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Discworld #33

Going Postal

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Moist von Lipwig was a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet.

It was a tough decision.

But he has to see that the mail gets through, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers' Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer.

Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.

Maybe it'll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it's a death sentence either way.

Or perhaps there's a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who's prepared to push the envelope...

394 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

614 books41.4k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,224 reviews
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,612 followers
November 7, 2019
Reading for the 400th time. I needed the comfort, and the escape, and the world which has a lot of darkness so you can see the light better. God I miss Pratchett.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,947 followers
June 14, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing fantasy books.

4.5 stars. The best plot of any Discworld book thus far, but falls short on the comedy.

When you have read 32 Discworld books, you pretty much know what you are going to get by the 33rd. A short book which an ingeniously unique plot, some surprisingly philosophical takes, and fun comedic value from start to finish.

This book however, I was not prepared for. This book was significantly longer than the previous entries, coming in at about 100 pages longer than the average Discworld book, and while many books in this series suffer by being on the longer end as the story tends to drag on with no great conclusion (kind of like a Saturday Night Live sketch), this book somehow combined a longer length and an absolutely wonderful story from start to finish.

Moist von Lipwig (a new main character, which is unique for a series that typically sticks to the same 4-5 people over and over again) is a con artist that is suddenly tasked by the patrician to take charge of the post office - and to his dismay he realizes that the mail has not been sent out in decades and has been piling up from floor to ceiling in virtually every corner of the building. Thus begins a fantastic tale of getting the mail back on track, and somehow trying to compete with the Discworld equivalent of the telegraph.

It's a devilishly fun plot that I could not put down from start to finish. Unfortunately the jokes fell a bit flat for me, and were not nearly as memorable as many of the other Discworld books. Overall though, I thought this was a great book that has rightly gone down as one of the best in the series.

You can easily pick this book up and read it without any knowledge of Discworld and be able to appreciate it, but you may benefit by reading a few of the "Nights Watch" subseries so you can get to know some of the characters that show up a little bit better.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
September 4, 2020
3.5 stars

This is only my 2nd Discworld book, so technically, I've skipped over 32 books to get to Going Postal. I didn't care for the 1st book in the series, but this one kept getting recommended to me over and over again, so I thought I'd give the audiobook version a shot.
The first several hours were kind of boring and unfunny (to me) so I ended up giving up on it and listening to a few romance novels and a Sherlock Holmes story before I came back and finished it out.


Basically, I ran out of other stuff to listen to and was forced into it.
Amazingly, the story got a lot better!
It wasn't necessarily what I would personally call 'funny' but it was clever. And on the upside, you really don't need to have read any of the other books in the series to understand what is going on. I mean, I'm sure I missed out on a lot of inside jokes, but since I didn't think the regular jokes were particularly hilarious, I'm 100% ok with that.


The gist is that this lovable con artist gets executed for his crimes...but not really. Lord Vetinari recruits him forcibly into the role of Postmaster. At which point, Moist von Lipwig finds himself saddled with crazy co-workers, shadowed by a golem parole officer, stuck in a rundown building with some sort of reality-warping machine at its core, harassed by corporate villains who are trying to kill him, and almost unconsciously chasing after a strangely sexy golem placement agent/advocate who smokes like a chimney.


I honestly think that once you get past the first 3d of the book, this thing really picks up. The short version is that this sucker is a cautionary tale about corporate monopolies set in a fun alternate universe.
The long version is...well, much longer.
Recommended for fans of Discworld.

Stephen Briggs - Narrator
Publisher: HarperAudio
Edition: Unabridged
Audie Award Nominee
Margaret A. Edwards Award
Profile Image for Melki.
6,037 reviews2,387 followers
January 9, 2015
The mail must get through!

He was part of the government, wasn't he? Governments took money off people. That's what they were for.

Turns out, years spent scamming and conning the public have excellently prepared Moist von Lipwig with the skill set needed to run a vast corporation.

Who knew?

My Discworld-reading for the Humour Club has had its ups and downs. Some books I loved, some bored me to tears, one I didn't finish. I thrilled to the adventures of the witches, laughed at the exploits of the Night Watch and frowned upon the know-it-all wizards (Seriously, could they be more pompous? It's like reading a book where every single character is my mother-in-law!). Yet, I've never rated anything less than three stars because I laughed, at least once, while reading each book.

But now...

I'm in love again, and the spring is comin'
I'm in love again, hear my heart strings strummin'

This one is EVERYTHING a Discworld book can be - funny, touching, clever and thrilling. If you're looking to start the series, this is a perfect place to jump in. Moist's efforts to revive the floundering postal service should make you grin and require absolutely no knowledge of previous tales.

ADDED BONUS - Pratchett has invented possibly the nicest euphemism ever for describing old age - It's good to know I'm not decrepit, I'm just rich in years.

A perfect pick-me-up of a read!

*Cole Porter
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews27 followers
March 7, 2021
Going Postal (Discworld #33), Terry Pratchett

Going Postal is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 33rd book in his Discworld series, released in the United Kingdom on 25 September 2004.

Unlike most of Pratchett's Discworld novels, Going Postal is divided into chapters, a feature previously seen only in Pratchett's children's books and the Science of Discworld series.

These chapters begin with a synopsis of philosophical themes, in a similar manner to some Victorian novels and, notably, to Jules Verne stories. The title refers to both the contents of the novel, as well as to the term 'going postal'.

