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Encyclopedia > Going Postal
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Memorial of the 1986 post office incident in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Memorial of the 1986 post office incident in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Going postal is an American English slang term, used as a verb meaning to suddenly become extremely and uncontrollably angry, possibly to the point of violence. The term derives from a series of incidents from 1986 onward in which United States Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, fellow workers, and members of the police or general public. Between 1986 and 1997, more than 40 people were killed in at least 20 incidents of workplace rage. Following this series of events, the idiom entered common parlance and has been applied to murders committed by employees in acts of workplace rage, irrespective of the employer; and generally to describe fits of rage, though not necessarily at the level of murder, in or outside the workplace. This article is about the violent social phenomenon. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (951x1425, 219 KB) Memorial of the August 20, 1986 post office killing spree that left 15 dead, including the shooter. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (951x1425, 219 KB) Memorial of the August 20, 1986 post office killing spree that left 15 dead, including the shooter. ... Edmond is a rapidly growing suburban city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma in the central part of the state. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Slang (disambiguation). ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ...

Contents

Earliest citation

This term first appeared in print on December 17, 1993 in the St. Petersburg Times. December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Logo of the St. ...

"The symposium was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which has seen so many outbursts that in some circles excessive stress is known as "going postal." Thirty-five people have been killed in 11 post office shootings since 1983." Some USPS workers do not approve of the term "going postal" and have made attempts to stop people from using the saying. Others feel it has earned its place appropriately.

For the Jimi Hendrix song, see 1983. ...

List of postal shootings

Incidences of going postal. ...

Notable postal shootings

Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986

On August 20, 1986, 14 employees were shot and killed and six wounded at the Edmond, Oklahoma, post office by a postman, Patrick Sherrill, who then committed suicide with a shot to the forehead.[1] is the 232nd day of the year (233rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... Edmond is a rapidly growing suburban city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma in the central part of the state. ... Patrick Sherrill - first to go postal Patrick Henry Sherrill was a US Postal Service employee who, on August 20, 1986 in Edmond, Oklahoma, shot and killed 14 employees at his work place before turning one of his several guns on himself and committing suicide. ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ...


Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1991

On October 10, 1991, Joseph Harris shot and killed four people, including his former boss and two other USPS employees a year after being fired.[2] is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Royal Oak, Michigan in 1991

On November 14, 1991 in Royal Oak, Michigan, Thomas McIlvane killed five people, including himself, with a Ruger 10/22 rifle in Royal Oak's post office, after being fired from the Postal Service for "insubordination." He had been previously suspended for getting into altercations with postal customers on his route. [3] is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar. ... The Star Dream by Marshall Fredericks in downtown Royal Oak Royal Oak is a city in Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. ... The Ruger 10/22 is a semi-automatic rimfire rifle chambered for the . ...


Double event in 1993

Two shootings took place on the same day, May 6, 1993, a few hours apart. At a post office in Dearborn, Michigan, Lawrence Jasion wounded three and killed two (including himself). In Dana Point, California, Mark Richard Hilburn killed his mother, then shot two postal workers dead.[4][citation needed] is the 126th day of the year (127th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Location in Michigan Coordinates: , Country United States State Michigan County Wayne County Government  - Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. ... Location of Dana Point within Orange County, California. ...


Montclair, New Jersey in 1995

Christopher Green was sentenced to two life prison terms, plus 25 years, for murdering four men and wounding a fifth during a $5,100 robbery at a tiny neighborhood post office in Montclair, New Jersey, on March 21.[citation needed] Montclair is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. ... is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Goleta, California, in 2006

Jennifer San Marco, a former postal employee, killed six postal employees before committing suicide with a handgun, on the evening of January 30, 2006, at a large postal processing facility in Goleta, California.[5] Jennifer San Marco (born 1961, in Brooklyn, New York; died January 30, 2006 in Goleta, California) was a postal worker who embarked on what could be the deadliest workplace shooting in the United States committed by a woman. ... A Browning 9 millimeter Hi-Power Ordnance pistol of the French Navy, 19th century, using a Percussion cap mechanism Derringers were small and easily hidden. ... is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Also in Spanish, Goleta means schooner. ...


Police later also identified a seventh victim dead in a condominium complex in Goleta, California where San Marco once lived.[6]


According to media reports, the Postal Service had forced San Marco to retire in 2003 because of her worsening mental problems. Her choice of victims may have also been racially motivated; San Marco had a previous history of racial prejudice, and tried to obtain a business license for a newspaper of her own ideas, called Racial Times, in New Mexico. Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Official language(s) None Spoken language(s) English 68. ...


