I stumbled upon this book at the library, and what a gem it is! Going Postal written by Terry Pratchett is the 33rd of the Diskworld novels, and I know I will need to read some more! I've not read fantasy for quite some time, but this is delightful. The story is set in a mechanical world (Diskworld) with believable characters in an environment where magic, time warps, vampires, golems (clay men who never sleep and are programmed to serve) and more exist. What really sold me on this book though was the humor, in site into human behavior, and a mechanical email system (called the Clacks). The Clacks is a system where people relay twitter length messages across many miles across the Grand Trunk (in our world the Internet) by moving a mechanical bit flipper (states are on or off, binary code). The people in the next clacks tower (in a high and dangerous position) visually pick up the message and relay it, and in that way the message travels, like the pony express galloping mail across the US. There was even the concept of a Clacks virus (there is no equivalent for Norton anti-virus) along with hackers.
I haven't stopped laughing. Even the characters names are funny - lets see, Moist Von Lipwig (the protagonist and a very cunning con man, who is trying to make the post office 'work'), Adora Belle Dearheart (a smart woman whose kiss is like kissing an ashtray, who runs a golum rental service, and who Moist would like to date) Reacher Gilt (the bad guy and head of the Grand Trunk), Tolliver Groat (a hardworking postman who smells like cough medicines and old potatoes), and my favorite, Mr Pump (a clay man who is Moist's parole officer, but used to be a pump in a very deep well for many centuries). Oh, and pigeons (and their dung) are prolific in the wreck of the post office, and there are other wonderful characters.
The final treat is that there is a UK DVD series dramatized, http://sky1.sky.com/going-postal. This is quite a fun web page to explore. And now, a trailer so you can see first hand what a golum looks like!
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