As with many of the Discworld novels, the story takes place in Ankh-Morpork, a powerful city-state based on the historical and modern settings of various metropolises like London or New York City.

The protagonist of the story is Moist von Lipwig, a skilled con artist who was to be hanged for his crimes, but saved at the last moment by the cunning and manipulative Patrician Havelock Vetinari, who has Moist's death on the scaffold faked.

In his office, Vetinari then presents Moist with two options: he may accept a job offer to become Postmaster of the city's rundown Postal Service or he may choose to walk out of the door and never hear from Vetinari again. As exiting through the door in question would lead to a fatal drop, Moist decides to accept the job.

After a thwarted attempt at escape, Moist is brought to the Post Office by his parole officer Mr Pump, a golem.

It turns out that the Post Office has not functioned for decades, and the building is full of undelivered mail, concealed under a layer of pigeon dung. Only two employees remain: the aged Junior Postman Tolliver Groat and his assistant Stanley Howler. ...

This book introduces an entirely new and refreshing cast of characters. I particularly liked the main character and felt he was very well-developed.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز چهارم ماه فوریه سال 2020میلادی

کتاب سی و سوم از دیسک ورلد : (گووینگ پستال)؛ نویسنده: تری پرچت (پرتچت)؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 16/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 22, 2019
I love it when one work of art makes me think of another and my enjoyment of both is enhanced.

The executive office meeting subsequent to the gallows made me think of Mel Brooks’ hilarious 1974 film Blazing Saddles and Harvey Korman’s portrayal of Hedley LaMarr. So throughout the rest of the novel I eschewed the British aristocratic drawl of Lord Vetinari and replaced with Korman’s robber baron prose for full comedic effect.

Granny Weatherwax is still my favorite, but Sir Terry has succeeded again in making a GREAT Discworld novel that is funny, thought provoking and entertaining all at once.

While Moist von Lipwig is a worthy and fun protagonist, once again the real hero is Pratchett himself. The author’s pithy prose and world wise narration keeps this skipping along at a good clip and the Pratchett Smile O’ Meter was bouncing in a lively manner throughout.

Describing a picaresque tale about erstwhile con man and ne’er do-well Lipwig, Pratchett shows how a second chance after the hangman’s noose is a win-win for all involved, especially the readers. Parolee Lipwig must recreate the Ankh-Morpork post office into a going concern. We revisit many of our Discworld favorites, meet some new friends, and a rousing good time is had by all. Besides being a great entry into the Discworld mythos, this is also just a good book; Pratchett, getting better like a fine wine, spins a good yarn.

One of the best Discworld books, a MUST read for fans.

Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,071 followers
June 16, 2021

****Mañana vlog en el canal hablando muuuucho sobre este libro (entre otras cosas)*******

El libro MÁS VICTORIANO de Terry Pratchett. Claremente un libro hecho para mi.
Obviamente, me ha encantado, me lo he pasado pipa y Húmedo es uno de esos protagonitas que se van a quedar conmigo. Es cierto que quizás es un poco demasiado buenista y el villano se me quedó un poco a medias pero todo lo demás lo he gozado, tanto el cachondeo que se trae Pratchett con LA ADMINISTRACIÓN y su burocracia como las apariciones estelares de personajes como Vetinari (No puedo ser más fan), los magos o los agentes de la Guardia.
Es el primero de tres libros protoganizados por Húmedo, y por supuesto leeré los siguientes. No hace falta haber leído ningún libro del Mundodisco antes y de hecho puede ser una buena puerta de entrada para este autor.
Lo he disfrutado mucho, no se ha convertido en uno de mis preferidos, pero ha conseguido hacerme pasar muy buenos ratos que ya es mucho.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,851 followers
December 27, 2022
Dysfunctional bureaucracy and state owned companies get shown how it´s not to be done by a frivolous trickster.

Light before dark
It´s one of the best and last really easygoing and not partly dark and grim novels Pratchett wrote, with a level, quality, and density of laughs I can hardly remember from many other works, even his own. The reason for that is the big conflict between

The weak spots of strong state and free market
Officialism and beadledom vs turbocapitalism, as if one of them alone wouldn´t be already ridiculous enough. But it once again shows the flaws of all systems, go too far left and one ends up in a sloth ruled socialistic utopia without anything going on and moving forward, too far right and neoliberal and the contemporary US suddenly appears as a fictional state. The best, intelligent way
would of course be too boring, so

Bureaucrats have to deal with the creativity of how to privatize best and most radical
The protagonists struggling with that are all freaking hilarious, but still, representatives of many of the real life stereotypes these jobs are associated with. As icing on the cake, the big business motives and the power of monopolies meta lines behind the giggles are even spiced with some techy elements that make my sci fi nerd heart happy, such as

Robot laws, the internet, hacking, and some science history
That´s outstanding for Pratchett, who often preferred to focus on soft science, humanities, and the effects of these on the protagonists. By getting some more plot material into the already great characterization, the innuendos and hidden meanings of the Chekhovs and MacGuffins, drools, are even more delicious. I wish Pratchett would have continued this road toward comedic science fantasy instead of becoming darker fantasy tragicomedy.

This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews:
The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world
inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Melindam.
665 reviews294 followers
August 13, 2023
HOPE OF DELIVERANCE as this Postman rings at least three times or probably more!

Every time I reread this book, I fall in love with it even more.

