« Archival storyline restored! | Main | Laibach - Anthems »

Going Postal

The 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal, is, on the whole, another average one. It has new characters, but lacks new ideas. It has no belly laughs to speak of, but does have an unusually good plot with more real suspense than most other novels in the series.

The plot in question, though, is one that readers will have seen before, in Moving Pictures or The Truth. Yes, it's another variant of "Entrepreneur introduces new technology, defeating the hidebound and entrenched representatives of the old guard". It's the best variant so far though, with said entrepreneur, Moist von Lipvig, being dragged into the project against his will by the Patrician (who gets the best lines throughout the novel). Moist is a small-time crook who is granted a reprieve from execution on the condition that he puts the Ankh-Morpork Post Office back on its feet so that the Clacks network has some real competition. Naturally, the Clacks network is run by big-time crooks whom Moist must defeat in the only way he can, through wit and bravado.
The story deviates from its template in two ways: this time, the protagonist is no wide-eyed innocent but a seasoned and cynical conman who is coerced throughout into staying on his job: partly by the slow madness that catches everyone who works at the Post Office, and partly by a big ugly golem that will stop at nothing to catch him if he flees. The other difference is that magic plays only a minor role in this version of the plot. True, the Post Office's undelivered letters of the past century or so have developed a ghostly consciousness and demand that they be delivered (causing the slow madness), but that's about it. They motivate the action, and aren't even all that necessary for that: when they are destroyed in a fire, Moist's quasi-religious mania and the Ankh-Morporkian's more earthly madness continue.

Going Postal is good for a day's light reading and satisfies on the strength of its plot, but it's nothing you won't have seen before and certainly isn't among the best of the series 33 full novels and three children's books.

Comments (1)

Adam Cuerden:

Last night I stole down from my room alone
And sought my father's den. I entered it!
The clock struck twelve, and then -- oh, horrible!
From chest and cabinet there issued forth
The mouldy spectres of five thousand plays,
All dead and gone -- and many of them damned!
I shook with horror! They encompassed me,
Chattering forth the scenes and parts of scenes
Which my poor father wisely had cut out.
Oh, horrible -- oh, 'twas most horrible

-Ophelia enters the Lord Chamberlain's office in search of a play written by Claudius. Rosencratz and Guildenstern by W.S.Gilbert

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 17, 2004 3:55 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Archival storyline restored!.

The next post in this blog is Laibach - Anthems.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.34