“The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.  It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of the soil and under bare stars because it’s springtime and with any luck the carbon dioxide will unfreeze again.  The imperative is felt by deep-sea beings who have never seen the sun and urban humans whose only connection with the cycles of nature is that their Volvo once ran over a sheep.”

The powers that be have decided DEATH has too much of a personality and made him mortal – retired him.  He now has his own little timer that lets him know how much time he has left and a job on a farm working for a slightly insane woman.  Unfortunately, the PTB forgot that while they were looking for a suitable replacement for DEATH, people and animals and etc kept dying.  And since no one was available to usher their souls onward, they simply returned to their bodies and continued on.  Primary among these un-dead people is wizard Windle Poons.  Poons is having a hard time coming to grips with his new dead life, especially when strange events begin happening in Ankh-Morpork – little snowballs popping up, shopping carts with minds of their own, and magic happening without the help of wizards.

If you’ve read any Terry Pratchett books, you know where this is going.  A totally unexpected direction.  In his hilarious manner, Pratchett gives his quirky view on the afterlife and what might happen if we managed to actually achieve immortality.

For the majority of the book, the stories don’t seem to match up.  DEATH is going on his merry way, adjusting to things like sleep and dreams and small childrens’ questions.  And Windle Poons is adjusting to his own second life.  Then there’s the weird happenings in Ankh-Morpork which just slip into the bizarre realm.  This is another episode in the wonderful Discworld, which, if you haven’t journeyed to yet, I highly recommend.  Maybe not starting with this novel, but still one shouldn’t go without reading a single Pratchett book if they consider themselves a reader.

“Reaper Man” was written by Terry Pratchett and published in 1991.

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