Working the desk the other day, I was surprised and pleased with the appearance of “Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal”, on DVD. The movie reminded me of the charm of the offbeat series with its mix of humour, magic and great characters. Both the novel and the movie, follow the fate of Moist Von Lipwig a unscruplous con-man whose schemes have caused untold damage on the residents of the land of Ankh-Morpork. Finally caught, Moist is saved from the gallows on the condition that he must resurrect the Ankh-Morpork post office. Sadly, it seems the last four postmasters have died under mysterious circumstances and Moist is determined to save himself. The book follows Moist’s redemption as he solves the mystery of what happened to the previous postmasters, discovers his own abilities to do things for the good of others and falls in love. Like all the books in the series, there are wizards and magic, odd characters (in this case, golems and banshees) and evil villains to be vanquished.
While “Going Postal” is definitely a favourite, its best to begin your visit to Discworld at the beginning with the first novel “Colour of Magic”. The first book in the series introduces the mythology of Discworld, a world not too different from our own, if we actually had magic and were stuck in the early 19th century. Discworld sits at of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle and floating through outer space. There are few chapter divisions and the stories are frequently interwoven featuring characters original to Discworld mixed with other scenarios and characters taken from our mythology and fairy tales as well as references to Shakespeare, Tolkien, politics and pop culture. It’s been referred to “kitchen sink writing at it’s best” and part of the fun is to find all the references as you follow the plot.
While many characters, such as “Death” make reappearances throughout the novels, you can begin the series anywhere and enjoy.