Ankh Morpork is hiring!
WANTED: Postmaster General
Employer: Lord Vetinari , Patrician (former Assassin's Guild member, tyrant & whatnot)
Salary includes danger bonus and a Golem bodyguard, as the former 4 postmasters died mysterious or suspicious (or both) deaths in quick succession within 1 month.

And Lord Vetinari's choice of the perfect man for the post?
'Oh, all right. Of course I accept as a natural-born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster, and totally untrustworthy perverted genius.'
'Capital! Welcome to government service!' said Lord Vetinari, extending his hand. 'I pride myself on being able to pick the right man.'

And the CLACKS... Discworld's answer to the Internet! :)

And the moral of the story?: “Speak softly and employ a huge man with a crowbar.”
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews260 followers
November 26, 2021
For the longest time, Going Postal has been my best known unread book. Having watched and rewatched the SkyOne TV adaptation, I had sort of tacitly decided that actually reading the book was not high on my list of priorities. Plus, Charles Dance is the quintessential Lord Vetinari as far as I'm concerned. Sorry GoT fans, the Discworld was here long before you.

Charles Dance

Moist von Lipwig has dedicated most of his life to perfecting the intricacies of con-artistry, but his unparalleled streak of luck is about to meet a rather definitive ending. Or is it? Lord Havelock Vetinari is in need of a new Post Master for Ankh-Morpork's long deceased Post Office. A truly impossible job even for Lipwig, but our hero's had plenty of experience in slinking off. Unfortunately for him, the Patrician has had plenty of experience preventing said slinking off.

And since no request from Lord Vetinari ever comes with just one catch, Lipwig soon realizes that any possible failure may have some truly fatal consequences. And that's not just due to Vetinari's retaliation.

So with no other alternatives, and a parole officer immune to any forms of bribery, Lipwig decides to just... fake his way through the Post Master job. And against all odds, our hero becomes an instant success.

Postal workers' dance

So how was the reading experience, you may ask? As predictable as I suspected, but also... not that much. The generic idea remains, of Lipwig managing to surround himself with some of the most capable people in order to achieve his goals, especially when said people had no idea of their own capabilities. Except for Ms. Dearheart of course, who should just be declared a Goddess, so we can all bow down to her officially.

“What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.”

“That was an important rule of any game: always make it easy for people to give you money.”

“And you just hoped something would turn up? What made you think it would?"
"It always has. The only way to get something to turn up when you need it is to need it to turn up.”

So which one is better? Honestly, I liked both versions.

The TV adaptation has turned Adora Dearheart into this absolutely kickass heroine, who doesn't just command the Golem Trust, but also dabbles in Clacks Tower experiments, tames crazy horses, and is generally up for saving the World any time and anywhere.

Adorabelle Dearheart

The book on the other hand gives you awesome bonus scenes like:
- Moist getting inducted into the secret Postal Workers' cult
- Miss Macalariat the ferocious office manager of the Post Office, intent on proper bathroom etiquette even for golems
- and of course Grandad Lipwig's many teachings back in Uberwald, the building blocks of Moist's survival strategies.

All I can suggest is not to reread/rewatch either so much, as to be able to anticipate each and every twist and turn. It'll take away from the excitement of discovering Lipwigs next crazy scheme.

Score: 3.8/5 stars

Surprisingly entertaining, in spite of all my initial misgivings.

Other books starring Moist von Lipwig:
Review of book 2: Making Money
Review of book 3: Raising Steam
Profile Image for Trish.
2,016 reviews3,436 followers
February 29, 2020
Welcome to the Industrial Revolution! Well, technically we already had three books belonging to that sub-series (though I only really consider two of those truly to be of that subject), but this one is full of ... industry. And not as in factories but as in a man's industrious efforts.

Meet Moist von Lipwick. No, his parents really didn't think it through when naming him. He is up to no good, cheating people out of money (though always without using any form of violence) and he is about to pay the price at the beginning of this book. Because Lord Vetinari has ordered his death. So he's hanged ... until an inch of his life ... literally.
(I really love the Patrician.)
Afterwards, he has an audience with Vetinari where he is voluntold to be the next Postmaster of Ankh-Morpork. You see, the industry (there is that word again) that has formed around the Clacks towers is getting out of hand, the moguls becoming almost unruly, which is something the Patrician certainly cannot stand. However, previous attempts at reinstating a postmaster and re-starting the regular delivery of mail for some much needed competition have all ... failed. It takes a swindler to get ahead of the crooks (incl. their pirate boss).
So Lipwick gets a very special parol officer, Ankh-Morpork gets stamps and mailmen, and the letters that have waited decades to be delivered finally get to rest.

Technically, there is no reason for me to like a stinking big metropolis like Ankh-Morpork. And yet ... every time I read a book that takes place there, I'm loving every minute of it. Everyone trying to get one over the citizens there deserves what he's going to get. *lol*
I also love the diversity. This time represented by the wonderful golem Mr. Pump (Pump 19).

And how could anyone not love the fact that this installment of the series centers around stories and unfinished life stories at that! Personally, I love writing and sending and receiving letters so reading an entire book that was crafted around the notion that mail means communication and connection and HOPE, was rather magical indeed!

The writing is top notch, there is no denying it and no need to go over all the glory that is Pratchett's mastery. Just look at the highlighted quotes or read almost any of my other reviews for more on that. But his newest character addition, Moist, is a masterpiece! I love a number of characters in the series but this confidence trickster hero is something else! I'm glad to know there will be more books with him in the not so distant future and I'm very much looking forward to his continued shenanigans.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
February 29, 2020
Out of all the books in the Discworld series, this is the first one that made me truly go from a fan to a diehard fan. I enjoyed them all, to be sure, but this is the one that made me downright giddy and pleased.

