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Monday, May 19, 2008

Making Money, Going Postal



I am grateful that I am able to read a few pages at a time of my chosen fiction each day to keep my mind from atrophying... baby-talk and toddler-talk are not easy habits to kick when one has a 3-yr-old and an infant... being a little sleep-deprived and operating on very little energy and patience, I find it a bit therapeutic to think about things other than poop and diaper rash and potty training :)

Anyway, I recently read two Terry Pratchett books back to back and wanted to write about them before I forget: Making Money , which is the sequel to Going Postal, relating the story of one of the brilliant characters T.P., has sketched out so far - viz., Moist von Lipwig.

Although loosely part of the Discworld series, these two are fairly stand-alone books that can be read without missing out on any intimate details of the fabulous fantasy series which... but wait, calling it a simple fantasy series doesn't do it justice really - the discworld books are brilliant parodies (or, "resonances") of anything and everything Pratchett fancies - from deep and profound themes to light and fanciful subjects.

Moist von Lipwig is the consummate confidence man - smooth, amiable, restrained enough not to let greed rip his mask out, and rather kind-hearted in his own odd way.

I got introduced to Moist von Lipwig in Going Postal. No, that is his real name, not one of his aliases as con-man, which makes perfect sense - I mean, would I remember Adam Spangler or Moist von Lipwig if he casually introduced himself to a gullible me he is trying to rip off?

Vetinari, the self-declared tyrant, patrician of the colorful city of Ankh-Morpork, seeing some potential in Moist that he can exploit, strong-arms Moist into going straight for a while at least and assigns him the almost impossible task of straightening out the Ankh-Morpork Post Office in Going Postal.

Adora Belle is another wonderful character in this series, who happens to be the woman Moist fancies, quite naturally - she is strong, independent, and quite an activist rescuing and emancipating golems all over.

Going Postal revealed Moist's character beautifully - he is just a bit lucky it would seem, but, then again, what is Luck if not the arrangement of right circumstances to achieve one's end? Moist manges to single-handedly turn around the decaying Ankh-Morpork post office through a series of bluffs and cons that pay off all too well. The description of the "clacks" system of sending messages - like telegraph, like the modern-day Internet - was absorbing and eye-opening about pioneer spirit and advancement of the technology-of-the-times, and how some visionaries, through sheer brilliance or luck, manage to bring it to every man.

Having successfully introduced stamps for the post office which become immensely popular and get elevated to a collector's item, and having tuned the Post Office to clock-work efficiency, Moist begins to feel bored and useless as he is no longer thinking on his feet trying to stay a step ahead of his detractors. That's where Vetinari comes in and throws a new challenge, making Moist the chairman of a major bank of Ankh-Morpork - rather, the owner of the chairman who happens to be a dog... and that's what Making Money is all about.

Moist is now faced with the challenge of cleaning up a major bank in his adopted city, only, he has no background in finance, and has never been part of Old Money to control the city's economics. Yet again, Moist rises to the challenge and this time introduces "paper currency", just like he introduced "stamps" in Going Postal, and tries to get people to think away from the gold reserves.

The intricate plot and clever satire are too hard for me to do any justice here in my review. Suffice it to say that it was very rewarding to read two wonderful books which at the surface may seem to address banal themes based on the sketch I've made above, but, which are certainly as profound and thought-provoking, not to mention chuckle-along- all-the-way funny and chaotic, as say Monstrous Regiment or Small Gods.

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2 Comments:

Blogger ~nm said...

Getting to do something besides donning the mommy cap is surely such a pleasure. It really makes you feel happy and as if you have achieved something really great!!

1:46 AM  
Blogger Paul Sears Photography said...

Thanks for the tip - Going Postal sounds like a great read! I'll check it out!

10:21 AM  

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