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Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
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Reaper Man (original 1991; edition 2002)

by Terry Pratchett

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7,79782431 (4.12)179
Member:Novak
Title:Reaper Man
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperTorch (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Terry Pratchett
Rating:***
Tags:Discworld

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Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (1991)

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Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
I have a love/hate r'ship with the Discworld books.
I enjoy every encounter I have with Rincewind, the Luggage, and the Librarian.
Carrot is mildly interesting
Bits of concepts throughout the series are clever.
Pretty much the rest of the characters, and books, annoy and/or frustrate me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Reaper Man is an excellent novel about mortality and the value of life. While it is the eleventh Discworld novel, it can be read independently of the others and is a fairly good book to start the series with.

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”

Reaper Man, in short, is a book where Death gets fired. Not death, the end of living, but Death, the grim reaper who who carries away the souls.

From this initial beginning the book splits into two plot lines. The majority of the page time is spent on Windle Poons, a 130 year old wizard who dies but doesn’t end. Instead, Windle becomes one of the undead. Together with his fellow undead and the staff of the Unseen University, Windle must deal with an overabundance of life force and a new threat to the city. The other plot line deals with Death himself. When he’s fired he’s given time before an eventual death of his own. He gets a job on a small farm and begins to live among humans.

Death’s a wonderful character, and his journey through Reaper Man is beautiful. He’s eager to understand humans and human experiences, but everything is new and almost out of his grasp. He starts to feel time encroaching when he wants nothing more than to go on living.

“Was that what it was really like to be alive? The feeling of darkness dragging you forward?
How could they live with it? And yet they did, and even seemed to find enjoyment in it, when surely the only sensible course would be to despair. Amazing. To feel you were a tiny living thing, sandwiched between two cliffs of darkness. How could they stand to be alive?”

While I’m not as interested in Windle’s character, it’s interesting how his path is almost the opposite of Death’s in that he suddenly has more time, not less. But both Death and Windle learn to find value in the time they have.

Like with the best Discworld books, Reaper Man makes you both laugh and think, moving from hysterically funny one moment to thought provoking the next, sometimes managing to be both at the same time. It’s a book I’ve loved for a long time and have been able to share with friends and with my dad. It’s a book that I would recommend to everyone. After all, we are all human and will have to meet Death someday.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
1 vote pwaites | Apr 6, 2015 |
Oh those pesky Auditors! Always meddling in other's business. This time they have interfered with Death. He is given a life span, and a short one at that, so what does Death do when he knows his time is running out?
This is a great story, full of wizards, undead, Life and Death. We also meet the Death of Rats. On top of all the laughter are the underlying themes of life and death and why it all matters so much. I won't say Pratchett has the answer, but he sure makes the questions fun to ponder. ( )
  MrsLee | Jan 20, 2015 |
A hilarious look at what happens when Death decides to take some time off from his job: literally all hell breaks loose. This could only be told this hysterical by Terry Pratchett, one of the all-time masters of satire. Parts of this book had me rolling, but I have to say the last 1/4 of the book got a bit muddled, but it was still a very enjoyable book. The scene of Death being asked if he had any experience with a scythe before he goes out to reap corn on a lady's farm is just a freaking riot. ( )
1 vote utbw42 | Dec 15, 2014 |
4.5
'Inside Every Living Person is a Dead Person Waiting to Get Out...' Death is one of my favourite Discworld characters and Reaper Man is the second book in the Death novels. I prefer reading in general Discworld reading order though. Still, whether you read these books like I do, or you choose to read them as separate novels about Rincewind, or Death, or witches and so on, you will have lots of fun.

Death gets fired. Or something like that anyway. Instead of mopping around feeling sorry for himself (according to the ones who got him fired he shouldn't have taken the he part), he starts living, making friends, being a hero, learning things he only observed before and understanding them, and so on.

Meanwhile in Ankh-Morpork, life force is growing, weird little globes are popping up all over the place and things act. Windle Poons, a hundred and thirty old wizard, dies but nobody comes to collect him. Death is not employed anymore. His colleagues try everything they can think of (including burying him in the crossroads), but nothing helps. Windle Poons is still there. He finds his way to a group of life-challenged individuals and there the adventure of his unlife starts.

The troubles in Ankh-Morpork and Death's new experiences are the two threads we follow in Reaper Man, both funny and entertaining. Pratchett's greatest strength lies in those one liners he smartly sneaks in in every single story.
I would have liked more Death though.
( )
2 vote Irena. | Nov 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirby, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[None]
Dedication
[None]
First words
The Morris Dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.
Quotations
Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
DEATH IS MISSING - PRESUMED…ER…GONE.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.

Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There's a harvest to be gathered in…
Haiku summary
When Death retires,
Who will replace him? And will
He be any good?
(espadrile)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061020621, Mass Market Paperback)

They say there are only two things you can count on ...

But that was before DEATH started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now DEATH is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use.

But like every cutback in an important public service, DEATH's demise soon leads to chaos and unrest -- literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up, like Windle Poons. The oldest geezer in the entire faculty of Unseen University -- home of magic, wizardry, and big dinners -- Windle was looking forward to a wonderful afterlife, not this boring been-there-done-that routine. To get the fresh start he deserves, Windle and the rest of Ankh-Morpork's undead and underemployed set off to find DEATH and save the world for the living (and everybody else, of course).

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When the Grim Reaper begins to ponder the existential, his Discworld bosses send him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Death is now having the time of his life, but like every cutback in public service, Death's demise soon leads to chaos and unrest. The 11th novel of Pratchett's Discworld series. (August).… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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