Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Terry Pratchett: Moving Pictures

Once again Terry has delivered a fantastic book full of action, intrigue, adventure and most of all, humor. He starts out the book with what I think is the most fantastic description of reality I have ever heard. He describes reality not as a digital, on-off, yes-no state, but an analog state. Something that is measurable, where some have less than others. Like weight, or volume. Some have more, and some have less. Discworld, naturally has less…much less. He states “Discworld is as unreal as it is possible to be while still being just real enough to exist. This falls well in line with my theory that reality doesn’t exist except in the mind of the beholder. No I am not talking about the floating orb with ten eyestalks that will as soon disintegrate you as look at you, but good thought. Well, naturally each beholder will have a different level of ability to make things real, so each reality will be a little more or less than all the others. Makes perfect sense right? No, I didn’t think so.

Moving Pictures is about a young student wizard named Victor who gets the bug to go to Holy Wood and be a star after a group of alchemists come up with a way to make moving pictures (movies). Naturally in Discworld the very idea of moving pictures has its own level of sentience and ability to influence the minds and hearts of others. Which it does of course. Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, seeing is believing, and believing is creating reality. So naturally as the moving pictures, called clicks, become popular more people see them. And as more people see them, more people believe them, and reality itself is altered. Unfortunately reality being altered causes tears in the fabric of reality, and nasty creatures from beyond time and space try to get through. Fortunately our young hero and his lady fair, (in the clicks anyway) arrive to save the day, using Holy Wood’s magic itself. Which is of course, observation is belief which creates reality. So all he has to do is convince himself of its reality, just like he was acting in a click and it will become real, right down to the fiery steed, and arriving in the very nick of time. It’s all a part of the Holy Wood magic. So naturally when the evil creatures from beyond break through, the magic of Holy Wood and the ingenuity of our young hero combine to save the day, in the nick of time…again. Overall another great book by Terry Pratchett. Humor, thoughtfulness, and quantum physics.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Angela Nissel: The Broke Diaries

This was a hilarious book about what it means to be broke. There were many parts of this book that I could completely relate to. Such as when she made phone calls from a pay phone using her ATM card and it allowed it. Then the bank charges her $300 dollars in NSF fees that they won't reverse, and then take that money out of her College Tuition check. So she closes her account, but now is reported on Check Systems and can no longer get another bank account.

There were so many funny stories in this book but my favorite can be summed up in a single word…REVOLUTION! When I first read this story I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. And every time it was mentioned after that, I burst out laughing.

Stories included swiping the teacher’s edition of the text book in order to pass a class, to going on a date with a chicken farmer in order to get a free chicken dinner, to forgetting that you’re not wearing underwear because none of it is clean and going to a clothes sale with a group dressing room. Absolutely hilarious!

I really loved this book and could identify with so much of it that it made me want to go out and write about my own misadventures. But wait, I did that already it’s on my blog at Feel free to stop by and check it out. But until then…REVOLUTION!!!

Antoine de Saint-Exupery: A Guide for Grown-ups

A sweet little book filled with quotes taken from the books that Antonie has written including Night Flight, Wind Sand and Stars, Flight to Arras, The Little Prince, Wisdom of the Sands and Wartime Writing.
Chapters include subjects such as Happiness, Friendship, Love, Responsibility, Fortitude, and What is Essential.
Some of the great quotes in this book are Pure Logic is the ruin of the Spirit, and One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields - even to sadness.
Overall a fantastic read. Short, sweet and memorable.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: City of Night

This book was an excellent continuation of the masterful first book, Prodigal Son. In this book Deucalion continues his quest to help detectives Carson and Michael stop his creator Victor Helios (Frankenstein). One of the best things about this book was all of the twists that took place in it. For example, the faltering priest clone decides instead of helping Deucalion as one would expect from his difficulties with his faith, he betrays him to Victor, earning himself a death in an experiment with another clone gone wrong. Randal Six decides the day help for Detective Carson’s autistic brother Arnie is a mother and must therefore be the secret of happiness. Deucalion takes Arnie to the monks in Tibet, and Arnie begins to understand how Deucalion moves at the quantum level. All in all, a whole lot of fun!