This incident is believed to be the deadliest workplace shooting ever carried out in the United States by a woman.[7][8]


Analysis

Researchers have found that the homicide rates per 100,000 workers at postal facilities were lower than at other workplaces. In major industries, the highest rate of 2.1 homicides per 100,000 workers was in retail. The next highest rate of 1.66 was in public administration, which includes police officers. The homicide rate for postal workers was 0.26 per 100,000. The most dangerous occupation: taxi driving, with a homicide rate of 31.54 per 100,000 workers.[citation needed]


However, not all murders on the job are directly comparable to "going postal". Taxi drivers, for example, are much more likely to be murdered by passengers than by their peers. Working in retail means one is exposed to store robberies.


Satirical references

  • The computer game Postal takes its name from the expression "going postal", even resulting in a trademark lawsuit from the United States Postal Service.
  • An episode of "The X Files" entitiled "Blood" features a postal employee who snaps after submission to thousands of subliminal messages. He goes up into the clock tower of a local university and begins firing down on people with an assault rifle, (bearing a close resemblance to Charles Whitman).
  • In Seinfeld, when asked about why post office workers snap, Newman, who works as a mailman, responds, "Because the mail never stops". He continues to go on a rant until he is jolted to a stop by Cosmo Kramer.
  • In the fifth season episode of The Simpsons "Homer Loves Flanders", Flanders has a fantasy scene where he opens fire from a tower, like Charles Whitman. When one of his bullets strikes near a mailman, the man responds by pulling an assault rifle out of his work bag and firing back. In another episode, "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday", a postal worker assures Bart that the days of the "gun-toting" postal worker "went out with the Macarena". Hearing this, Principal Skinner expresses his relief that he works in a public school.
  • In an episode of Dexter's Lab, there was a villain called "The Disgruntled Postman" who was foiled by Major Glory before he could affix a stamp to a bomb which he would send to the White House to blow up. The Disgruntled Postman actually resembled the DC Animated Universe version of The Joker.
  • In the episode of Rocko's Modern Life called "Commute Sentence", a postal worker on a subway car claims he is becoming "disgruntled", causing everyone to flee in terror. This turns out to be a ruse so he could get some "swinging room".
  • In the film Jumanji, the character of Van Pelt, a sadistic 19th century safari hunter played by Jonathan Hyde, goes to a gun store to buy ammunition for his old hunting rifle, but winds up with a more modern automatic rifle. To get used to this new firearm, he takes aim at a person on the street. The owner of the gun shop worriedly asks, "You're not a postal worker, are you?" Van Pelt simply looks at him, puzzled.
  • In the film Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, at the beginning (when there is a satire of The Untouchables), Frank hears a voice (off-camera) that shouts '"Oh, my God! Look! It's disgruntled postal workers.". Then, he looks at the entrance of the train station and sees many workers going postal, shooting blind with machine guns and submachine guns.
  • In Office Space, when Ron Livingston is at Chotchkie's complaining about his job to his co-workers, he remarks "Boy, I'll tell ya, some days... One of these days it's just gonna be like... " while mimicking the sound of a machine gun and firing an imaginary one.
  • In Soul Plane, Tom Arnold converses with Karl Malone about their years playing high school basketball. After Tom said he "sucked", Karl threatened him, to which Tom humorously replied: "What are you going to do? Go all...Postal on me, Mr. Mailman?". ("The Mailman" is Karl Malone's nickname)
  • In an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway?, during a skit revolving around a post office, Colin Mochrie asks Wayne Brady what training he has to become a postal worker. Brady cocks an imaginary gun and says "I'm an expert marksman". In addition, during another skit set at a post office, Wayne pretends to play a guitar, which agitates Colin. He grabs the guitar, then pretends to smash the guitar first over his leg, then over Wayne's head. Wayne gasps in surprise, then pretendedly walks over to a cabinet and opens a door. He grabs an invisible gun, cocks it, and walks back over to Colin and Ryan Stiles with an angry look on his face. Colin and Ryan hesitantly join in Wayne's singing.
  • In the computer game Duke Nukem 3D, the 6th level of Episode 4: The Birth is called "Going Postal."
  • In the pilot episode of the comedy TV show MAD TV, the opening joke shows two executives traveling all over L.A. to get cast members for MAD TV. One of them, played by Phil LaMarr, is a mailman who is just walking out of a building with a submachine gun and screaming at people around him. A later sketch portrayed three separate postal workers deciding to "go postal" on the same day and arguing about who would be allowed to do it, before being interrupted by a fourth armed man, whom they shoot when they realise he is not a postal worker but an armed robber. The sketch concludes with the three postal workers shown on the front page of a newspaper applauded as heroes.
  • The Discworld novel Going Postal revolves around the reopening of the postal service in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork where employment really can do funny things to your head as evidenced by several, if not all, employees.
  • In a Ctrl+Alt+Del comic, a worker at the "United Piñata Postal Service" snaps, and kills its fellow workers with a baseball bat.[9]
  • In the video game True Crime: Streets of L.A., the dispatcher says that there is a disgruntled postal worker holding a person hostage.
  • In the film Jingle All the Way, the mailman character threatens to bomb some officers. He proves his insanity by claiming, "And I work for the Post Office so you know I ain't stable!"
  • In the computer game Chaos Overlords, one of the gangs for hire is composed of disgruntled postal workers.
  • In an episode of Deadliest Catch, when a crew member's coat is ripped by a tote on deck, the tote is tossed overboard and riddled with a full clip of bullets by the crew member. The narrator refers to this action as "going postal".
  • In an episode of Late Night with David Letterman, during a multiple choice quiz bit, there was a question where David Letterman played some stock footage of children playing with toy guns. The question: "What are these children playing? 1) Cowboys and Indians; 2) Cops and Robbers; 3) Mailman."
  • In an episode of King Of The Hill, Hank as a 41 time Employee Of The Month is allowed to hire a new accessories associate. After several missteps Hank fires his new hire Leon, Hank's boss Buck Strickland warns that Leon could comeback and "light the place up." The next day Joe Jack runs in claiming that Leon was in the parking lot looking Disgruntled. Later in the same episode Leon is replaced by an attractive woman named Maria whom Hank passed on earlier with resentment from his wife Peggy. Peggy upon finding this out appears in the parking lot looking Disgruntled.
  • In the film My Fellow Americans, Jack Lemmon and James Garner are discussing an insane NSA agent, wondering "why isn't he in the Postal Service where he belongs?"
  • In The Riches season one finale, Davie Panetta, carrying a water gun, walks into Wayne's office, and shoots him in the crotch of his Khaki pants. Hugh promptly walks in and says, "Don't go all postal on me there."
  • In an episode of Married...With Children (I Want My Psycho Dad, Part 2) while being shot at in a hotel, one of Al's (Officer Dan) friends fired back out into the street and commented "Damn postal workers".
  • In the movie Demon Knight, Irene and Deputy Bob find a trunk loaded with weapons, and learn that Wally, a postal worker killed by a possessed Cordelia, had been planning to attack the post office.
  • In the PC game Dark Forces the code "LAPOSTAL" unlocks all weapons.
  • The film He Was a Quiet Man revolves around a disillusioned office worker with ideas of murdering his co-workers, a fellow co-worker then "goes postal" and shoots up the office before the lead does. The lead then stops the shooter by killing him with the gun he himself planned to use to kill his co-workers.
  • In the pilot episode of the television series Seven Days, the russian terrorist whose plan is foiled by the hero is said to be "a disgruntled postal worker" as a cover up.

