AIBC: Going Postal: Theme and World

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Pratchett’s stories are tremendously fun comic romps, but there are serious themes beneath them. Sometimes he descends into theme-mongering, but in Going Postal, he deals with a light but still savage hand with the capitalist mindset that greed is good and only the strong survive. This is irony at it’s finest since protagonist Moist’s entire life is based on greed and duplicity and yet he’s the one who defeats the perfectly named Reacher Gilt and keeps communication in Ankh Morpork, if not free, then definitely flowing with efficiency and speed that is not hobbled by inefficiency and greed. (He goes on to have Moist save the banking system before it crashes in Making Money, predating the 2008 stock market crash by a year.) Continue reading

AIBC: Going Postal: Structure

00004-Going Postal

Pratchett puts forty pounds of story in a five pound bag and then tightens the string. How does he do that without descending into chaos (if he does; he kinda likes chaos)?

I think a lot of it is that he always remembers whose story he’s telling. This may story may go all over the place, but it goes all over the place following Moist, who is worthy of being followed. While it does have a classic doppelganger protagonist and antagonist, it also follows the classic doppelganger structure: the protagonist learns and the antagonist doesn’t, so as the protagonist arcs, the antagonist falls behind. In this story character is structure. Continue reading

AIBC: Going Postal: Character

00004-Going Postal

When you’ve got a protagonist named Moist Von Lipwig, character is obviously going to be a vivid part of your skill set.

Pratchett’s over-the-top satire is not for everybody, but I’d argue that his characters are universal even while being so far off center they’ve slipped over into a different reality (the one where the universe is a turtle with the world on its back). Continue reading