Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

(discussed January 15, 1998)

On a ten-point scale (1=bad, 10=good), the people who read the book gave the following ratings: 1, 4.5, 6, 8, 8. Average: 5.5. Note:: This includes a rating from Raja Thiagarajan, who was in Los Angeles during the meeting.

This book was "sponsored" by Kerrie Gimmler, who chose it on her birthday because she "wanted us to read something fun for a change" ;-) It is, essentially, a light-hearted humorous fantasy about the consequences when Death (an anthropomorphosized entity) walks among the living for a while.The book is part of Terry Pratchett's open-ended Discworld series.

Raja Thiagarajan, gave the book a rating of 8:

My personal feeling is that this is really quite a good book, but --

Well, it reminds me a lot of Douglas Adams's Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy." It's written very smoothly, is very funny, and it has some extremely clever ideas in places but, for me, a little bit goes a long way. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am glad I read it, but I don't feel any great need to read more of Pratchett's Discworld books any time soon. It's fun, but I prefer something with greater import, something I can take more seriously. That doesn't necessarily mean non-humorous; for instance, I found Harry Harrison's Bill the Galactic Hero to be at least as funny. But I think Bill is a better book because it's a pointed satire that rails against something that the author finds morally offensive, rather than a light-hearted, "mostly harmless" parody (to quote Adams).

Dedaimia Whitney really didn't care for the book much at all. Life is short, she seemed to say, and there are many other books that she would rather have read.