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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Review - Observational humour that touched a chord

Going Postal (Discworld, #33) - Terry Pratchett

Thinking of a title for this review is difficult, because I could easily have mistaken Pratchett for having been a civil servant in British government early on in his career. For an explanation of the kind of thing I mean, watch the first 3 minutes and a few seconds of "Whoops Apocalypse" - that will explain the kind of humour in this book.

 

Here, the book is four stars. Number 33 in the Discworld series, I found Pratchett's later books to not be as rip roaringly funny as previous titles. His earlier novels embarassed me considerably, as I couldn't stifle a guffaw while on public transport.

 

In this book, he comments on the real life situation of corporate greed screwing over the general public and society at large, including not caring about the people it kills. But then, that is one of the endeering things about a Discworld novel. Pratchett not only entertains but brings observations about our present society, into the book to be held up for examination, discussion and sometimes just plain old flagrant abuse.

 

The UK's postal service, the Royal Mail, had been threatened with privitisation for some time, as various public services and properties had gone this way over preceeding years. Going Postal was published in 2004, perhaps forseeing the eventual beginning of the privitisation process in 2011. As such, this book holds an extra resonance with some readers.

 

In this book, the public postal service has been tehnologically overtaken by the Clacks, putting the post out of business. A group of financiers took over the Clacks service by dubious financial means, and proceeded to run it at bare minimum investment, causing failures which the public have no option but to stomach. Then, by dint of fate and perhaps more than a little planning by the extremely cunning Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari, a new postmaster is found.

 

The task is frought with dangers, including a sorting machine which sorts mail that hasn't been written yet, letters that talk to you and, of course, the owners of the Clacks don't take too kindly to having competition, even if it does cost a dollar to send a letter to Genua. You can imagine the mayhem that ensues.

 

I'll hire vampires if they're a member of the League of Temperance, trolls if they wipe their feet, and if there're any werewolves out there I'd love to hire postmen who can bite back.