Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby meerkat » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:48 pm

The reason for that was that they called death only to get the "answering machine of a ghost auditor" telling them Death was unavailable. Whilst the story about the mal was a bit weak, it did bring the Wizards in to the story to shift the story on when they discovered Death was no more".

Wasn't the wheat mentioned in the Hogfather, when Susan goes to Death's Domain?
Just a meerkat from The Effing Forest
User avatar
meerkat
Member
 
Posts: 13475
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:32 pm
Location: Wilberfoss East Riding Yorkshire

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:35 pm

I have a sort of theory that part of the Mall bit is based on the movie Aliens, with the snow globes being the alien eggs that attach themselves to people (as in people want to take them home), The trolleys are the second stage that build the hive and then the people are drawn into it where the Queen gets them. :lol:

Seriously, I think there are some references to several such movies in that part of the book.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29021
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby meerkat » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:54 pm

I also liked the new death being a complete Poser!
Just a meerkat from The Effing Forest
User avatar
meerkat
Member
 
Posts: 13475
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:32 pm
Location: Wilberfoss East Riding Yorkshire

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:18 pm

It's interesting how we all at best dislike the shopping mall aspect whilst appreciating the symbolism (and the Aliens parody - although I've not seen Aliens so I didn't get that one so much so the snow globes seemed too divorced from the trolleys larval stage of things which does tie in better to the mall). This whole concept of how reality impacts on fantasy and how, especially with Discworld, fantasy can work best when it's 'real' is very intriguing I think.

In some ways I think the mall concept is a reality too far or too much of a negative reality perhaps in that it's not objectionable enough? What I mean there is Teppic's? point about Making Money and the credit crunch - we all can get behind really hating fat cat bankers who don't even think twice about the 'little people', but shopping malls, although horrible places in most sane people's opinions are functional in some ways and really too banal to hate with enough energy to make them funny or not for long enough?

Perhaps we like our Discworld fantasy to be real enough without being boringly 'ordinary' maybe? :?
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10592
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:55 pm

I think you've kind of hit it on the head there, Jano. The mall concept is such an easy, obvious, predictable, done-to-death, fish-in-a-barrel type of target that the joke was never funny in the first place, and Pterry went way too long with it. I'm not a big fan of the wizards subplot (I sometimes think Pterry threw it in because he was concerned readers wouldn't be interested in a more 'serious' Death-only story and needed a farcical B plot to counter act it).

From a literary point of view, the mall subplot still demonstrates how at this point in the series Pterry was still developing as a writer. He was getting far more sophisticated in character development (as the Death story demonstrates), but he was still in his Adams-esque "let's do broad sendups of Roundworld cultural totems" mode (after all, Reaper Man came right after Moving Pictures and Eric, two of his more blatant cultural parodies.
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3221
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Bron H » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:31 pm

I enjoyed this book found it one of terry's funniest, especialy the parts with the undead.
I love the introduction of the new charactar death of rats.
I also like the portrayal of the rural village.
People have been saying the parts with the shopping mall aren't very good. I enjoyed this, and it couldn't have been just because i read it at the time because i didn't.
I couldn't have. I wasn't born until six years later.

Overall, for terry i rate this book a 14/20 ( about average, although in my opinion all discworld books are great. So average for discworld). :)
]HIM WHO MOUNTAIN CRUSH HIM NO
HIM WHO SUN STOP HIM NO
HIM WHO HAMMER HIM BREAK HIM NO
HIM WHO FIRE HIM FEAR HIM NO
HIM WHO RAISE HIM HEAD ABOVE HIM HEART
HIM DIAMOND
Bron H
New member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:45 pm
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:46 am

I only found the wizards subplot to be a bit boring until the eggs started showing up. After that I loved it wholeheartedly. though i liked the death parts, the Mall part was my favorite.

To be honest, though, when i first went through this book my first thought was, its Wal-mart. A parasitic lifeform that sucks the life out of the nearby communities and brainwashes people? sounds like Wal-mart to me. And reminded me of the Wal-mart South Park Episode. Even the same implosion. I actually thought thats what he was writing about until he said "Mal lifeform".

