SPOILERS Going Postal Discussion *Spoilers*

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Tonyblack

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#1
**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Going Postal in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!

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Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 2004



Introduction

Albert Spangler is dead, but Moist von Lipwig is very much alive and has just met an ‘angel’. All he has to do is get the Post Office running again. Of course he’s free to walk away at any time through that door in the corner.

Set a thief to uncover a nest of thieves led by a pirate. Is Moist up to the task and can he impress Adora Belle Dearheart at the same time?
--------------------------------------------

This is one of those books that seem to get better with each reading as is often the case with Terry’s books. Terry introduces us to a whole new bunch of characters and gives us even more detail of a favourite character, Ankh-Morpork itself.

There are some great ideas in here and some real parodies of events in our own world. But it’s a good book about a man who discovers who he really is and what he can achieve when he tries to do good.

But what did you think of it?
 

Beth

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Aug 18, 2009
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#2
I have to admit that I'm not very good at discussing books in writing. I can TALK about them forever. Going Postal is one of my favorite DW books. I find the character of Moist Von Lipwig to be a very engaging one. The story of his unexpected redemption I think strikes a strong chord. I also like the way Terry takes so called white collar crime to task. Somehow white collar crime has come to be viewed by many as some sort of moral criminal high road (they even have nicer prisons) which Terry shoots down very neatly. Moist has to face the fact that all these paper crimes he committed hurt some people a great deal. Made me think of the Enron situation of course. It's interesting that in order to be "good" Moist has to view it as a challenge, a dare of sorts. Meh. I'll chime in more later on. I've read it many times.
 
Dec 31, 2008
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#3
I'm interested in the UK cover picture. Is it a rip off of Star Wars? ;)

And is there a mistake on the US cover?
 

Tonyblack

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#4
poohbcarrot said:
I'm interested in the UK cover picture. Is it a rip off of Star Wars? ;)

And is there a mistake on the US cover?
Quite a few of Paul Kidby's covers are based on other artworks or are homages to other things such as movies. I'm pretty sure that Going Postal is an homage to this poster for Star Wars IV



And possibly that poster is also the inspiration for the poster for National Lampoon's Vacation:



I'm not sure what you mean about the mistake on the US cover - care to share your thought? :laugh:
 

Dotsie

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Jul 28, 2008
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#6
Standing on a rock with your weapon held aloft is a must for any aspiring hero



I enjoyed this book for the new views of A-M, but I'm not so sure about Moist. He really is difficult to remember. We don't know any more about his character or his motivation on the last page than on the first.
 

Jason

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Jul 10, 2008
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#7
I've not really got time to do this now but while it's in my head.

I've always thought that Moist and William de Worde are almost the same character but written from opposite directions. William is the one that wants to be better than his father and Moist becomes better by circumstance. Both strives to be better than they are.

I think that William can almost be seen as a prototype Moist as Moist seems to have more personality and flair.
 

Jan Van Quirm

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Nov 7, 2008
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#8
Still don't like him! :laugh:

That 'arrangement' of figures in the artwork goes back to the Renaissance or even earlier - nothing's new except they tended to put Jesus in it as often as not. Funny lot priests... :twisted:
 

Dotsie

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I had thought that as well, although in my case it was because neither of them seem to have much in the way of personality, they're just vehicles for the story.
 
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#12
Tonyblack said:
I'm not sure what you mean about the mistake on the US cover - care to share your thought? :laugh:
Much as I'd like to take credit, I can't, because it was actually swreader's thought.

If the picture is meant to depict Moist drowning in a pile of old letters in the post office, why are there stamps on all the letters? ;)

PS I don't recall anyone on the CA thread saying they disliked Moist.
 
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#13
Oh! By the way Tony, the parrot says 12 and a half %. Is there any connection between this and Reacher Gilt dressing as a pirate? ;)
 

Tonyblack

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#14
poohbcarrot said:
Oh! By the way Tony, the parrot says 12 and a half %. Is there any connection between this and Reacher Gilt dressing as a pirate? ;)
I'm glad you asked that Pooh! :laugh:

But I'm sure everyone here already knows that 12 and a half percent is an eighth. So the parrot is actually saying 'Pieces of eight!' just like Long John Silver's parrot (Captain Flint) in Treasure Island. ;)
 
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#15
Jan says she suffers mildly from "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder".

I have always suffered from "Obsessive Reading Disorder". :laugh: If I like an author I will read every book by that author. (The same with music CDs) This is why I have every TP book and every Robert Rankin book. When I was 10 I read my first Agatha Christie book - The murder of Roger Ackroyd. I then read every Agatha Christie book. When I was about 14, I read Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. I then proceeded to read every Asimov book.

Caves of Steel introduced the three laws of robotics to me. It starred R Daneel Olivaw, the robot who also invented (I think) the zeroth law - the 4th law of robotics. Here are the 3 laws;

1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

And here is the Zeroth law;

"A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm."

This 4th law over-rides the first 3 laws and gives robots the ability to harm humans if it's for the greater good of mankind.

Golems are the Discworld equivalent of robots (not slaves as some people think).

Early in the book, Vetinari tells Mr Pump to break one of Moist's fingers. Moist then quotes from the three laws of robotics saying "A Golem mustn't harm a human being or allow a human being to come to harm".
Mr Pump then explains to Moist that a "Zeroth-type" law had been added so they can't harm humans "Unless Ordered To Do So By Duly Constituted Authority".

I thought this was very funny :laugh:
 

Tonyblack

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Jul 25, 2008
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#16
That rewriting of the law was somewhat Orwellian to me as in "All animals are equal" with the later edition of "But some are more equal than others".

Laws can be rewritten and if you look at a golem as a robot then whatever Asimov might say, there's no reason that I can think of that a robot can't be reprogrammed.

Who makes the laws in robotics? Whoever does that can surely rewrite those laws.

And (he adds) the very word 'robot' comes from the Czech for 'slave', or so I understand.
 

Dotsie

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Golems are more than robots. Can't they overrule their own chem anyway? Does Dorfl (FoC) even have chem? (I can't remember)
 

Trish

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Apr 23, 2009
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#18
Tonyblack said:
poohbcarrot said:
Oh! By the way Tony, the parrot says 12 and a half %. Is there any connection between this and Reacher Gilt dressing as a pirate? ;)
But I'm sure everyone here already knows that 12 and a half percent is an eighth. So the parrot is actually saying 'Pieces of eight!' just like Long John Silver's parrot (Captain Flint) in Treasure Island. ;)
12 1/2% also denotes Gilt as a thief. Not a B&E, take the family silver away in a sack thief, but a legal thief.
Even Slant, the lawyer, can't charge more than every 1/6 of an hour (US), so Gilt "steals" twice as much as Slant and legally.

The rates bring up the question of usury. Forbidden to Christians throughout western Europe during the Middle Ages, usury was the sole province of the Jews because they were thought to be 'without souls' in the X-tian view.

Apply this non-soul bit to Gilt when Vetinari offers him his angel...


I don't like Moist. He is the stockbroker, the brokerage that swindles and smiles.
My family lost almost a quarter million to a fellow like Moist.
 
Dec 31, 2008
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#19
Dorfl has the receipt that Carrot paid one penny for him in his head - probably.
 

Tonyblack

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#20
If I remember correctly that was because he was given his own freedom. His chem was removed and he was able to think freely for the first time. Somewhat like a slave being given their freedom. :)
 

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