It’s a heist!! Um. Kinda. When a heist meets becoming an avatar for a god of incomplete stories meets confidence trickery meets MAIL DELIVERY.

I mean, this is Discworld. It makes perfect sense. Who other than a successful (albeit caught by Lord V) thief to run the biggest government con job in Discworld?

All hail the Postmaster General. Beloved of all the gods and the crookedest personality in all of Pratchett’s works. :)

So funny, so magical, and so freakishly... real.

If you don’t steal enough, you’re hung as a thief. You steal enough, they call you The Government or a Hero.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
737 reviews1,260 followers
April 19, 2023
Check out my Booktube channel at: The Obsessive Bookseller

[3.5/5 stars] Okay I’ll admit it… I read a Pratchett and liked it.

I’ve long lumped Pratchett in with Piers Anthony and Douglas Adams as the type of over-the-top humor writers or stories that are just too ridiculous for me to enjoy. I just assumed I wouldn’t like his works… I’m glad I was wrong.

I realize this is like the 30-something book in the Discworld Saga and I read it considerably out of order. I normally balk at even the idea of breaking continuity like that. But the subject-matter of a low-stakes fantasy where a convicted criminal is put in charge of a run-down postal office appealed to me considerably.

And you know what? I actually thought it was funny.

I tend to prefer dry humor, but in this case the humor worked for me because the jokes and situations were CLEVER. Very intelligently written and prevalent enough to keep me feeling a bubbling fondness for the book the entire way through. I feel like I had to work to get some of the jokes (in a good way) and that subtly somehow made them funnier. I had such a good time with this book that I plan to read more from Pratchett at some point.

The last 20% of Going Postal lost me a little, as it became more about (I imagine) bigger-picture series conflicts than just the post office drama, but that didn’t bother me too much. One thing I liked while reading was how many random “moments” occurred with what I can only guess as cameos from characters from other books in the series. I got the sense everything weaved together, and I truly love stuff like that in series. It makes me want to pick up more books to learn more about everyone.

Overall, I held out for such a long time, but I’m glad a weird impulse drove me to pick up Going Postal on a whim. It was truly delightful, and I am now a Pratchett believer.

Recommendations: if like me you’ve been hesitating to read Pratchett because Discworld seems too ridiculous, I can assure you that at least this one book never falls over the edge into “downright stupid.” It was very clever, loads of fun, and I’d recommend it if you need something to brighten your mood.

Thank you to my Patrons: Filipe, Dave, Katrin, Frank, Sonja, Staci, Kat, Melissa, Derek, Tonya, Betsy, Mike, and Jen! <3

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

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Profile Image for Nate D.
1,595 reviews1,027 followers
December 9, 2019
This was really surprising, actually. Perhaps it shouldn't have been, given how many people whose opinions I respect are Pratchett fans, but I haven't read a fantasy novel since giving up on Robert Jordan's painstakingly prolonged The Wheel of Time (somewhere in book 5, I think) long before college. Actually, I suppose I read a few of the Harry Potters in the interim, but in some ways that felt more like keeping up with pop culture than reading actual fantasy.

In any event, Going Postal was purely a pleasure. Compared to the grueling epics I recall from years ago, Pratchett's style was brisk and entertaining, his humor completely suffusing the tone of the book in a way that reminded me of Douglas' Adams' approach to science fiction. But whereas Adams' plotlines can be meandering and perhaps secondary to his constant seeking of the absurd, Pratchett's were elaborately coiled, well-paced, and compelling, and his characters, amusing and strange as they often were, had a certain sincerity that kept me interested in their welfare. Ridiculous name aside, Moist von Lipwig's reluctantly scrupulous con artist (emphasis on 'artist', as his maneuvering definitely deserves such a word) was exceedingly entertaining to follow.

Pratchett's underlying thoughts and satire also seemed fairly spot-on. His commentary on the nature of hope suggests that he would understand why so many under-privileged Americans tend to vote Republican against their best financial interests (besides its application in many other areas of human nature), and the bits about personal momentum were sufficiently commanding as to grant even the reader a resounding sense of motion and possibility from time to time.

I suppose Pratchett may not be to everyone's taste (and I was not sure he would be to mine -- fantasy comedy, never!) but he seems to be very skilled in his particular niche. Yes, this was very good. Mostly just at being a fun diversion, but also perhaps as well thought out and gracefully executed literature.
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,085 reviews68.4k followers
August 18, 2018
Monetary Relativity

No better theory of money exists than Pratchett's: money is founded on postage stamps that got out of control. Understanding that fact helps to explain the world better than relativity theory.
Profile Image for E.H..
Author 3 books25 followers
June 6, 2007
I picked up this book to read on a 15 hour flight from Chicago to Vietnam, on the assumption that it would be a light, pleasant way to pass the dreary hours (after one flight to China during which I watched the first X-Men film three times, I decided it was best to err on the side of having too many books rather than too few).

My assumptions proved correct, and I enjoyed the book quite thoroughly. Three things struck me:

1) Pratchett's use of language is always fun, and he occasionally makes wonderful jokes that can't be read aloud with the same effect, like the store owner who turns up whose speech suffers from greengrocer's apostrophes.

