Discworld: Death Novels Group Read

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Discworld: Death Novels Group Read

Jan 2, 2:57 pm

Hi all! This year some of us plan on reading the Death novels from Discworld (with hopes of continuing other collections in the following years).

The order of the books will be:

February - Mort
April - Reaper Man
June - Soul Music
August - Hogfather
October - Thief of Time

Any and all are welcome to join!

Jan 2, 3:06 pm

Hi, Rachel. I'm always glad to reread one of my favorite sub-series in Discworld, so I'll try to remember to join you here.

Jan 2, 3:41 pm

Thanks for setting up the thread. I’ll make sure to have a copy of Mort ready to start reading in February. I just hope life will let me actually read it as well.

Jan 2, 6:32 pm

I’ve added a space for these threads to the group wiki and announced it in the Group Announcements thread. Have fun!

Jan 2, 6:37 pm

I’ve starred this thread, hope to participate.

Jan 2, 7:01 pm

I'll have to go dig up Mort. One of the early scenes is referenced in The Fairy Godmother.

Jan 2, 7:24 pm

>1 The_Hibernator: YES! I just did a reread of reaper man and mort after reading the pratchett bio, but Id be glad to read them again! And Soul music was one of my first discworld books and I was hooked

Jan 2, 10:08 pm

Go on then; I could join in.

Jan 3, 4:57 pm

Glad to see the thread up, and looking forward to the books. Just ordered Mort for my Kindle, as my copy as gone walkabout.

Jan 3, 5:00 pm

my first introduction to DEATH was from Pratchetts novel the good omen written with Neil Gaiman. They each bring different parts to the book, but death is pratchetts for sure.

Jan 3, 5:51 pm

I am probably in. (I had been wondering which Discworld subseries to read in 2023. :D )

Editado: Jan 3, 7:58 pm

>1 The_Hibernator: I see you've spaced it so that we have a couple of months to read each book. For TIOLI purposes (if anyone else is doing the challenges), I'm going to assume that each book will fall in the month it is listed next to (so Mort would go into February's TIOLI, not into January's).

I usually slot my books into the TIOLI challenges at the end of the month so if you (ie anyone) do put a book into a challenge, please pop a note down here so I can share the read with you. Makes sense?

Jan 4, 7:17 am

>12 humouress: my intent is to read the book the month listed. I am a notoriously slow reader right now due to lack of time (3 kids and a job) and ADD. So I don't want my entire reading life to be taken over by Discworld.

Jan 4, 7:25 am

>13 The_Hibernator: Well, I'm not yer fastest reader either. I suppose I could make a case for two kids?

Jan 4, 8:09 am

>14 humouress: Two kids is enough to swallow your time!

Jan 30, 10:34 am

Here is someone else who wants to read along.
I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with some of the books and also to new discoveries, as I haven't read them all yet.
I am looking forward to it.

Jan 31, 4:37 am

Ooh, that reminds me. I have two of the books but I need to get my hands on the others, including Mort.

Jan 31, 1:32 pm

Hi all, I have located my copy of Mort and I am looking forward to reading alone with you.

Fev 2, 8:28 pm

Thanks for the reminder, Rachel. I've been out of town since the 29th and just got home, so I'll pull Mort off my shelves for my next read.

Fev 5, 6:03 pm

I guess I have to be the person to pierce the veil? Surely someone else has devoured Mort with as much enthusiasm as I have?

It seldom takes me more than one or two sittings to get through a Discworld novel, and this one was no exception. As it turns out, I had somehow missed it on my original Pratchett reads. It was a wonderful beginning to this re-exploration and a delightful reminder of how sly Pratchett can be.

Fev 5, 6:19 pm

I haven’t started yet. I tried reading on the train but it didn’t work out and I’ve been too busy otherwise. Hopefully will find time soon.

Fev 5, 6:59 pm

>20 LyndaInOregon: I'm looking forward to it but I need to get a couple other books finished first.

