Seth's Reviews > Making Money

Making Money by Terry Pratchett
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's review
Dec 15, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: discworld, fantasy, sf-f-h
Read in October, 2007

Quite fun. Fairly typical of the non-major-character stories in the series, although Moist von Lipzwig might be becoming a major character. The plot is a simplification of Going Postal: Vetinari ropes Moist into leaving his post as Postmaster and taking over as Assistant to the chairman of the Bank of Ankh-Morpork. Seeing as the chairman is a lapdog, this puts him in charge. The family that has run the bank for generations doesn't like this, the bank manager doesn't like Moist, and a mad scientist in the basement with an Igor is about to Do Something.

Oh, and Moist's girlfriend Spike is stirring up trouble with the golems again and might be starting a war with the Low King. Which is actually kind of tame for her. On the plus side, there is a lecherous lich leering after her, so Moist gets to get jealous.

As with all the Vetinari-centered, non-major-character stories (and with about half of the Vimes stories), this one is about the city as a living character in and of itself, asking the same question governments have been struggling with for thousands of years: what makes something valuable, and how can we get control of it? Ankh-Morpork is on the gold standard, which is entirely too inelastic for Moist's view of the world, but no Discworld economist has proposed any alternative and people don't know whether they can trust money they can't block magic with.

The economic question of automation springs up again, although the take on it is from the other side than it was in The Truth: what if it isn't one craft that's reduced from an industry to a cottage craft but instead categories of unskilled labor? How does the ripple of economic change spread and how can it gain momentum instead of lose it. This is always presented to Moist in the negative sense: how his rash ideas that words and passions can save people more than sensibility and money can could destroy even Ankh-Morpork; it takes him a long time to see the flip side of that coin.

On the downside, this isn't really anything excitingly new for Discworld. I'll keep reading the same stuff from Pratchett forever--it's brilliant. But sometimes he rises above the (already high) crowd and gives us a Night Watch, or a Fifth Elephant; if the occasional Monstrous Regiment is the price we pay to get them, then I'm happy to pay it.

I did laugh out loud through this one, reading far too many lines to my girlfriend (who was waiting to read it after me), so it's great in that Discworld-is-funny way (unlike, say Monstrous Regiment or Thud), but it's one of those "wait for the coincidences to catch up and then for Vetinari to show that he's known it all along" books, which are just so-so in my opinion.

Well, well worth reading for the humor, but don't drop Night Watch for it.
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