Discworld is a funny and very creative fantasy series written by Terry Pratchett. He has written some 40+ books in the series, all taking place on a flat disc floating in space on the backs of 4 elephants standing on the back of a huge turtle who swims through space. While being set in this fantasy world, Pratchett’s books comment on this world, our world. There are several story lines in this universe – the wizards, the witches, the watch, Death and more. This book is about Moist von Lipwig, a former conman whom we previously met in ‘Going Postal’.
As a Discworld fan, you know that things can’t go wrong when a book involves Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari and Moist von Lipwig. von Lipwig has the worst (or best) name and we’ve only had one book about him before, Going Postal, which I really liked. In that book, von Lipwig was saved from the gallows by Lord Vetinari who saw some potential in him. In Going Postal, he was given the task of saving the postal service and ended up re-inventing the whole system. When we meet up with him again in this one, he is bored out of his mind (not literally, although that could easily be the case in a Discworld novel). So he is breaking into his own office, climbing walls and picking locks to try to get some excitement in life.
Of course, Vetinari knows this. Vetinari knows everything. So he decides to introduce von Lipwig to Mrs Lavish, the lady in charge of the Royal Mint and the bank – and to the chair dog.
And luckily he does so (well, I’m not all that sure that Vetinari believes in luck), because shortly after this, Mrs Lavish dies – and her last will puts von Lipwig in charge of the bank and the Mint. As von Lipwig previously introduced stamps, he now sets out to introduce paper money because gold is a bit old-fashioned and not really necessary for modern banking. This of course does not go smoothly. Change never does. In this case, one of the issues is that the only artist clever enough to make the art for the new money, is about to be hanged – after von Lipwig himself has testified against him previously. Now, a hanging is not anything that stops anyone in Ankh-Morpork so this is just a minor incovenience that has to be dealt with.
The continuing struggle with the Lavishes, the owners of the bank, as well as Mr Bent, the Chief Cashier, who always dresses in black, never smiles, and is extremely good with numbers, is the main issues von Lipwig has to overcome; that, and Lord Vetinari who of course will not allow anyone to get too much power in his city. And when von Lipwig’s girlfriend suddenly shows up with a army of goblins, only von Lipwig can control, serious trouble arise!
In some ways, the plots of Discworld novels is only an excuse for Terry Pratchett to get to play with language. I simply adore reading the creative uses of language, he puts into the text every chance he gets. Writings like this: ‘I know exactly what you never said. You refrained from saying it very loudly.’ (p. 124) and ‘He’d reached the point where he was so wet that he should be approaching dryness from the other end.’ (p. 214) and ‘The only reason that her words came out at the speed of sound was that she couldn’t make them go any faster.’ (p. 314). Oh, and of course this one which reminds me of a quote from Doctor Who: ‘That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way.’ (p. 266)
I really liked this novel even though it was not quite as good as Going Postal – probably in part because it is somewhat the same story. But still, the additions of the chair dog Mr Fusspot and his very special rubber toy, Lord Vetinari and his crossword puzzles, the Department of Post-Mortem Communication at Unseen University, the Lavish family in it’s entirety and especially Cosmo and his Vetinari obsession, make this it’s own novel, quite capable of standing on it’s own two feet. And I’m definitely looking forward to Raising Taxes, the third von Lipwig novel, when that is published at some point.
Oh, and in the basement of the bank, there is something like this. Except the Discworld version is run by an Igor. And it isn’t just a model.
- Title: Making Money (Discworld #36)
- Author: Terry Pratchett
- Publisher:Corgi Books
- Year: 2008 (original 2007)
- Pages: 480 pages
- Source: Own Collection
- Stars: 4 stars out of 5
If you like Terry Pratchett, you might also like Neil Gaiman and China Miéville! Both have a way of writing that reminds me of Pratchett as well as somewhat similar ideas and themes.