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A monthly examination of Terry Pratchett's Discworld book series from an academic perspective, hosted by literature scholars Joshua Bulleid and Alice Capstick. Episode Transcripts and Bibliographies: https://monash.academia.edu/JoshuaBulleid/Podcasts Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/doctorprometheuspod Contact: unseenacademicalspod@gmail.com A Doctor Prometheus podcast.
 
Join writer Elizabeth Flux and comedian Ben McKenzie on their six(ish) year mission to read every Terry Pratchett novel – not just the Discworld ones! They’ll read one a month, and discuss them with special guests, puns and footnotes. Episodes released on the 8th of each month (Australian time); check pratchatpodcast.com and the end of each episode for notice of the next book, and send in questions to us via social media! The explicit tag represents a fairly average Australian level of coars ...
 
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show series
 
Episode 7A of Unseen Academicals, discussing Carpe Jugulum and exploring Pratchett's subversion of the triple goddess, magpie rhymes, Gothic landscapes, modernisation, notions of progress, "quilted" signifiers and more! We were going to do a deep dive in to the history of the vampire a a literary type in this episode as well, but we haven't had tim…
 
Arts journalist, critic and broadcaster Richard Watts joins Liz and Ben on a trip sideways in time with reluctant wizard Mervin (with a V) in Pratchett’s 1995 short story “Once and Future“, originally published in the Arthurian collection Camelot. As he stands on the beach waiting for the right hopeful king to come along, professional time traveler…
 
Did you know Alice does another podcast called Of the Devil's Party, where they and their friend Rowan do a deep dive into dark hero archetypes? It's really good. You should listen to it! ...It also might help explain what all this "Byronic" stuff we keep talking about is. On this bonus/preview episode Alice and Rowan begin their discussion of Goth…
 
We discuss Maskerade, exploring the origins triple goddess, the many guises of The Phantom of the Opera,distinctions between high and low culture, the gentrification of opera, masks, physical appearances, the archetype of the Gothic Villain and its theatrical transformation into a Romantic Hero of Sensibility and more! Episode Transcripts and Bibli…
 
Freelance writer and journalist Ben Riley joins Liz and Ben for a magical history tour as Susan Sto Helit teams up with a couple of monks to stop time…er…stopping in the twenty-sixth Discworld novel: 2001’s Thief of Time. In Ankh-Morpork, a mystery woman tasks the odd but talented Jeremy Clockson to build a clock so accurate it can measure the tick…
 
Preview for our first ever bonus episode of Unseen Academicals, covering issue 19 of Neil Gaiman's comic series The Sandman: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1991). We compare Gaiman's treatment of Shakespeare's titular play to that of Pratchett's Lords and Ladies (1992), while examining the history of Shakespeare in comics and fairy illustration, the …
 
Science comedian and public health nerd Alanta Colley joins Liz and Ben on their second trip through Discworld into Roundworld, as they join Rincewind and the wizards of Unseen University in Pratchett’s second collaboration with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen: 2002’s The Science of Discworld II: The Globe. While on a team-building exercise in the woods…
 
Our second part on Lords and Ladies, exploring evolving literary and cultural representations of elves and fairies through the works of William Shakespeare, J. R. R. Tolkien, T. H. White, Lord Dunsany, Rudyard Kipling and more! Referenced transcripts: independentresearcher.academia.edu/JoshuaBulleid/Podcasts Contact: unseenacademicalspod@gmail.com …
 
Writer and editor Deanne Sheldon-Collins joins Liz and Ben as they return to the infinite worlds of the Long Earth to discuss Pratchett’s second collaboration with Stephen Baxter: 2013’s The Long War. It’s now ten years since anti-stepping extremists nuked natural stepper and explorer Joshua Valienté’s home town of Madison on the original “Datum” E…
 
The first of two episodes on Lords and Ladies (1992), covering quantum continuities, simulacra warrior queens, performative dressing, glamour, the ethics of borrowing, vegetarianism, pagan landmarks, horny gods and more! Referenced transcripts: independentresearcher.academia.edu/JoshuaBulleid/Podcasts Contact: unseenacademicalspod@gmail.com Alice's…
 
With the ei- the twice-fourth Australian Discworld Convention postponed until next year, Liz and Ben fired up their crystal balls to project themselves live for the one-day online event, Nullus Anxietas: The Lost Con! In this special one-hour mini-episode, we revisit the very first book discussed on the podcast: the fifteenth Discworld novel, 1993’…
 