(and since I work at wal-mart, and was actually listening to this very book while at work, well... yeah i was laughing out loud.)
"The reason an author needs to know the rules of grammar isn't so he or she never breaks them, but so the author knows how to break them."
User avatar
raptornx01
Member
 
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:03 am
Location: South florida, US

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby alicenanjing » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:17 am

I think there may be a deeper connection between Death, Auditors and shopping mall, and this may be the reason for the shopping mall episode. Read on at your peril, I may get boring here.
Death and the Auditors are both sort of death forces to me. But while Death represents the cycle-of-nature death, which is necessary in order that new life may be born, that spring may come, that babies can have room to grow etc, (hence his amiable attitude), the Auditors are more like the bleached-bones-in-the-desert type of death - immobility, changelessness, the end of all fantasy and creativity, the smothering of life as a goal in itself, and an endeavour to mold he whole world in their image. To me, this is why in all the books that feature the Auditors there is always someone from the Death family who opposes them, either Death himself of the substitute Death, namely Susan. It also explains why the Auditors are so incensed that Death has become sympathetic towards humans - thy feel he's letting the side down - and why it is an Auditor who takes Death's place, and why the Auditor insists on the whole skeletal horse theatrics - it defines him.
If we look at this book as a story of the invasion of this mortifying, life-destroying, dessicating force, sworn enemy of all life, then the mall lifeform, with its standard, lifeless wares and decoration fits the mold. It strangles creativity and individuality, and as such, even though it may be called Death of Cities, it belongs more in the Auditors' camp than in Death's. The mall thing is a logical consequence of the usurpation by the Auditors of the rightful, ultimately life-supporting place of Death. IMHO.
alicenanjing
Member
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:02 pm

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:25 pm

I think that interpretation's along the right lines alice, but I can't reconcile the new Death with the Auditors 'grey' mindset because, by the definition of their nature they're not theatrical or individual/diverse or in fact 'expressionist' in any way.

The shopping mall concept does suit them certainly, as I equate them (and the clue really is in the name Auditor :lol: ) with accountancy and tick boxes and common denominators and standardisation rather than creativity and diversity and general 'messiness' which is what Life writ large is all about - it's that concept that's utterly alien to them and what Bill Doors tries to embrace. In a way the new Death's nothing to do with the Auditors and all about what 'Life' would create to fill the void that Bill Door's demise would leave. I think it's actually said somewhere that this will come from the living and why they get a really 'deathy' Death, because it's filling the niche for the human interpretation of Death (with skeletal horses and no mercy) as well as the Death of Rats, Fleas, Gerbils, and everything else to take on the amalgamated and generalist role Discworld Death is being forced to vacate? Certainly he's the epitome of the cycle of Life and Death and is capable of evolving as well (as he's tried skeleton horses and fiery steeds and realised that a normal horse is far and away the best option for comfort and avoiding pyromania :P ) and actually takes an interest and pride in his work because he's responsive and curious. The new Death as a concept perhaps is what the Auditors want in the way of efficiency with no real substance or empathy, but in reality it's their antithesis because it's so into 'glamourous' theatrics almost.

Writing this too I think on this and subsequent outings the Auditors also are gradually becoming infected with a tendency to dispersal and individualism as seen in Thief of Time, possibly because of the magical field on Discworld - really in their original form they're creatures more suited to Roundworld, which is why Discworld ticks them off so much? ;)
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10592
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby alicenanjing » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:26 pm

