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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett at his best
I love Terry Pratchett books, I really really do. They're brilliant. Pure, unadulterated genius.
This book follows the story of a con artist as he tries, with the flair of a natural showman, to get the Ankh-Morpork post office up and running against the competition: the clacks, semaphore towers which can send a message across country and next to no time, but are run...
Published on 30 Nov 2004 by Ms. Clair E. Mcmullen

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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but still Discworld
While this book is still following Pratchett's recent return to form, I was somewhat disappointed. Throughout the whole thing I had the distinct sense I'd already read the story, and I had, in The Truth four books back in the series. Substituting the post office in for the newspaper and you've got the same basic plot. One man building the [post office/newspaper] up...
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Sulkyblue


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett at his best, 30 Nov 2004
By 
Ms. Clair E. Mcmullen (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I love Terry Pratchett books, I really really do. They're brilliant. Pure, unadulterated genius.
This book follows the story of a con artist as he tries, with the flair of a natural showman, to get the Ankh-Morpork post office up and running against the competition: the clacks, semaphore towers which can send a message across country and next to no time, but are run by a bunch of money grabbers who don't care about the clacks themselves, only what the towers can do for them.
Old favourite discworld characters make small appearances. Vimes is seen, but not heard. Carrot and Angua pop in briefly for a chat, Colon loiters outside a building, the librarian is seen in the background. But the patrician....ahh...gotta love that man. Many of Ankh-Morpork's inhabitants seem to forget that he is actually a tyrant, and therefore doesn't have to justify himself to anyone. And there are the golems, and they always make me smile.
You've got the fantastic clash between the bad guy and the bad guy. The bad guy who really is a good guy, just not interested in honest work, and the bad guy who appears to do honest work, but really is a bad guy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and riveting, with a slight edge, 21 Jun 2007
Terry Pratchett delivers again in "Going Postal" (excuse the pun). This is no less than his 33rd book in the Discworld sequence, but nevertheless ranks among the best.

As the book opens, fraudster extraordinaire Moist von Lipwig is about to be hanged when he is offered a chance of redemption by Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of the city of Ankh-Morpork. Only by agreeing to become Postmaster General and restoring the all-but-defunct Post Office to its former glory can he win his freedom. A number of obstacles stand in his way, but largest of them all is the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, which controls the network of 'clacks' that provide telecommunications across the continent. Its unscrupulous chairman, Reacher Gilt, is determined to thwart the upstart Moist and to maintain at all costs his monopoly on the communications business.

As we have come to expect from Pratchett's writing the humour is sharp, the dialogue strong and the pace fast. Pratchett knows how to keep a story moving and draw the reader in to the story. Amidst the humour "Going Postal" has a serious undertone too regarding the nature of politics, big business and the growth of technology, as well as about the ability of even hardened criminals to redeem themselves. Though still very funny, this book is therefore slightly grittier and less playful than many of Pratchett's other novels. There is something decidedly edgy about those scenes which involve the technical jargon and workings of the clacks system. In this respect "Going Postal" reminded me of "Night Watch" - another very fine read although much darker again.

