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XXXX, xxx, or Fourecks , or "EcksEcksEcksEcks" (names differ from person to person, but inhabitants are almost universally called Fourecksians or Ecksiains) is a continent on the Discworld, referred to as the 'last continent'. It is pronounced "EcksEcksEcksEcks", or "Fourecks". While the rest of the Disc is (presumably) millions of years old, FourEcks has existed only for the last 30,000 years, but when it was created it was made millions of years old. Time, therefore, was not exactly uniform across the continent, and as a result the Unseen University faculty arrived at the continent's point of creation but were easily able to return to the 'present'. The continent was surrounded by a permanent "anti-cyclone" which prevented anybody leaving or arriving, though people sometimes managed to arrive via driftwood, which is how the camels got there.

It was named Xxxx because rumours suggested 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 - X marks the spot. 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 idea of expeditions of wizards exploring the continent is a clever play on the Wizard(s) of Oz since the nickname for Australia is of course "Oz".

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 principal city, presumably the capital, of FourEcks is Bugarup, with its magical university similar to UU, headed by (at last account), Bill Rincewind.. A much smaller town (it has a pub, therefore it's a town) is Didjabringabeeralong. Other known locations include Worralorrasurfa and Cangoolie. As of The Last Continent, FourEcks is governed by a Prime Minister, who is locked up as soon as he is elected (to save time later on).

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.

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.


XXXX is based on the Australian continent. The obvious similarity is its isolation, its strange and poisonous creatures and the kangaroos. In addition, the criminals who find it an attractive place to escape charges at home have their parallel in Roundworld were prisoners were transported to Australia from Britain during previous centuries to serve their sentence, many staying permanently. More subtly, there are numerous 'in-jokes' many of which are likely to be missed by non-Australians.

For example, 'Scrappy' the friendly, helpful kangaroo who can communicate in 'kangaroo language' is a reference to the popular Australian TV show "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo".

The annual regatta held in Dijabringabeeralong in the waterless 'river' using 'boat-shaped boats' is a take off on the one held in Alice Springs: the Henley-on-Todd Regatta. It too is held in a dry river bed and was cancelled when the river flooded.

The naming of desserts after opera singers is is a take off on Peach Melba which was created in the 1890s by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London, in honour of the Australian soprano Nellie Melba.

The shape of the Bugarup Opera House with its sails is a reminder of the Sydney Opera House.

The armoured character 'Tin-head Ned' is based on Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.

The phenomenon, transvestite aspect, and naming of 'the Galah' is a celebration of alternative lifestyles, parodying the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia's largest gay/lesbian event. Probably the reason why the University at Bugarup doesn't enforce Rules One, Three, Five and Seven.

Petunia the Desert Princess, the troupe of female impersonators, Darleen and Letitia, and the female, Neilette, is a take off on the Australian drama/comedy movie, "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert".

The cave wall paintings of hand 'negatives' have their equivalent in aboriginal art and mythology.

The 'backpackers' on the Bugarup docks.

Rincewind's easily-doffed footwear known variously in Roundworld as flip flops are known as thongs, pluggers or jandals.

The scene involving Rincewind, the wild horses and the cowboys pursuing the horses is a take off on the Australian film "The Man from Snowy River" which was based on the poem of the same name by Banjo Paterson. To emphasize the link, Pratchett calls the horse that Rincewlnd is riding, "Snowy".

The 'drop-bears' who are a hoax in contemporary Australian folklore featuring a predatory, carnivorous version of the koala. This imaginary animal is commonly spoken about in tall tales designed to scare tourists. While koalas are typically docile herbivores (and are not bears), drop bears are described as unusually large and vicious marsupials that inhabit treetops and attack unsuspecting people (or other prey) that walk beneath them by dropping onto their heads from above.

Rincewind's accidental creation of a dire substance which closely resembles Vegemite.

The crowds of colourful, talkative little birds are obviously based on Australia's parrots and parakeets.

The 'creature' in the waterhole and the danger it brings resonates with Australia's salt water crocodiles.

In Australian slang similes figure prominently as in Ecksian slang. In Australian slang animals are often used in the simile. Two examples are:

  • Mad as a cut snake = very angry.
  • Going off like a frog in a sock = going crazy, excited.

The name XXXX is derived from the Castlemaine XXXX beer adverts in the UK, which portrayed a very specific, hypermasculine form of Aussie with an extremely dry sense of humour and beer-centric existence. Castlemaine XXXX is 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". The name also resonates with the Mexican beer Dos Equis (Two X's). The XXXX in Castlemaine beer refers to the strength.

Terror Incognita is a takeoff on Terra Incognita (the Unknown Lands), a term used in cartography for regions that had not been mapped or documented. Before Captain James Cook proved conclusively that there was no giant continent in the southern ocean area this and Terra Australis, the "land of the south", were the terms used for the hypothetical continent as it appeared on European maps from the 15th to the 18th centuries.