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Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
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Going Postal (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Terry Pratchett

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8,086128396 (4.25)196
Member:Mialro
Title:Going Postal
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:HarperTorch (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, fantasy, humor, satire, Discworld

Work details

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (2004)

  1. 40
    Making Money by Terry Pratchett (kinsey_m)
    kinsey_m: Same protagonist, just as fun.
  2. 30
    Thud! by Terry Pratchett (ChillnND)
    ChillnND: One of Pratchett's best Discworld books, a fast paced detective novel set in his fantastic world. There's plenty of wry, satirical social commentary in Thud! as there is in "Going Postal"
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English (120)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (127)
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
Going Postal is an utterly delightful book to read. My last Discworld novel wasn't as good, so I was hoping for a return to form by Pratchett, and I am not disappointed. The book is a prequel to one I read a few weeks ago -- Making Money -- that I enjoyed just as much.

Going Postal is about con artist Moist von Lipwig, who is about to be hanged for his various crimes, until Patrician Vetinari, tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, gives him a new lease on life. Lipwig can hang until dead or he can take over the defunct Ankh-Morpork Post Office and use his many skills to fix things up. He, not too surprisingly, chooses the Post Office, and so his new life begins. Upon going there, he finds a broken down old building that hasn't been in use in decades and that is filled to capacity with letters dating back decades. There are also two employees, Stanley and Groat, both of whom seem to lack some semblance of sanity. Vetinari has also given Lipwig a golem, Mr Punch, as a probation officer/servant. They make an interesting pair.

Well, Lipwig sets out to transform the Post Office. He starts by delivering an old letter from an old man who wrote it 40 years ago, asking for the hand in marriage of his sweetheart. She never got it, they never married, life moves on. Except that now that he has this letter, it's delivered to the woman and as they're both widowed, they decide to get married after all these years and make a big deal about it, which makes the papers. Lipwig then visits the Golem Trust, run by a feisty young woman whom he romances in the book, and gets her to donate several golems for mail delivery. Additionally, some of the old (okay, ancient) staff return to help out.

The primary form of communication on the Discworld is through clackers, and they're run by the Grand Trunk, owned and operated by rich crooks. It's like a cross between cell phones and email. They have towers throughout the countryside where they send and receive messages in code and "crackers" can hack in and disrupt things. The problem with the Grand Trunk is that it's expensive and it's always broken down. So Lipwig decides to go head to head against them and offers to deliver any message they can't for considerably less, setting off a firestorm of publicity and controversy. Additionally, he comes up with the brilliant idea of creating "stamps" that people can buy for various denominations that, when stamped by the post office, will get their letters delivered. Amazing. Soon, all of Ankh-Morpork is bustling about the Post Office and everything looks good. Until it's burned by arson. Von Lipwig pulls off a masterful stunt of publicity by publicly praying to the gods for $150,000 to rebuild the Post Office, goes out of town to dig up exactly that much that he had buried some time before from one heist or another, and the town thinks he virtually a god himself when he returns with the money. Brilliant. Soon, it all comes down to a challenge between the Trust and the Post Office -- who can deliver a message to a far off country first? It's about two months away by coach and hours away by clacker. Lipwig assures everyone he will get there first and people bet on him to do it. I won't tell you how he pulls it off, but he does and winds up the hero, ending a great tale.

This book is chock full of Pratchett's standard brand of Monty Python-esque humor, witticisms, and satire. There are a lot of laughs in this book. And of course, as is typical of Pratchett, he injects enough of our world into it to make the Discworld seem realistic and to show how silly ours sometimes is. This is the 12th Discworld book I've read and I'm reading them out of order, but they're all good enough to stand on their own. If you want a fun, quick read, I certainly recommend this book. You can't go wrong with it. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jul 11, 2014 |
Always quality, filled with puns and not-so-veiled social commentary. Great stuff. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jun 2, 2014 |
Adored this. Funny and moving and pointful--great satire and social commentary, but the story's much, much more than that. Moist von Lipwig, what a character! ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
Adored this. Funny and moving and pointful--great satire and social commentary, but the story's much, much more than that. Moist von Lipwig, what a character! ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
Wonderful book! Wonderful reader! Great ideas! Terrific language! Laugh out loud funny! I wish there were more books with Moist von Lipwig. I highly recommend this. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The flotillas of the dead sailed around the world on underwater rivers.
Quotations
'Can I not?' said Vetinari. 'I am a tyrant. It's what we do.'
'Oh, *please* sue the University!' Ridcully bellowed. 'We've got a *pond* full of people who tried to sue the University--'
'Neither Deluge Nor Ice Storm Nor The Black Silence Of The Netherhells Shall Stay These Messengers About Their Sacred Business. Do Not Ask Us About Sabre-Tooth Tigers, Tar Pits, Big Green Things With Teeth Or The Goddess Czol.'
'What? Funning? I never fun! I do not fun, Miss Maccalariat, and have no history of funning, and even if I were inclined to funning, Miss Maccalariat, I would not dream of funning with you.'
The man going to be hanged had been named Moist von Lipwig by doting if unwise parents, but he was not going to embarrass the name, insofar as that was possible, by being hung under it.
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Haiku summary
It seems criminals
Are government workers, but
Are they any good?
(espadrile)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060502932, Mass Market Paperback)

Suddenly, condemned arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig found himself with a noose around his neck and dropping through a trapdoor into ... a government job?

By all rights, Moist should be meeting his maker rather than being offered a position as Postmaster by Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may prove an impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, greedy Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical headman. But if the bold and undoable are what's called for, Moist's the man for the job -- to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every being, human or otherwise, requires: hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:02 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses-until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into-a government job? By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position-and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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