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North American Discworld Convention

L-Space: In an age of wander

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Terry on Second Life - Q&A Transcript and "Photos"
DW Fion
charishawk wrote in nadwcon
Terry went to the Elysian Isle on Second Life for about 1 3/4 hours today, and answered a bunch of fan questions. I was able to sit in by dint of being home sick from work today (handy for this occasion, but not so exciting in general!).

Here's an edited transcript of the Q&A, and well done to Terry and Rob for being able to follow and answer most of the questions, as the format of the Q&A allowed for a lot of chitchat and cross-talk and made it somewhat confusing!

[11:52] Vernes Veranes: 47 agents/avatars [were present]

[11:54] Nick Gloucester: Ladies and gentlemen......I am pleased to announce that Terry has arrived and will be with you in a minute

(tons of applause)

[12:00] TerryPratchett Morpork: Hello everybody! Sorry, I’m new at all of this kind of stuff and so can anyone tell me how to get the rocket launcher?

[12:01] SignpostMarv Martin: lol, Terry's first pulbic appearence in Second Life and he asks for a rocket launcher X-D

[12:01] TerryPratchett Morpork: ...and I’m not really into all of this YourTube into MyFace kind of stuff!

[12:03] TerryPratchett Morpork: Okay, I know that you have to get the shotgun first, but sometimes you get lucky.

[12:01] Michaelx Beerbaum: Question is if Second life will appear in one of the books

[12:02] TerryPratchett Morpork: As far as I am concerned, my books are Second Life.

[12:03] Matty567 Dallagio: Why was "Nation" not set on Discworld?

[12:04] TerryPratchett Morpork: Good question; for one thing, the fact of it being on Discworld would change all kind of things that I could do. After all, Nation is hardly full of laughs. Setting Nation on a thinly disguised “alternate” world does, I think, give it more power and urgency.

[12:05] Matty567 Dallagio: Why a slightly alternate Earth instead of the real one?

[12:07] TerryPratchett Morpork: Because the real one has already happened. I wanted this world, but with a few interesting alterations. One details I’m sure you will have noticed is that Carl Sagan is still alive in that alternate earth.

[12:09] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: question: What was the inspiration behind the book?

[12:12] TerryPratchett Morpork: I came up with the idea in 2003 and it was not long before I was going to do a talk and signing in Folyes in London. I was so excited that I told Sarah Lefanu and I’m glad that I did because she is one person who can vouch that I came up with the idea before the big Asian Tsunami.

[12:11] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Q: Hi Terry, how does it feel to be in a virtual world were everything is possible and wierd is excepted as normal

[12:13] TerryPratchett Morpork: I think I’ve lived in one of those for the past 60 years :o)

[12:14] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: SignpostMarvMarvinHave you any thoughts on how your characters (from Nation, Discworld, Carpet People ) might react if they found themselves in Second Life ?

[12:16] TerryPratchett Morpork: I think Sam Vimes would be very annoyed, whereas the witches would just deal with it. I have to say that I quite like the idea of Second Life, because it is a totally human activity. Monkeys wouldn’t be able to join.

[12:15] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Any plans to do another non-Discworld book soon? from Charis Parx

[12:17] TerryPratchett Morpork: I did not know about Nation until the idea hit me. I had no advance warning and that is how it happens. Sometimes an idea comes out of nowhere and grabs you by the throat.

[12:16] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Q: What are you views on people in second life creating people, places, and things from your books and either giving or selling them to other players. from Dedric Mauiac

[12:19] TerryPratchett Morpork: It would be interesting to see what the law could do about Second Life! Regrettably for you, copyright and trademarks exist everywhere, but in reality I see this sought of thing as fan activity.

[12:17] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: First of all: THANK YOU FOR COMING TO SL! ^.^ (yay!) - Q: I noticed that religion was a major topic in "Nation", how did the response from readers look so far? from Jo Sapeur

[12:21] TerryPratchett Morpork: Religion; fantasy writers like religion. It’s so interesting to play with and it is a great forum for asking questions.

[12:19] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Do you think Moist Von Lipwig would have managed the banking system better than those currently in charge? from Ciaran Laval

[12:23] TerryPratchett Morpork: It seems that, primitive as it is, the Discworld economy is considerably more stable than the one here. And, come to think about it, Moist’s solution to the problem was not a long way from what has been done over here...

[12:21] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Terry we know you are a fan of computer games like Alien vs Predator, what do you make of Second life which doesn't appear to have a plot or goal? from Trago Mills

[12:24] TerryPratchett Morpork: Oblivion is my current computer game of choice, specifically because we (me and Rob) discovered modding, and I get a thrill from the thought that thousands of people write some wonderful mods and distribute them at no cost.

