Thursday, May 10, 2012
"Oh, and do take his wig, will you? We tried putting it in a cupboard, but it got out."
Stop the world.
I’d like to get off so I can climb aboard the giant flat disc, that sits on the back of four elephants, that stand upon a giant turtle floating through space, because Discworld seems to be where all the fun is at. This was my second adventure with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and this time I got to spend more time in Ankh-Morpork and I loved every minute of it.
In Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, con man Moist von Lipwig, is sentenced and “hanged” for his crimes. But Lord Vetineri has other plans in mind for Moist, such as turning him into the new Postmaster! Not a very prestigious profession for a con man but it’s better than being dead.
The Ankh-Morpork postal service has been out of commission for years and it’s backlogged with letters clogging the old building. Moist has to contend with avalanches of old, undelivered mail bursting through doors, postal workers who “follow regulations” other than actually delivering the mail, the coaches are being run as a private business and the mail is actually speaking to Moist, asking to be delivered! And all of the Postmasters before Moist have died under mysterious circumstances. But Moist sees this as an opportunity to put his skills to work. What does he have to lose? He’s already “died” once. Oh and he’s also up against The Grand Trunk, a company that runs the clacks that has been run down by the greed and corruption of its board members.
The clacks are a network of tall towers place at intervals (or on rooftops within the city limits of Ankh-Morpork) that send messages back and forth through a special code communicated through shutters and blinking lights. Similar to the fire signals in The Return of the King, the semaphore line and the telegraph system. They are the only means of communication since the breakdown of the postal service. When Moist threatens the operators of The Grand Trunk when he actually starts delivery letters, things get very interesting. There are plots to sabotage the other. There is witty banter with veiled threats and a challenge issued that Moist has no hope of winning.
Moist is a fun character. He is totally without honor and has no problem admitting it or even using his skills as a con man to make things work to his advantage. But it’s all to help the struggling postal service regain its prominence. He is charming and smart and it’s easy to forgive him for his “dishonorable ways”.
I was able to get to know Lord Vetineri, the Patrician and ruler of Ankh-Morpork. I was introduced to him in Snuff but only briefly. In Going Postal I got to see him in his full glory and I love this guy. He is smart, ruthless and his battle of wits with Moist and the chairman of The Grand Trunk, Reacher Gilt, were the best parts of this book. He is the ultimate puppet master!
This book, or rather, this world, from what I've seen so far, is just full of unique, oddball characters that you grow to love. Terry Pratchett writes some great dialog too. This is one of the handful of books that had me laugh out loud. And maybe the only book that had me laughing out loud more than once. It’s all Moist and his antics and the things he gets away with. I think I’m just going to look upon this book dreamily as I wait for the weekend when I can go snap up more from Loud Voice Books who posted a pic of a pile of Discworld books they just got in. I just hope there’s still some left when I get there! But I will restrain myself from reading the entire series all at once. There is a lot more to read out there but from my two positive experiences I’d like to keep these around as palate cleansers for those not-so-great reads that pop up now and again. Basically, this was me after I finished reading Going Postal: