Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

Publisher:  Del Ray
Publish Date:  Sept. 12, 1986
ISBN:  978-0345338587
Pages:  336

I was trying to find books to read for Wayback Wednesday and my friend Derek suggested Piers Anthony.  I had not read anything by Piers Anthony and for some reason was associating him with high fantasy, which I used to love but now, not so much.  Let me dispell that notion right off the bat - this is most definitely NOT high fantasy.  It is science fiction, if we are going to be forced to label it.

Through a series of unfortunate events, Zane (the main character) finds himself shooting Death and having to take up the office himself.  Now the Office of Death only collects souls that are in perfect balance of good and evil.  Otherwise, the souls will go directly to where they need to be.  The problem is that Zane doesn't always see why certain people have to die and goes about the job of Death a little differently than anyone else has.  He might convince someone not to commit suicide or assist someone to keep them from dying or grant last wishes.  The Purgatory News has a field day with his behavior, but they haven't thrown him out of office yet.

This is the first in a series and I'm looking forward to reading them.  They aren't difficult to read, although some of the concepts are interesting and something you won't always find, even in the best YA.  Luckily, Mr. Anthony does write simply and concisely, so it's easy to follow.  He's also quite amusing - for instance, Hell advertises to gain more souls.  They have billboards and enticements to cause you to sin enough to go straight to Hell.  Heaven on the other hand does not advertise, but quietly hopes that people will do the right thing.  I thought it was an amusing feature...isn't that the way we generally view it?  While I'm by no means religious, the religion aspect is always interesting.

Give it a try, I hear that the entire series is excellent and I'm going to read them all - you may see some more of them here in the future.

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