Fev 5, 7:44 pm

I finished Mort last night. Although it is by far the weakest of the DEATH sequence of novels, it still shows flashes of what Pterry was working toward. And I am sure that is from the perspective of one who has read them all multiple times, for whom it is no longer fresh and novel. For those of you reading it for the first time, what made you laugh out loud? What surprised you? What made you think a bit differently?

Fev 5, 8:47 pm

I acquired Mort last week. I’m pretty sure I read it … way back when, but I haven’t started it yet for this group read.

Fev 5, 8:57 pm

I've brought Mort up from the depth of my Kindle, but I'm actually reading 2 other books - one on iPad and one on Kindle - now. It's not really safe to take my iPad to bed because it ends up edge first on my face, so I go to my back up book.

Fev 6, 12:02 am

this is a re re read for me, but its still making me smile

Fev 6, 11:09 am

I started Mort last night, but I'm only on page 30, lol. I'm a slow reader with a paucity of time. But I love the way Death appears and hires Mort. Everyone's reactions were just so British humor. Lol I think Pratchett is great at conveying British humor without the slapstick of Monty Python. Ridiculous, yet smooth.

Fev 6, 7:09 pm

I'm about a third of the way through - the circle is closing in on the city. And I'm finding that while I LOVE Pratchett's concepts, and his writing is fine, I really don't like his humor. Dry slapstick? People keep doing _dumb_ things, sometimes while knowing they're dumb, and I get embarrassed on their behalf. I'll finish it, but I may end up keeping my Pratchett knowledge as what I pick up from others. We'll see.

Fev 6, 7:31 pm

>28 jjmcgaffey: Pratchett's books mostly improve over the years.

Fev 6, 7:37 pm

Yeah. Maybe I should try one of his later books. I did enjoy The Wee Free Men, but haven't yet read any other Tiffany books.

Fev 6, 7:38 pm

>23 ronincats: Some of this is going to be spoiler-hidden, for those who haven't yet finished.

One of the things that doesn't have to be hidden, and the first line that made me laugh out loud comes when Death is making some purchases, and Mort notes that the coins are very, very old. "How do you get all those coins?" asked Mort. And Death replies: IN PAIRS.

Another one is: "Sodomy non sapiens," said Albert under his breath.
"What does that mean?"
"Means I'm buggered if I know."

It's those sly one- or two-liners that get me the most with Pratchett, though his sly philosophical musings are often thought of as his trademarks. Here's one, referring to the human tendency to think of very big tasks in very small terms: "It doesn't prove anything very much except that the awesome splendor of the universe is much easier to deal with if you think of it as a series of small chunks." And they are always delightful, but the things that make me laugh out loud tend to be the quick deadpan (you should excuse the expression) asides that take you a minute to "get", or the elaborate puns you didn't even see coming until it's too late to get out of their way.

So ... the other thing that I really noticed hearkens back to another author entirely. And here's where the spoiler content has to start. There's a very good, very dark short story by Ray Bradbury, called 'The Scythe'. It's probably been anthologized many times; my copy happens to be included in The October Country. In it, a man comes upon a rich field of wheat and for various complex reasons, is compelled to begin to reap it with a scythe. As the story unfolds, things get darker and darker. The man (and the reader) realize that he has come to personify Death, and he is driven to madness by the horror of what he is compelled to do, cutting huge swaths of unripe grain and plunging the world into war. Pratchett skirts that notion in Mort, though he pulls back on it pretty severely in order to keep the focus on satire and humor. It does break through at one point when Mort has a dream in which some part of his subconscious mind is tempted by the power that was "dragging him on in a dance that would not end until there was nothing left alive."

Just wondered if anyone else has (or will) pick up on that parallel.

Fev 6, 8:52 pm

Jenn, come with us at least as far as Reaper Man--that is one of my favorites.

Great responses, Lynda. I giggled at the coins as well.

