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Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

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Overview

When her dear old Granddad — the Grim Reaperhimself — goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death's adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes "twang."

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning to become a rock star. Determined to devote his life to music, the unlucky fellow soon finds...

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Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

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Overview

When her dear old Granddad — the Grim Reaperhimself — goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death's adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes "twang."

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning to become a rock star. Determined to devote his life to music, the unlucky fellow soon finds that all his dreams are coming true. Well almost.

In this finger-snapping, toe-tapping tale of youth,Death, and rocks that roll, Terry Pratchett once again demonstrates the wit and genius that have propelled him to the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

This 13th novel set in Discworld tells the story of Death's granddaughter, who inherited the job and grew to enjoy it. Amd of Imp the Bard, who strove to make his fortune in a rock band, and who was so unlucky that all his dreams came true.

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Editorial Reviews

Carl Hays
Where else except in a Terry Pratchett novel can the consenting reader find not only Death himself but his diminutive rodent counterpart, the Death of Rats? Along with intrepid crime-watchers Constable Detritus and Sergeant Colon, an orangutan head librarian at Unseen University, and a flying horse named Binky, Death distinguishes a motley cast in this latest installment of Pratchett's internationally popular Discworld series. Here, the story concerns Death's granddaughter, Susan, who, unaware of her ghoulish heritage and thoroughly bored in school, is one day made aware of her inborn talents by Death's servant, Albert. Assisted by the Death of Rats and Binky's airborne fleetness, Susan learns the reaper's trade on assorted battlefields and deathbeds and even grows to enjoy it until she hears music emanating from an immortal magic guitar. Pratchett fans will take endless delight in a profusion of puns, wit-laden footnotes, and rambling comic misadventures in this first-rate fusion of humor and fantasy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061054891
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Discworld Series , #16
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 459,446
  • Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Where to finish?

A dark, stormy night. A coach, horses gone, plunging through the rickety, useless fence and dropping, tumbling into the gorge below. It doesn't even strike an outcrop of rock before it hits the dried riverbed far below, and erupts into fragments.

Miss Butts shuffled the paperwork nervously. Here was one from the girl aged six:

'What We Did On our Holidys: What I did On my holidys I staid with grandad he has a big White hors and a garden it is al Black. We had Eg and chips.'

Then the oil from the coach lamps ignites and there is a second explosion, out of which rollsbecause there are certain conventions, even in tragedy--a burning wheel.

And another paper, a drawing done at age seven. All in black. Miss Butts sniffed. It wasn't as though the gel had only a black crayon. It was a fact that the Quirm College for Young Ladies had quite expensive crayons of all colors.

And then, after the last of the ember spits and crackles, there is silence.

And the watcher.

Who turns, and says to someone in the darkness:

YES. I COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING.

And rides away.

Miss Butts shuffled paper again. She was feeling distracted and nervous, a feeling common to anyone who had much to do with the gel. Paper usually made her feel better. It was more dependable.

Then there had been the matter of ... the accident.

Miss Butts had broken such news before. It was an occasional hazard when you ran a large boarding school. The parents of many of the gels were often abroad on business of one sort or another, and it was sometimes the kind of business where the chances of rich reward go hand in hand with therisks of meeting unsympathetic men.

Miss Butts knew how to handle these occasions. It was painful, but the thing ran its course. There was shock, and tears, and then, eventually, it was all over. People had ways of dealing with it. There was a sort of script built into the human mind. Life went on.

But the child had just sat there. It was the politeness that scared the daylights out of Miss Butts. She was not an unkind woman, despite a lifetime of being gently dried out on the stove of education, but she was conscientious and a stickler for propriety and thought she knew how this sort of thing should go and was vaguely annoyed that it wasn't going.

"Er ... if you would like to be alone, to have a cry-" she'd prompted, in an effort to get things moving on the right track.

"Would that help?" Susan had said.

It would have helped Miss Butts.

All she'd been able to manage was: "I wonder if, perhaps, you fully understood what I have told you?"

The child had stared at the ceiling as though trying to work out a difficult problem in algebra and then said, "I expect I will."

It was as if she'd already known, and had dealt with it in some way. Miss Butts had asked the teachers to watch Susan carefully. They'd said that was hard, because ...

There was a tentative knock on Miss Butts's study door, as if it was being made by someone who'd really prefer not to be heard.

She returned to the present.

"Come," she said.

The door swung open.

Susan always made no sound. The teachers had all remarked upon it. It was uncanny, they said. She was always in front of you when you least expected it.

"Ah, Susan," said Miss Butts, a tight smile scuttling across her face like a nervous tick over a worried sheep. "Please sit down."

"Of course, Miss Butts."

Miss Butts shuffled the papers.

"Susan. . . "

"Yes, Miss Butts?"

"I'm sorry to say that it appears you have been missed in lessons again."

"I don't understand, Miss Butts."

The headmistress leaned forward. She felt vaguely annoyed with herself, but ... there was something frankly unlovable about the child. Academically brilliant at the things she liked doing, of course, but that was just it; she was brilliant in the same way that a diamond is brilliant, all edges and chilliness.

"Have you been . . . doing it?" she said. "You promised you were going to stop this silliness."

"Miss Butts?"

"You've been making yourself invisible again, haven't you?"

Susan blushed. So, rather less pinkly, did Miss Butts. I mean, she thought, it's ridiculous. It's against all reason. It's--oh, no ...

She turned her head and shut her eyes.

"Yes, Miss Butts?" said Susan, just before Miss Butts said, "Susan?"

Miss Butts shuddered. This was something else the teachers had mentioned. Sometimes Susan answered questions just before you asked them ...

She steadied herself.

"You're still sitting there, are you?"

"Of course, Miss Butts."

Ridiculous.

