DISCWORLD ASSASSIN'S GUILD YEARBOOK AND DIARY 2000
by Terry Pratchett &Stephen Briggs
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs have put together a nice little calendar for the year 2000 and called it Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000. As with all good calendars, this one includes all 366 days in the correct sequence. What sets the calendar apart is the supplemental material at the beginning of the book which will make it an interesting resource for any of the multitudinous fans of Pratchett's Discworld series.
Each page of the calendar is broken into eight days, the eighth being Octeday. Although Octeday does not have a date associated with it, each Octeday includes a piece of trivia about the Assassins' Guild. These can take the form of a description of the manner in which Lady Prill used a horsehair sofa to dispose of the Moon King of Brindisi (February 20) or the history of guild commissions on the vampire Count Dragoul von Salic who has been inhumed at least four times and is currently awaiting his next assassination (October 29).
Naturally, the calendar contains a listing of holidays on the appropriate dates. However, it should be noted that this calendar is very definitely geared towards Great Britain, Australia and Canada. As such, holidays outside those countries are generally not noted. American users, therefore, will have to refer elsewhere to discover when their holidays of Labor Day, Memorial Day, Halloween, etc. are set to occur.
The calendar opens with a twenty-page "yearbook" of the Assassins' Guild. This section includes more background material about the guild than has appeared in the various novels, giving an indication of the guild's structure and history as well as some idea of the manner in which it runs its day-to-day operations. Presented with Pratchett's usual sense of the absurd, the yearbook opens with an address by Lord Downey, the guild's head master. Pratchett goes on to present some of the rules of the college, which may seem a trifle whimsical until compared to some of the rules actually enstated by the various colleges at Oxford and Cambridge.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 is the decision whether to use the book for its intended purpose or to keep it in pristine condition on the shelf with other Discworld novels.