Government that works

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

I’ve been re-reading a handful of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels – of which Going Postal is one – that show a government that works. There’s political grandstanding, but never for long. The main feature of Ankh-Morpork is that its government works – it’s a mess, but shit gets done and it benefits the largest group of people. The reason that the grandstanding fails is that its been rigged by a group of elites who care more about their privileges than the mob. Beware the mob.

Going Postal is about the ins and outs of the post office and taking it from a non-functioning building full of undelivered letters to a working concern that quickly¬†moves information from one place to another. It’s funny and interesting – our hero is an energetic con artist, and the bad guys are the people unwilling to put in the maintenance to keep a system going.

It gives me patience and hope, honestly.

I assume Terry Pratchett wasn’t a royalist

Men at armsTerry Pratchett’s Discworld books are always about something. Men at Arms is about power, which is a thing I enjoy reading about. Corporal Carrot, you see, is the last heir to the Kings of Ankh-Morpork. The kings have not been in power for a very long time. A disgruntled elite who wants to be in power decides to attempt to remove the actual ruler of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari. (A person with whom you should not trifle.) There are other things that happen, there’s a murder mystery, but Mr Prachett ably weaves the various storylines together.

The world-building is good, the story is entertaining, royalty (spoiler!) does not make a comeback and everyone is largely ok with that in the end. And it’s all done with a light hand. Overall: a win.