been adapted into two television series and a feature film, and heavily merchandised. Miffy and the other rabbit characters are drawn with an “X” to represent her nose, and no mouth; given Liz’s childhood terror, we’d like to suggest listener discretion when viewing the official Miffy web site.
- Target’s Doctor Who novelisations – short books adapting the television stories into prose – are famous both for helping many Who fans get into reading, and also for being the only way fans could revisit earlier stories before they were released on video (and later DVD) – or indeed at all, in the case of the stories which have been lost. Sadly the site “On Target” which was devoted to these books has also been lost.
- South Australians are notable for sounding significantly more English than folks from other Australian states. This is largely due to their use of a small number of significant alternate vowel sounds and is usually attributed to the fact that the colony of South Australia was established mostly by free settlers, rather than convicts, or that there were far fewer Irish settlers there. Not everyone agrees with that theory.
- The time travel episode of Stargate SG-1 to which Ben refers is the penultimate episode of season two, titled 1969.
- Be Kind Rewind is a 2008 Michel Gondry comedy in which Mos Def plays a video store clerk whose friend (Jack Black) accidentally erases all the tapes in the store. In desperation they make their own extremely low-budget, inadvertently hilarious recreations of popular films like Ghostbusters and Driving Miss Daisy, which become very popular.
- “Bricky” and “sparky” are Australian slang for, respectively, bricklayers and electricians. (“Chippie” is slang for a carpenter.)
- The Seinfeld episode where Elaine has an argument about exclamation points is The Sniffing Accountant, from season five.
- The cartoon George refers to near the end is The Baskervilles, a kind of “reverse Munsters” in which the very normal and nice Baskerville family try to fit into the Hellish cityscape of “Underworld: The Theme Park”. The Baskervilles’ neighbours include the Lucifers, the Frankensteins and the Draculas, plus the park’s boss, “The Boss” (who may or may not be the actual Devil), and his right-hand man, a skeleton with an Australian accent named Kevin. A British, French and Canadian co-production, The Baskervilles ran for one season in 2000 and included Rob Brydon of The Trip fame in the cast! You can find at least the first episode on YouTube.
- Ben couldn’t find the cartoon that features the Prince of Heck (he certainly wasn’t thinking of Dilbert, which is what the Internet turns up), but “HIM” (not “that guy”) is the flamboyant prince of darkness who cannot be named from the original ’98-’05 run of The Powerpuff Girls. HIM appears as a traditional devil figure, but in drag with lobster claws for hands, and is extremely powerful; he is the Girls’ second greatest foe and the one they fear the most.
- The Tenacious D song Liz refers to is “Tribute”, the D’s first and biggest hit; you can find the music video here.
- You can find fellow Discworld podcast Radio Morpork at radiomorpork.wordpress.com. They’ve recently released their twenty-second episode, bringing them up to The Last Continent.
- Odysseus does many things which by today’s standards are horrendous, including slaughtering the suitors who wanted to marry his wife during his absence as well as the servants who had waited on them, but there are few if any writings about his life afterwards (or his death).
- Ben’s bank heist game, which ran from early 2016 to early 2017, was Small Time Criminals.