Surprise! In the great Australian tradition of Christmas in July, Liz and Ben are joined by writer and literary horror fan Penelope Love to discuss Pratchett’s short story “Twenty Pence, With Envelope and Seasonal Greeting”, first published on the 16th of December, 1987. It’s Christmas Eve, 1843, and the driver of a missing Mail Coach is discovered…
 
We wrap up our extended coverage of Witches Abroad with an examination of mirrors in feminist literature and fairytale revisions, Lilith's origins, Granny's cultural chauvinism, Mrs Gogol, Carnival and the power of parody in combating postmodern pastiche. Referenced transcripts: independentresearcher.academia.edu/JoshuaBulleid/Podcasts Contact: uns…
 
For the second time – and coincidentally for another of the books in The Long Earth series – we’ve made a change in our schedule! Our next book will still be The Long War, as announced in #Pratchat44, but we’re postponing that until August. Our forty-fifth episode, #Pratchat45, will instead discuss Pratchett’s 1987 short story, “Twenty Pence, With …
 
The Oggisms continue as we explore the cultural impact and implications of fairy tales featured in the Genua section of Witches Abroad, including Cinderella, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Rumpelstiltskin and Disney itself. We also figure out what simulacras are all about and whether Nala stands a chance in a Disney Princess Deathbattle. Apologies for t…
 
We’ve waited two and a half years for its 35th anniversary, but finally Joel Martin rejoins Liz and Ben to resolve the Discworld’s first (and most literal) cliffhanger in The Light Fantastic, the second Discworld novel, first published on the 2nd of June, 1986. When we last saw them, failed wizard Rincewind, Twoflower the tourist and Twoflower’s ma…
 
Episode 4A of Unseen Academicals, discussing the third book in the Witches Series, Witches Abroad (1991), and using it to explore the characterisation of Magrat and her tension with Granny Weatherwax, crises of identity, homoerotic familiars, fairy godmothers, how fairytales shape culture, way too much about Sleeping Beuaty and The Wizard of Oz, a …
 
Welcome to a new tradition: the Pratchat Eeek Club! Each year, on the Glorious 25th of May, we will release a bonus episode discussing topics selected by our Eeek tier subscribers. This year, the topics are: How would Ankh-Morpork deal with COVID-19? What would happen if Granny Weatherwax was head of Unseen University – or if Angua commanded the Wa…
 
Poet and writer Sally Evans joins Liz and Ben as they rejoin Tiffany Aching for a trip up into the mountains to meet the next generation of witches in A Hat Full of Sky, the 32nd Discworld novel, first published in 2004. Note that while this episode discusses a book for younger readers, it does contain swearing and we discuss concepts only appearin…
 
Episode 3 of Unseen Academicals, examining the second book in the Witches Series, Wyrd Sisters (1988), and using it to explore theories of humour, the power of words, Shakespeare, the history of Macbeth, evolving depictions of witches, broomsticks, Black Aliss, vegetarian ghosts, and more! The sound on this on is pretty rough. As Alice and I have a…
 
Author, editor and journalist Stephanie Convery returns to Pratchat as newspapers and conspiracy hit Ankh-Morpork in the same week! It’s The Truth, the 25th Discworld novel, first published in 2000. William de Worde has made a reasonable living writing a monthly newsletter for notables, keeping them informed of goings on in Ankh-Morpork. But when h…
 
Episode 2 of Unseen Academicals, discussing the first book in the Witches Series, Equal Rites (1986), and using it to explore definitions and history of magic, magical gender roles, education, the power of words, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, female wizards, male witches, seventh sons of seventh sons, H. P. Lovecraft, parallel worlds and mor…
 
Episode 1 of Unseen Academicals, discussing our titular Discworld novel, Unseen Academicals (2009), and using it to discuss Terry Pratchett's critical and academic reception, football/soccer, Academics, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Eddie McGuire, fashion, gender expression, RuPaul's Drag Race, the racial implications of orcs and their origins in…
 
Educator Dr Charlotte Pezaro joins Liz and Ben on a trip to the South Pelagic, where they find tsunamis, gods and science in Nation, Pratchett’s standalone young adult novel from 2008. Mau is returning from his rite of passage when a huge wave washes over his island Nation, killing everyone he has ever known. He is all alone, stuck without a soul b…
 
