on 19 October 2004
The start of the book is so absolutely worth the money just for chapter one.
Without spoiling most of the humour I will skip over how moist goes from being hanged to the end of chapter one where Lord Vetinari offers Moist von Lipwig a job, the job of Postmaster General of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office. Moist is assigned a parole officer a golem by the name of Mr Pump. Lord Vetinari has many reasons for doing this but one is that he is not happy with the Grand Trunk semaphore company (the clacks).
Moist finds that the post office has not been in operation for about 20years and is stacked to the brim with undelivered letters and pigeons plus 2 employees Junior Postman Groat (born in the PO) who lives and breaths the post office apart from his experiments in home cures and Apprentice Postman Stanley an orphan with a passion for pins.
Moist learns that in the last couple of months several people have been appointed Postmaster General and all have died, this obviously does not reassure him.
Wandering around Ankh Moist comes across a shop 'The golem trust' run by Adora Bell Dearheart later to be known to Moist affectionately as Spike for she is the 'love' interest. During his wandering Moist ends up delivering a letter and this kicks things off. For the old postmen make Moist walk the walk and he succeeds and sees the writing on the wall. Then he gets the post office up and running.
Meanwhile Reacher Gilt the man behind the Grand Trunk semaphore company is having trouble with the clacks for he has penny pinched (downsized and all that) to the point where it keeps breaking down.
Moist invents stamps.
Then the post office on a tip from the 'Smoking Gnu' runs a batch of post to Sto Lat on the day the clacks to there go down and the rivalry is on.
I cannot say much more about the story without giving away serious amounts of plot and stuff. But along the way as Moist is in Ankh-Morpork you do get to meet a few of the characters you would expect to bump into if you hung around the city.
This is a fantastic book with Terry Pratchetts usual humour shining through along with his swipes at several things that you often miss on first reading although I did spot the jest to do with lord of the rings even though it was only one line in the book. Plus you get a bit more insight into how Lord Vetinari runs the city (you have to love the bit at the party where he has to remind someone he is tyrant and can do what he likes). And the epilogue!
This book is brilliant and will be up there on my top 5 Terry Pratchett books.
on 15 October 2004
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.
Terry Pratchett's first novel, "The Carpet People", appeared in 1971. "Going Postal" is the twenty-ninth novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 2004. He won the 2001 Carnegie Medal for "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" and was awarded the OBE in 1998.
Moist von Lipwig, a very gifted con-artist, is in trouble as "Going Postal" opens - he's on his way to the gallows for a crime he didn't commit. (Unfortunately, he's on his way to the gallows for a crime Albert Spangler - one of his aliases - committed). Luckily, his hangman (Daniel "One Drop" Trooper) proves is be something of an expert at his job; Moist is only hung to within an inch of his life and comes round in Lord Vetinari's office. Vetinari is Ankh-Morpork's Patrician, described by some as a tyrant while others simply question his parentage. He is also incredibly resourceful, fantastically well-informed and a graduate of the Guild of Assassins. He knows Moist's real name, his profession and has identified Moist as a fraudster by vocation, a habitual liar and totally untrustworthy. As such, Vetinari has realised that Moist is ideally suited for a job in government and offers him the position of Postmaster General. Moist could turn the job down; the decision would only cost him his life. However, largely because he doesn't fully realise what he's letting himself in for, he accepts the job offer...
Although Moist would rather disappear under another false name, Vetinari has wisely appointed a parole officer to him - a very determined golem called Mr Pump. Neither Moist nor Mr Pump are going to have an easy time in their new positions : for a start, the Post Office itself is a mess. There hasn't been a letter delivered in twenty years - all of them are still in the building, leaving very little room for people and golems inside. Moist only has two members of staff - a geriatric Junior Postman called Groat and Apprentice Postman Stanley (a little odd, though an expert on pins). Mr Pump indirectly leads Moist to Adora Bell Dearheart, a tall dark-haired woman who works for the Golem's Trust. She dresses severely, smokes and, by her own admission, is utterly lacking in a sense of humour. (In fact, she sounds a bit like Frasier Crane's ex-wife). For some reason, however, Moist falls for her and she becomes the closest thing to a friend he has.
