Sunday, March 8, 2009

Going Postal

I picked this one up after reading something somewhere on LibraryThing. I have never read anything by Terry Pratchett so Going Postal: A Novel of Discworld was a first. It is hilarious, a great read. I’m so glad I picked it up. It has been a fun interlude this week and has kept me from reading other things because I keep picking it up.

I don’t know much about Discworld, but I’ve read plenty of books in alternate worlds so it is easy to pick up information about the types of beings and organizations that populate this world. I am learning that this is a skill that is developed with practice. My nephew put down Ender’s Game because he couldn’t figure it out during the first chapter. He hasn’t read enough to know that it can take a chapter or two, nor does he realize the reward for his effort.

This book also has a great business and political side to it. We meet Moist von Lipwig on death row, realizing he is really going to die. Of course, since this is just the first chapter we know something is going to happen and sure enough it does. The leader/rule (tyrant?) of this city takes Moist, after he is hanged within a half inch of his life, and offers him a job getting the post office started up again. There is another choice, but it’s a quick death so Moist takes up the challenge, figuring he can find a way out of this mess pretty quickly.

Due to his curious and self-serving nature, Moist actually catches on pretty quickly and gets the post office going much faster than expected. This is a challenge to the semaphore/telegraph people who are charging a lot of money but delivering poor service to send short messages all over. Here comes Moist (looking to make a quick buck and not really invested in the long-term prospects) taking on the challenge of delivering long messages all over the world (it takes a bit longer but the semaphore lines are down a lot lately anyway) for pennies or maybe a dollar.

Throw in a variety of weird creatures and characters, plus a lady worth fighting for, and it’s all fun. And always remember, Moist can quit this respectable business any time he wants.

“fruit baskets is like life - until you’ve got the pineapple off the top you never know what’s underneath”

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