We’re kicking off the Year of the Beleaguered Badger with something a little different: an international guest, and a short story! Unofficial Terry Pratchett biographer Marc Burrows joins us from the UK to discuss the third Discworld short story: 1998’s The Sea and Little Fishes!
Without much else but the carefully applied annoyances of Nanny Ogg to occupy her time, Granny Weatherwax is ready to win the annual Witch Trial – just as she does every year. But Lettice Earwig, self-appointed leader of a sort of witch committee, has decided this is discouraging new witches, and asks Granny not to participate. She also tells Granny to try being “nice” – and the worst part is, Granny appears to be taking her advice…
Very long for a short story, The Sea and Little Fishes delves into the relationship between two of Pratchett’s most beloved characters, and introduces people and concepts he’d later expand upon in the Tiffany Aching novels. In a sense it’s a story in which almost nothing happens, but then that’s largely the point – someone like Granny Weatherwax hardly has to do anything at all to move mountains. Where did you read it? What do you think of the title? And how long can a story be while still being considered “short”??? Let us know! Use the hashtag #Pratchat39 on social media to join the conversation.
Guest Marc Burrows is a writer, musician and comic. His articles and reviews about music and culture have appeared in The Guardian and a variety of other publications, but he’s currently best known as the author of the first, unofficial Terry Pratchett biography, The Magic of Terry Pratchett, which you can learn all about at askmeaboutterrypratchett.com. He is also a member of the band The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, and has two upcoming non-fiction books about music. The best place to find Marc online is as @20thcenturymarc on Twitter and Instagram, and you can sign up to his newsletter “The Glom of Nit” via tinyletter.com.
You can find the full show notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
We plan to cover short stories once or twice a year to help us all keep up with the schedule, in part because our original plan – to cover them as live shows – hasn’t worked out this last year. But next month it’s back to the Discworld novels, and the Watch, with The Fifth Elephant – and we’re welcoming back one of our earliest guests, Richard McKenzie! Send us your questions via email, or social media using the hashtag #Pratchat40.
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