[12:25] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: April Kohl: If you haven't already got too many questions, could I ask: "Was there any novel you found particularly difficult to write?"

[12:27] TerryPratchett Morpork: Probably it was Nation. Probably because I wrote the first draft in six months and then spent the next six months wrestling it into the right shape.

[12:28] TerryPratchett Morpork: For obvious reasons, mostly because I am the poster boy for the battle against Alzheimer’s, there have been quite a number of days when I have been unable to write a word.

[12:28] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Kelli May: I hope this isn't too morbid, but a lot of the characters in Nation question why fate or the gods have inflicted various trials on them. Is this a question that's on your mind these days?

[12:30] TerryPratchett Morpork: Err, no. I don’t believe in Gods.

[12:30] Carl Blue: not even small ones?

(Terry laughs)

[12:31] Harmony Linden wonders if Terry believes in potatoes?

[12:32] TerryPratchett Morpork: Yes, I actually have a small potato in my coat pocket. In time of hunger a potato is more likely to be more useful than prayer.

[12:29] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Jo Sapeur: How long does it usually take you to write a book?

[12:31] TerryPratchett Morpork: For Unseen Academicals I won’t even hazard a guess. But for the last several years I have only done one book a year because of all the other distractions placed on an author’s life. Put it another way: Don’t ask a man to reply to every email AND do a full thousand words a day :-)

[12:31] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Carl Blue: Which of your characters do you feel is most like you?

[12:33] TerryPratchett Morpork: There is probably a bit of me in all the major characters. I would like to be like Sam Vimes, but deep in my heart I know I am Rincewind.

[12:32] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Salaamata Afarensis: my wife Ab (sadly at work) asks: it seems from reading the early Discworld novels that you grew to respect characters like Granny Weatherwax and Sam Vimes the more time you spent with them. These two characters, in particular, have come to represent standards of ethical behavior. Do you find that your relationship with the characters in the books has changed over time?

[12:36] TerryPratchett Morpork: That is a good question. It seems to me that if you get a character just right, they start doing the work for you. It is as if they become a subroutine in your own brain and you are right when you point out the similarity between Granny and Vimes; you might notice that both of them seem at every stage to be fighting some internal demon.

[12:33] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Ciaran Laval: Would you like to see more of your books repoduced on film in the fashion they haven been by SKY?

[12:38] TerryPratchett Morpork: Yes, but I don’t have any particular hopes for Hollywood. Besides, I like the British stuff, even though the budget is much lower than it might be in the States, I can get involved at just about every stage in the production. To an author, that is worth a great deal.

[12:38] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: DeutroJesaja Gothly: I know you don't belive in gods, but do you mind if books or quotes from your books is used in Christan teaching for young people?

[12:40] TerryPratchett Morpork: Not at all. I have no problem with the existence of Jesus Christ, who I think was very probably a wise man and a compassionate teacher. It’s just that I don’t believe in the same god that he believed in :-)

[12:41] TerryPratchett Morpork: As an aside, myself and Rob would like to wish Lisa and Jason ‘Discworld Anthony’ our very best wishes on the birth of their baby Isobel.

(many congratulations ensue)

[12:40] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Vernes Veranes: Where in Second Life can I buy a complete SL-version of the book? Is Second Life even concidered a Niche market?

[12:42] TerryPratchett Morpork: All I can tell you is that my publishers are watching this event. They are probably disguised as palm trees.

[12:43] Sweetie Saunders: what is Colin disguised as?

[12:44] TerryPratchett Morpork: Colin would be disguised as a bottle of wine.

[12:44] Elizabeth Burleigh: a nice cabernet, maybe?
[12:44] Sweetie Saunders: two bottles of excellent red!!

(Terry laughs)

[12:44] You: and Rob is hiding in the mic

[12:45] TerryPratchett Morpork: Actually, maybe a Pina Colada. With an umbrella.

[12:45] You: what a picture that is

[12:42] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Carl Blue: Whats you fave book, not your own?

[12:46] TerryPratchett Morpork: I have a whole library shelf of favourite books. However, I still think that one of the funniest and best works of fiction was the “Evolution Man” by Roy Lewis. My favourite bedtime reading at the moment is “Feeding Nelson’s Navy” by Janet MacDonald. Believe me, it’s considerably more thrilling than the title might suggest.

[12:45] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Willi Reino: when you read for relaxation, who are your favourite authors?

[12:53] TerryPratchett Morpork: Believe it or not, I seldom read a novel these days. Nearly all the books in the 3ft pile beside my bed are social histories or the biographies of intereting, if not important, people. I’m also a sucker for the kind of books with titles such as “Picky – The History of 500 Years of Snot in Britian”.

