Reaper Man (Discworld, #11)
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Reaper Man (Discworld #11)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  40,279 ratings  ·  955 reviews
'Death has to happen. Tha'ts what bein' alive is all about. You're alive, and then you're dead. It can't just stop happening.'

But it can. And it has. So what happens after death is now less of a philosophical question than a question of actual reality. On the disc, as here, they need Death. If Death doesn't come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime? Yo...more
Paperback, 289 pages
Published July 4th 2005 by Corgi (first published 1991)
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Night Watch by Terry PratchettGoing Postal by Terry PratchettSmall Gods by Terry PratchettGuards! Guards! by Terry PratchettMort by Terry Pratchett
The Best of Discworld!
7th out of 48 books — 631 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
70th out of 2,139 books — 3,197 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jennie
Probably my favorite of all of the Discworld novels (and that's a hard choice, given my total love of the series). Of all of Pratchett's many quirky characters, I think I love Death the best, though I couldn't begin to tell you why. In this installment, Death gets fired and has to get a day job. In typical Discworld fashion, not everything goes according to plan.

Don't pay attention to the critics' quotes on the front of the book. Anyone who compares Pratchett to Tolkien or Douglas Adams hasn't a...more
Anthony Eaton
How can you not like Death?

HOW, INDEED?

I'm sorry, did someone say something?

NEVER MIND. I'LL ONLY BE HERE A MOMENT.

Oh, okay then. Anyway, as I was...erk...
Melki
...it's just that life is a habit that's hard to break...

With Death off gallivanting around, Discworld residents discover that eternal life ain't all it's cracked up to be. Others just want those dead people to GO AWAY ALREADY!

Perhaps a support group is in order?

This entry in the series has EVERYTHING - action, adventure, thrills, chills, and romance, in addition to the usual amount of rampant silliness one has come to expect from Pratchett, who manages to prove once and for all that WORDS CAN H...more
Aaron
May 16, 2007 Aaron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
If I could steal credit for a book and claim it as my own, Reaper Man would most likely be it. This is the point, I think, where the Discworld novels stopped being entertaining light reading, and really became literature. It's a very subtle shift from the little parodies of science fiction and fantasy conventions of things like The Light Fantastic to the rich satire of a book like Jingo. Behind the story of Death being fired for having developed a personality, there's a clever little parable abo...more
Tfitoby
Just finished this whilst running and all the wonderful insightful thoughts I'd had about it over the past few weeks escape me as I sit exhausted yet happy. Reaper Man is the second novel that focuses on Death. This time he has been shorn of his anthropomorphic designation and sentenced to a short life on the Disc as punishment for becoming too individual. Those pesky Auditors make their Discworld debut (as do a whole raft of wonderfully fun creations including many new species in Reg Shoe's Fre...more
Kaethe
1/1/2002 Is there anyone who doesn't love Death? He's one of the greatest characters ever. *** Some days a book on the shelf just happens to catch your eye as you walk past, and you think, "Yes! That is exactly what I want to read today!" So you do. And Death takes a (working) holiday, and life is bursting out all over, and the plot is silly, and the characters are so engaging, and you've read it before, so you know what to expect. And it doesn't matter that I didn't read it in anything like pro...more
Callista
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh
I'm going to assume that anyone reading this review has neither read this book nor much in the way of Discworld. If you saw either Hogfather or (especially) The Colour of Magic Sky TV productions, forget what you saw in them - the way to enjoy Discworld is to read Discworld!

The book is more or less about Death. Both Death the Grim Reaper and death the fact of life, actually. Reading Mort before Reaper Man is a good way of getting into Discworld's Grim Reaper - he's actually a loveable kind of gu...more
Cora Linn
He's done it again.

My favourite of all of the Discworld novels.

Death is a fascinating character, and seeing his strain of humanity just makes him all the more so.

Reaper Man is HILARIOUS. Death is so awkward, so unsure of himself in the realm of the living. And when your time is running out, you want to experience everything life has to offer. And when you've never lived, maybe the basics ARE the most important parts of life.
Hosker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy
Jun 29, 2010 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves fantasy with some wisdom thrown in.
Recommended to Nancy by: Laura
Shelves: fantasy
Terry Pratchett is funny. Terry Pratchett is a philosopher. Terry Pratchett is a delight and the trouble with Terry Pratchett is you should read his books more than once.
Terry Pratchett is maddening. I'm not at all sure I got everything he was saying. There are double meanings everywhere and to read this book is to want to start over and read it again.