Editado: Fev 10, 11:49 am

>28 jjmcgaffey: And I'm finding that while I LOVE Pratchett's concepts, and his writing is fine, I really don't like his humor. Dry slapstick?

lots of dry humor here, very british. Most of his books have these moments that you want to stop, but then he gets to the important part and you figure out that there was a reason why it happened

>29 quondame: you are right, he does improve over the years. This is only his fourth scworld book. The first two werent much, the third was a lot of fun, and it just gets better One of his later books is Thief of Time which is interesting of itself

>31 LyndaInOregon: Just wondered if anyone else has (or will) pick up on that parallel.\

I have read that story (and probably all of his work) He purposefully keeps away from a section of grain that he feels is his family.But then a fire comes and takes all the grain away except for that stand..He finds his family alive, just. He realizes he need to finish the job and cuts the grain so they can die.

Pratchette does pull back and keep the focus light Bradbury as usual leaves the dark in to make a point

>31 LyndaInOregon: but the things that make me laugh out loud tend to be the quick deadpan* (you should excuse the expression) asides that take you a minute to "get", or the elaborate puns you didn't even see coming until it's too late to get out of their way.

His footnotes often had me in tears laughing. ...

*I see what you did there

Fev 6, 9:24 pm

>32 ronincats: Reaper Man was the book which converted me from a Terry Pratchett reader to a Terry Pratchett fan. It was the shopping carts! I just cracked up and couldn't stop laughing. Up till then I would just read the ones I bought for the SF club library when nothing else caught my attention and thru the 80s there was increasingly more that did and even more in the 90s.

If I hadn't been on buy immediately after Reaper Man came out I probably would have had a lot of catching up to do as life got very busy with my daughter and a 12hr a day job before the end of the decade. 15 books in 10 years is rather a lot.

Fev 6, 9:33 pm

I started reading with small gods and soul music, the only books published in the US at that time. Wonderful books still among my fav; Wasnt till I went to England and discovered the motherload I bought all of them, and patiently waited for the next ones to come to the states

Fev 9, 9:19 am

Small gods was my introduction to Pratchet, and I would try anything else by him from that point on. I haven't read any of his essays, but thoroughly enjoy discworld, expecially Tiffany Aching, Granny Weatherwax, and Samuel Vimes. I'll join you as soon as I get a copy of Mort from the library.

Fev 9, 1:27 pm

You'd think by now this would be old hat but I am cracking up as much as I was the first time!

Fev 9, 3:47 pm

I am about half-way through my re-read of Mort. It has been a loooong time since I read this one. It's interesting that I had forgotten so many details and I love the little jokes.
At this half-way point it struck me that this book contains the seeds that later became Pyramids and Thief of Time.
Specifically the divide in perceived time and the idea of pocket dimensions. Come to think of it that would include Hogfather as well

Fev 9, 7:55 pm

Completely agree with you. Just finished, and I didn't remember Rincewind being there and didn't remember how complex it got at the end, and how very satisfying it was . And of course how funny it was

Fev 13, 10:38 am

Finished the book. Mort is not Pratchett's best but it still holds it's own over time. I do feel that Death is much sterner in this one than any of the others. I generally think of him as being gently puzzled by humans but not terribly stern. The only part of his character that really fit was his love of cats.
I recently re-read Hogfather and reading this book puts a new and very negative light on Albert. Perhaps he has reformed after Death takes him back?

Fev 17, 9:15 am

Reading it again was like visiting an old friend you haven't seen for a while.
You immediately feel at ease and have a great time.

Fev 17, 4:14 pm

I finished it, too. I'd stalled out in the tangle just after Mort got the Duty on his own...decided to power through and almost immediately it got much more interesting. I'm not sure what was going on at the end - not the whats but the whys are confusing. But I enjoyed it.

Fev 25, 3:34 pm

Finished! I also found the book was very different from how I remembered it, with Death being sterner here that in other bookds. I had forgotten a lot about Albert too.

Mar 9, 11:51 am

Anyone else still planning on reading this? Love to hear your thoughts.

Mar 9, 12:09 pm

>45 catseyegreen: Honestly? I'm such a slow reader, I'm still working on Mort. I should have started in January. 😂🤣 We'll be reading Reaper Man next.