(lots of laughter)

[12:54] Dedric Mauriac: is that a real book?

[12:54] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: i must look that book up my last one was pies and prejudice!

[12:54] TerryPratchett Morpork: Pies and Prejudice - I like that :o)

[12:46] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Charis Parx: If you had a day with no demands on you at all, what would you do with it, BESIDES writing. :)

[12:48] TerryPratchett Morpork: What do you mean, besides writing?

(Terry laughs)

[12:48] You: Hah. I was trying for an answer I *couldn't* predict
[12:48] You: I failed!

[12:49] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Samantha Poindexter: Any chance we'll ever see Esk of Equal Rites again?

[12:55] TerryPratchett Morpork: I think that if the last Tiffany Aching book, which will be called “I shall Wear Midnight”, gets finished it will probably re-introduce Esk.

(much excitement)

[12:55] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: DeutroJesaja Gothly: Howcome everybody knows a Granny and a Nanny?

[12:57] TerryPratchett Morpork: Because they are a widespread social sterotype and I am an observant author.

[12:57] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Dedric Mauriac: What fan art has impressed you the most?

[12:58] TerryPratchett Morpork: Sorry. I really can’t remember.

[12:58] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: April Kohl: Many writers and publishers in modern magazines talk about how much more difficult it is to get a first novel sold now than it was even ten years ago. Do you think you had it easier than the new kids on the block?

[13:01] TerryPratchett Morpork: I don’t think it was all that easier when I started, but the parameters have changed. If you can go on a comedy show and are on the telly long enough, and sometimes not for all that long, getting a novel published appears to be very easy and sometime you don’t even need to write it.

[13:02] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: SignpostMarv Martin: for Terry: There haven't been any full-length official Discworld games since Discworld Noir in 1999- now that Discworld films are being made, are there any plans for new games to be made ?
[2008/10/09 12:42] SignpostMarv Martin: ^as an addition,
[2008/10/09 12:43] SignpostMarv Martin: Would Terry consider a Discworld-based MMO, perhaps using something like OpenSim as the underlying tech ?

[13:02] TerryPratchett Morpork: What is an MMO? What is OpenSim? Can we accept for a moment that I'm not that engrossed by online activities?

[13:03] SignpostMarv Martin: Massively Multiplayer Online game
[13:03] SignpostMarv Martin: OpenSim: open source Second Life server
[13:03] SignpostMarv Martin: lots of Discworld fans running around the back of the disk of a virtual Great A'Tuin

[13:03] TerryPratchett Morpork: Then no.

[13:06] TerryPratchett Morpork: Early in 2003 we had approaches from about 5 or 6 games developers. I told them all to go away and knock up something that would show me that they had a grip on what Discworld would be about, and none of them came back. I’m not unhappy about that. Certainly I would require a new Discworld game to be as immersive as Thief II and with the sound and graphics suitable for the times.

[13:03] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Carl Blue: Will you be coming to live with us here in SL?

[13:08] TerryPratchett Morpork: I think you’re going to have to improve the graphics considerably before I come back to Second Life. The graphics in Oblivion allow you to see the graphics in the bottom of a pond and I think that came out in 2002.

[13:06] ImmortalitySou Ballinger: Dedric Mauriac: Have you ever drempt that you were in one of your novels?

[13:10] TerryPratchett Morpork: No, but I have often dreamt of scenes, usually just before I wake up.

[13:09] Lasynda Shichiroji: Are there any plans to do another book with Mr. Gaiman? I absolutely *love* Good Omens
[13:09] Tenebrous Pau: hehe... Good Omens movie PLEASE thanks... lol :)

[13:14] TerryPratchett Morpork: Good Omens movie? Regrettably people with enough money do not share your desire. The same could be said about Mort.

[13:14] Sweetie Saunders: cant we all send terry gilliam some cash?
[13:14] Tenebrous Pau: if only that'd do it :)

(Terry laughs)

[13:15] TerryPratchett Morpork: History says that Terry Gilliam is a worrying man to give money to :-)

[13:18] TerryPratchett Morpork: Folks. We are now overtime on this chat and so I’m off to hang about on Nation island for a bit. Cheerio.

(many thanks and cheers from all)

I took some screencaps of the event, which are here.

Also, someone with a better computer than mine got a capture of my character, so now I can see what I really look like on SL. Hah.

Here's a cap of our friend Rentawitch, as Granny Weatherwax.

And here were my two favorite in-costume folks, Susan and Death of Rats.

Here's the SL pool for the event.