Mark Reads ‘Reaper Man’: Part 11

In the eleventh part of Reaper Man, ARE YOU SERIOUS? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

CITY EGGS? CITY EGGS? The hatch into sentient trolleys? Are we talking supermarket trolleys or like, the ones you use transport shit when you’re moving? Both? I mean, there’s an aspect of this that’s so funny I can’t even deal with it:

“That’s how it’d work. First, something that you’d want to keep, and put away somewhere. Thousands wouldn’t get the right conditions, but that wouldn’t matter, because there would be thousands. And then the next stage would be something that would be handy, and get everywhere, and no one would ever think it had got there by itself.”

And both trolleys fit in this scenario, especially if you imagine how many abandoned shopping trolleys there are in every city EVER. It’s so insidious that I have to laugh. It’s also ONE OF THE WEIRDEST THINGS I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE. I’m actually having a hard time wrapping my mind around the imagery provided to me within this section of Reaper Man. Something laid a bunch of eggs in Ankh-Morpork, and the “eggs” were SNOW GLOBES containing miniature representations of various parts of the very city where the eggs were laid. (Who labeled them? We still don’t know that, do we?) These eggs hatched into trolleys, which will then grow into… full cities??? Or parts of cities? How am I typing these words onto my computer right now??? Was this book written purely as an absurdist exercise so that anyone who ever spoke of it or wrote about it would experience this same existential crisis?

One day, someone will inevitably ask me about Reaper Man at an event or when I’m a famous author, and I’ll have to talk about the book where snow globe eggs turn into trolleys. That is a sentence fragment that will have to escape my mouth and enter into other people’s minds, and Terry Pratchett is currently cackling at me from his great beyond because he knew this. He knew what he was doing, and he’s fucking evil for it.

The best kind of evil, of course.

I’m glad the Librarian is back in the action and now on Team… I can’t think of a clever name. Team Snow Globe? I like the sound of that. Plus, the team is just so bizarre. A wereman, a werewolf, an orangutan who used to be a wizard, a zombie, and, occasionally, a bogeyman. All of them are closer than anyone else to figuring out the city eggs, the chaotic magic, and… I don’t know how to describe the rest of this. An ongoing disaster? Y’all, how do you describe CITY EGGS to anyone who has never read this book?

I mean, it’s obviously more complicated than that because SWEAR WORDS CREATE THINGS IN THIS REALITY. What the fuck? Did I just create one now? Have I been creating them this entire time??? Is my apartment littered with them, overflowing with metaphysical manifestations of curses? Actually, I’ve got such a filthy mouth that I’m sure I’ve overflowed every single place that I’ve ever lived in.

And then there’s Death. I think that my theory that Death felt obsolete or redundant might actually be what’s going on because HOLY SHIT. As Death watches Simnel operate his Combination Harvester – poorly at first, then spectacularly – he decides to take action. Almost out of – what? Spite? Fury? Death begins to race the Combustion Harvester. He does so with such dedication that for the first time in his entire existence, he experiences pain, exhaustion, and misery. He feels human. And he hates it! Well, maybe he doesn’t hate it, but he certainly understands what some humans have described to him before.

It’s such a fitting end to this section (bravo, folks who worked on the splits!) because it brings us so close to this big confrontation between Old Death and New Death. In this time where Death so uniquely experiences mortal life, he realizes how badly he wants his old life back. I think that line about Simnel giving up something is a reference to the Combustion Harvester playing a role in the fight against the banshee Death? Right? Don’t tell me, obviously, just thinking aloud here. I think that by the end of Reaper Man, Death will get his old job back. It seems inevitable, not just because of the nature of the story, but because he’s now got HELP.

FRIENDSHIP!!!

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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