Monday, January 23, 2006

Terry Pratchett – Going Postal


A truly great satirist can poke fun at things on many levels. Pratchett’s gift is that he can take something like the Postal Service, move it to the fantasy Diskworld, populate the Post Office with Golems and other weird and wonderful characters, and THEN add in spoofs and jokes about hackers, private finance, email and a whole host of other things.

While there perhaps aren’t the belly laughs in this book, as there are in some of the earlier works, there are still some seriously funny moments. Particularly amusing his is discourse on management speak. He describes how innocent words are “mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency” but points out that ‘synergistically’ was “probably a whore from the start”.

A quick glance at the inside cover shows this to be the 29th in the Diskworld series. Obviously I hope Mr. Pratchett continues to entertain us long into the future. But one thing erks me a little. For my liking, too many of the latest books have been set in Ankh Morpork and the same characters reappear over and over – the Watch, the Wizards and so on. I miss a little, the earlier characters, Rincewind and the Witches in particular. I hope that the future (and there is at least one novel “Thud”, that I have yet to read) this will change. But even if it doesn’t, I know that the books will continue to be readable.

Related Reviews:
Pratchett - The Colour of Magic

Pratchett - Wintersmith
Pratchett - Thud

3 comments:

maeve66 said...

I have a friend who adores Terry Pratchett and forcibly loaned me a book -- so I have read one novel. How little I know about the author, though, is revealed by the fact that at first I thought it was a woman, and it's still hard for me to think of him as a man. I liked the book I read quite well -- it was something about a cross-dressing soldier, a girl, and several other female soldiers all dressing as male members of their various races -- vampires, etc.

Since I'm only just starting, do you have any recommendations in particular? Or should I begin at the beginning? Does it matter? What are some titles you've particularly liked?

You should recommend this book to that ISG person we know in common, by the way -- he used to be a postal worker.

Poplar Reader said...

Well you could do a lot worse than start at the beginning and work forwards, but the earliest novels are very weak when considered against some of the later ones (still enjoyable though). My personal favourites are "Jingo" - an anti-war novel, and "Lords and Ladies" which is probably the darkest of all the Disk World novels. If you particularly like Vampires, "Carpe Juglum" is very good too. The one you refer to is "Monstrous Regiment" but I was never that taken by it.

If you are interested in reading more, I'd go for whatever you can find in some second hand shop somewhere and just read, nothing Pratchett has written isn't worth a look.

Anonymous said...

'guards! guards!' is probably my favourite one...so far. i've not read them all yet.