2) Pratchett typically writes in a third person limited point of view, but he's extremely good at getting inside the heads of his characters and changing the voice up. The unfortunately named Moist has his own clear-eyed perspective on the world that differs from the other denizens of Discworld.

3) He manages to weave in quite a bit of history about the postal service. I wouldn't have considered it to be an interesting topic for inquiry (I mean, come on; post offices mostly exist to aggrivate people who hate standing in queues, right?) but I was wrong.

Best vocabulary word gleaned from the text: "frank", meaning to stamp something.
Profile Image for Douglas Wilson.
Author 273 books3,652 followers
July 1, 2015
I haven't read a lot of Pratchett -- I think this is only my second one -- but I do enjoy reading him for the color and the metaphor. The way he turns a figure of speech on the lathe will frequently leave you just sitting there in your chair with a table leg in your hand, and your wife says, "Hey, what's with the table leg." And I say, "I'm reading."
Profile Image for José.
469 reviews233 followers
April 23, 2017
Otras reseñas de Mundodisco en mi blog.

«Cartas en el asunto» es la novela número 33 de la hilarante saga de Mundodisco; uno pensaría que a esta altura al gran Terry Pratchett no se le podrían ocurrir más personajes y que la calidad de la saga podía disminuir, pero con este libro demostró que todavía le quedaban excelentes ideas para rato.

Esta novela da comienzo a una nueva saga que lamentablemente Terry no pudo terminar; presentó un nuevo arco argumental iba a estar protagonizado por Húmedo Von Mustachen, un estafador que es... ejem, amablemente persuadido por Lord Vetinari para poner su gran habilidad para el engaño y las estafas al servicio del estado, y por lo tanto iba a servir como parodia de los servicios públicos. Lamentablemente, Pratchett solo pudo escribir una novela más protagonizada por Húmedo Von Mustachen antes de morir y por esta razón todos estos nuevos personajes no son tan reconocidos como los demás.

Lo primero que me llamó la atención de este libro es que, a diferencia de otras novelas de Mundodisco, está dividida en capítulos. Cada capítulo tiene una especie de enumeración de los sucesos más importantes que se desarrollarán más adelante, aunque sin ningún spoiler significativo.

El título original de esta descacharrante novela es Going Postal, una expresión idiomática que en inglés significa «volverse loco» o «perder la cabeza», lo cual resulta sumamente adecuado porque todos los personajes que se encuentra Húmedo Von Mustachen a lo largo del libro están jodidamente locos.
Desde el señor Ardite, un veterano cartero que se mantiene aferrado a las viejas tradiciones (como el ser perseguido por perros, por ejemplo); Stanley, un joven cartero con una afición poco saludable por los alfileres; hasta el antagonista de esta historia: Asidor D'Oropel, un pirata que al igual que Húmedo es un maestro del engaño (de hecho nadie sospecha que es un pirata a pesar de que va por ahí con un loro sobre su hombro todo el tiempo):

«Húmedo había invertido mucho esfuerzo en su profesión y se consideraba un buen practicante de la misma, pero si hubiera llevado puesta su gorra no habría dudado en quitársela. Se encontraba en presencia de un maestro. Lo notó en la mano, lo vio en aquel único ojo lleno de autoridad. De ser distintas las circunstancias, suplicaría humildemente a aquel hombre que lo aceptara como aprendiz, le fregaría los suelos y cocinaría para él solo para sentarse a los pies de la grandeza y aprender a hacer el truco de las tres cartas usando bancos enteros. Si la opinión de Húmedo valía algo, si valía lo más mínimo, entonces el hombre que tenía delante era el farsante más grande que había conocido en su vida. Y encima lo anunciaba a los cuatro vientos. Aquello era... estilo. Los rizos de pirata, el parche del ojo y hasta el maldito loro. Doce y medio por ciento, por todos los dioses, ¿es que nadie lo había pillado? Él les estaba diciendo lo que era y ellos le reían la gracia y lo amaban por ello.»

Como es de esperar, Pratchett no desperdicia ninguna oportunidad para burlarse de todos los clichés y prejuicios que existen en el imaginario colectivo con respecto al mundo del correo: el miedo irracional de los carteros hacia los perros, la absurda función de los sellos postales y la burocracia de las oficinas de correos, por poner algunos ejemplos.

«Cartas en el asunto» es además una excelente sátira del eterno conflicto entre la tecnología y medios de comunicación más tradicionales, lo cual se expresa a través del enfrentamiento entre la decadente oficina de correos de Ankh-Morpork y la corporación de las Torres de clacs, que vienen a ser el equivalente de los correos electrónicos en Mundodisco.

A lo largo del libro Pratchett muestra de diversas formas las diferencias que existen entre un medio de comunicación más frío e impersonal como los clacs, en comparación con las cartas, revindicando las viejas costumbres:

«—Se me ocurre que ahora tenemos los clacs.
—¿Los clacs? —replicó Húmedo—. Yo le diría que los clacs son maravillosos si se quiere conocer los valores del mercado de gambas de Genua. Pero ¿acaso puede usted escribir S.C.U.B.A. en un clac? ¿Puede sellarla con un beso amoroso? ¿Puede derramar lágrimas sobre un clac, puede olerlo, puede incluirle una flor prensada? Una carta es más que un simple mensaje. En todo caso, los clacs son tan caros que el hombre medio de la calle solo puede permitírselos en momentos críticos: ABUELO MUERTO FUNERAL MARTES. ¿El salario de un día de trabajo para mandar un mensaje que es tan cálido y humano como lanzar un cuchillo? Las cartas, en cambio, son reales.»

