You are now reading the 9th edition of the Annotated Pratchett File, or APF for short. For information about what is new or changed in v9.0 with respect to previous editions I refer you to the new Version History and Timeline section in the Editorial Comments chapter.
Ever since its creation in 1992, one of the most popular pastimes on the
alt.fan.pratchett has been discussing the many jokes,
parodies, allusions and references with which Terry Pratchett seasons his
work. Since, as Terry once put it, "
alt.fan.pratchett as an entity has the
attention span of a butterfly on cocaine", it quickly became clear that it
would be a good idea to distil some of these discussions into something
with a little more persistence and staying power than individual Usenet
articles (remember that this all took place long before something like
Google Groups -- or indeed even the World Wide Web itself -- existed!). And
so the Annotated Pratchett File was born, and (because I was brave or
foolish enough to volunteer) I became its editor.
Over the years the APF has grown in popularity and size. It now contains
nearly two thousand annotations, and is available in a number of different
formats. Yet it is still (and if I can help it will always be) called a
'file', reflecting its origin as a short text file that I regularly posted
The structure of the APF is straightforward, with the annotations divided into two large chapters: the Discworld Annotations, and all the Other Annotations. Within each group, the books are listed in the order in which they were published (with the exception that in the Discworld chapter the proper novels come before the secondary material such as the maps and the Science of Discworld books). Within each book, the annotations are sorted in ascending order by page number, with that number referring to the edition I actually own myself, which will typically be the original UK hardcover edition. (Some of the earlier books also list paperback page numbers -- for more information please read the Page Numbers section in the Editorial Comments chapter.)
Each annotation is prefixed by either a '+', denoting an annotation that is new or has been significantly updated in this version of the APF, or a '-', denoting an unchanged older annotation. This used to be quite handy when new APF versions appeared more frequently, but has since become a lot less meaningful. We are sticking to the practice for now, on account of tradition.
The APF incorporates, in this edition once again more than ever before,
many passages from articles that Terry himself has posted to
alt.fan.pratchett. As a long time active contributor to the group, he often
provides inside information on many aspects of his writing, and it would be
a waste to let this first-hand knowledge just disappear into Usenet
history. Much of this material has been incorporated into the annotations
themselves, but quite a bit of interesting information that did not fit
anywhere else has been collected in the Thoughts and Themes chapter.
The APF ends with the already mentioned Editorial Comments chapter, where various nuts & bolts of the editing process are discussed. It also lists information to help you obtain the most recent version of the APF in whatever format you prefer.
One particular piece of technical information is so important I am placing it here as well as at the end, and that is the address to write to if you have any suggestions, questions, corrections, or new annotations. Without the enthusiastic reactions and input from its readers, the APF would never have survived so far. Please mail all your feedback to me at:
and maybe you will see your contribution become a part of the next edition. I will now leave you to the annotations, and end this introduction with a thought that is a bit of a cliché but nonetheless true: I hope you will enjoy reading the APF as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.
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