If Making Money by Terry Pratchett is the first Discworld novel you read, the odds are that you’ll probably enjoy it. On the other hand if you’ve already read any of Terry Pratchett’s last ten Discworld novels, then you’ve already read Making Money. Discworld was never that groundbreaking of a series but increasingly Terry Pratchett has just fallen into writing Discworld novels that are minor variations of each other, all set in Ankh Morphork involving someone making some sort of modern day progress, encountering resistance from the old class structure and wackiness ensues.
It wouldn’t be so bad or so lazy if Making Money wasn’t just Going Postal with a few characters switched around, but it is. Moist Lipwig aka Albert Spangler moves from the post office to the mint and many of the same characters move along with him. There’s a plot and a conspiracy, Moist Lipwig has to do wacky things to modernize the mint the way he modernized the post office and Terry Pratchett delivers his usual lecture on modernization and in this case against the gold standard, no doubt disappointing the Ron Paul crowd.
But not only is Making Money the same novel as Going Postal, it’s actually a watered down version of Going Postal. In Making Money, Moist Lipwig faces no real opposition except from Cosmo Lavish, a silly character, more pathetic than menacing, who has clearly doomed himself a few pages in. Pratchett is too busy lecturing on modern finance and capital and making his little ironic observations to even seriously contemplate setting up a compelling plot, so by the time Making Money runs its course, the reader can’t help but realize that or he or she paid twenty something dollars for a mediocre version of the same novel they paid twenty minus something dollars for two years ago. There’s undoubtedly some financial irony in that but mostly it’s simply frustrating.