Jul 2, 2008

Making Money by Terry Pratchett (and BAFAB)

Moist Von Lipwig is back. After the events of Going Postal, he achieved the kind of peaceful contentment most men dream of. But Moist is not like most men. Routine doesn’t agree with him, and he finds himself seeking danger once again. He’s offered an opportunity to bring excitement back into his life when he's given the chance to take a position at one of Ankh-Morpork’s largest banks, and thus reinvigorate the city’s financial system. At first Moist hesitates, but when he becomes the guardian of one Mr Fusspot, the new four-legged chairman of the bank, he ceases to have a choice in the matter. It’s time for Moist to make some money.

One of the things Making Money is about is Ankh-Morpork’s transition to the fiat currency – a monetary system in which circulating money is not backed up by any specific commodity (in this case gold), but has the value society assigns it. And as customary with whatever subject he chooses to tackle, Terry Pratchett makes economics more interesting than I ever thought they could possibly be. The main reason for this is the fact that he approaches it from a very human angle. Making Money is about people, about how the economy affects their lives, about how they get used to change and react to things, and about the possible reasons why.

I am in awe of how many intelligent, wise, insightful, perceptive and interesting characters Terry Pratchett has created. Granny Weatherwax. Tiffany Aching. Granny Aching. Vimes, in his own way. Even Lord Vetinari, who I love more with each new book. And now Moist. It goes without saying that only someone absolutely brilliant could have come up with one of them, let alone all.

What I love about all these characters is that they understand how people work. And yet they don’t place themselves above others. Allow me to explain. The renowned Ankh-Morpork mob, for example, is not quite a mob – not in a dismissive or derogatory way. It’s rather a collection of people who think and feel, and yes, are influenced by the circumstances and by one another, and the way they are portrayed is satirical, but also so human. Moist Von Lipwig likes crowds. And he likes crowds not because he finds them sluggish and brainless and easily manipulated but because he actually likes people and enjoys understanding how they work. And this is the reason why he actually gets people to follow him with such ease.

There’s a scene in Making Money in which Moist goes out to test the first of the new paper money that perfectly illustrates the point I am clumsily trying to make. Hopefully those of you who are familiar with Discworld will know what I mean, and those of you who aren’t will be curious enough to want to find out.

Another thing I love about Discworld, and about Making Money in particular, is that there are no villains in the traditional sense of the word. In Making Monkey, we get to see Cosimo Lavish’s mind from the inside. Its workings, and the way it cracks, inspire pity above anything else. Again, and forgive me for repeating myself, he is portrayed so humanly.

I enjoyed Making Money even more than Going Postal. The books were actually more closely connected than I thought they would be, so I’d really recommend reading Going Postal before this one. Making Money had the elements that made Going Postal work so well plus a few extra ones. I was thrilled to see more of Adora Belle Dearheart and the Golem Trust. Have I mentioned how much I love Discworld Golems?

I also love Moist. I hope we get to see him raising taxes.

Other Blog Reviews:
Framed and Booked
Books & Other Thoughts
Magical and Colloquial

(Got any more? Let me know and I’ll add your link to this list)


It's Buy a Friend a Book Week again, and tanabata is giving two lucky winners the chance to pick a book from a very appealing list. To be entered, leave her a comment here until Saturday.

18 comments:

Lezlie said...

I just love the Discworld novels!

Lezlie

Confuzzled Books said...

Curious... I have only read Going Postal out of the Disc World series is this only other one he is in so far?

Confuzzled Books said...

He as in Moist? Sorry...

brideofthebookgod said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this and am really looking forward to reading it myself.

jenclair said...

I really want to read the Discworld novels, but there are so many! I guess I should just check publication dates...

DesLily said...

i know some day I'll get to the discworld books! *sigh*

Stephanie said...

I really have to start reading the Discworld books! I keep seeing your reviews, and it sounds like something I would love. But man, it's a daunting and confusing list.

Glad to see you like this one!

Melody said...

Me too! I haven't read any of the discworld books. Are they all part of a series? I think I'm confused, hehe.

I'm glad you enjoyed these books, Nymeth. :)

Laura said...

This might sound a bit odd, but for some reason, the word "moist" always gives me the creeps! Even though this sounds like an interesting book, I don't know if I could read an entire book with the main character having such a dreadful first name. Other than that, the story sounds very interesting. You always write such great reviews!

Cath said...

Must put this one on my *to get* list as it's one of half a dozen newer Pratchetts I haven't got or read. Lord Vetinari is one of my favourite characters. I actually wish there was a book all about him. And I always read his dialogue in Rowan Atkinson's voice for some odd reason - it just seems to fit. Excellent review.

bookchronicle said...

You commented that you were interested in Kelly Link and without knowing your feelings of reading books online, her latest is available for free: http://www.lcrw.net/kellylink/sth/.

While I've read (and adored) Making Money, I still need to pick up Going Postal.

ken said...