It wasn't invisibility, she told herself. She just makes herself inconspicuous. She... who ...

She concentrated. She'd written a little memo to herself against this very eventuality, and it was pinned to the file.

She read:

You are interviewing Susan Sto Helit. Try not to forget it.

"Susan?" she ventured.

"Yes, Miss Butts?"

If Miss Butts concentrated, Susan was sitting in front of her. If she made an effort, she could hear the gel's voice. She just had to fight against a pressing tendency to believe that she was alone.

"I'm afraid Miss Cumber and Miss Greggs have complained," she managed.

"I'm always in class, Miss Butts."

"I daresay you are. Miss Traitor and Miss Stamp say they see you all the time." There'd been quite a staff room argument about that. "Is it because you like

Logic and Math and don't like Language and History?"

Miss Butts hesitated. There was no way the child could have left the room. If she really stressed her mind, she could catch a suggestion of a voice saying "Don't know, Miss Butts."

Soul Music . Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    "Music With Rocks In" Explained

    Generally thought of as the third book in a trilogy featuring the character of Death, "Soul Music" delivers a hilariously pun-filled look at the phenomenon of early rock-n-roll. Well up to snuff with the other Discworld books, with the added joy of watching Death trying to get a better feel for what this whole "being alive thing" is all about. It's also the first time we get to meet Susan, who is Death's granddaughter. Having read other books with Susan in them ("Hogfather", etc.), it's great to see her origins (so to speak). I have but one complaint with the NOOK edition: Someone didn't bother to proof the book very well. Words are run together; italicized "I" is translated as a forward slash; whole series of short sentences are run together; section breaks are missing. I realize that publishers only want to cash in by charging huge amounts of money reselling a product they only have to make once... but at least they could take the time to make it right before they soak us for unconscionable amounts of money that the author sees precious little of.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    This is a rating for the nook book quality only. The typos and

    This is a rating for the nook book quality only. The typos and editing errors are the worst I've ever seen in a book: "limbo" instead of Jimbo, looting instead of looking, fiat instead of hat (and many many many more), countless hybrid words due to missing spaces and strange page breaks and margin changes. The worst offender was every instance of "gal" (or I at least assume it was supposed to be gal) was replaced with "gel", as if someone had done a Find:Replace on it- incredibly distracting and annoying. If we have to pay the same amount as a paperback for something that we are not allowed to loan or sell as we please, we should at least expect to get a quality product. It is obvious that no one even read 10 pages of this e-book before releasing it. Seriously Barnes and Nobel, do you really have so little respect for your readers?

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    Many typos in the Nook version

    All of the Discworld Nook editions have been fairly typo-laden, but this one is probably the worst so far. In some places the spaces between words are missing ("workedon"), in others lines of dialog run together without line breaks. Extra page breaks are added randomly (e.g. pp 124-125, which somehow is broken enough that the margins change; similarly 176-177). Jimbo's name is sometimes "limbo" (p127, among others). Altogether there seems to be at least one typo every few pages, for the entire book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Andy

    Hey beautiful

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Why listen to music when you can read it?

    For those that have read Pratchett's Discworld books, this is a story of Susan. For those that have not read any of the discworld books, this story is about beginnings, second chances, drugs, sex and music-with-rocks-in.

    The main character of the story is a girl named Susan, who happens to have a very... peculiar... relation with Death. Not to be confused with 'death', what happens at the end of 'life', but Death, the personification of said natural phase. In short, she is his Granddaughter.

    Entering from stage right, is Imp y Celyn. Non-Bard, player of the harp, just wants to get a few gigs and make some money like any respectable musician. Problem is, his harp has been broken. Now, where to get a new instrument? That old shop that wasn't there yesterday looks just like a good place to get one...

    If you like this book, check out the others in the recommend list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Dum

    Hate

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Zero

    Weapon area

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Kayla's Apartment

    Kayla's Apartment. Master bedroom.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Loved it

    Very good book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    not the best

    am a huge fan of the disc world books, but this one seemed a little tortured and unoriginal

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Terry Pratchet is dead funny

    A very good book. Not the best Terry Pratchet book I have ever read but that is not saying much since all of his books are good. I finally got to the see the origins of Susan, which was very good. He is a master of his craft and anybody with a hint of british humor in them eould love this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    Music to my eyes!

    Although a bit slow throughout most of the book, it definately had bright moments. Most of my favorite parts were of Death, I love how he speaks in capital letters, ALL THE TIME. And I loved Susen and her exlpoits at becoming Death. The end was worth it, with a fast paced feeling of suspense. It was a light-hearted read with plenty of laughs. One of the only books were my favorite character was Death!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2004

    Entertaining and Witty!

    Terry Pratchett is once more very witty and unexpected. Anyone who wants to laugh, scowl, and even perhaps read the whole story in one evening, this is the perfect book for you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2003

    Music Most Hilarious`

    This book is a must if you love music. The satire on the music industry will cause any music lover to laugh the entire way through. I loved every minute, and I have never laughed so hard. Pratchett includes hilarious characters and a great plot. And the best part is that DEATH is back. I will say this is the best of Terry Pratchett, and that is saying quite a lot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    This was the funniest book I've ever read

    This book is truly amazing. I couldn't put it down once I had started reading it, and I think it's great! If you're considering buying it, then do! Trust me, it's the best Dscworld book out there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    I fell

    I fell to the floor laughing, and I fell in love with Pratchett's work all over again. This book is as good as any- ever! no wait! its better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2000

    A classic tale.

    Terry Pratchett has delivered alot of brilliant stories to the shelves, but I feel that this is probably the best one yet. It is a classic. Nuff' said.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2000

    This was a great book

    This book was wildly origional and extremely funny. I'd recommend it to just about anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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