Monday, April 18, 2011

Mort, by Terry Prachett

It's a happy Monday because it's not raining. The sun is out, peeking through the clouds, and the temperature is very pleasant. We had a bit of an interrupted Saturday night when we discovered that while we'd both been sitting around reading all day, the nonstop, heavy rain was causing the water table to rise through the concrete of our basement. Thank goodness for shop vacs. When the water was finally conquered, we decided that it was too late to start watching a movie, and caught some of the new Upstairs, Downstairs instead. Oh, dear. This might be as addictive as Mad Men. As I say Ekim and I both did quite a bit of raining--reading! this weekend, and after reading such serious stuff, it was timefor a light humorous break, so the next book under the microscope is-- Mort, by Terry Prachett. In this installment of his Discworld Series, we meet Mort, a rural lad who is seeking some kind of apprenticeship or training for a future career, but is having trouble fitting in anywhere. His luck finally changes, though, when Death taps on his shoulder.


Uh, Mortimer...sir.They call me Mort.


Ah, don't worry; Mort doesn't die, but Death could use an assistant. In fact, Death is dead tired, beginning to question what it's all about, and would like to try something else, for a change. So, Death takes a holiday, and lets Mort stand in for him.

Unfortunately--and hilariously--Mort finds himself in some trouble right away, but he can't find his master anywhere. He doesn't know that Death is currently working as the fastest short-order cook Ankh-Morpork has ever seen, turning out menu items in the blink of an eye and lining the business with saucers of milk for all the strays (CATS ARE NICE).

Mort almost does some serious damage to the universe, and when his eyes start to glow strangely and he starts to talk LIKE THIS, he knows that events and changes are spiraling out of his control. Fortunately, Death does come to his senses and realizes that he can't live any kind of human life. Death has accepted his fate and all is swell in Discworld.

I must say, the funniest Discworld novels are those that take place right in Ankh-Morpork; it's an urban creation that is so ripe for comedy. Well, Pratchett would say that Ankh-Morpork is ripe in, um, much more immediately noticeable ways. This novel only has a few scenes in that most populated of Discworld cities, and those are the funniest ones. I was particularly pleased that Rincewind, a comically inept wizard, made an appearance in Mort. Rincewind must be one of the oldest characters in the series and it was fun to have him bungling around again. I must admit that I missed The Watch, though. Since not much of Mort takes place in the city, we don't get treated to Ankh-Morpork's finest.

Discworld. Always a world of fun.


TLP said...

Great review as usual. I love those books. Always a hoot.

Logophile said...

I have got to start reading these.
I got the Christmas movie Hogfather and a good intro explanation from a cyberfriend.

Where would suggest I start?

actonbell said...

Good question, Logo. I started with Going Postal, but someone at over here
recommends Guards! Guards!
I do agree that you should not start with The Color of Magic, which is the first one. It was written in a very different style, not at all typical of the rest of the series.

Gee, I haven't read Guards! Guards! I should get on the stick...

Doug said...

My favorites are the ones that take place in the ramtops. So far. I've only read five or six.

Nessa said...

Discworld is a great destination.