#Pratchat63 – Decline by Committee
In this final fourth part of our Thud! trilogy, Liz and Ben are rejoined by designer and educator Matt Roden. As we wait for the biscuits to arrive, we turn our attention to this month’s agenda items: the 2005 Discworld short story “A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices”, and squeezing in a bit more discussion of Thud!
Every Thursday the senior faculty of Unseen University have a committee meeting, during which they do very little except wait for the biscuits and tea to arrive – much to the annoyance of Ponder Stibbons. But this week, Ridcully announces that their latest magical mishap has annoyed the Patrician – and as a result, they have a few questions to answer from one A. E. Pessimal, newly appointed “Inspector of Universities”...
Written for the Times Higher Education Supplement and published a few months before Thud!, this very short story draws on Pratchett’s own experience on a committee. Does it tally with yours? Are you a Ponder, a Ridcully, or a Pessimal? Do you agree with Matt’s characterisations of the other faculty members? Plus we get back into Thud! – are we off the mark with our thoughts about whether it’s copaganda? What is Pratchett trying to say about religious extremism, if anything? And what Discworld cocktail would you make? Join the conversation using the hashtag #Pratchat63.
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Guest Matt Roden was here just two months ago for #Pratchat61 discussing Thud! He is still the Creative Learning Manager for the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, as well as an accomplished graphic designer and educator. There are now even more photos of his dog on his Instagram at @matthewrodeo.
You’ll find notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
We’re easing into the year slowly with another short story for February, this time one of Pratchett’s earliest: “Rincemangle, the Gnome of Even Moor” from his time at the Bucks Free Press in 1974. Its available in both A Blink of the Screen and The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner. Send us your questions about it using the hashtag #Pratchat64, or via email, which you can send to email@example.com.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the all-new Pratchat Reading Challenge for 2023! All the details are on our website, and you’ll also find it on the StoryGraph.
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