Going Postal

By Terry Pratchett

I still buy every new Terry Pratchett as soon as it is published. Only… With this one, I hadn’t noticed until someone mentioned it on the rec.arts.sf.composition newsgroup. I must be losing my grip — or Terry Pratchett is losing his grip on me. That’s a possibility, too.

Going Postal is essentially exactly the same novel as The Truth. Young man goes and creates something, a big enterprise that changes the world. This version of that story is in fact most memorable for the fact that it is almost instantly forgettable and that it doesn’t invite re-reading either.

It isn’t Terry Pratchett’s trademark intrusive auctorial preaching, even, that makes Going Postal a bit dull. I don’t mind a good sermon, and I’m broad minded enough to admire a good sermon advocating a position I dislike, like Terry Pratchett’s particular brand of condescendingly superior humanism, and in any case, there is not more than a page or three, four, of connected sermon in this book.

It’s just that none of the people in the book start to really live, except maybe for the hangman. The protagonist is a bit dull, the love interest doesn’t get the good lines someone with her character sheet seems entitled to. The first villain, he could be interesting, but he gets short shrift, too.

I really don’t know what is going on in the 352 pages in the hardback edition. It’s not character development. It’s not couleur locale. It’s not exciting plot developments. I get the depressing feeling it’s mostly wordwooze. Sometimes the wooze is a bit funny, I did laugh two or three times, sometimes the wooze is slightly exciting, but I never got a good feeling about what it was that was exciting me.