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The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000
Terry Pratchett & Stephen Briggs, illustrated by Paul Kidby
Victor Gollancz Books

The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000
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.

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A review by Steven H Silver

How does one go about reviewing a calendar?

The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 is a complete work with 366 days listed (including February 29). All the dates are in sequential order and assigned appropriate days of the week. None appear to be missing. Several holidays are mentioned in the pages of the calendar. The division of pages into four days apiece leaves plenty of room for the user to make additional notations.

That would make for a really short review and not really explain why this calendar is more appealing than any of a number of other calendars and day planners which are available on the market. What sets The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 (written by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, and illustrated by Paul Kidby) apart from other such products is the supplemental material.

Each week is divided into eight days (after all, this is Discworld), including Octeday. Rather than assigning a number to each Octeday, this space is filled with a piece of trivia about Ankh-Morpork's famous Assassins' Guild. These can take the form of strange weapons used in assassinations (a teaspoon, May 14), open commissions (Foul Ole Ron: 1 groat, March 5), or (in)famous assassins (Mr. Teatime, December 17).

Each of these entries is detailed and illustrated to provide a little more insight into the Guild.

However, what really sets the book apart is the 20-page introductory section which opens with an address by the Guild's headmaster, Lord Downey, and continues to provide a short history of the Guild.

Pratchett and Briggs reveal more about the inner workings of the Assassins' Guild in this diary than had previously been revealed in the 24 Discworld novels. Of course, it is done with the same sense of the absurd that Pratchett uses in the novels and provides enough background material that it is possible Pratchett will eventually use the Diary as a basis for a new novel focusing on the activities of a Guild member.

The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 will appeal to any Discworld fan and adds something new to the background of the Discworld. At the same time, it provide more of Pratchett's form of humour in a short form and gives some sort of indication of the types of notes he may be keeping for future work. Its one drawback (for American readers) is that the book does not include any of the US holidays, being a UK publication intended for distribution and use in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Most Americans, though, should be able to figure out that the Fourth of July is celebrated on July 4.

Copyright © 1999 by Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He sits on concoms for Windycon, Chicon 2000 and Clavius in 2001 and is co-chair of Picnicon 1998. Steven will be serving as the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is trying to get his short stories published and has recently finished his first novel. He lives at home with his wife and 3200 books. He is available for convention panels.

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