Moist's biggest problem is going to be the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company and its new Board of Directors. The Grand Trunk provide a high-speed communication service, better known as the clacks - something like the Discworld's version of email. It's pretty clear the new board have cheated, embezzled and stolen their way to the company, are mistreating the workforce and are generally running things into the ground. Although represented by Mr Slant (not only a zombie, but also a lawyer), the most dislikeable and dangerous member of the board is Reacher Gilt. Like Moist, he's obviously a very gifted con-artist. However, it's his willingness to use buzzwords that really send shivers down the spine. (Anyone who has been at a meeting and heard phrases like "core competencies", "synergistically" and "striving for excellence" will know exactly what I mean).
This is the first of the Discworld series to feature Moist, with only very brief appearances from some 'established' stars. As a result, it's a pretty good starting point if you've never read any of the other Discworld books and want to see what you're missing. Pratchett's books are always very funny - this one takes a particular swipe at big business. Definitely recommended.
on 27 June 2006
I have the full collection and this is by far the most entertaining and truely delightful plot with believeable characters and lots of laugh out loud moments. I'd recommend it to everyone
on 24 October 2004
If you've been slightly disappointed with Pratchett's recent leanings towards books primarily for children, this book is for you. I found it enthralling, and the humour is well up to his highest standard. The plot, too, was interesting, and the characters (a new set, with peripheral appearances from some of the old favourites) remain refreshing.
on 2 January 2005
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.
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]
on 3 November 2006
Going Postal is teh umpteenth discworld novel from Terry Pratchett. It centres arounda fraudster that the patrician has cunningly placed in a position of 'power' and responsibilty (head of the Ankh Morpork Postal Service) to compete directly with the CLAX company - the Grand Trunk.
I agree with other fans - that terry has probably suffered a little from over-writing - having said that, with a series of so many books, there are bound to be the odd dissappointments.
Going Postal is not one of those. It is highly amusing and insightful. As much about human nature as it is with big business. The central plot is entertaining and it's always good to see the discworld mirroring our own in some way. We all wonder whether he could ever recapture the good old Rincewind days - when the discworld was fresh and every book a discovery.
Now, his books are very much about the characters and their predicaments and I am sure this book has spawned a few more friends that will revisit from time to time. Certainly an addictive book, having read it in 3 sittings or so. A must for fans.
Although this isn’t the best book that he has written Terry Pratchett has once again produced a Discworld novel that you will find difficult to put down. Rather than add to any of the existing Discworld series, such as the Witches or Watch books, Terry Pratchett has introduced us to a whole new section of life in the city of Ankh-Morpork, in this case the Post Office and the Clacks, things that have been mentioned in previous books but never in much detail. Following convicted conman Moist von Lipwig as he tries to bring the Post Office into the modern world, escape his parole officer and perhaps make a little money along the way.
This book is laid out quite differently to many of the other Discworld novels, actually using titled chapters, and although this does serve to brake up the book somewhat it does remove some of the uniqueness that the Discworld series had from other books. The book itself is as well written, as always, is quite fast passed and very funny, well worth reading by anyone who loves Discworld and probably those who don’t as well.
on 25 February 2006
"Going Postal" is undoubtedly one of Pratchett's new millenium books. Devout readers will know what this implies: a rope-thick storyline and a more intricate plot rather than a thread-thin storyline packed out by an abundance of gags.
Please do not underestimate the humour of this book however; it is still exeptionally witty (and laugh-out-loud funny in places) but is much more in keeping with other recent titles such as "Monsterous Regiment" and "Wee Free Men" than the earlier laugh-fests of "Men at Arms" and "Moving Pictures".
Moist is an excellent anti-hero, if not a little stereotypical and therefore predictable, but what made this book for me was the expanded inclusion of some previously introduced Discworld phenomenon such as golems and the Clacks.
Another great point about this tale is the potential follow-up for both Moist and the eventual villain, which has all the setup for a book in its own right.
Oh, and Vetinari is still the funniest thing on the Disc :D