Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

by Terry Pratchett

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

$9.35 $9.99 Save 6% Current price is $9.35, Original price is $9.99. You Save 6%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Want it by Monday, November 26 Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062237415
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Series: Discworld Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 89,237
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for “readers of all ages,” was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature,” Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.


Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1948

Place of Birth:

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England


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:


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."


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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Soul Music 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
TristanBlackWolf More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
Joel_Aufrecht More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
goldnyght on LibraryThing 4 days ago
I love all the Discworld books with Susan, but there's a special place in my heart for Soul Music. There are so many puns in here that I think you could read it a dozen times and still not get everything there is to get.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Discworld 'does' music - not a bad job, though I tend to find the books featuring Death and his extended family a bit harder to follow than some of the others. Introduced several new characters; I particularly liked Chrysophrase the Troll who looks to have quite a lot of potential
bluesalamanders on LibraryThing 4 days ago
This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, Discworld book. I love Susan and Death of Rats is fabulous.
keristars on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Before I began this book, I wasn't sure that I would enjoy it and so kept putting off starting on it (besides which, I have a long to-read list ¿ who doesn't?). My experiences with other strongly themed Discworld novels haven't always been so good, which of course stand out over the really fantastic ones, the way negative experiences do. For example, Eric and Moving Pictures completely underwhelmed me, and though I quite liked Pyramids and Small Gods, I can't really put those into the same group as the former two, despite all four having "strong" themes. Perhaps it's a general versus specific thing, or maybe the subjects of the satire/parody themselves, I don't know.
The point of all this is that I expected Soul Music to resemble Moving Pictures and thus to leave a bad taste at the end. And there are an awful lot of similarities, from the punny pop-culture-referencing names to the way the wizards (and Librarian) get caught up in the magic of the thing, to the way Discworld itself reacts to whatever that new thing is (cinema and rock'n'roll music). So I suppose the patterns of the two stories really aren't all that different. But, and here's the thing, Soul Music didn't leave me disappointed.
A lot of the Discworld novels I've read (Moving Pictures being a prime example) work quite well at the beginning and middle, but it soon becomes obvious that everything that happens is a set-up for a particular end result, which ultimately fizzles and feels too forced. As good as the rest of the book is, that kind of ending just ruins the whole thing.
Luckily, either Soul Music doesn't have this problem, or by only being able to read it a little at a time during my breaks at work, I managed to avoid noticing it. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the book all the way through, despite my expectations otherwise. The featured characters definitely didn't hurt any, either ¿ I love anything with C.M.O.T. Dibbler, and Death trying to figure out humans, and the Librarian (but who doesn't?), so naturally this book appeals to me there. Susan and the wizards were good, too, and I even found myself liking the Band With Rocks In, even though I cared very little for their counterparts in Moving Pictures.
I do have one tiny nitpick, though. What's up with the way the Librarian disappeared around two thirds of the way through, only to show up doing something completely different at the end? He was on tour with the band, I thought, then suddenly not there anymore? I tried to go back to figure out when he disappeared, but couldn't quite manage, with my limited reading time, and it bugged me.
But, anyway, I guess to sum up, I didn't expect to like Soul Music, but I do, and it was funny, and even if not my favorite Discworld novel, it was pretty dang good.
ironicqueery on LibraryThing 4 days ago
This is one of the longer Discworld novels, and it seems like Pratchett had a hard time condensing his story. There were too many storylines, which made it hard to focus on any one plot. Character development was also a bit thin. However, this is still a Terry Pratchett book, which means it had a very interesting story that follows the power of Music in the Discworld.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Rock and roll may never die, but when music with rocks in hits Ankh-Morkpork, Death is the least of the its problems. Especially since Death has taken a sabbatical and Susan's woman-ing the scythe.Almost tops my list of favorite Discworld installments.
jrtouchshriek on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Worth the read, if just for the fun in picking out the cultural/ classic rock references.
391 on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Much like Moving Pictures, Soul Music is full of allusions and in-jokes to the source material being parodied. It was laugh-out-loud funny in parts, and touching in others (the swing!) and I wish we had found out more about Buddy and Susan - though if you read further, it seems like she ends up with Lobsang anyway, but where did Buddy go? The magical fix-it at the end was a bit irritating, though, like the reset button that gets pressed in a lot of TV shows to end episodes without too much fuss, and it's something that we see happening a lot in Susan's books especially. Would Death count as a deus ex machina in that case?
Greatrakes on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Soul Music is Pratchett's 16th Discworld book and is much loved by internet fan sites for its allusions to the music scene. It's my least favourite Pratchett - but I'm reading all the books in order.I recently heard Terry Pratchett criticising his first two books for having no real plot. He said that had used the narrative as a device getting from one joke to the next. I think Soul Music suffers from precisely this. He thought up a huge number of puns, covering bands, singers, songs and James Dean films, and used the band's short career to work in as many puns and jokes as possible.The book introduces Susan Sto Helit, Death's granddaughter. The 'plot' is that Death has taken time out to forget, Susan has to replace him. The world meanwhile, has been infected by 'the music' which comes from the beginning of time. The faculty of Unseen University is heavily affected, as wizards pick up the the vibes more easily - the Dean, naturally, becomes James Dean, makes himself a long leather coat, paints his room black and sulks a lot."The audience spilled out into the street. The wizardsgathered around the Dean, snapping their fingers. 'Wella-wella-wella¿' sang the Dean happily. 'It's gone midnight!' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes, snapping his fingers, 'and I don't care a bit! What shall we do now?' 'We could have a rumble,' said the Dean. 'That's true,' said the Chair of Indefinite Studies, 'we did miss dinner.' 'We missed dinner?' said the Senior Wrangler. 'Wow! That's Music With Rocks In! We just don't care!'""The 'Band With Rocks In' is taken over by 'the music' and becomes phenomenally successful. It consists of a human harpist, turned guitarist, who looks a little 'elvish' (he, naturally, ends up working in a fish shop); a dwarf called Glod, allowing him to send the others on a 'mission from Glod' (Blues Brothers); and a troll drummer, who changes his name to Cliff. The rest is all Spinal Tap, Pratchett style.This book contains my least favourite Pratchett joke, the endlessly repeated, and infelicitous, phrase 'music with rocks in'. My favourite joke was a name used for one of the host of new bands, a dwarf band, which called itself 'We're Certainly Dwarfs'.
PortiaLong on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Light fantastical humorous fantasy. Some great zingers poking at the sadly amusing human condition. Enjoyable.
heidilove on LibraryThing 3 months ago
fun. the puns make this even more worthwhile than the story itself, which delivers in the discworld tradition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago