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Going Postal (Discworld Series #33)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

old time Discworld with a new villainous hero!

The hero, or at least main character, is clever but not egoistical, unwilling but not running away, fraudulent and yet with some ethical standards of his own. Long-time Discworld fans have been commenting that, for the last few years, the series has been getting 'dark'...
The hero, or at least main character, is clever but not egoistical, unwilling but not running away, fraudulent and yet with some ethical standards of his own. Long-time Discworld fans have been commenting that, for the last few years, the series has been getting 'dark', heavy-going with very serious social issues (war, torture, dictatorship) (which I think is what satire is for, satire is social commentary wrapped in humor). 'Going Postal' deals with the slightly lighter issues of the enslavement of Artificial Intelligence (golems), the downfall of a major government office (the Post Office), serious financial fraud, unsafe work environments, and the thoughts of the employees. This novel, however, seamlessly incorporates the requisite humor. Readers new to Discworld may find this book more enjoyable than if they started the series with the two previous books 'Night Watch' or 'Monstrous Regiment'. Old time fans who have felt 'Night Watch' to be too bloody and psychological, or 'Monstrous Regiment' to be too grossly humorous while treating the subject matter inadequately, might have a happy nostalgic trip with 'Going Postal'.

posted by Anonymous on January 28, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Never read anything like it!

Characters are interesting and there are lots of subplots. Leaves me thoughful whether I'll read another or not.

posted by 318648 on April 14, 2009

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely not What I was Expecting

    I bought the book as a test of my new Nook and because it was the only Terry Pratchett book in digital format that sounded even remotely interesting. I'd only read a few of Pratchett's books before but I liked his style and decided to give it another go on the bus ride home.

    The book starts out, continues strong, and ends funny yet insightful. Many of the jokes are dark but they add to the tone of the book.

    While it's not the sort of thing that would hold up in a book club discussion, there aren't a lot of brilliant insights, it's a wonderful book for a Saturday morning or a bus ride, it'll keep you laughing and certainly interested.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2006

    old time Discworld with a new villainous hero!

    The hero, or at least main character, is clever but not egoistical, unwilling but not running away, fraudulent and yet with some ethical standards of his own. Long-time Discworld fans have been commenting that, for the last few years, the series has been getting 'dark', heavy-going with very serious social issues (war, torture, dictatorship) (which I think is what satire is for, satire is social commentary wrapped in humor). 'Going Postal' deals with the slightly lighter issues of the enslavement of Artificial Intelligence (golems), the downfall of a major government office (the Post Office), serious financial fraud, unsafe work environments, and the thoughts of the employees. This novel, however, seamlessly incorporates the requisite humor. Readers new to Discworld may find this book more enjoyable than if they started the series with the two previous books 'Night Watch' or 'Monstrous Regiment'. Old time fans who have felt 'Night Watch' to be too bloody and psychological, or 'Monstrous Regiment' to be too grossly humorous while treating the subject matter inadequately, might have a happy nostalgic trip with 'Going Postal'.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2010

    A fun read

    Very similar to Making Money, but as with all of the Discworld novels, they are fun stories to read even when a story line is being reproduced. Few writers can make an autocratic tyrant a noble character, but that is the charm of Terry Prachett's novels. The heroes come from unlikely sources and the characters, even the minor ones are always engaging send-ups of "stereo-types" that go beyond the typical stereo-type.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2009

    Never read anything like it!

    Characters are interesting and there are lots of subplots. Leaves me thoughful whether I'll read another or not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2005

    Pretty Funny....

    Going Postal was a pretty fun book. At first it was kind of slow, but after a while I couldn't put the book down. The characters were pretty funny (in that weird, very strange way). I would recommended it to a friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    One of the Best

    If you have ever read another discworld novel you will notice right away this one has chapters! I was so shocked, the only other discworld novels that have chapters are his Tiffany Aching books 'A Hat Full of Sky' and 'The Wee Free Men'. But chapters are not that bad and of course it is a wonderful read just like everything else in the discworld series. And Moist is now a definite favorite.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    The Most Fun You'll Have at a Post Office

    Moist van Lipwig is very surprised to wake up from his hanging to an assignment as postmaster to the dilapidated Ankh-Morpork postal service. Lord Vetinari has given the con-man a second chance, and the perfect parole officer ¿ a golem who will never be distracted and will never sleep. But the post office is buried in undelivered mail and staffed by an ancient 'junior' postman and a young pin-collecting fanatic. Moist puts his scamming skills to good use in reviving the post office in the hopes that real progress will follow if he gets the look just right. But a hint of success brings the ire of the dastardly head of the Grand Trunk clacks company, Reacher Gilt. This telegraph-like service was victim to a hostile takeover and is being run into the ground by greedy moguls. The competition between the clacks and the mail turns into a battle of wits and publicity between the two con-men, Moist and Reacher. Thanks to a flashy gold suit and some inside information, Moist certainly seems to be on top of the battle. But will he prevail in a seemingly impossible race to be the first to deliver a message thousands of miles away? And more importantly, will he win the affection of the chain-smoking, crossbow-totting, golem-rights activist Adora Dearheart? Pratchett effectively skewers corporate greed and technology without driving his points down your throat. He excels at using humor and fantasy to shine a light on the underlying ridiculousness of modern-day life. Fans of the series will love the cameos of established characters, while also enjoying getting to know the new players in Ankh-Morpork. New readers may miss some of the Discworld insider jokes, but will find this to be stand-alone enough to enjoy. Pratchett has used the fish-out-of-water redemption plot before, and uses it again here with great success.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    You will not Return this Book to Sender¿because it¿s hilarious a

    You will not Return this Book to Sender—because it’s hilarious and awesome!

    Moist Von Lipwig is the name of the main character in this 33rd Novel of the Discworld series. That pretty much sets the stage for everything else. Grab hold of your hat and hang on for the ride.

    Moist is a talented and clever conman who has had a very successful criminal career on a sort of “middling” level. That is to say, he’s a step up from pickpocket but a step down from the clowns running multinational corporations. He’s spent a vast majority of his life playing alter egos that suit his various (and less than altruistic) endeavors. So much so, that you realize a fair way through, that the man does not really know himself. He’s been so busy playing make-believe in order to earn a fast buck that he really hasn’t ever figured out who he really is or what he cares about. And in that, we see the true genius of Terry Prachett’s writing. The story of the protagonist is a redemptive tale that is wrapped up in the polka dotted humor and witticism of a very clever satirist. We manage to care very deeply for Moist and his struggles, which are both outward and inward.

    The story primarily centers around the city of Ankh-Morpork and its communications system. The book opens with the protagonist being saved from death, by a benevolent tyrant—the city patrician—Lord Vetinari. Although Vetinari is a dictator, he seems to be shrewd enough to care about the well-being of his citizens. Vetinari has identified a troubling problem with the mode of communication in the city; in which the majority of the story takes place. Swift communications between the citizenry are being conducted through a privately run utility known as the “Clacks,” which is basically a system of visual telegraph towers (semaphores) that translate messages across distances using coding. Apparently, the Clacks system was “legally” taken over through a series of questionable financial maneuvers by a collective of investors known as “The Grand Trunk” who are headed by Reacher Gilt (a min of ill repute—and probably a pirate to boot!). Since the takeover, fees have gone up and service has gone down. Vetinari attempts to correct the situation by talking to The Grand Trunk and is rebuked for his efforts. The problem is that the Clacks are now the only game in town and everyone relies on them exclusively to get things done. Too big to fail….

    So Vetinari schemes to even the playing field by resurrecting the ancient, defunct postal system. To do this, he conscripts our protagonist. Moist agrees to go along with the plan for appearances, until he can bide his time and figure a way to escape and return to his old scamming ways. However, the endearing, odd ball cast of characters which Moist encounters while working in and around the post office slowly start to wear him down and he develops an interest in things beyond his own selfish needs.

    The cast of characters that Prachett dreams up are brilliant and memorable. Whether it’s the fire-eyed Golem parole officer who must keep tabs on the protagonist; the old-guard of anal-retentive postal workers; the slick zombie-faced lawyer; the mostly-sane former Clacks workers turned code-crackers and rabble rousers; the boisterous and bumbling stuffy-robed wizards of the Unseen University; the sulking and skulking Igor butler henchman; the disturbing pigeon-eating banshee; or the chain-smoking golem-rights activist/love interest—you fall in love with them all. Everyone comes alive. An unforgettable cast. Sometimes there are heartfelt moments of kind and generous acts, other times you revel in the satire that floods through the streets of Ankh-Morpork. Everyone is a character and a caricature and always faintly familiar.

    Moist is quick-witted and all to willing to up the stakes. A bad habit from his scheming days, but it serves him well in his new career as postman as he finds himself pitted against the biggest conman of them all—the head of the Clacks—Reacher Gilt. This is where we see real character growth as Moist is both awed and repulsed by the story’s chief antagonist. He is facing a distorted and much crueler mirror image of himself in dealing with Gilt. The more he learns, the more he is intrigued, and the more he is distressed. Upon meeting a truly great connoisseur of the trade (i.e. master conman) in Gilt, he sees that it is not so great a thing to aspire to. Then he questions himself and the life he has led and he wonders if there is much difference between him and Gilt. This is great character growth and the stuff of good story making.

    Another great thing in this book is the inherit magic of the post office (A decidedly untraditional magical reagent). But Pratchett’s description of the place—even in its pigeon-dropping-covered-piles-of-old-letters—have all the intrigue and captivation of a haunted castle. A wonderfully original setting.

    Other commentators have pointed out how well Pratchett does with word-play (even the title of the book lends itself to this). They also point out how you don’t get tired of it. It’s true. This book has many levels of humor from word-puns to deep satire pointing out the absurdities that are abundant in a capitalistic society. The Clacks system and The Grand Trunk have innumerable alliterations to phone companies and investment banking. Indeed, this book was written before the recent financial crisis that raked the world’s economies and is disturbingly prescient in many of its aphorisms. He makes you think as well as entertains you (as truly great authors do!).

