XXXX

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Fourecks
Blank.jpg
Established
Motto
Neighbours Purdee Island, Foggy Islands, Mono Island
Geographical Features Outback, Mountains, coastline 'girt by sea']
Population Several thousand humans with a few dwarves
Size Roughly 3,000,000 sq. miles
Capital Bugarup
Type of government Republic, current ruler: Prime Minster
Notable Citizens Mad, Bill Rincewind, Tinhead Ned, Fair Go Dibbler, Rinso
Imports Hard to think of any bloody thing the world could offer Fourecks. Although an Assassins' Guild school graduate and Dark Clerk did petition Vetinari for a diplomatic posting here so she could get up close and personal to its more interesting and eight-legged fauna.
Exports Opals, sheep, wool, beer, bananas, barmen.
National Anthem
Books The Last Continent


Pronounced "EcksEcksEcksEcks", or "Fourecks", if and when people on the main continent bother about this mysterious continent of XXXX. It is so named because rumours have long held that a landmass exists in such-and-such a position in the oceans, but no explorers ever made it there to learn its proper name and then come back to tell of it. Old records in the Unseen University Library tell of two separate expeditions of wizards that attempted to reach the last continent centuries ago, one of which was reputed to have been led by a Sourcerer.

The continent indeed exists. Its people are characterized by an easy-going attitude and an absolute refusal and incomprehension of the phenomenon of rain, until the events chronicled in The Last Continent. The Ecksians have a very colourful language with many complicated colloquialisms. They have learnt to live with the almost exclusively poisonous nature of their flora and fauna.

The continent of XXXX sports a tangled space-time continuum, in which a story to fool foreigners at one location becomes a reality some miles away; for example, on one ranch, the drop-bears were stories to scare foreigners, but some miles away, a traveller (Rincewind) was indeed attacked by drop-bears. There are also "places where there's very little time, and times when there's hardly any place." As the Trickster, alias "Scrappy" (Hoki?, whose name is uncannily similar to that of the eponymous star of the Australian children's television series, "Skippy"), says, "imagine the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, only the piece is a bloody great continent which has got to be turned through about nine dimensions" until it finally slots into place.

XXXX is also called the Terror Incognita. Almost all animals and plants in XXXX are dangerous; when Death requested a book about the dangerous creatures of XXXX from his library, he was subsequently hit by a large pile of books consisting of the various volumes of "Dangerous Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Jellyfish, Insects, Spiders, Crustaceans, Grasses, Trees, Mosses and Lichens of Terror Incognita", the total books going up to Volume 29C Part 3, while a request for information about the harmless creatures merely produced a note saying "Some of the sheep". The land is inhospitable because the flora and fauna all hate you and there is never any rain. It is a baking-hot land of red sand. The Ecksians generally dig into the ground to get water. The continent is surrounded by a permanent anticyclone. Even in the direction that people can get their boats out into the ocean, they have to remember not to go too far out, because the edge of the Discworld is very near.

Known locations include the major city Bugarup with its magical university and the smaller towns of; Dijabringabeeralong, Worralorrasurfa and Cangoolie.

Since the events of The Last Continent, XXXX has supplied most of the Disc's bar staff. This is due to the climate change, with the rain clouds ending their anti-cyclone around the coast and finally bringing rainfall to the continent. With the sea lanes at last accessible, XXXX has begun to trade with the rest of the disc, and has opened an diplomatic embassy in Ankh-Morpork; The Flaming Kookaburra. Ankh-Morpork has reciprocated and established a small embassy in Bugarup, with some 'specialist staff'. It has also become the destination of choice for citizens of AM that wish to escape the attentions of the Watch. The Marquis of Fantailler fled there after the minor matter of killing his wife, and the notorious fraudster Moist von Lipwig considered it as a possible destination until it was explained to him that even that would not be far enough. In Snuff the young aristocrat Gravid Rust chose to take a nice holiday in XXXX rather than face some vexing questions about a 'minor slaving/kidnapping/smuggling/drug trade he was running. He would have had a nice retirement had he not tragically fallen afoul of the dangerous wildlife.


Annotations

XXXX resembles the Australian continent in a great many ways, quite a few of them subtle. Thus, the full significance of a number of its 'in-jokes' is likely to be missed by non-Australians (e.g. the provenance of the name 'Scrappy' and the significance of his role as a friendly, helpful kangaroo who can communicate in 'kangaroo language'; the annual regatta held in the waterless 'river' using 'boat-shaped boats'; the naming of desserts after opera singers; the armoured character 'Tin-head Ned'; the phenomenon, transvestite aspect, and naming of 'the Galah'; the naming and travels of Darlene and co; the cave wall paintings of hand 'negatives'; the 'backpackers' on the Bugarup docks; Rincewind's easily-doffed footwear; the shape of the Opera House; the chasing of a herd of horses led by a very special 'colt',and the significance of the name 'Snowy' in the scene; the 'drop-bears'; Rincewind's accidental creation of a dire substance which closely resembles Vegemite; the crowds of colourful, talkative little birds; the 'creature' in the waterhole; the prominence of simile in Ecksian slang; etc., all of which, amongst many others, have Roundworld Australian counterparts in real life, literature or mythology).

The letters XXXX themselves form the name of a famous Australian beer brewed and drunk in the vast, hot, sub-tropical to tropical North-Eastern state of Queensland, whose inhabitants are traditionally regarded by denizens of some other states as being 'backwards'. The time-worn joke about the name of the Queensland-brewed beer is that, "it's spelt XXXX because Queenslanders don't know how to spell BEER". Unlike most authors, TP has got past the well-known and overdone stereotypical Australian icons and really done his homework on Australia, thus gaining a wealth of material to render into the weird, wild and wonderful Discworld continent of XXXX in all its venomous, dessicated glory.

Terror Incognita = Terra Incognita - the Unknown Lands. This is a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. Often used instead of Terra Australis, the "land of the south", which was a hypothetical continent appearing on European maps from the 15th to the 18th centuries.