Comedian Richard McKenzie returns to get a bit gothic as he, Liz and Ben head to Überwald to discuss The Fifth Elephant in the room…by which we mean the twenty-fourth Discworld novel, published in 1999. As Ankh-Morpork and its neighbours embrace modern semaphore technology, trouble is brewing among the dwarfs. A new Low King is soon to be crowned i…
 
We’re kicking off the Year of the Beleaguered Badger with something a little different: an international guest, and a short story! Unofficial 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 occu…
 
Writers, comedians, magicians and con-men experts Nicholas J Johnson and Lawrence Leung join us as we meet the distressingly named Moist von Lipwig in his 2004 debut, the 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal! Con-man Moist von Lipwig (aka Albert Spangler) thinks he’s come to the end of the line when he’s hanged by order of Lord Vetinari, Patrician of…
 
Author Will Kostakis returns to face time travel, unexploded bombs and a tangle of timelines in the final Johnny Maxwell book, 1996’s Johnny and the Bomb! When Johnny and his misfit friends look after homeless eccentric Mrs Tachyon’s shopping trolley, they soon discover she has a complicated relationship with time. Johnny, Yo-less, Wobbler, Bigmac …
 
Star of the stage Gillian Cosgriff joins Liz and Ben to cower in fear before that most horrifying of beasts: the magpie! Yes, it’s time for the twenty-third Discworld novel, 1998’s Carpe Jugulum. The new princess of Lancre has been officially named! But all has not gone well: new priest Mightily Oats took Queen Magrat’s notes on the naming a little…
 
Liz, Ben and science communicator Anna Ahveninen have the weird sensation of being a specimen in a jar as they discuss 1999’s The Science of Discworld, co-written by biologist Jack Cohen and mathematician Ian Stewart. By bribing the Unseen University faculty with the promise of cheap heating, research wizard Ponder Stibbons gets permission to try s…
 
Liz and Ben (who suffered from microphone issues this episode) introduce children’s author Oliver Phommavanh to the world of Pratchett with Johnny Maxwell’s return, in 1993’s Johnny and the Dead. Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell is enduring Phase Three of the Trying Times between his parents, which involves living with his Mum at his Grandad’s place.…
 
Liz, Ben and writer Michelle Law go on a surprisingly dark ride in Pratchett’s skewed take on the “Pied Piper”, 2001’s Discworld for Younger Readers book, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Everyone knows that the best way to get rid of a plague of rats is to pay the Piper. Even Maurice, and he’s a talking cat. So when he met a Clan of s…
 
Liz, Ben and librarian Meaghan Dew come down from the mountains to a land of sheep, chalk and tiny blue warriors, and meet the youngest witch ever, in Pratchett’s 2003 Discworld for Younger Readers book, The Wee Free Men. Nine-year-old farm girl Tiffany Aching lives on The Chalk, a lowland area famous for its sheep and…er…sheep products. It’s not f…
 
In episode 31, Liz, Ben and returning guest Joel Martin step sideways into the infinite earths of Pratchett’s 2012 collaboration with Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth. In 2015, plans for a strange but simple box-shaped device called a “Stepper”, powered by a potato, are posted online. Kids all over the world build them and discover that the boxes let…
 
For our thirtieth episode, Liz and Ben take a break from reading books and instead read your comments and questions, looking back on both Pratchett’s work and their own. Which one of Dibbler’s schemes would you fall for? What’s your least favourite Discworld novel? Are there any good Pratchett-inspired games? What line would you quote to sum up Pra…
 
We’ve made a change in our schedule! Our next book will indeed be The Long Earth, as announced last episode, but we’ll be postponing that to May. Our thirtieth episode, #Pratchat30, will instead feature Liz and Ben answering your broader Pratchett questions. Listen or read on for more information. If you’re new to Pratchett, this is your chance to …
 
In episode 29, Liz, Ben and guest Fury join Rincewind on a journey to a strangely familiar land in Pratchett’s 1992 loving Discworld parody of Australia, The Last Continent. (A quick content note: this one has more swearing than usual, but we bleeped the c-bombs out.) The Librarian of Unseen University, long ago turned into an orang utan, is suffer…
 