Como siempre, estas reflexiones se esconden dentro de una aventura sumamente divertida, llena de personajes maravillosos, situaciones extremadamente absurdas y paradojas espacio temporales; sin embargo, creo que es un libro recomendable para lectores que ya han experimentado por lo menos alguna otra novela de Mundodisco.

No considero que sea bueno comenzar la saga por este libro porque algunos personajes y tecnologías son presentados de forma más detallada en libros anteriores. Me parece mejor leer (por lo menos) «El Quinto Elefante» o «Regimiento Monstruoso» antes que este libro porque en ellos se presentan las torres de clacs, que juegan un papel central en esta historia.

En resumen, «Cartas en el asunto» es una bocanada de aire fresco para la divertidísima saga de Mundodisco. A través de estos nuevos personajes Pratchett demuestra que todavía le quedaba mucho por contar, es una lástima que solo hayan dos novelas de Húmedo Von Mustachen. Destaco además la excelente traducción que tienen las ediciones "Debols!llo", en este caso el traductor se lució adaptando muchos chistes, nombres de personajes y juegos de palabras que son bastante complicados.

Podés encontrar esta y otras reseñas en mi blog.
Profile Image for Hymerka.
609 reviews102 followers
October 9, 2020
Що ж, любі друзі, це одна з найкращих книжок Дискосвіту. А з певного погляду взагалі найкраща.
Profile Image for Eleanor.
126 reviews35 followers
December 31, 2007
I am probably the last person on earth to read Terry Pratchett, but I'm glad I finally did. People have been recommending his books to me for years and although I had planned on starting with book 1, Color of Magic, the bookseller recommended I start with Going Postal instead (they were also out of stock of CoM). Every time I picked this book up I laughed out loud, it has a refreshing wit combined with a sharp perception of people and their funny habits. I ate this book up and bought copy of "Guards, Guards" before I finished. What's your favorite Terry Pratchett?
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,771 reviews1,771 followers
September 26, 2022
Why I always gotta review these five-star Terry Pratchett books???

Unlike with a lot of Pratchett books I give five stars to, I can't really justify this one with much of a deeper meaning. I just had a really good time with it, and the premise and main character really tickled me. Our "hero" is Moist Von Lipwig, a con man and thief who starts the novel being hanged for his crimes. He manages to survive the hanging, and the tyrannical Lord Vetinari offers him a choice, be hanged again, or revive the basically dead Post Office. Surprise, Moist, you are now the Postmaster.

The Post Office is a mess. Letters fill the huge structure from top to bottom, and because it's Discworld, that many letters all together in one place for such a long time (decades!) are making things go funny. The last four Postmasters have ended up dead. There's a THING in the basement.

So Moist, a career criminal and inveterate runner-awayer, now is a public servant and he finds himself . . . liking it?

This was one of the funnier Discworld books for me, and I liked the satire of government institutions and corporate greed (here in the form of the Clacks, which as been taken over by a heartless and unscrupulous man named Reacher Gilt, a truly great name). And of course, Moist is a showman, so he can't just revive the Post Office, he has to make a spectacle of it while doing so. It was very entertaining.

Chipping Away at Mt. TBR, July 2022—Book 9/31
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,922 reviews386 followers
May 7, 2022
I struggled to get into this Discworld novel. I've been enjoying the Tiffany Aching series and this is so different that I found myself floundering, trying to find the commonalities. I had to push myself to get to about the 150 page mark, but once I made it there, it felt less like wading through molasses.

Finally, I was seeing the social commentary that I have come to expect from Sir Terry. Laughing at the amount of work that con men like Moist von Lipwig are willing to put in to avoid work. Giggling when the greedy businessmen get taken by a Ponzi scheme. Snorting at the silliness of the Igors, the cynicism of Adora Belle Dearheart, the fanatic collector Stanley, among others. Some of them resembling people that I recognize from my own history.

I frequently find written humour to be a bit opaque, but this was accessible even to the humour-handicapped like me. Probably an audiobook would be the best way for me to appreciate Pratchett's books, but I haven't mastered that medium yet.

Book Number 454 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,647 reviews
February 12, 2016
“What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.”

This was really a funny, fun book. Lots of digs at corporations, lotteries, and just life.

“People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as "Is this the laundry?" "How do you spell surreptitious?" and, on a regular basis, "Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.”
Profile Image for Nika.
308 reviews122 followers
June 25, 2020
Ну всьо, Ветінарі мій ледь не найулюбленіший персонаж 🤣 шахіст жеж!
Profile Image for Marta.
1,001 reviews105 followers
August 9, 2021
“Some tasks needed an honest hammer. Others needed a twisty corkscrew.”

Lord Vetinari finds his corkscrew to fix the post office in Moist von Lipwig. It doesn’t get much twistier than him - so to keep him in line, he assigns the golem Mr. Pump as the honest hammer. Moist unexpectedly takes to the job, surprising himself and everyone else, except, of course, Vetinari, who always knows what levers to apply to get what he wants. His target is really the clacks system, that has been legally, but very viciously, taken over by unscrupulous businessmen, lead by Reacher Gilt, who are running it into the ground and murdering everyone who challenges their monopoly.

On re-read, this one is still one of my favorite Discworld books (I admit that a lot of them are favorites). This is one of his most mature works, meaning that he has a good, well-paced story resulting in a very satisfactory conclusion, on top of the wit, brilliant parody and slew of comedic characters. Also, uncharacteristically, it has proper chapters, even with little chapter summaries at the beginning of each. I am not sure if this is the first one, but the first time I noticed.

