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Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay
Vadim Jean (& Terry Pratchett)
Gollancz, 252 pages

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett lives in Somerset, England, where he spends all his time, and more, writing his rigorously naturalistic, curiously entertaining, shamelessly popular Discworld novels which have earned him extravagant acclaim and puzzled stares from millions of readers around the world.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Going Postal
SF Site Review: The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
SF Site Review: The Art of Discworld
SF Site Review: Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collector's Edition 2005
SF Site Review: Going Postal
SF Site Review: Monstrous Regiment
SF Site Review: The Wee Free Men
SF Site Review: The New Discworld Companion
SF Site Review: Night Watch
SF Site Review: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
SF Site Review: Thief of Time
SF Site Review: Nanny Ogg's Cookbook
SF Site Reading List: Terry Pratchett
SF Site Review: The Truth
SF Site Review: City Watch Trilogy
SF Site Review: The Fifth Elephant
SF Site Review: The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000
SF Site Review: The Science of Discworld
SF Site Review: The Last Continent
SF Site Review: Hogfather
SF Site Review: Jingo
SF Site Review: Feet of Clay
SF Site Review: Maskerade

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay After more than thirty novels and two animated series, Terry Pratchett's Discworld has finally come to a live-action production. The work selected to introduce the Disc to this new format was Pratchett's Hogfather, a satire on Christmas which was published as the twentieth Discworld novel. As a companion to the SkyTV miniseries, screenwriter Vadim Jean has released an illustrated version of his screenplay, Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay.

In addition to Jean's screenplay, the book contains numerous sketches, photos, and production images from the SkyTV production. At the end of the book is a listing of the cast of the television show. Aside from a pair of forewords by Pratchett and Jean and an afterword by the show's producers, Rod Brown and Ian Sharples, there is little in the way of extras beyond the scripts. Photos and sketches are not captioned, relying instead on the reader to use the accompanying script to determine what the pictures are and who is represented in them.

Of course, Pratchett's plot remains intact, as do his characters (well, when they aren't being killed). The guild of Assassins has accepted a job to kill the Hogfather and sends Mr. Teatime, who spends his spare time plotting the murders of mythical figures, off to do the job. Death devotes his time to filling into for the missing Hogfather while his granddaughter, Susan takes time off from her duties as a nanny to find the missing Hogfather, the Disc's version of Santa Claus.

One difficulty in reading a script is that, even with the lengthy stage directions provided by Jean, the pacing of the story doesn't quite fit. In his original novel (Hogfather, 1996), Pratchett could pace the events between lines of dialogue with his expository passages, and in the television show, the director and editor can set the pacing using camera shots and music. In the screenplay, however, the periods between dialogue don't come across well, no matter how much stage direction is given, as in, for example, Jean's direction for Susan to look at Twyla's picture on page 48 of the script. Without the film's timing, it seems more an intrusion than anything else.

Being a textual representation of the advance of Discworld into a new media, Jean must reintroduce concepts which are generally familiar to Discworld readers for a potential new audience, whether it is the introduction of the world itself or the recurring characters. Jean does this quite well in the script and it can be assumed that the cinematic representation would build upon the groundwork that Jean laid.

The book is printed on a nice, thick, high gloss paper, which reproduces the photographic images quite well, giving the book a lush look and feel to it. The black text stands out quite well, whether it is the script or some of the sketches, such as the line drawing of the tooth fairy's entrance hall on page 84 (and the photographic comparison on the opposite page).

While a beautiful book in its own right, Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay takes a backseat to the SkyTV production it chronicles and to Pratchett's own novel, both of which should be enjoyed prior to reading this book. However, the illustrations and sketches included in the book do make a nice addition to any Discworld library.

Copyright © 2007 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a five-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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