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Going Postal [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2011 Discworld Novels (Book 33)
Terry Pratchett puts his stamp on the new Discworld novel.

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 through, 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...

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From Publishers Weekly

British fantasist Pratchett's latest special-delivery delight, set in his wonderfully crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade. Soon after Moist von Lipwig (aka Alfred Spangler), Pratchett's not-quite-hapless, accidental hero, barely avoids hanging, Lord Havelock Vetinari, the despotic but pretty cool ruler of Ankh-Morpork, makes him a job offer he can't refuse—postmaster general of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office. The post office hasn't been open for 20 years since the advent of the Internet-like clacks communication system. Moist's first impulse is to try to escape, but Mr. Pump, his golem parole officer, quickly catches him. Moist must then deal with the musty mounds of undelivered mail that fill every room of the decaying Post Office building maintained by ancient and smelly Junior Postman Groat and his callow assistant, Apprentice Postman Stanley. The place is also haunted by dead postmen and guarded by Mr. Tiddles, a crafty cat. Readers will cheer Moist on as he eventually finds himself in a race with the dysfunctional clacks system to see whose message can be delivered first. Thanks to the timely subject matter and Pratchett's effervescent wit, this 29th Discworld novel (after 2003's Monstrous Regiment) may capture more of the American audience he deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - When petty con man Moist von Lipwig is hung for his crimes in the first chapter of this surprising and humorous novel, it appears to be the end. But this is Discworld after all, a world "a lot like our own but different." Moist awakes from the shock of his hanging to find that the city's Patrician, Lord Vetinari, has assigned him a government job (a fate worse than death?) restoring the defunct postal system. Of course, there is much more to restore than the flow of letters and packages. Justice as well as communication has been poorly served by a hostile takeover of the "clacks" - a unique messaging system that is part semaphore, part digital, and under the monopoly of the Grand Trunk Company. Before Moist can get very far into the job, he encounters ghosts, the voices of unsent letters, and a ruthless corporate conspiracy. In this quickly escalating battle, the post office is definitely the underdog, but, as the author notes, "an underdog can always find somewhere soft to bite." Fortunately Moist has friends: the determined Miss Dearheart, a golem with more than feet of clay, and a secret society of unemployed and very unusual postal workers as well as a vampire named Oscar. The author's inventiveness seems to know no end, his playful and irreverent use of language is a delight, and there is food for thought in his parody of fantasyland. This 29th Discworld novel, like the rest of the series, is a surefire hit for fans of Douglas Adams and Monty Python. - Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All computer geeks should read this book... Nov. 23 2004
Format:Hardcover
The book starts with classic Pratchett humour, the laughs coming fast and hard with the idiosyncracies of Vetinari playing particularly well off the character of Moist. It's terribly funny, but for the first hundred or so pages it doesn't really get beyond that.
Then, it turns out, the book isn't about Moist at all, it's about the Railroad robber barons, it's about the vulture -- sorry, venture -- capitalists of Silicon Valley, and most particularly it's about the engineers who fuelled both eras. Pratchett must have some close friends who are engineers to capture the enthusiasm, dedication, mania, and gullibility of those fine folks so well. From the character of Pony to the Smoking Gnu, any geek will find a tremendous amount to relate to.
I would definitely rate this as Pratchett's best work of the past few years. Non-geeks may not find as much to relate to, of course, but even then it's still one of his top works to date.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Pratchett Humour Aug. 9 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Going Postal (followed by Making Money) will make you laugh out loud. Moist is a fantastically clever and sassy character who is still no match for Vetinari. The problem with Moist is that he can't help but raise the ante even if at the time he has no idea how he is going to pay it.
If you love Pratchett novels with a lot of Vetinari you'll love this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Government Service Jan. 25 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gets the stamp of approval Oct. 8 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lord Vetinari is not a crude man, and would never offer anything as crude as "the offer you can't refuse." You can always refuse. All you need to do is adjust expectations about your lifespan downwards by a good bit if you do.
It was an adjustment that Mr. Moist von Lipwig was unwilling to make, given that his recent execution was very fresh in his mind. What was this fate marginally preferable to another death? Civil service. And that doesn't just mean being polite. Moist became the new Postmaster, reviving the moribund band of letter carriers, and finding some way to enhance his undocumented retirement fund in the process. The extra challenge here was competition from the "clacks", a sort of mechanical internet (staffed by recognizable networking geeks), that could send a message across thousands of miles in just a few hours.
Moist, of course, succeeds, despite the rapacious financial lords of the competition, despite his geologically implacable parole officer, and despite his own chronic failure at anything resembling honesty. Come to think of it, that whole honesty thing seems over-rated by a fair margin, especially when there's a lot more work to do than time in which it can possibly be done.
Pratchett succeeds in keeping his Discworld franchise alive and healthy, infusing old characters and story lines with new life. He manages to connect to all the dozens of previous Discworld books and also to connect to the first-time reader. And, after so many books in the series, he keeps the new ideas coming - like the dreaded Woodpecker, the internet virus that would bring the network of gears and pulleys crashing down around their ears. (If you've ever seen data-dependent networking failures, this one will have a gut-sinking reality about it.)
If this new document of Discworld events lacks the frenzy of earlier volumes, it lacks nothing in cleverness and good fun. Enjoy!
//wiredweird
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