Of course the criminally-minded end up in government.

Going Postal

By: Terry Pratchett

HarperTorch  2004

A science fiction review

In Going Postal, Terry Pratchett makes memorable the name of antihero Moist von Lipwig, which takes some doing.  As a skilled conman Moist is a master at offering others the “prospect of hope”, but it seems rather unfair when all his efforts to escape Ankh-Morpork and its patrician Lord Vetinari start becoming only prospects of freedom.  From being hanged in the morning to being forced to accept a government job in the afternoon would be enough to drive anyone mad.  Add in a golem for a parole officer, a decrepit Post Office building complete with fanatic tenants for a home, and a cynical Miss Dearheart for a love interest, and Moist’s new career seems hopeless.  Fortunately, the discovery that mysterious forces killed the previous four postmasters died suspiciously, and that the head of the rival communications giant of clacks, or telegrams, has a brutal business agenda convinces Moist that he must rise to the occasion.  At least it all comes with a hat.

Pratchett’s con artist works through charisma, and successfully charms the readers as well as those in Ankh-Morpork.  The numerous turns and story lines unravel at a quick pace that carries the reader along pleasantly, without being abrupt or confusing.  Add to that Pratchett’s great talent of creating stories that are really relevant, but only just relevant enough, and Going Postal packs entertainment with a punch.

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