Well, in Thief of Time they only ever begin to diverge and get individualised when they take on a human body, and Sir Terry explicitly mentions that the body has an agenda of its own and the Auditors don't understand what's happening to them or why. It's only the human form that forces its tendencies towards individualisation on them, not their own dynamics.
As for the new Death from Reaper Man: i'm not 100% sure about this, I would have to re-read the passages in question, but I think it goes somewhat like this: Death indeed tells someone (Renata?) that the new Death persona will find its form according to the beliefs of people, but the Auditors decide elsewhere in the book - and Death is not privy to this - that they will provide the new Death, so the new Death who comes to take Bill Door is actually an Auditor. As for the theatrics - yes, the Auditors would not want to distinguish themselves in any way, but this is different. They have taken over from Death because they felt that he wasn't doing it right, that what he was doing wasn't what a proper Death should do. So, now that they are Death, they are determined to to it by the book - and that, to them, means SURRENDER ALL HOPE and COWER, BRIEF MORTALS and skeletal horse and/or fiery steed, the whole bleached-bones bit, and that is why they will go in for the theatrics they would otherwise avoid like the plague. I think.
alicenanjing
Member
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:02 pm

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:46 pm

:D That pans out, but don't forget that in their very first appearance in Reaperman one of them accidently says 'I' and blows itself out of existence so every time they attempt to intervene or repress the natural cycle on Discworld they actually start to succumb to the very thing they're trying to blot out - hence the paradox I suppose with the 'show off' Death.

You have to care to want to obliterate something and caring generally makes things personal of course :lol:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
User avatar
Jan Van Quirm
Member
 
Posts: 10592
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Dunheved, Kernow

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Danny B » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:46 pm

I'm seeing some dislike of the mall sequences and plot strand, but I loved them. It ties in very neatly indeed with the physical entropy symbolised by The Auditors and the personal entropy symbolised by Windle Poons, 'Bill Door' and, in the early parts of the story, the UU faculty as a whole. Where The Auditors, for example, represent the entropy of matter, the Mall represents cultural entropy; the remaking of all human aspiration into a single, bland, one-size-doesn't-quite-fit-any, anonymous lump of homogeneity.

Reaper Man is all about individualism and while any one strand of the story stands well alone, it's only when they're tied together that personal, cultural and physical entropy are approached in a such way that a genuinely coherent whole is formed.

Note: I've used 'entropy' in multiple senses throughout my brief post. Assume I mean it in the classical sense of greater entropy (energy dispersal) meaning less energy available to do work, so a system tends towards the homogeneous and 'static' as entropy increases, order from disorder if you want to get philosophical or metaphysical about it. Despite their, um, dislike(?) of disorder at the macroscopic level, a perfect universe to The Auditors in one in which maximum entropy has been reached.
Carpe carpio*

* Correction - Carpio diem
User avatar
Danny B
Member
 
Posts: 355
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:55 am
Location: Northumberland, UK

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby rockershovel » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:11 am

I don't believe the "new" Death is an Auditor. The mechanism by which small gods accrete powerand hence, shape by accumulating belief seems to be well defined elsewhere.
rockershovel
Member
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:15 am

You have two weeks to read or reread Lords and Ladies for the discussion starting on Monday 6th February. :D
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
User avatar
Tonyblack
Moderator
 
Posts: 29021
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:29 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Reaper Man Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby alicenanjing » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:47 pm

There are some clues in the text that point to the new Death being an Auditor, even if it is not explicitly stated that he is so. First, when the wizards perform the Rite of Ash-Kente, the "answering service " that turns up instead of Death is an auditor - grey robe, empty. Later on, before Bill Door confronts the new Death, they congregate around them, seen by Renata Flitworth ( "If she jerked her head quickly and peered out of the tail of her eye, she could see small greyclad shapes hovering around the walls.
The Revenooers, she thought. They’ve come to make sure it all happens.")
And when Bill Door and the new Death fight, the new Death uses "we" instead of "I " and his robe is empty, just like the Auditors' ( " We do not listen. The reaper does not listen to the harvest.
We will not make the same mistakes."
"The new Death raised his cowl.
There was no face there. There was not even a skull.
Smoke curled formlessly between the robe and a golden crown.")
Personally, I think these small hints are there for the purpose of telling the reader that the new Death is in fact an Auditor to whom has been entrusted the job of playing the part of Death "properly". Just my opinion, but for my part, I think that it's a case of "walks like a duck, quacks like a duck"...
alicenanjing
Member
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:02 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Discworld novels

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest