I haven’t actually read fiction for such a long time, so thanks to Crystal for putting me up to a fantastic book. And I think it’s better to read the book with an understanding of monetary economics; only then can you understand the ingenuity of Moist’s soliloquy regarding money and potatoes, the deposits of Harry King, the caricature of the economist and the Glooper, and the golem standard. Also of interest is the fascinating madness of Cosmo Lavish, the subtle political theory of Lord Vetinari’s regime, and of course the authentic fantasy experience, replete with guilds and golems. I’m sure a lot of those idiots asking for a move away from fiat money back to the gold standard can, perhaps unironically, share the sentiments of Bent when he asks circularly what “guarantees” the gold. To be fair, Pratchett doesn’t cover inflation and I’d love to see him take on a financial crisis (he has tamed a bank run though).
Just some other thoughts about fiction. I realised just how much work reading the thing was. It is vaguely disturbing how I’ve instinctly come to prefer the instant wit of a Mitchell and Webb sketch over the more slow-building excitement of a good novel. The characters, all of them insufferably interesting! The Igors, Moist, the Lavishes and Mavolio Bent are just examples of characters which bring a narrative to life. There is just this depth in a novel that quicker forms of entertainment cannot match.
This is obviously not a book review, but if you’re wondering: “So Shi Hang, should I pick this up at the library and spend 4 days on a story about golems, dwarves and the 20th century history of money simplified”, the answer is yes.