Saturday, 17 November 2012

Book 70 of 2012: Making Money

I'm a massive fan of Terry Pratchett and have been reading his complete Discworld series of books off and on since the end of 2011. Making Money is the 36th book in the series and the second featuring Moist von Lipwig.

Moist first appeared a couple of books back in Going Postal. He's a serial con-man who woke up after being hanged for his crimes and as part of his parole was given responsibility for the ailing Ankh-Morpork Post Office (the last four people to hold the position had died in mysterious circumstances so it wasn't like he was getting off lightly).

Impressed with Moist's work for the Post Office, and rather worried about his attempts to break into the Post Office and the decision to take up Extreme Sneezing, Lord Vetinari sends Moist to work on one of the banks in the city.

I love Going Postal and so I was expecting something in a similar vein from Making Money, but Moist didn't actually seem to spend a lot of time actually in the bank. The plot is typical Pratchett, rather convoluted, but it all comes together in the end, which is good but I would have liked to see more of Moist changing things from within as in Going Postal.

Of course, the best thing about the Discworld books is the sense of humour inherent in them. This one didn't have as many footnotes as I've come to expect from Terry Pratchett, but it's still wonderfully funny. I mean, it's got a dog who spends half the book wandering around with some sort of unnamed sex toy, a banker with a dark secret in his past (he's not actually from a family of travelling accountants), and a man who has accidentally built an economic modelling machine that is actually influencing the real world economy.

Moist basically finds himself being framed for the contents of the bank vault going missing, meanwhile his girlfriend, the chain-smoking Adora Belle Dearheart, is bringing back some ancient golems that have been trapped underground for thousands of years. Pratchett has a brilliant way of introducing the various plot strands of a story separately and then gradually bringing them all together. The Discworld has become so vast now that you find yourself looking out for old familiar characters; C.M.O.T. Dibbler crops up, King Harry gets a mention, Vimes, Detritis and Carrot all show up. As does Death, though only briefly.

The brilliant thing with the Discworld series is that you can dip in and out of the series, in fact, if you're trying to read them for the first time I'd advise you not to try starting at the beginning. I think that the Moist von Lipwig series would be a really good place to begin. Making Money follows on nicely from Going Postal and although it wasn't quite what I was expecting, in a way it's probably good that it didn't follow the same mold as Going Postal because that would've been too predictable. Though I am wary of whether Moist will get another book of his own, there's only so many things in Ankh-Morpork that Moist can be allowed to reform.

"'Talking books? That sounds a good idea,' said Moist.
'Quite possibly,' said Spools with a sniff. 'But these weren't meant to, and certainly not to complain about the quality of their glue and the hamfistedness of the typesetter. And of course now the university can't pulp them.'"
Page 205

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