Pratchett takes business greed, hostile takovers and disregard of worker’s safety under his microscope. On my first read, I somehow missed this brilliant passage, delivered by Reacher Gilt after being forced to mend ways, that could have been directly taken from the slides of the consulting firm I used to work for:

“Spurred by the competition, we are investing in a challenging, relevant, and exciting systemic overhaul of our entire organization, focusing on our core conpetencies while maintaining full and listening cooperation with the communities we serve. We fully realize that our energetic attempts to mobilize the flawed infrastructure we have inherited have been less than totally satisfactory, and hope and trust that our valued and loyal customers will bear with us in the coming months as we interact synergistically with change management in our striving for excellence. That is our mission.”
An awed silence followed.

Yep, this bullshit is real, I remember it from work.

I loved how Moist’s natural risk-taking is turned to good use here. Stanley’s pin-obsession gives way to the archetypal stamp collector and enthusiast. We also delve into what makes a golem a person and not just a hammer (time off, apparently), and I now recognize the snark in describing clacks operators as ones who stay in their towers just so they can press keys because they like it (I can identify with that), and calling those who submit codes that break the equipment “crackers”. My least favorite character was Adora Belle - I do not find smoking like a chimney in any way attractive. But I would not be picked by Vetinari to run the post office, either.

As usual, Sir Terry puts the truth out there the most amusing ways. Here are some of the greatest gems from this work:

“What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.”

“Speak softly and employ a huge man with a crowbar.”

“If you kept changing the way people saw the world, you ended up changing the way you saw yourself.”

“Steal five dollars and you're a common thief. Steal thousands and you're either the government or a hero.”

Profile Image for Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship.
1,161 reviews1,257 followers
October 7, 2022
3.5 stars

I envy people who love Pratchett’s work. A huge oeuvre of loosely-connected books, lighthearted without being frivolous, and a huge fanbase to discuss them with? What a fun thing to love. Sadly, I don’t—and this is my third attempt, the first two, naturally, being the first two Witches books. In all cases I’ve found them mildly entertaining, no serious complaints, but I’m never emotionally invested and sometimes slightly bored, and then I forget them soon after.

This book has a lot of fun and promising elements: a condemned scam artist is forced to try to revive a defunct postal service, and undergoes a redemption arc as he becomes the underdog facing off against a nefarious telegraph(?) company, and there’s a lot of poking fun at government bureaucracy and outright filleting of corporations. The social commentary is on-point, the characters are vivid and well-drawn if sometimes over-the-top, the political leader actually seems good at this, and the humor is, uh, amusing? I think my sense of humor may just not fully jive with Pratchett’s—sure, there were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments and other bits I registered as humorous, but that’s on par with my experience of plenty of books that don’t have humor as their primary shtick. Unfortunately, novels that put humor before all else never seem to do better than mildly successful for me. Also it had been awhile since I’d read a novel containing only one woman of any significance, and she’s the tacked-on love interest.

Not at all a bad book, I think in fact it’s pretty good for what it is and definitely worthwhile reading for those who enjoy this sort of thing. But I don’t think I’ll be entering the Pratchett fan club anytime soon.
Profile Image for Shreyas.
526 reviews12 followers
February 24, 2023
'Going Postal' (Moist von Lipwig #1; Industrial Revolution #4; Discworld #33) by Terry Pratchett.

“What is your first name, Miss Cripslock?” said Moist.
For a moment, the woman colored. Then she said: “It’s Sacharissa.”
“Thank you. I’m Moist. Please don’t laugh. The golems—you’re laughing, aren’t you…”
“It was just a cough, honestly,” said the reporter, raising a hand to her throat and coughing unconvincingly.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Disclaimer: The following review contains minor spoilers for this book. Do tread with caution.


Favorite's Favorite • Three Act Wonder • Ancient takes on the Modern
• GNU • The Cast and the Crew • Similar yet Different
• Inspirations • Journey's End • Parting Words

About 8 years ago, I came across a short YouTube video where a budding author talked enthusiastically about his favorite book – which was later revealed to be 'Night Watch'. Brandon Sanderson's enthusiasm was infectious enough to bring the Discworld series on my radar. Finally, many years later, I read 'Night Watch' and had similar feelings of awe as Brandon did years ago. Having tackled 'Night Watch' a few weeks ago, I was excited to start 'Going Postal' – another of Sanderson's favorites. And, oh boy, it does live up to those expectations.

'Going Postal' is the story of a convicted conman, Moist von Lipvig, who is given a chance to reform by taking up the job of Ankh-Morpork's Postmaster General. The first third of the book is Moist adjusting to his new surroundings and co-workers and trying to find means to get out of his predicament. The second part of the book is essentially a mystery novel as Moist discovers that the previous five Postmasters have suffered tragic and untimely deaths while performing their required duties. The final third of the book is a tale of redemption and retribution – where Moist, after having fully committed to his new duties, attempts to bring down an evil and corrupt rival when all the odds are against him. In short, the book offers an enthralling experience to the readers from the start to the end without any dull moment spoiling the momentum.

The revival of the old postal system in a setting where modern communications are easily and quickly carried out offered an interesting subject matter for Pratchett to play on in this book. Throw in the evils of unchecked capitalism like corporate greed leading to downsizing, exploitation of workers, unscrupulous activities of higher management, and much more – and Pratchett shall have the readers rooting for Moist and the old postal system. The concept is truly intriguing and seeing it executed with such perfection is a treat to the readers.