Mar 9, 12:32 pm

Im done with Mort and looking forward to starting with Reaper Man. Really looking forward to Soul Music where Susan sto helit makes her appearance

Mar 9, 1:16 pm

>46 The_Hibernator: That's okay, I was just wondering if anyone was still working on this or planning to join in. I really do enjoy reading what other people think of the book.
I am looking forward to re-reading Reaper Man next month, it has been a long time since I read that one also.

Mar 9, 1:32 pm

I only just borrowed Mort from the library yesterday so am about to start.

Mar 10, 7:35 pm

Oh, thank goodness. I thought I was the only one who hadn’t finished Mort.

Editado: Mar 11, 6:43 pm

Due to a slight miscalculation in reading the timeline, I got my copy of Reaper Man today. Sigh. Will just have to put it away for a while, I guess!

Mar 28, 8:37 am

Should I make a new thread for April, or just stick to this thread?

Mar 28, 9:38 am

I think you could stick with this one.

Editado: Mar 28, 10:11 am

not everyone is on the thread and/or people need a reminder. think a new thread would be good imho

I reread this book during my disc world reread after the bio came out. But am reading it again, and its still making my chuckle frequently

Mar 28, 10:19 am

I think a new thread is unnecessary. And might make people who have started this one miss the new one.

Mar 28, 5:19 pm

One thread.. oops, wrong oeuvre! Still, one is enough.

Mar 28, 9:14 pm

One thread to rule them all...

Mar 31, 11:14 am

One thread to bind them ...

Mar 31, 2:15 pm

One thread to bring them all

Mar 31, 5:05 pm

Ive started and his way with puns have me laughing even tho I know them. Like the first time I read it, I think I got lost in the middle but Im gonna make a point to pay attention

Abr 1, 11:19 am

I have pulled out my copy of Reaper Man and look forward to reading it again.

Abr 7, 3:45 pm

Finished it today and looking forward to the discussion. Without going into any spoilers, here are my preliminary thoughts.

This was a real surprise for me – a Terry Pratchett book that I had trouble getting through! It took forever to get off the ground, and some of the manifestations of the imbalance in a universe where Death has been imperfectly replaced simply made no sense to me. There were some lovely moments at the very end, and I particularly enjoyed the origin story of the Death of Rats. (I had encountered him in later books and wondered how he came to be.)

I don’t want to get into too much detail at this point, as others are still in the process of reading, but I did want to put one thought out there for consideration: We get so involved (okay, *I* get so involved) with Pratchett’s marvelous sense of the ridiculous and with his outrageous puns, that it’s easy to forget he really does have major writing chops. Consider this line -- when describing a woman’s elaborate hat, he writes that she “traveled underneath it as the basket travels under a balloon.”


Abr 10, 12:27 am

Oh, dear. I'm so far behind; I haven't finished Mort and I won't get to Reaper Man this month as I'll be travelling (and my books don't travel with me).

Abr 11, 5:11 pm

>63 humouress: read Reaperman next month. Think of the thread as a simple suggestion for when to read the book.

Abr 11, 6:04 pm

i finished my reread of my reread So much fun, but i ran into the same problem I did the first two times: There is so much going on in the middle that sorta makes sense but doesnt and not sure Im on track. But it was a fun read 3.5*

Abr 11, 10:45 pm

>65 cindydavid4: I think I understand what you're saying about "so much going on in the middle". That was my problem, too. We had Death doing his thing, and Windle Poons doing HIS thing (along with all the people he met in the process), and the wizards doing THEIR thing ... it just got frantic at times, and Pratchett was being overly coy about keeping certain things vague.

Abr 12, 9:00 am

I had a lot of fun with my reread again, unfortunately I now have to wait almost 2 months again.
But anticipation is also joy!