All is not fun and games however, Victor’s clones are mutating. Some hideously deforming, some losing lines of programming that tells them how to behave. This of course causes them to resort to their base instinct which is to kill. Unfortunately even the dead clones are not safe as they to have begun to rise in the trash pits where they are buried. Victor, knowing now that his first creation is alive, goes to confront him. Deucalion is unable to fight his creator but escapes easily using his quantum abilities. Detectives Carson and Michael move to the darker side of the law as they use an old contact to acquire illegal weapons to help kill Victor.

Overall, a fantastic read. An excellent build up for a climactic conclusion in the third and final book. Although when that book is scheduled to come out is anyone’s guess. If you know, please comment and let me know when it is due for release.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Laurell K. Hamilton: Danse Macabre

The latest book in the Antia Blake series. Hamilton is still building towards the eventual climactic face off with the Mother of all Darkness. Unfortunately this has been building for about three or four books now. I fully understand that Anita is still not ready to face the Mother of all Darkness yet but Hamilton is running out of baddies to pit her against to get her strong enough. As is common for Hamilton there is lots of very graphic sex in this book. Interestingly although her Merridith Gentry series starts out with sex, Anita didn’t start becoming sexual until after the first six books. Once she did, it was all out and the later books are packed with sex. Danse Macabre is no exception. Since Jean Claude (Anita’s vampire boyfriend and holder of her Human Servant marks) is an Incubus and holds the power of sex as one of his vampiric abilities, Anita also gains power through sex as what could almost be described as a Succubus.

This makes for an interesting beginning to the book as it starts out with a vampire get together where one of the visiting masters is married and mated to a Siren (a more powerful form of mermaid), who wants to know if Anita has enough succubus in her to be able to awaken Siren powers in her sons. Naturally this is emphasized by the fact that Anita believes that she is pregnant. Of course as an Animator and licensed vampire executioner raising a baby could be somewhat difficult and ends up being a major theme throughout the book.

As the story progresses, the main characters continue along their personality paths that are established through previous books. Jean Claude is still trying to gain more power, Richard is still a self-rightous jerk and Micah is still solid as a rock foundation for Anita. The only one who changes is Nathanial. Over the course of the last ten books no character has undergone more change than Nathanial. He went from a former child prostitute/stripper to an hurt submissive wereleopard to an semi-confidant house(husband) to the still submissive but now confidant man that he shows in this book.

The final portion of the book is almost anti-climactic when they finally see Danse Macabre, which is an all vampire dance troupe that uses their vampire abilities to dance in ways no human could emulate. Unfortunately when the most powerful of them, one named Merlin uses his powers on the other vampires in the audience the Mother of all Darkness uses him as an anchor to attempt to manifest in the concert hall. After another battle with Anita that is again a stalemate until Anita tries some lycanthropic tricks and then has sex some more.
The book finally ends with her having sex with Asher and almost allowing him to kill her while feeding but bringing him to a new level of his own power, his own animal to call, Hyenas.

Overall a good book. Wonderfully written as all of Hamilton’s work is. The only draw back is that the story is becoming a bit cliché. It is becoming too much for Anita to just become more and more powerful, to face Marme Noir over and over again, to have the same relationship issues with the same men again, all building to this eventual climax. It is much like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series where books 7-10 are just bridge books that don’t have much plot line on their own as they simply move pieces on the board building towards the eventual climactic end.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son

A fantastic book that picks up where the Frankenstein legend by Mary Shelly leaves off. Or at least 200 years later. The basic precept of the book is fairly simple. Victor Frankenstein (Helios) I still alive having found ways to extend his own life far past that of other men, and is still experimenting. Only now he is using cloning and direct-to-brain downloads of information instead of grave robbing and lightening. Fortunately however, his first creation, made from the parts of criminals and brought to life in a bolt of lightening is still alive as well. Calling himself Deucalion after the son of Prometheus he too returns to the modern world and the city where Victor resides, New Orleans.

Once again this book quickly went to the top of my favorite charts because one of the protagonists, Deucalion received an understanding of the quantum nature of the universe from the lightening bolt that brought him life. This knowledge of quantum mechanics on a far more basic level than science has ever discovered, allowed him to perform incredible feats such as causing a flipped coin to disappear in mid-air, to give himself knowledge of things he did not witness, and even more interesting to allow him to travel on a quantum level using super-position to shift himself along the quantum field. Thus enabling travel instantaneously from anywhere, to anywhere with only a thought.