As a member of different Discworld communities, I would occasionally come across emotional posts of members wishing GNU to their loved ones. It was easy to extrapolate the essence of these posts from the comments back then, but this book finally revealed the significance and the in-world meaning of the abbreviation. Terry Pratchett has truly left something that would let him live forever in the memories of his fans. GNU Terry Pratchett.

A great plot isn't the only highlight of this book. While we encounter some familiar faces in this book, it's the new characters that add value to the overall beauty of this book. Experiencing Moist's character growth and reformation from the point he unexpectedly lands upon the duties of Postmaster General to him being fully committed to his new duties was a breath of fresh air. Tolliver Groat, the long-serving Junior Postman, is another great and hilarious addition to the cast. Stanley's journey from a pinhead to a philatelic enthusiast is equally refreshing. Mr. Pump, Adora Belle Dearheart, members of the Smoking GNU, and the rest of the characters that were introduced in this book were a treat to read.

I wouldn’t rate Reacher Gilt as the best Discworld antagonist so far – he's evil but the writing doesn't fully convey the menacing aura for some reason. But he is the perfect foil for Moist von Lipwig. Both genius conmen, but there's a stark contrast between them when it comes to morality. Moist has set certain limits which he never dares to cross, but Lipwig holds no moral qualms crossing those boundaries by murdering competition and exploiting innocents. Reacher Gilt is what Moist would have been had he strayed too far and had he not reformed. This compare-and-contrast plot element also shows us the significance of choices we make and their far-reaching consequences – as Gilt, towards the end of the book, is offered a similar choice that Moist had been offered at the start of this book.

While we are speaking of the characters, let us go back to the part where I mentioned Brandon Sanderson's love of the Discworld books. When you look closely, you could see Sanderson being inspired by Moist's characterization (and to some extent, Matrim Cauthon from the 'Wheel of Time' series) during the creation of Wayne Terrisborn for his Mistborn series. Wayne and Moist have distinctly different personalities, but you could see the essence and the character growth are almost the same. There are also some similarities to be found in the tragic backstories of Sophi Tarcsel (Mistborn Era 2) and Adora Belle Dearheart (Going Postal) – but I assume both the authors are referencing Nicola Tesla's unfortunate plight through these instances.

Unfortunately, this perfectly executed train of ideas falters towards the end of its destination. The rising tensions between the newly reinstated Post Office and the privately owned "Clacks" eventually culminates in a much-hyped race between the two organizations – and the very idea of it had me at the edge of my seat. It would have been far too tedious had the race dragged on for an eternity, but what saddens me is that all the buildup simmers down just within a couple of pages. The race had barely begun, and you end up getting a hasty conclusion to it. Pratchett offers us a cheerful ending to this tale, but the way the race concludes just makes you feel a bit cheated. Smoking GNU was an interesting little organization that I thought had a major part to play in the story's outcome, but looking back now, I think they were heavily underutilized considering the mystery surrounding them and their early introduction.

In short, 'Going Postal' is a near-perfect execution of a brilliant concept that falls just short of perfection by a mere fraction. It isn't as great as 'Night Watch', 'The Truth', and 'Monstrous Regiment', but it is surely up there at the top when it comes to the works of high quality in the Discworld series.

“There’s a lot of interest, sir. I thought we could do a whole set of stamps for the big guilds, sir. All the collectors would want them. What do you think?”
“That’s a very clever idea, Stanley,” said Moist. “We’ll do that. The one of the Seamstresses’ Guild might have to go inside a plain brown envelope, eh? Ha ha!”
This time it was Stanley who looked perplexed.
“Sorry, sir?”
Moist coughed. “Oh, nothing. Well, I can see you’re learning fast, Stanley. Some things, anyway.”
Profile Image for Deborah Ideiosepius.
1,675 reviews131 followers
December 1, 2022
I loved this one the first time I read it, I have re-read it more often than Goodreads admits and I remembered it well. Excellent book, really strong characterisation and always fun to read again.

2016 : In this rich complex and darkly humorous story Terry Pratchett takes us to a side of Anke Morpork that the disc-world series had not previously visited; it's post office.

Moist von Lipwig is a con man of major proportions whose last fraud has come to haunt him, caught and about to hang he believes it is all over for him. Saved from permanent death, the Patrician of Anke Morpork, lord Vetinari offers him a job; to revitalise the wrecked and useless Post Office. To do so Moist must use all his skills as a con artist and many other skills he probably never thought he had.

This is a later discworld story, and while I loved the earlier ones when I first came across them, in these later series I think PTerry's writing really came of age. If the early ones are young slightly fizzy wine, then this is a mature dark red, aged for years in oak and with aftertastes that last for hours.

Pratchett's distinctive brand of social commentary and persistent trend of poking fun at humanity are strong in Going Postal but they do not overwhelm the story, which I think is a perfect page turner. The suite of characters is sizable and well developed, but never out of control so one always knows who is who. Also, I believe that this book could very well be read as a stand alone without losing much: There are many well known characters of the discworld that briefly appear or are mentioned but most of the active characters are new and developed within this story. The exception to this would be Lord Vetinari, whose omnipotence is the cumulative layering of many, many books worth, he has layers, like oysters possibly pearls, or other molluscs, if you will forgive me a little in-joke.
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