Monday, 25 October 2004

Book Review: Going Postal (Pratchett)

I finished this book in slightly more than a day, which is almost a record for me. (My personal best is finishing the bloody 800-paged Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in six hours at KLCC, just because I wanted to find out who died, and win the office pool)

Anyway, here's the mini-review for Going Postal:


Title: Going Postal
Author: Terry Pratchett

Where to get it: The hardcover version (both UK & US covers) were spotted in Kinokuniya KLCC and Times Bookstore, going for RM99.90. I think it's safe to say most major bookstores would have it already.

Moist von Lipwig was a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet.

It was a tough decision.

But he's got to see that the mail gets though, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer.

Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.

Maybe it'll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it's a death sentence either way.

Or perhaps there's a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who's prepared to push the envelope...

Main Characters:
  • Moist von Lipwig - A con artist who is hanged, brought back to life (sort of) and hired to bring the Ankh-Morpork post office back to life
  • Lord Vetinari - Ankh-Morpork's Patrician (that's mayor in non-Discworld-speak)
  • Gilt Reacher - The Chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company (sort of like the Telekom of Discworld, including the lousy service, high rates and money-gobbling executives) who goes around with an eye patch and has a cockerel that shouts "twelve and a half percent!" all the time
  • Adora Bell Dearheart - The clerk in charge of The Golem Trust, which well, takes care of golems
  • Mr Pump - A Golem
  • Stanley - Pinhead Extraordinare
  • Mr Groat - A crusty old postman who believes in 'natural medicine'
What it's all about:
The cover synopsis says it all, really. Pratchett tackles the Internet, hackers, postmen, evil monopolies and robots in this book, and pulls off another brilliant story.

What I liked about it:
I know I've said this before, but here it is again - Well, it's Pratchett. What's not to like? Here are some reasons:
  • Moist von Lipwig may be a new character, but he is an interesting addition to the already established Discworld cast of main characters, and I actually look forward to seeing more of him.
  • The allusions here are brilliant, especially those that directly parodize the Internet, viruses, nerds, evil corporations, and even stamp collectors
  • I like the way that Ankh-Morpork has evolved from the first few Discworld books where it was just a PLACE with lots of people and wizards; into a thriving metropolis with a competent Watch, 'modern' technology and a lot of attitude. It's like the city has it's own PERSONALITY!
  • I enjoyed seeing more of Lord Vetinari here. He is one of my favorite characters, and the way he manipulates everything around him is just so interesting.

For more, look out for my full review later. :-)

What I dislike about it:
I'm quite bias about Pratchett's books, so I usually just say I didn't find any faults in it. But well here goes:

  • It's too short!
  • Some gags were recycled, but thankfully, not the David-Eddings kind of wholesale joke-recycling

Ok, that's it. I guess.

Reviewer: Eyeris


Erna said...

Finished the book?

Anonymous said...

i dono la...i like early Pratchett...but i read The Fifth Elephant, and was bored to tears by it. am still trying to sell the hardcover!

Anonymous said...

oops, sorry, forgot to sign off the last post.

The Visitor (too leceh to sign in b4 commenting)

eyeris said...

The Fifth Elephant was not one of his better ones, but is still great especially if you read it as a continuation of the Watchmen sub-series. Early Pratchett was good too, but the world was just not as well-developed as it is now.

Anonymous said...

ok, will give Pratchett a try again...but if i don't like, you buy the book from me ah! :P

The Visitor