The actual plot line of the story involves one of Victor’s lab-born creations who starts loosing bits of his programming which allows him to kill at random. This of course brings in homicide detectives Carson and Michael in the hunt for the killer. Interestingly another character is brought in shortly thereafter, Randal Six. He is another of Victor’s creations, one designed to be autistic to allow Victor to study the condition in the hopes of being able to replicate it for his own uses. This additional character is interesting because both he and the killer have the same motivation. They both want to find the secret of happiness. The killer is looking for an organ or gland in the human body that produces it, Randal Six has decided that the autistic brother of Detective Carson has it and he must get it from him. Overall a great set up for the trilogy that easily and energetically brings in all of the major characters that will be followed throughout the series. I particularly enjoyed Deucalion not just because of his knowledge of quantum physics but because of the descriptions of his endless rage that he only barely keeps in check and yet still manages to do so. I also enjoyed Carson and her “must go faster” driving, and Michael and his endless smart ass comments. A fantastic read building great anticipation for the next book in the series.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Terry Pratchett: Eric

The story of a young demon summoner who on his first attempt snares the most unlikely of demons. The incompetent wizard Rincewind!

Eric, being the typical sort of boy, wants only three things to live forever, be master of the universe and have a gorgeous babe. Typical of most “deal with the Devil” stories, he got his wishes, all three of them. Not that he wanted them when he got them, but he did get them. He was master of the universe, and found out that being master entailed a bit of ritual sacrifice. He had a hot babe, only to learn that she had caused a major war (very like Troy) and really wasn’t all that hot after a few kids. And he got to live forever, which entailed going back to the beginning of time and living from there. Will all of the millennia to wait until even primitive primates evolved let alone other people. Finally he learned the true cause of his misfortune and ended up saving Hell itself from a fate worse than Hell…tedium.

Another triumph by Terry, in a highly amusing, hold your sides to keep them from bursting as you laugh, masterpiece. With my favorite character of all…LUGGAGE! (tip: Do not piss off the luggage. It’s a very bad idea.) The very gates of Hell itself tremble at the sight of the great and powerful Luggage. This is explained very simply:

“There is no way to describe how angry you can get by running nearly twice the
length of the space-time continuum and the Luggage had been pretty annoyed to start with, although with the Luggage there wasn’t any reliable way to tell this because it spent all of its time beyond, in a manner of speaking, the hostility event horizon. The doors of Hell were ancient it wasn’t just time and heat that had baked them into something like black granite, they’d picked up fear and a dull evil too and were bright enough to be dimly aware of what their future was likely to hold. They watch Luggage shuffle back, flex its legs and crouch down. The lock clicked, the bolts slid hurriedly back the great bars jerked from their sockets and the doors flung themselves back against the wall.” This is Luggage, which even the very doors of Hell fear.

Terry Pratchett: Guards! Guards!

Dragons. Myth, legend, fantasy...or are they?

In this book Terry Pratchett explores the possibility that dragons are real, and that they live in a reality all their own, however, with the right will and intent can be called forth into the world to do the bidding of those who summoned them…that is…until they rebel cook you and decide that they kind of like the thought of ruling this little kingdom of yours and you had darned well better agree or you are next on the menu. At that point, the only thing you can do is call the Night Watch Guards; the drunk, the thief, the lazy bones and the ultimate do-gooder. Not who you would typically expect to be saving the city, but hey, you take what you can get.

Those of you reading this who happen to be believers in the patriarchal superiority will enjoy watching the little guy dominate the big lady (and vice versa for those of you who prefer matriarchal superiority), and those of you, like myself who absolutely love irony, will laugh till you hurt at the phrase “Throw the book at him”. Innocent, yes, safe, never.

Guards! Guards! Is a highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys seeing the little guy win, the fallen redeem themselves, or the true danger of ultimate goodness.

Robert Fulghum: True Love

This was a fantastic book full of tiny stories about love. Young love, old love, new love and remembered love. It shows the joy of love realized, and the sorrow of love lost.

Some of the best stories in this book include the man who wanted to find an old childhood sweetheart after 15 years apart and a failed marriage on his part. Being unable to locate her he despairs of ever rekindling that fire, when he stumbles upon her on the Washington freeway, stuck in gridlock in the car next to him. Another favorite is the man who shares a simple letter written by his wife of 25+ years. The letter states simply, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. Love Margaret”

Sometimes love is an enduring flame of decades. Other times it is as simple as the handsome man or beautiful woman who smiles at you as they drive by. From this, memories are made and cherished for a lifetime. And we are all richer for it.

This was a wonderful read that I highly recommend to anyone who has ever felt love, or who ever wants to feel love. Because if you love, this book is for you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Terry Pratchett: Pyramids

Pyramids. Pyramids are like dams in the flow of time. It is this fascinating concept that Terry uses to explore the small river kingdom of Djel. It's all very quantum. At least, that's how they describe it in Djel. In Djel a man is a man, and a god is a god, except for the king who is both. Like I said, it’s all very quantum.

Teppic, the young king turned assassin, having been sent to the assassin’s school returns to his desert kingdom with lots of progressive new ideas. Unfortunately the high-priest Dios has other plans. Specifically he plans not to have any plans, and for everything to remain the same…forever. As you can see, this would not set well with the progressive young assassin king. Unfortunately Dios has been in charge for a long time…a very, very long time. So it will take all the skills of an assassin king and all of the spunk of a young handmaiden complete with bangles to face the challenge of change to come.

By the way, camels are very important. Remember that. Camels are one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are so intelligent that they had the foresight to not let humans know they were intelligent. (Which says a lot I think) Fortunately the greatest mathematician in the entire world (A camel named You Bastard) helps the young king and spunky handmaiden with their quantum troubles. All the while calculating the vectors needed to spit a fly to the wall.

Once again in Pyramids, another aspect of my favorite subject, quantum physics, is discussed. The theory that the four dimensions of length/width/height/time can be shifted and an exploration of what would happen if they were is one of the most interesting premises of this book. Because of the stored power in a great pyramid the entire kingdom is shifted 90 degrees in time-space, thus removing it from normal interaction as it attains a 2 dimensional appearance as width is exchanged for time. This of course causes the realm to remove itself from normal time-space into its own side dimension. Being self-contained the kingdom now is forced to deal with the combined power of their collective beliefs (those beliefs having no where else to go now), and as a kingdom they believe in gods. Not just one god, many gods. Several with the same basic roles in the universe, such as making the sun rise, or move. This of course, causes fights…between the gods. As one would imagine, this is not a good thing. It does, however, emphasize the premise in quantum theory that thoughts are reality. In this kingdom the reality is a bit more immediate since it’s not diluted by outside influences, but thought is reality.

Overall, yet another fascinating exploration into the realms of emotion, humor, and quantum physics by Terry Pratchett. Definitely a must read. After all, it’s quantum.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters

In Wyrd Sisters the three prominent witches of the Ramptop Mountains get together to try to save the kingdom. It’s a nice little kingdom that everyone is fairly happy with, until the Duke decides to change the line of succession and murder the king. It’s all very Macbeth with the new king (duke) trying to wash the blood off of his hands with a file, and a truly evil wife who is really running the show.

One of the truly amusing plot points in this book is the eldest witch Granny Weatherwax’s inability to understand the theatre. Unable to fathom the purpose behind the play she tries to call their bluff and point out who the killer in the play was, (now playing a soldier) and how the dead man was still breathing so he wasn’t really dead yet anyway. Only Granny could so completely miss the point of something like theatre, and yet improve the performance by that misunderstanding.

The best part of the book however, was the (you guessed it) quantum physics. In a marvelous display of headology Granny Weatherwax decides to shift time for the kingdom of Lancre by means of a spell, which was designed to convince everything in the kingdom that 15 years had passed overnight. But it had to be done in one night. Amusingly enough it was Nanny Ogg who had the master stroke in that bit as she had convinced her many children to grab all of the roosters in the kingdom and prevent them from crowing so that Granny would have enough time to finish her spell. The best part was they didn’t actually cause time to move forward quickly, they actually caused the kingdom to step around 15 years worth of time which is cleaner and far easier to achieve. By believing that the night was not yet over, Granny was able to shift the kingdom around 15 years worth of time, without anyone really noticing.

In the end the day was saved because the young prince in hiding decided to become an actor and the court Fool (the young prince’s older brother, since neither of them was actually a prince anyway since the queen was sleeping with someone else when the King was away) was elected King of Lancre and they lived happily ever after.

Brian Lumley: Vamphyri!

Brian Lumley’s Vamphyri! is the second in his Necroscope series. In it he describes more fully the terrible powers of the Whampiri and the awesome powers of the Necroscope.