All in all, "Going Postal" is an excellent book. Readers coming to the Discworld for the first time would do well to start here, while returning visitors will find a number of pleasing references to earlier novels in the series. As for Moist, I look forward to his return in the forthcoming "Making Money".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another strong addition to the Discworld, 16 Oct 2004
Terry Pratchett's latest addition to the Discworld series continues to develop in the direction he has been following for quite some time. In one sense, the book is nothing new - if you liked previous Discworld books, particularly the more recent ones, then you will like this. If the Disworld says nothing to you, then this will not excite you either. But that is not to say the book is not lively and original. Within the fairly broad canvas of Ank Morpork that Pratchett has developed over the whole series, he sets up almost entirely new characters (a few old ones have small cameos) in a situation unlike any previous story.
Just as the setting is familiar, the broad sweep of the story is one of the classic plots - likeable young hero takes on moribund organisation (the Post Office) and revives it while saving young heroine in distress. But within this classic framework, Pratchett follows his usual plan of introducing classic cliches only in order to parody and subvert them. The eventual success of the hero is better portrayed than usual - he does not have to use unusual ability or virtue, not win the loyalty of followers by improbable charisma; he does so by using his professional skills - which happen to be those of a con-man and cheat.
The quick-fire gags of the earlier books make very few appearances, but the more subtle humour which has grown up in the more recent books pervades it. One of the best books so far - though Night Watch must remain my favourite.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Stuff, 21 Feb 2005
By 
Genuinely the best Pratchett book I have read for a long time - the characters are the usual assortment of Discworld rag-tags and there are some excellent spoofs and pastiches (without wanting to spoil anything, particularly the flaming eye in the omniscope and the Terminator references for the Gollums!)
For long time fans of the series it's good to see a few old favourites back - it's been too long since we set foot inside the Unseen University, and even the Mended Drum gets a look in!
In addition, when I first picked it up and found that Pratchett was writing in chapters I was a little shocked, but they work really well, and it's amazing how well the brief summary at the start of each chapter tells you everything that happens, but really tells you nothing at all!
Highly recommended, can't wait for the next as always...
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett turns out another master work, 28 Oct 2004
I've been reading the Discworld novels since about 1989, and I believe that Going Postal is the 33rd book in the series - and honestly there hasn't been a bad book in the lot, and in many ways Terry Pratchett improves as a writer with every book he releases. GOING POSTAL is in some ways a throw-back to his earlier books, being the first book for quite a while that's divided into chapters, and with more of the hilarious footnotes that were a favourite feature of his earlier books. However, it still maintains the deeper characterisation and depth of his more recent works, and the very strong story-telling. Pratchett's great gift is using his fantasy world to make wry satirical observations about our everyday world, and the nature of human existence and weakness - without being at all heavy going to read. A true British institution, and I look forward to many more Discworld books :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the few that first time pratchett fans can enjoy, 15 Oct 2004
By 
Terry Pratchett may have a formulaic style, but even so in Going Postal he has another winner by portraying the British Postal system in an extrememly witty fashion.
Not as absorbing as his other books, but long time fans will like it. Anyone new to the Discworld will fare better with Going Postal as an introduction as very few regular characters are included and their back story is not needed. I was hoping to see William de Worde, but alas he is not there.
The books are less frivolous than his earlier work. No bumbling wizards or sharp eyed withches. Lately, his stories have focused more on ordinary people, (The Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky for young adults not withstanding).
I highly recommend this book. It is funny, witty, satricial, wry and above all there is satisfaction in seeing the postal service so brilliantly parodied. 4 stars purely because I am a long time fan of the Witches and Death books and hope we will have another one soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philately, finance, fraud, and . . . fun!, 5 Nov 2004
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
One aspect of Terry Pratchett's genius as a writer is innovation. Lately, he's turned away from what might have become a rut - for both reader and writer - to launch a string of stand-alone books. We've had the introduction of a newspaper to Ankh-Morpork, a man falling through time to encounter himself, and an army of females ["women" would hardly be appropriate, here]. With this book, yet another declaration of independence has been issued. It's still the Discworld. A few known characters flit through cameo appearances - even if only virtually or even silently. One new persona emerges who will capture your attention, your sympathy, and, if you're not careful, your wallet.
If Moist van Lipwig has a personal Hell, its label is "Honesty". He's a confidence trickster, but we mustn't judge him too harshly for that. It's a career that any "businessperson" will identify with. Good Things are: a growing economy, minimal government interference while providing essential services and avoiding violence. Bad Things are: officials poking into private affairs, low profits and a soiled public image. Moist takes advantage of the Good Things while simply avoiding the Bad. He's been on the run for years, even while accumulating a stash of ill-gotten gains. A means of avoiding capture is being someone else. As this book opens one of his persona is facing hanging - which takes place.