Great review (as usual!) - I tend to read the Discworld stories in fits and starts and you've just set me off on a new romp through Pratchett's universe...
If you HAD to pick one Discworld book as a favorite, what would it be - mine is "Guards! Guards!" (I LOVE Carrot Ironfoundersson and Lady Ramkin)...

Trish said...

Your review makes me want to read further and further into his work--how to keep up??? Great review, Nymeth.

Nymeth said...

Lezlie, as do I :)

Confuzzled Books: Yes, only this and Going Postal so far. There are plans for a third, Raising Taxes...let's keep our fingers crossed.

Brideofthebookgod: I look forward to seeing what you think :)

Jenclair: You will find this guide useful. The very first were the Rincewind novels, but I don't recommend starting with them. They are very different from the rest of the series. Starting with any of the other subseries would be fine. And I really do think you'll enjoy Discworld :)

Deslily: I'm glad to hear you plan on reading them!

Stephanie: I definitely think you'd love them! Like I was telling Jenclir, that reading order guide really helps.

Melody: It's a series, yes, but it has several subseries inside it, and basically all the novels have independent stories that are all set in the same universe. I know it sounds confusing, but it isn't, I promise :P

Laura: lol, we all have our little oddities. In that case I definitely wouldn't recommend this one :P And thank you, you're too kind :)

Cath: Thank you :) Lord Vetinari is one of my favourites too. I so wish there was a whole book about him! But there was quite a lot of him in this one, which made me very very happy.

Bookchronicle: Thank you for the link! I'll definitely read the e-book. I don't read e-books often for practical reasons (I like to carry my books around), but I do like the idea of them. I hope you enjoy Going Postal when you get to it :)

Ken, thank you :) Same here, actually. I've been known to go through 4 or 5 Discworld novels in a little over a week. And that's a though question, you know :P I'd probably answer differently if you were to ask me tomorrow, but I'll go with Reaper Man. It's funny, because to this day I still don't get the whole subplot involving supermarket carts...but the main story line is just so good that I don't care. Guards, Guards is a great choice too. I love Carrot as well :) I especially loved him in The Fifth Elephant.

Trish: I really think you'll continue to enjoy this series :)

Rhinoa said...

I enjoyed Going Postal and am looking forward to reading this and revisiting some fun new characters. I hope that the Patrician is in it a little bit again, he has become my favourite character. I wish Pratchett would write a book with him as the main character...

jpderosnay said...

i thought you'd like this! ;)

i really enjoyed it a lot too. its hard to compare with "going postal" 'cause although they are similar, of course, it felt to me that in GP pterry was somewhat more concerned with the structure and the setup of the postal system than in MM - if you know what i mean.

MM felt to me, somehow, freeer (oh dear... "freeer"? well, free-er seems even stupider ("stupider"?!)).

but yeah, it felt in MM as if he was having a bit more fun, almost like moist he was flying at the seat of his.

and i loved LOVED that bonkers guy who wanted to be vetinari! :D

and you're so right about the wisdom of the man. more and more he is getting respect and a lot of social critics are taking him more seriously. they say that if his novels didn't have such a fantastical setting then he'd be taken a lot more seriously.

but yeah, he is wise. he understands people so well, doesn't he. i saw the whole invention of the note as quite an education, to be honest!

Nymeth said...

Rhinoa: I really wish he would too. But there's lots of Patrician in this one!

JP: lol, not surprising, is it? And I see what you mean, especially about him having more fun. And yes, the bonkers guy was so well written! He was awesome in a scary and pitiable sort of way. Terry is indeed wise, and the people who shun him because his books are fantasy are so missing out. I'm glad we're not among them :P

SIbylle said...

One of the things Making Money is about is Ankh-Morpork’s transition to the fiat currency – a monetary system in which circulating money is not backed up by any specific commodity (in this case gold), but has the value society assigns it. And as customary with whatever subject he chooses to tackle, Terry Pratchett makes economics more interesting than I ever thought they could possibly be. The main reason for this is the fact that he approaches it from a very human angle. Making Money is about people, about how the economy affects their lives, about how they get used to change and react to things, and about the possible reasons why.

Completely agree with you here. I love that he tackles such things. I'm a huge fan of philosophy and when it's wonderful to see this talked about in a novel that's at the same time so deeply entertaining. I read part of Nation (sadly I had to give up on this one, it's so different from any other Pratchett I've tried and I couldn't finish it) and at some point they talk about how meaningless gold is and how its value was only agreed upon because it's rare but in itself it's got no value per se. They were comparing it with bread - how bread has value because it's food that can be consumed as is but that gold is nonetheless much more expensive even though it's much less useful.

I just love that he explores those things and basically goes at the very bottom of things with the help of a flawless narrative. Terry Pratchett is a complete author - yes it's entertaining but it's also incredibly thought-provoking and I love him for that. We're very lucky to have him.

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