Throughout the world vampires exist in myths and legends. Each one is a little bit different than the others. In some areas of the world Vampires can turn into bats or wolves, in other areas they can become mist and some where they can’t change at all. Some regions have intelligent vampires that can think and reason like humans, while others have only mindless revenants incapable of any but the most animalistic thought processes. Brian explains much of this process by talking about the three types of vampires created by the Whampiri in this book. The primary type of course is the full fledged vampire. They are capable of independent movement and thought able to control their own actions and the actions of the lesser vampires. The second type of vampire is the lesser vampire. Able to think and reason, but completely subservient to the vampire master. Far less powerful they are able to create other vampires of their type or of the mindless type. Though they possess many of the same powers as the full vampire, it is much weaker. The third type of vampire is the mindless revenant. Created from the body of one who is already dead, the vampiric entity can control the body but has no mind to work with. This type of vampire can be controlled by the other two, but does not last very long as the vampiric parasite devours the body from the inside out.

This description makes for a fascinating explanation as to the many types of vampires seen across the world as well as creating an antagonist for the characters to combat.

Another thing that is more fully described in this book is the powers of the Necroscope. Harry Keoghs ability to travel through and view not only space, but time as well, shows the true versatility of his powers. It is almost comical how even with all of his power he is still unable to break free of his son’s mind. For all of his vaunted powers, his son is far greater than he. I look forward to reading the third book and learning just how powerful his son will become.

Overall, I thought it was a good book. It drew some fascinating conclusions and set the protagonist stage for an awesomely powerful character in the form of Harry Keogh Jr. Unfortunately they have killed off all of the antagonists, so Lumley is going to have to reach a bit I think for enemies powerful enough to challenge both Harrys in the next book.

Terry Pratchett: Sourcery

Terry Pratchett has done it again with a fantastically hilarious story that includes the impossible to believe Rincewind and my favorite Pratchett character of all…Luggage.

It begins with a man. This man had eight sons, and that is all. His eighth son however also had eight sons. Eight is, of course, the number of magic in Diskworld and so this eighth son became a wizard. Unlike most wizards however he also had sons, eight of them. The eighth son of the eighth son of the eighth son…was a sourcerer. A Source of magic. Unlike wizards who used magic, the sourcerer was a source of magic, and as such was more powerful than any wizard ever born. As you can imagine, this caused problems. Not the least of which was that his wizard father cast his soul into a mystic staff for the infant sourcerer in order to teach (see control) him. This really began to be a problem in the young lad’s pre-teen years when he started to think that he was better than everyone else. Problem was, he really was better than everyone else. Due to his fathers (staff’s) influence he then decided to take over the Unseen University, the premier school of wizardry in Diskworld.

Once again however, no matter how cool the sourcerer is, or how funny the failed wizard Rincewind is, there is no comparison with the greatest character of all, Luggage. In this book the reader has the opportunity to view the truly awesome power that is Luggage. I will highlight a few passages to illustrate.

“The Luggage paddled gently down the stream. The water was making it feel a little better. It spun gently in the weak current, the focus of several mysterious little swirls that sped across the surface of the water. Te ripples converged. The Luggage jerked, its lid flew open, it shot under the surface with a brief despairing creek.” This of course alludes to Luggage getting attacked by alligators, but later…“A basilisk lay panting in the baking shade of a rock, dribbling corrosive yellow slime. For the last five minutes its ears had been detecting the thump of hundreds of little legs, which seemed to indicate that dinner was on its way. The Luggage staggered to a halt and raised its lid threateningly. The basilisk hissed, but a little uncertainly because it had never seen a walking box before and certainly never one with lots of alligator teeth stuck in its lid. There were also scraps of leathery hide adhering to it and it appeared to be glaring. It turned on Luggage with a stare like a diamond drill, a stare that nipped in via the staree’s eyeballs and flayed the bring from the inside, a stare that – The basilisk realized that something was very wrong. The basilisk was feeling a terrible, overpowering and irresistible urge to blink. It did something incredibly unwise, it blinked.” A basilisk of course is a monster that can either stone or kill with it’s stare, a deadly monster indeed, but not as deadly as Luggage seen here…”The Luggage plodded erratically across the burning dunes. There were a few traces of yellow slime rapidly drying on its lid. The lonely little oblong was watched from atop of a stone pinnacle by a chimera. It judged its moment carefully, kicked away and plummeted down towards its victim. The chimera’s technique was to swoop low over the prey, lightly boiling it with its fiery breath and then turn and rend its dinner with its teeth. It managed the fire part but then, at the point where experience told the creature it should be facing a stricken and terrified victim, found itself on the ground in the path of a scorched and furious Luggage. The only think incandescent about the Luggage was its rage. It had spent several hours with a headache, during which it seemed the whole world had tried to attack it. It had had enough. When it had stamped the unfortunate chimera into a greasy puddle on the sand it paused for a moment apparently considering its future.” This is the awesomeness that is the Luggage. Horde of alligators, basilisk, and chimera only serve to make it angry. Unstoppable, unbeatable, and largely homicidal, Luggage is the ultimate adventurers travel accessory.

