Making Money by Terry Pratchett
Review by Joshua S Hill
Following on from his successful introduction of the character Moist von Lipwig, Terry Pratchett decided that he would bring the ex-con artist back in an attempt to restore the Ankh-Morpork Mint.
In short, Pratchett once again gets an entire book to have his way with the utilities and the running of a city.
The story once again follows Moist as he attempts to create something out of – not so much nothing – but rather, out of a mess of idiosyncratic employees, family feuds, creatures from the night and unhelpful citizens. And while some may say that this lampooning of city infrastructure is over the top, one can’t help but be reminded of the British TV show Yes Minister/Prime Minister. Because as over the top as it sounds, it’s probably not.
Moist is now the target of unhappy relations (not his) who are a little suspicious of a recent bequeathing that went Moist’s way. Now the owner of a dog who is the majority holder and subsequently the chairman of the Ankh-Morpork bank, Moist must attempt to bring the bank into the Century of the Anchovy. Thankfully, for story narratives sake, everyone is against him except for Vetinari, despite being happy to sit on the sidelines and watch.
This book once again shows Terry Pratchett’s prodigious ability to research and, more importantly, understand the finer intricacies of whatever he sets his mind too write about. One gets the feeling that, given the opportunity, Pratchett could very well set himself up as Post Master, dictator, Chief of Police, or in this case, Economic Guru (something we could have use of right now) and have no problem succeeding.
And though once again the realities have been spun around, turned on their head, and then promptly stashed in a heshen sack, thrown into a river and run over by a yachting race, there is still a scary grain (or barn full) of truth. The economic world in the Discworld is still at the mercy of magic and “science.” And the appearance of 4000 golden golems from ancient history, which will later become the basis for the Ankh-Morpork currency do tend to set this book apart from the rest.
But these are exactly the aspects of Pratchett’s writing that make him so brilliant.
Faced with a disc shaped world, riding through space on the back of four elephants who themselves are on the back of a giant space fairing turtle, Pratchett decided that he could still mimic Earth. Faced with witches, wizards, trolls, dwarves and every creature that haunted your cupboard or under your bed at night, Pratchett decided it was no different than multicultural London or Melbourne.
Pratchett doesn’t simply get better and better as he goes along. No, Pratchett long ago reached a pinnacle most writers would only dream of reaching, and has since stayed there writing books that over and over again rate 10 out of 10. Pratchett doesn’t need concern himself with other writers; he only has to contend with other books that he has written beating out the next book he sets his mind too.
Making Money is definitely a Pratchett book you have to have on your shelf. And though the book is entirely capable of standing on its own two feet, it’s much more fun if you’ve read other Ankh-Morpork related stories (especially Going Postal) beforehand.
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