No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away

With the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett and the publication of The Shepherd’s Crown, I embarked on an epic re-reading of all 41 official Discworld novels, with the goal of finishing by 31 December, 2016.

Famous for its wit and wisdom, the series offers countless quotable quotes on a variety of subjects. The quotes I share should not be considered the whole of Sir Terry’s excellent prose; indeed, they are the tasty appetizers to a succulent, nourishing meal.

About Reaper Man

Reaper Man coverThis is the 11th Discworld novel and the 2nd in the DEATH series.

When the Auditors give DEATH the sack, he plunges into an existential crisis. Seeking to make sense of his newfound short life, DEATH finds work as a farmhand – and finds what it means to be truly human, too.

Meanwhile, in Ankh-Morpork, DEATH’s absence causes quite a stir as certain dead like Windle Poons . . . go on living. On top of it all, the buildup of life force threatens the city – and its inhabitants – with a most insidious invasion.

While others may think this book a tad slower-paced than the previous Discworld books, I loved the philosophy and the time Pratchett takes to contemplate big ideas. There might not be many one-liners, but the book’s packed to the gills with wisdom.

The Goodreads Blurb:

They say there are only two things you can count on …

But that was before DEATH started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now DEATH is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use.

But like every cutback in an important public service, DEATH’s demise soon leads to chaos and unrest — literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up, like Windle Poons. The oldest geezer in the entire faculty of Unseen University — home of magic, wizardry, and big dinners — Windle was looking forward to a wonderful afterlife, not this boring been-there-done-that routine. To get the fresh start he deserves, Windle and the rest of Ankh-Morpork’s undead and underemployed set off to find DEATH and save the world for the living (and everybody else, of course).

To the Quotes!

Discworld Librarian

The  Librarian as he appears in The Discworld Companion, illustrated by Paul Kidby

The pendulum [of the clock] is a blade that would have made Edgar Allan Poe give it all up and start again as a stand-up comedian on the scampi-in-a-casket circuit. It swings with a faint whum-whum noise, gently slicing thin rashers of interval from the bacon of eternity.


Life is a habit that’s hard to break.


Alone of all the creatures in the world, troll believe that all living things go through Time backward. If the past is visible and the future is hidden, they say, then it means you must be facing the wrong way. Everything alive is going through life back to front.


It wasn’t that Mrs. Cake wasn’t a religious woman. . . . There wasn’t a temple, church, mosque or small group of standing stones anywhere in the city that she hadn’t attended at onetime or another, as a result of which she was more feared than an Age of Enlightenment; . . .


Bill Door was no good at reading faces. It was a skill he’d never needed. He stared at Miss Flitworth’s frozen, worried, pleading smile like a baboon looking for meaning in the Rosetta Stone.


It was amazing how many friends you could make by being bad at things, provided you were bad enough to be funny.


He said that there was death and taxes, and taxes was worse, because at least death didn’t happen to you every year.


Whenever someone was trying to do a bit of sensible thinking, there was always some pointless distraction.


IF PEOPLE KNEW WHEN THEY WERE GOING TO DIE, I THINK THEY PROBABLY WOULDN’T LIVE AT ALL.


No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away – until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.


WE MUST CARE. FOR IF WE DO NOT CARE, WE DO NOT EXIST, IF WE DO NOT EXIST, THERE IS NOTHING BUT BLIND OBLIVION.

AND EVEN OBLIVION MUST END SOME DAY


All lives were exactly the same length. Even the very long and very short ones. From the point of view of eternity, anyway.


A friendly reminder: DEATH speaks in ALL CAPS

. . .

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