    Prachett really hits the spot. He is refreshingly funny and a good storyteller. The world can be a very awful place sometimes, when you look at all the problems one can suffer through during a lifetime. Yet, it is books like this one that help to put all the grim things in their proper place of absurdity.

    Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: "No Deodorant In Outer Space". The podcast is available on iTunes or our website.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Dude read this book

    As far as ive gotten in all things discworld, this is my FAVORITE SO FAR!!! ive read it maybe 12 times now. Still counting XD. It just has an appealing twisted dry sense of humor, and the story itself is a parody of our world right now (as lots of his books are) Thats pretty cool, & its a good read for almost all ages! Im 17 & my grandpa who is 78 enjoys it as much as i do. So all you pratchett fans, ya gotta read it. Now would be a great time. Adios ;)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Moist von Lipwig, Disc World's most honest con man! Going Postal

    Moist von Lipwig, Disc World's most honest con man! Going Postal is a great introduction to what's now a series of three: Going Postal, Making Money and the newest, Raising Steam. They should be read in order, so you can see how his inadvertent involvement with legitimate activities keeps sucking him in to doing the right thing.
    Classic Pratchett.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    10/10 would read again

    A fabulous introduction to one of my favorite characters of all time. You should definitily give this book a chance. It will have you laughing out loud as you read all about Ankh-Morpork's postal system.

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  • Posted December 21, 2013

    Fantastic Stuff

    I have yet to read a Discworld book I didn't like, and Sir Pterry has done it again with this one. The characters are all great -- the newest protagonist is wonderfully written, as is his love interest and all the other characters around him -- and the plot is engaging from beginning to end. You'll probably feel the same glow Moist does near the climax as he works to pull off the impossible. Trust me, if you love the Discworld, this is a great read.

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  • Posted August 3, 2013

    I highly recommend this book. This book is one of my all-time fa

    I highly recommend this book. This book is one of my all-time favorite books. I remember going into the bookstore in the local mall and I had heard of Terry Pratchett before but I didn’t put two and two together. I just saw the cover (I’m so shallow, I know) and I am like, what is this? Well this looks interesting and I bought it, took it home and could not put it down. This was my first exposure to the Discworld books and it didn’t even matter. The later Discworld books are written so you can pick up and read without having read the previous ones. This book was just so much fun and the humor was invigorating. Once again, another book about restoring something old. The state of the old post office and its description almost had me in tears of laughter. The characters described are just too funny, my favorite being Stanley, a fine collector of pins.
    Terry Pratchett is an interesting author, he actively discourages people from reading his early work. My friend in Ohio was lucky enough to go to a book signing and he told them, “Yeah, don’t read the early books, they’re rubbish.” I have since gone back and read some of his earlier books and can see where he is coming from. They are very rough and you can see the spark of brilliance but through age he has honed his ability as a writer and manages to make simple things seem so extraordinary in his later books. He has way in his books of making simple concepts in our lives seem so magical and his concepts of the postal system actually made me think in a different way.
    This book is a straight fun melodrama about getting second chances and learning to make the most with what you have. Mistakes will be made but through work and endurance you can overcome past lives. Do you believe in Angels?
    This book is on the Green Embers’ Recommended List.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    One of Pratchett's best

    Im an avid Discworld reader and have to say that this is a welcome addition to the Anhk Morpork centered books.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Out Loud Laughing is Embarrassing

    This is the best of the 9 Discworld novels that I read this year. Pratchet's wit is so brilliant that I've found myself quoting him at work.
    On virtually every page, I find myself laughing aloud...much to my embarassment. - Jim... barbour@aai.textron.com

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A fun and imaginative continuation of the disc world series.

    In this book Terry Prachett outdoes himself with a new character who is just enough of a rouge to attach the reader to him. The satirical look at the system of gov't and its different problems is real enough to attract even slightly more serious readers. If you get a chance make sure to give it a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2008

    Sucks

    I really disliked this book! I thought that it was poorly written and the plot went nowhere. I would never recommend this book to anyone

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    The Discworld has gone postal . . .

    Moist von Lipwig is a con-man, but he does have morals. For instance, he always makes sure that the people he swindles money from can afford it, and he never kills anyone. Nevertheless, he still finds himself being hung for his crimes. He wakes up later to find that he is not, in fact, dead. Sadly his fate is much worse. He is forced to choose between going back to the noose or working at the post office, a place where mail has not been dilivered from in decades and the two other people who work there are both crazy in their own little ways. On top of that, he has to contend with the greedy owner of the clacks towers, Mr. Reacher Gilt. After all, who would want to send a message by mail when there is a much faster and more reliable way to do so. . . Once more Terry Pratchett has written an excellent and hilarious satire that nevertheless manages to have a very serious message and a plot that would keep you gripped humour or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2005

    Strong themes and amazing storytelling

    For me, Pratchett has nearly single-handedly steered genre fiction into deeper and theme-ier waters. I love his guards and witches and Nac Mac Feegle, but the last couple of books to come out of his head, Monstrous Regiment and Going Postal have forced me to construct a dais on top of the old one for his new throne. Brilliant writing and storytelling.

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