If anyone asks about what Pratchett's book is about, just hand it over. He is very hard to explain. If you want to add quotes, it is nearly imp...more
Matt
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you." - Psalm 39, verse 7

"LORD, WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN" - Death, 'Reaper Man' by Terry Pratchett

Now is the season of being snowed in and unable to take hikes or paddle down streams. Now is the season of drinking tea on a couch and trying to keep the mind from hibernating, while at the same time, not necessarily forcing it to wake up. Hense, Terry Pratchett. As part of my usual winter reading and rereading...more
Lee Broderick
Re-read 3/5/13: A lot of people seem to think that this is a book about what happens when Death takes a holiday. To a certain extent it is. The premise is simple: if you believe in a psychopomp then what would happen if they were no longer there? That though, is just the opening gambit - the framework within which to explore something more fundamental - time.

At the heart of this book is a tale of two people (or personalities, as Terry Pratchett would no doubt refer to them). One person has too m...more
Stacia
Love all of Pratchett's work, but this one is in the top three (of his) for me. Have to rank it right up there with my other favorites of his (The Wee Free Men; Hogfather).
Jon
Probably a 3.5 stars, but I'm feeling generous today.

I enjoyed the humor and the silliness churned out by Terry Pratchett in this Discworld novel. I also liked the philosophical wonderings of Death that resulted in a kinder, gentler Grim Reaper.
Chris
So. What are your thoughts on death?

Or rather, Death?

It's a weird thing, death. I mean, you're here one minute and then you're... not. And while we all know intellectually that we're going to die, there's something in us that refuses to believe that the essential Person that we are could possibly cease to exist. We have personalities, unique aggregations of memory and experience and inborn preferences that all display themselves as a Person, as far as we know unique in all the world. Each human...more
Larou
I have mentioned my ambivalent feelings regarding Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series before, and that I still enjoy them, if not quite as enthusiastically as most. Reaper Man, the eleventh volume, is the book in the series I have enjoyed the most so far. I suspect that this is due to two reasons… well, one reason I suspect, with the other I am quite certain.

The first one is that Reaper Man does not have any clear satiric aim – I know that Pratchett is often praised precisely for this satirical i...more
Teri
What if Death took a vacation? Well, that was Pratchett's last book in his "Death" series, Mort, but Reaper Man picks up the story of Death when the keepers of the continuum (known as the Auditors of Reality) decide that Death isn't quite grim enough to be the Grim Reaper, and is therefore flawed and must be done away with. Death notices his own hourglass running low and running out of something he thought he'd never have a problem with: time. And he's going to spend it.

With Death enjoying his f...more
TheBookSmugglers
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Reaper Man is a book that I find really hard to define. It would be so easy to simply describe it as a hilarious – or even absurdist – romp about the chaos that ensues after Death is (forcibly) retired without an immediate replacement to take over his duties. There are wizards running around, there are snow globes that pop out of nowhere then hatch into EVIL shopping trolleys (!!), a bunch of previously-undead people (including a vampire and a boogeyma...more
Meghan
For some reason this just wasn't my favorite.

I love the characterization of Death here. Every part of his story was a joy.

But I just am not that enamored with the wizards, and found their portion of the story much less interesting. And that was a substantial bit. I also can't conclusively say that I know how their portion relates to the death portion (although.. I think maybe? But not definitively.)

There weren't nearly as many hilarious one-liners, either, and that was a bit disappointing. I sti...more
Dimitris
Masterpiece! Beyond fulfilling, this book is an absolutely astonishing cathartic experience.

The writing is the usual brilliant combination of different types of prose, over which Pratchett clearly has such an unparalleled mastery, that one is often at a loss for words when trying to describe his craft. I honestly do not need to reaffirm what people who like Discworld already know (although preaching to the choir is not at all unpleasant), but really, how does he do that?
The character of Windle i...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
As with all the discworld novels this was a reread for me and I really enjoyed it.
In this book we get to know Death somewhat better and his character gains more personality. I loved seeing him out of his usual environment and how he tried to fit in with the village folk.
We also follow Windle Poons around a lot, a wizard who had just died, but couldn't go anywhere, as Death wasn't working. So he tries to solve his predicament of being undead and also some other mysterious things going on.