The other neat thing about this book, is the ending. Not only do the good guys win (a foregone conclusion…kind of) but the sourcerer decides to take the same path as his ancestors. He decides to enter his own world away from Diskworld and all of the troubles that his presence caused. Showing that even a young boy, with nearly absolute power, is not necessarily absolutely corrupted. Thanks to the efforts of the Indomitable Rincewind.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink

This was a fascinating book about how we as humans process information. In this book Malcolm inspects the way we are able to input vast amounts of data within seconds and make decisions based on that information. He also discussed memory and how those memories relate to the ability to “thin-slice” information.

I was particularly fascinated by the references to people’s ability to remember things for recognition, such as faces, but our inability to articulate those memories because that uses a different portion of the brain than the part that does the facial recognition. I also enjoyed the commentary about how too much information can derail our instinctive ability to make decisions. Although I found it fascinating, the descriptions of the war-fighter exercise where the “Blue” team had so much information that they failed to be able to react instinctively to the “Red” team’s decentralized tactics.

The most useful thing that I got out of this book however was the knowledge that this quick-decision making can be trained. That by giving our unconscious mind the vocabulary, terminology and experience to be able to categorize and organize the data that it receives that we can make even better snap decisions and become less likely to make mistakes when doing so, be it by learning facial expressions to better understand peoples true feelings, or become more familiar with the particulars of your job so that you are less likely to be surprised by circumstances and changes that arise.

Overall a great read with lots of things to think about and consider in how we live our everyday lives. Very recommended

Terry Pratchett: Mort

In Terry Pratchetts book Mort, he explores the fascinating character of Death. Now Death has appeared in several of the Discworld books already but Mort explores the character in far greater depth. The title however is a bit misleading. It does not stand for mortality, or mortal, or even mort the French word for death. No, Mort is the name of the unfortunate young lad who was to become Death’s apprentice. Why does Death need an apprentice you ask? He doesn’t. So why does he have one? Because his daughter is lonely. Death has a child? No, she’s adopted. Why did he adopt her? I have no idea.

Mort is a fascinating character that undergoes much of the adolescent awkwardness through the course of the book (which takes place over the course of a few months). Of course his emotional growth is accelerated by the fact that he is helping to do Death’s job as his apprentice. Which naturally leads to complications, since Death is whoever does Death’s job. Which isn’t entirely true since Death stays skeletal and keeps many of his powers such as foresight even when the powers of Death itself are transferring to Mort. Of course being human, Mort has far too many glands to be a good Death and ends up following his heart and not the job description getting himself into endless trouble.

Death of the Discworld series is one of my favorite characters. He’d like you to think he has no emotions, but he cared enough about an orphan girl to adopt her, and he genuinely cares about cats, particularly about kittens. Death loves cats. When he later becomes a short order cook, his kitchen is filled with them…….yes, you heard right, Death becomes a short order cook. It’s a long story…243 pages to be exact. He also has the single coolest weapon I have ever read about, a switch-blade scythe. I mean, how cool is that? You get down off of your horse, pull your walking stick out of your saddle, rap it on the ground and a three foot blade pops out! Talk about intimidating! There’s a sword too, but that’s not nearly as much fun as the switch-blade scythe. Death also has one other very important character trait. He loves curry. Even though he doesn’t need to eat, and being skeletal one is uncertain where it goes after mastication, he loves curry. Enough said.

Basically the whole premise and plot of the book can be summed up in a single sentence spoken by Death when describing the job to Mort. “It'd be a bloody stupid world if people got killed without dying wouldn't it?” And he’s right, it would!