Going Postal

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Image of Going Postal: A Discworld Novel
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi (2005)
Binding: Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages

I've been enjoying getting back into some of Terry Pratchett's books after a hiatus of several years.

This means that I've missed quite a few, and I've not necessarily reading them in order, so there are gaps that I've obviously missed. In this book the obvious one is the Grand Trunk or "Clacks" - signalling towers that run the length of Diskworld transmitting messages like a slightly more manual internet. I'm not sure when they first turned up, but I do recall them being well established in The Truth.

In Going Postal, Moist van Ligwig, a conman, swindler, lier and cheat (and those are just his best qualities) finds himself involunarily imposed at the head of the post office, an organisation that has been largely defunct for the better part of a century, and seems to be there mainly to show the mercinary owners of the Grand Trunk that they're not the only ones who can deliver peoples messages. Moist soon learns, however, that after the mysterious deaths of three previous postmasters, the job may be a little more dangerous than he expected.

This story worked really well for me, thanks in no small part to Terry's unmistakable narative style that balances just the right amount of "showing" and "telling" to immerse the reader completely in the story but keep things moving at a good pace. Pratchett is a master of using just the right number of words to ensure that the story keeps moving without feeling rushed, while building a strong rapport between the reader and the characters.

I found this book particularly enjoyable as a geek, as I could really appreciate the "coder" mentality of the Clacks workers.

I think this book should appeal to anyone who enjoys Pratchett's other novels, particularly those of a technical persuasion (though I don't think those who aren't would get left behind).

Once again Terry Pratchett has shown us why he one of the greatest writers of modern times.