Abr 12, 11:02 am

I haven't started yet, which is why I need two months between books, lol

Abr 12, 9:30 pm

Like Thomas, I enjoyed my reread. I came to this book late, having missed it somehow in my original series reading, maybe around the time Thud! came out! And I've always pretty much giggled my way through it, not expecting any logic in a Discworld book featuring the wizards.

Next up is probably my least favorite of the Death books, primarily because the puns are so obvious and prevalent, I think. But it's a necessary intro to Susan, whom I love.

Abr 15, 5:54 pm

I love Pratchett's writing but he did have a slightly rocky start. This honestly reads like 2 different books spliced together, an Unseen University plot that does not relate to the Death and Ms. Flitworth plot. Having said this, I still enjoyed my re-read. Pratchett's prose in places is amazing and I still enjoy the jokes. I love the logical illogic of the wizards. Got to bury a zombie at the crossroads? It makes loads of sense to use the busiest crossroads in the city- nobody would want to rise up through all that traffic! I wish the story of Ms. Flitworth was a little more developed, I feel she had a lot to say that was of value. And I do feel the character of Death is much more developed than in Mort.
I look forward to reading everyone's comments on the book.

"No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."

Abr 15, 6:56 pm

>70 catseyegreen: "reads like 2 different books spliced together"

I see what you mean. The wizards, of course, are simply trying to get Windle Poons buried, since they 'know' he is dead, even though he is up and walking around. Windle's condition is caused by Death having been dismissed from his job and going off to explore the mysteries of human experience, which is the basis for the Ms. Flitworth plot. So Windle is really the only connecting point between the two plotlines.

I doubt they were ever intended as separate stories, though one of them (and I'd guess it to be the wizard line) either grew organically as Pratchett began to see things he could do with it, or got pressed into service if the Death line began to feel perhaps too weak to carry the full book.

I haven't caught up with the Pratchett biography yet -- do you know if he goes into detail about the writing process of the Discworld books?

Abr 15, 10:24 pm

>71 LyndaInOregon: somewhat. a lot is the biographers telling about their interaction during the process. In fact I was a bit sorry there wasnt more. He does talk alot about publishers editors and that whole business which was interesting and did answer a question I long wondered about: why for the longest time were there only two or three books in the US; took forever to get them all finally. Had to do with American publishers at the time.

Editado: Abr 15, 11:36 pm

>72 cindydavid4: Does it give UK vs US release dates? I know our local SF bookstore got books directly from the UK during the 70s and 80s and that I shopped there while I was librarian for the SF club. My husband worked at that shop for a while long before we got together, and for a few years brought books for sale to the weekly club meeting.

Abr 16, 11:30 am

He does for some, not all. But in the 90s it seemed only Small Gods, Soul Music, and Lords and Ladies were available in the states

Abr 16, 5:57 pm

>74 cindydavid4: That's pretty minimal. I'm glad I had more than those to read during that time.

Abr 16, 10:35 pm

When we went to Britain about that time, we discovered the motherlode and bought every book in the series up to that time. when we came home we started seeing them in stores.

Jun 1, 8:14 am

It's June now everybody. Time for a little Soul Music!

Jun 1, 11:19 am

But I have to finish some other books first...

Jun 1, 12:37 pm

this is probably in the top 5 list of my fav discworld books
Looking forward to a reread!

Jun 1, 6:29 pm

>77 catseyegreen: I'm actually reading it, well, sort of, I was reading it last night but somehow got distracted by Saving Time, but I should finish both in a couple of days.

Jun 1, 7:00 pm

Dude! It's June! I forgot. lol I need to finish the last book, too!

Jun 1, 9:32 pm

Thanks for the reminder! I'm wrapping up an LTER read, but Soul Music will be up next!

Jun 1, 11:01 pm

Are there other books I should read before this one?

Jun 1, 11:24 pm

>83 dianeham: Mort. Reaper Man too, which I found funnier, but it's less important and in fact some of the material in Soul Music is sort of repetitive of what's in Reaper Man. But not the main bits.

Ontem, 1:52 am

Aggh! I still haven’t finished Mort; too many e-library books. I’m seriously behind on this group read.