In episode 28, players Liz, Ben and guest Steve Lamattina press start and blast away at Pratchett’s 1992 novel of kids, war and videogames, Only You Can Save Mankind. Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell isn’t the best at computer games, but he loves them all the same. While playing Only You Can Save Mankind, a space combat simulator, he’s taken by surpr…
 
In episode 27, Liz and Ben are joined by guest writer and psychologist-in-training Craig Hildebrand-Burke to discuss the depressingly relevant yet uplifting 1997 Discworld novel of war and prejudice, Jingo. In the middle of the Circle Sea, halfway between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch, the ancient and slightly eldritch island of Leshp has risen from the …
 
In episode 26, Michael Williams of The Wheeler Centre joins Liz and Ben to get into the holiday spirit with the very Christmassy 1996 Discworld novel Hogfather. It’s Hogswatch, and the Assassins Guild of Ankh-Morpork has accepted a very unusual assignment, and Lord Downey has given it to the very unusual assassin Mr Teatime. But who would want to k…
 
Have a surprise bonus mini-episode of Pratchat! We’ve mentioned Night Terrace a few times, but not gone into too much detail. So, outside of our usual schedule, Liz asks Ben all about this time travel radio comedy series from Splendid Chaps Productions. What’s it about? Who are the main characters? How would they fit into the Discworld? You’ll also…
 
In episode 25, Elizabeth, Ben and Noongar writer and poet Claire G. Coleman go back to the early days of the Discworld to Granny Weatherwax’s debut in 1986’s Equal Rites. Drum Billet, wizard, travels to the village of Bad Ass high in the Ramtop mountains, where at the moment of his death he hands over his wizard’s staff to the newborn eighth son of…
 
In episode 24, meteorologist Nate Byrne joins Elizabeth and Ben for a Discworld tale of murder, golems and nobility in 1996’s Feet of Clay. Two old men have been murdered in Ankh-Morpork, but they’re not the worst of Commander Vimes’ woes. His best Sergeant is six weeks from retirement; his worst Corporal might be the Earl of Ankh; his newest recru…
 
For episode 23, Elizabeth and Ben are joined by opera singer Myf Coghill on a trip to Ankh-Morpork’s opera house in 1994’s Discworld novel of witches, phantoms and experimental cookery: Maskerade! Nanny Ogg’s coven with Granny Weatherwax is short a witch. She decides young Agnes Nitt – last seen dabbling in the craft while wearing black lace and ca…
 
Episode 22 – released, by pure coincidence, on International Cat Day – features Elizabeth, Ben and resident Pratcat Asimov for a look at one of Pratchett’s oddest books: 1989’s humorous examination of all things feline, The Unadulterated Cat. Cats these days just aren’t a patch on the ones you used to get: untameable aloof outdoor beasts who are mo…
 
Twenty-one today! In this episode, Elizabeth and Ben are joined by David Ryding of Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature as we rejoin Rincewind and some of his old friends in the 17th Discworld novel: 1994’s Interesting Times. Rincewind, the worst student Unseen University ever had, has been quite literally to hell and back. But when a summons arrive…
 
Back in April, Liz and Ben attended the seventh bi-annual Australian Discworld Convention, Nullus Anxietas VII! They enlisted fellow convention guest (and friend of the podcast), author Tansy Rayner Roberts, to discuss the earliest Discworld short story: 1991’s Troll Bridge! Cohen the Barbarian has led a long life, but his greatest glories and bigg…
 
For our twentieth episode we finish our first Pratchett series! Elizabeth and Ben are joined by writer Dr Lili Wilkinson to discover the final fate of Masklin, Angalo, Gurder and the rest of the Nomes in the 1990 conclusion to the Bromeliad: Wings! (If you need to catch up, you can find Truckers in episode 9, and Diggers in episode 13.) When Maskli…
 
In our nineteenth episode it’s back to the Discworld as we join Death, and meet his granddaughter Susan, as writer and illustrator Fury joins us to talk about the 1994 Discworld novel, Soul Music! Susan Sto Helit doesn’t have time for anything silly – not for grief, not for tiny skeletal rats who are here to inform her of SQUEAK, and most definitel…
 
For episode eighteen we go back to Pratchett’s science fiction beginnings as – in the evening between the two days of the 2019 Speculate festival – author Will Kostakis joins us to talk about the 1976 standalone novel, The Dark Side of the Sun! Dom Sabalos is about to become Chairman of the planet Widdershins when he is messily assassinated. Well…m…
 
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