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Going Postal (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – September 27, 2005

305 customer reviews
Book 33 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British fantasist Pratchett's latest special-delivery delight, set in his wonderfully crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade. Soon after Moist von Lipwig (aka Alfred Spangler), Pratchett's not-quite-hapless, accidental hero, barely avoids hanging, Lord Havelock Vetinari, the despotic but pretty cool ruler of Ankh-Morpork, makes him a job offer he can't refuse—postmaster general of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office. The post office hasn't been open for 20 years since the advent of the Internet-like clacks communication system. Moist's first impulse is to try to escape, but Mr. Pump, his golem parole officer, quickly catches him. Moist must then deal with the musty mounds of undelivered mail that fill every room of the decaying Post Office building maintained by ancient and smelly Junior Postman Groat and his callow assistant, Apprentice Postman Stanley. The place is also haunted by dead postmen and guarded by Mr. Tiddles, a crafty cat. Readers will cheer Moist on as he eventually finds himself in a race with the dysfunctional clacks system to see whose message can be delivered first. Thanks to the timely subject matter and Pratchett's effervescent wit, this 29th Discworld novel (after 2003's Monstrous Regiment) may capture more of the American audience he deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - When petty con man Moist von Lipwig is hung for his crimes in the first chapter of this surprising and humorous novel, it appears to be the end. But this is Discworld after all, a world "a lot like our own but different." Moist awakes from the shock of his hanging to find that the city's Patrician, Lord Vetinari, has assigned him a government job (a fate worse than death?) restoring the defunct postal system. Of course, there is much more to restore than the flow of letters and packages. Justice as well as communication has been poorly served by a hostile takeover of the "clacks" - a unique messaging system that is part semaphore, part digital, and under the monopoly of the Grand Trunk Company. Before Moist can get very far into the job, he encounters ghosts, the voices of unsent letters, and a ruthless corporate conspiracy. In this quickly escalating battle, the post office is definitely the underdog, but, as the author notes, "an underdog can always find somewhere soft to bite." Fortunately Moist has friends: the determined Miss Dearheart, a golem with more than feet of clay, and a secret society of unemployed and very unusual postal workers as well as a vampire named Oscar. The author's inventiveness seems to know no end, his playful and irreverent use of language is a delight, and there is food for thought in his parody of fantasyland. This 29th Discworld novel, like the rest of the series, is a surefire hit for fans of Douglas Adams and Monty Python. - Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 33)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060502932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060502935
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, 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, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children's books, 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). Terry's latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. 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 "for services to literature" in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry's accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Lonya VINE VOICE on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Terry Pratchett's ("TP") legions of fans do not need a review of Going Postal. They have no doubt already purchased Going Postal or eagerly await its arrival in paperback. This review is for those new to TP.


Terry Pratchett: Rafael Sabatini begins his swashbuckler "Scaramouche" with the line "he was born with a gift for laughter and a sense that the world was mad and this was his patrimony". TP shares this patrimony. It is accomplishment enough to produce the sheer volume of work put out by TP. However, to combine this volume with a consistently high level of brilliant, funny, and original prose is simply amazing.

Discworld: Discworld is the alternate universe created by TP in his many books on the subject. Although this universe may share about 95% of our genetic code it is populated by a series of characters not really known to us here on this planet (at least as far as we know). TP's world travels through space like a frisbee, supported by four giant elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle. Living amongst the mere mortals is a cast of characters that include trolls, dwarfs, zombies, and more than a few wizards. They are not thought of as being particularly unusual, they are just there and live and work just like everyone else. The capital of Discworld is Ankh-Morpork ("A-M"), ruled by a rather witty despot known as the Patrician Vetinari. There is a recurring cast of characters. Although the books do tend to reflect the development of these characters each book does stand on its own and does not need to be read in any particular order.

Going Postal:

Going Postal is TP's most recent effort. It is hilariously funny.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lori Kadin on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
The trouble with clever characters, is that the author typically needs to be just as clever. This is why books like "Silence of the Lambs," are much better than books like "Hannibal." If the author isn't as smart as his characters, then he shouldn't risk making his prized creation the main protagonist.

"Going Postal" doesn't have just a clever protagonist, it also has a supporting Patrician, whom one can argue, can give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money when it comes to intellect. On a few occasions, "Going Postal" finds itself in danger of being too clever to have a satisfying ending. But rest assured future reader, you will not be disappointed.

Pratchett's storylines are funny and can stand on their own. However, I became a fan because of his satires and metaphors, which bubbles underneath his stories. Since I work with internet technologies, I find the clacks metaphor hits close to home. The fact that "Granddad" is only 26 years old is a hilarious detail. Pratchett books are usually riddled with gems like these.

You don't have to be familiar with the Discworld series to appreciate this book. I have read all of the Discworld novels and this one is definitely the top ones on my list. For Pratchett readers, you can gauge my review's usefulness by what books I liked and disliked.

My top ones are:

Reaper Man

Witches Abroad

Feet of Clay

Mens at Arms

Books low on my list are:

Monstrous Regiment


Lords and Ladies


Last word: Enjoy.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on November 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
One aspect of Terry Pratchett's genius as a writer is innovation. Lately, he's turned away from what might have become a rut - for both reader and writer - to launch a string of stand-alone books. We've had the introduction of a newspaper to Ankh-Morpork, a man falling through time to encounter himself, and an army of females ["women" would hardly be appropriate, here]. With this book, yet another declaration of independence has been issued. It's still the Discworld. A few known characters flit through cameo appearances - even if only virtually or even silently. One new persona emerges who will capture your attention, your sympathy, and, if you're not careful, your wallet.

If Moist van Lipwig has a personal Hell, its label is "Honesty". He's a confidence trickster, but we mustn't judge him too harshly for that. It's a career that any "businessperson" will identify with. Good Things are: a growing economy, minimal government interference while providing essential services and avoiding violence. Bad Things are: officials poking into private affairs, low profits and a soiled public image. Moist takes advantage of the Good Things while simply avoiding the Bad. He's been on the run for years, even while accumulating a stash of ill-gotten gains. A means of avoiding capture is being someone else. As this book opens one of his persona is facing hanging - which takes place.

Yet it wasn't Moist that died, but one of his aliases - Albert Spangler. With Spangler gone, it would seem Moist has a clear path to elsewhere to make a new start. Unfortunately for Moist, Ankh-Morpork's Patrician, Lord Vetinari, has other plans for him. Part of the scenario includes Moist being employed by Vetinari. Not only must he assume the mantle of honesty, he's now a Civil Servant!
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