In this...more
P. Aaron Potter
What can one say about one of the weakest entries in one of the strongest series in literature? It's like picking on the shortest member of a winning NBA team, or getting annoyed that someone gave you the Hope Diamond when what you wanted was the Koh-i-Noor.

This is an excellent book. Is it as rivetingly structured as The Fifth Elephant, or as philosophically charged as Feet of Clay, or as drop-dead funny as Guards! Guards! ?
No.

But it's still head and shoulders above 90+% of everything else writ...more
Ashley
It's fitting that I finished this book on Easter morning, I think. It's all about life and death, and Death IN CAPITAL LETTERS, and a wizard named Windle Poons. Windle Poons has just died, but since Death has been forced to retire (got too interested in his crops, developed a personality), Windle Poons and everything else that has died since just sort of . . . hangs around waiting for the new Death to show up. The whole thing turns into this escalating mass of controlled chaos where metaphors be...more
Gavin
Compelling, Heartbreaking, Thought-provoking and made to look effortless.

Death has started to exhibit a Personality, and that which is must surely end. He is shortly retired and chooses to work for an old lady on a farm for the remainder of his days under the pseudonym of (Good Old) Bill Door. Meanwhile the oldest wizard in the world dies and finds that (during this regrettable interim transition) there's nowhere for him to go, becoming the world's least willing zombie. I can't really review thi...more
Cristina Boncea
STORYLINE:
are loc pe două planuri.
O parte din acțiune începe la Universitatea Nevăzută a vrăjitorilor din oraș care își bat căpșoarele cu tot felul de probleme inutile, punându-și mereu întrebarea "poate un oraș să fie viu?".
Personajul principal de aici este Windle, care moare la vârsta de 130 de ani dar nu este condus pe lumea cealălaltă așa că devine un zombi în perfectă stare.
El realizează că viața lui de vrăjitor înfumurat a fost în van și are în schimb parte de o cu totul diferită viață de...more
Nathan
Part 11 of the Complete Discworld Rereadt

‘Reaper Man’ is the best Discworld novel up to this point, by far. While in ‘Mort’ we saw death go on vacation; the entire thing was a side plot played for humor. Hehe, look at Death trying to figure out people while his apprentice is mucking up his job. In ‘Reaper Man’ Death is forced out of his job, and now learning a little bit about people may be the most important thing he can do.

Death isn’t the type to do nothing when forced on holiday, so he sets o...more
Daveski
This is yet another great Discworld novel, and like the best entries in the series, it manages to be funny, riveting, and thoughtful all at the same time. This is the second "Death" novel, the first being Mort, and while this one may be slightly less funny, it more than makes up for that with sharper satire and deeper meaning.

Half the fun in these books is seeing how the plot unfolds, so I won't give anything away. If you are interested in checking out some of the Discworld books (and you should...more
Gavin Felgate
Reaper Man is the second Discworld novel to give a starring role to Death, a character who appears in every single book, usually making a brief cameo close to the start. The book opens with Death being forced into retirement; he subsequently leaves home and finds work as an actual reaper on a farm, making good use of his scythe. Of course, as we are told, "another Death" will come, and there is a big turning point in the book after Death saves a girl's life, despite the fact that he knows fate c...more
Alistair Miller
This book is part of the well-known Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series of novels. One of the main characters is Death, who instead of performing his usual Grim Reaper duties in his normal detached way, starts to show signs of developing a personality. So he is sent to live in the real world and finds work helping Miss Flitworth at her farm, calling himself “Bill Door”.

Without Death fulfilling his usual role, the life force of humans begins to build up. This is shown when local wizard Windle Po...more
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Can Reaper Man be my first Discworld novel? 17 130 Aug 10, 2014 10:18AM  
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Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel,...more
More about Terry Pratchett...
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1) Mort (Discworld, #4) Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) Night Watch (Discworld, #29)

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