Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

Another book by Terry Pratchett, which I actually finished right before starting Wyrd Sisters from my previous post. On Discworld, the fantasy world that Pratchett created to "play" in, a lot of ideas have personifications shaped by the way humans think of those ideas. In this case, Death, one of my favorite characters of the series, has a "body" and a persona that has been created by the way people image death to look. Which is why Death is a skeleton wearing a black hooded robe, carrying a scythe, and speaking in all capital letters. He can also only be seen by the magically inclined, small children, and people who don't know that you shouldn't be able to see Death. The book Reaper Man starts out with the Auditors (beings that Pratchett calls the "bean counters of the universe") deciding that death is a messy part of being alive and therefore figure out a way to kill Death.

Death knows when to collect a soul because he has all of these "life timers," hourglasses that when the sand runs out so does your life force. Suddenly one appears that is labeled "Death" and because Death finally has time to spend, he decides to go off and use his last weeks of life taking a holiday. Of course that means that there is no one fulfilling his role of taking away the souls of the newly departed, the spirit world starts filling up with uncollected souls, and the life force is building up. And of course, it's Pratchett, so general hilarity and chaos ensues.

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