Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Book 40 or 2012: Going Postal

It’s strange to think that it won’t be too much longer before I’ve got no more Terry Pratchett novels left to read. I’ve almost completed all of the Discworld series and the batch of remaining books on my bookshelf is getting smaller by the week. Of course, I’ve still got some bonus books to read there The Science of Discworld and The Bromeliad. I’m also hoping to get my hands on a copy of Good Omens at some point as well, so it’s not likely that I’m going to run out of Pratchett-based reading material any time soon, but as I’ve spend over a year dipping in and out of the Discworld, it’s going to be strange to leave it behind.

Going Postal is, by my count, the thirty-third Discworld book. It’s a bit of a fuzzy numbering system because some editions of the books don’t seem to include the young adult books such as The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents or the Tiffany Aching series, I’m not sure The Last Hero is included there as well. I must have at least two books claiming to be the thirtieth Discworld book. I suppose it’s kind of fitting for a series set on such a random world as the Disc…
‘I don’t touch nails,’ said Dave sharply. ‘Won’t have ‘em in the shop! I’ve got a reputation to think about! Little kids come in here, you know!’
‘Oh no! Strictly pins, that’s me!’ said Moist hostily.

Pages 74 + 75

It’s the first book featuring Moist von Lipwig, a conman who Vetinari decides to save from the gallows and instead mete out a cruel and unusual punishment; he’s to run the Ankh-Morpork post office. What was once a proud establishment has fallen into disuse with the rise of the ‘clacks’ a sort of telegraph system which operates across the Disc. While somewhat reluctant to take on his new position, Moist comes to use his abilities to cheat and scam for good, enabling the Clacks system to return to its rightful owner.

It’s the last of the most recent Discworld books that I’ve read (meaning that before I started this little project I’d probably gone a good three or so years between Pratchett books). I do remember having Thud! on my bedside table for quite a while, but I kept putting it off in favour of other books. And then that book pile threatened to concuss me each time I turned out my light, so I moved it to another pile and what with one thing and another, I only got around to reading it recently.

As they stood up, Reacher Gilt leaned across the table and said: ‘May I congratulate you, my lord?’
‘I am delighted that you feel inclined to congratulate me on anything, Mr Gilt,’ said Vetinari. ‘To what do we owe this unique occurence?’
Page 100

Having only read this once before, there were large portions of the story that I’d forgotten. I’ve seen the Sky adaptation about three or four times, so that was clearer in my mind than the actual original story. Not that it’s a bad thing, the adaptation is very good, easily my favourite of all three of the Sky versions of the Discworld books.

It’s a really funny book. As with all the Terry Pratchett books, immensely quotable which leads to problems when I’ve got to pick just a handful to jot into my book journal (luckily Mr. Click got me a set of magnetic bookmarks for my birthday which I use to mark the pages with the best quotes and then narrow them down from there, but even so, sometimes I’m kind of determined by how small I can make my writing to fit them all in). I think that this one is easily one of my favourite Discworld books.

The clock in Lord Vetinari’s ante-room didn’t tick right. Sometimes the tick was just a fraction late, sometimes the tock was early. Occasionally, one or the other didn’t happen at all. This wasn’t really noticeable until you’d been there for five minutes, by which time small but significant parts of the brain were going crazy.
Page 235

Going Postal follows in the trend of the books which immediately preceded it by introducing new characters to the Discworld as well as by introducing some new technology as well. I do love to read about the witches and the Watch, and it’s always good to see the established characters get a mention, but it’s especially good to get to see places like Ankh-Morpork through the eyes of an entirely new character. Moist von Lipwig is a brilliant character, he’s rather flawed but he does what’s right in the end… even if he does do it in his own special way.

There was a pregnant pause. It gave birth to a lot of little pauses, each one more deeply embarrassing than its parent.
Page 396

There’s also the wonderful Adora Belle Dearheart, played in the TV adaptation by Claire Foy. When I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but picture her, even the illustration on the cover looks close to the TV version. She’s fleshed out a bit more in the adaption than from what I remember of the book so I suppose in my mind she’s a kind of combination of the two versions of the character. I love her relationship with Moist; Pratchett has a wonderfully subtle way of introducing romance to his novels and it just works really well with these two. I’m quite looking forward to Making Money which’ll be coming up on my list very shortly and I’m hoping that both characters crop up there.

This book shows one thing that Pratchett does very well; the idea of the Clacks were first introduced several books back, just the tiniest of mentions but from that, a whole story has grown up. It makes you wonder what will crop up as the main focus of future books, and it’s kind of exciting to find out what that’s going to be.

Archchancellor Ridcully thumped the side of the thing with his hand, causing it to rock.
’It’s still not
working, Mr Stibbons!’ he bellowed. ‘Here’s that damn enormous fiery eye again!’

Page 444

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