Yet it wasn't Moist that died, but one of his aliases - Albert Spangler. With Spangler gone, it would seem Moist has a clear path to elsewhere to make a new start. Unfortunately for Moist, Ankh-Morpork's Patrician, Lord Vetinari, has other plans for him. Part of the scenario includes Moist being employed by Vetinari. Not only must he assume the mantle of honesty, he's now a Civil Servant! The job is the restoration of the defunct Ankh-Morpork Post Office.
The PO's laggardly pace has been outstripped by a new technology - a form of semaphore known as the "clacks". Owned and operated by the Grand Trunk corporation, the firm incorporates the philosophy of Good and Bad Things listed above. As we all know, or are often told, "downsizing" means "efficiency". The businessman's mind equates "Overhead" with "Profit Loss" and there is no worse sacrilege found in the balance sheet. "Overhead" includes "maintenance", which becomes the key to this story. How many have died or been damaged due to faulty views of how much must be spent on "Overhead"? How important is "Overhead"? Is it important at all.
Pratchett's genius goes beyond innovative thinking. He has penetrated the financier's mind and practices, exposing them to public view and assessment. This, he shows us, is a necessary and ongoing task. He further exhibits that there is but only one social force capable of the task - an enlightened government with the power to enforce. It takes a government interested in the public good, which remains an elusive goal. This is hardly the stuff usually found in "fantasy", but that label's never been appropriate for Pratchett's work in any case. Read this for entertainment first, returning to see how adroitly Pratchett has mirrored, once again, the world around us. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finely crafted chapters, 19 Oct 2004
By 
P. Minto (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In this book, Terry deals with the world of communications, the rivalry between public and private services, the battle between people who innovate and people who reap the cash rewards and, the redemption of past sins by dedication to duties.
Before you think that this makes it sound too grand, this is actually a very accessible book and yet another mystery bus tour where the Author chooses to take us to rather thoughtful and unexpected locations.
Centering around the Post Office and Clacks (i.e. the Grand Trunk semaphore system) of Ankh-Morpock and the Discworld, and the characters involved in the revival of the former in the face of the latter, it does not truly lie within either of the Watch or Wizard story-arcs within the series, containing cameos of each but, as with The Truth, mainly centering around new key players within an aspect of the city's civil and public life, interacting with the city itself and the surrounding environs.
And within all of this, that particular brand of refined Pratchett humour can be found, even while the astute social commentary and sideways examination of the global condition is finely crafted to make you think, along with the chapter-headings.
I have enjoyed reading this book and will certainly be re-reading it again almost as soon as I get through another couple of books on my current reading list. I commend this work to you as yet another significant addition to the Discworld canon, though even newcomers should be able to handle the story without too many problems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Book, 31 Oct 2004
Moist von Lipwig is a criminal, but one way or the other, he's not going to be a criminal for very much longer. Shortly after death, he's going to find himself in charge of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office, where proceedings are run by a smelly old man and a pin-obsessive boy, and the backlog of old letters are literally screaming to be read.
Go on... admit it - it's been quite a while since you last read a really good new Discworld book. Some people forgot what one actually was, to the extent they voted 'Nightwatch' one of the 100 Best Books ever written. For some reason, 'Going Postal' manages to break the recent trend, emerging as a really enjoyable book. It's hard to put your finger on exactly why this is the case - it just feels more fun than other recent Pratchett novels; less like it's been a labour to write, less strained. This novel is also less self-indulgent, less moralistically heavy-handed, just... better.
'Going Postal' is a mixture of old, medium old, and new. Ankh-Morpork is the same as it's ever been, and it's nice to return to familiar ground, with even Unseen University getting a look-in. Pratchett continues his fascination for the 'clacks' system, bringing it (almost) to the fore for the first time and does the concept justice in more than one sense. As for the new... this is the first Discworld novel to be written in chapters, and that feels unusual, but not unwelcome, and adds an extra breath of freshness to the proceedings.
With a setting that is great fun to explore, and a pace that never flags, 'Going Postal' makes a worthy addition to a once-great series of novels, which has lost the path lately. May the next book be as good, or better!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed. A practical use for golems., 2 Jan 2005
By A Customer
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Note that this is a 4 tape set running for 6 hours. It has been advertised it as 3 hours in some places.
We return to the ancient city and meet a little commercial malpractice with new communications technology. Golems turn out to be invaluable.
Beautifully read by Tony Robinson, Going Postal has plenty of humour, a little bit of a comment on our present society, and nice story telling.
A rollicking light political adventure with remarkably little from Unseen University. There is always a choice.
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Going Postal: (Discworld Novel 33)
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