Postal is an ultraviolent and controversial computer game made by Running With Scissors and published by Ripcord Games in 1997. ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ... X-Files intro from first 8 seasons The X-Files was a popular 1990s American science fiction television series created by Chris Carter. ... This article is about the tower sniper. ... Seinfeld is an Emmy Award-winning American sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989 to May 14, 1998, running a total of 9 seasons. ... Newman is a recurring character on the television show Seinfeld, played by Wayne Knight from 1991 until the shows finale in 1998. ... Cosmo Kramer is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), played by Michael Richards. ... Simpsons redirects here. ... Homer Loves Flanders is the sixteenth episode from the fifth season of The Simpsons. ... This article is about the tower sniper. ... The AK-47 is the worlds most common assault rifle. ... Sunday, Cruddy Sunday is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons tenth season. ... Macarena is a song by Los del Río about a woman of the same name. ... School shooting is a term popularized in American and Canadian media to describe gun violence at educational institutions, especially the mass murder or spree killing of people connected with an institution. ... Dexters Laboratory (Dexters Lab for short) is an American animated series created by Genndy Tartakovsky. ... For other uses, see White House (disambiguation). ... An image of many of the DCAU heroes. ... Rockos Modern Life was an Emmy-nominated American animated series created by Joe Murray that aired for four seasons from 1993 to 1996. ... Jumanji is a 1995 feature film directed by Joe Johnston and based on Chris Van Allsburgs popular 1982 book, Jumanji. ... Jonathan Hyde (born May 21, 1947) is an Australian-born English stage actor. ... Heckler & Koch G41 automatic rifles are legal in asutralia an america with lisence An automatic rifle is a term generally used to describe a self-loading rifle capable of firing either semi or fully-automatically from a magazine or belt of ammunition. ... The Untouchables is a 1987 film, directed by Brian De Palma, based on the 1959 ABC television series, which, in turn, was based on Eliot Nesss autobiographical account of his efforts to bring Al Capone to justice. ... A machine gun is a fully-automatic firearm that is capable of firing bullets in rapid succession. ... A submachine gun is a firearm which combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the ammunition of a pistol, and is between the two in weight and size. ... Office Space is an American comedy film written and directed by Mike Judge. ... Ronald Joseph Livingston (born June 5, 1967) is an American film and television actor. ... Soul Plane is a comedy motion picture from MGM, released in the United States on May 28, 2004 (see 2004 in film). ... Tom Arnold is the name of: Tom Arnold (actor), an American actor. ... Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963) is a retired American professional basketball player. ... Whose Line Is It Anyway? (sometimes shortened to Whose Line? or abbreviated as WLIIA?) is a short-form improvisational comedy TV show. ... Wikinews has related news: Comedian Colin Mochrie to host Canadian 5th Grader game show Colin Andrew Mochrie (born November 30, 1957) is a Scottish-Canadian actor and improvisational comedian. ... Wayne Alphonso[1] Brady (born June 2, 1972 in Orlando, Florida) is an Emmy-winning American comedian, singer and television personality, known for his role on the ABC television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and for his daytime talk show, The Wayne Brady Show. ... A US Marine marksman. ... Ryan Lee Stiles (born April 22, 1959) is an Emmy-nominated American actor and comedian, whose work is often associated with improvisational comedy. ... Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter computer game developed by 3D Realms and published by Apogee Software. ... Mad TV has three meanings: MADtv — a TV series. ... Phillip Phil LaMarr (born January 24, 1967) is an American actor, comedian and prolific voice actor as well as one of the original cast members on the sketch comedy series MADtv. ... This article is about the violent social phenomenon. ... This article is about Ctrl+Alt+Del, the webcomic. ... Four historically significant baseball bats showcased in the National Baseball Hall of Fames traveling exhibit Baseball As America. ... Jingle All the Way (1996) is a comedy film directed by Brian Levant and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. ... Chaos Overlords is a turn-based strategy computer game developed by Stick Man Games and published by New World Computing for Microsoft Windows and classic Mac OS in 1996. ... Deadliest Catch is a documentary-style television series that documents the events aboard fishing boats in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and Opilio crab fishing seasons. ... A totalisator or totalizator (tote board in common parlance) is the name for the computerised system which runs parimutuel betting, calculating payoff odds, displaying them, and producing tickets based on incoming bets. ... Late Night with David Letterman was a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC hosted by David Letterman. ... David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947, in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.) is an Emmy Award-winning American television host and comedian. ... This article is about the television program. ... My Fellow Americans was a 1996 movie starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner as feuding ex-presidents. ... John Uhler Lemmon III (February 8, 1925 – June 27, 2001), better known as Jack Lemmon, was a two-time Academy Award and Cannes Award-winning American actor and comedian. ... For other uses, see James Garner (disambiguation). ... For other uses of NSA, see NSA (disambiguation). ... The Riches (styled as The Rı¢hes in promotional material) is an Emmy Award-nominated FX television series starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver. ... List of The Riches episodes Waiting For Dogot is the thirteenth episode and finale of the first season of the FX drama series The Riches. ... Khaki is a common material in military uniforms Khaki is a type of fabric or the colour of such fabric. ... Married. ... Alphonse Hercules Bundy (born ca. ... Demon Knight (also known as Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight) is a 1995 horror film directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, and stars Billy Zane, William Sadler, and Jada Pinkett Smith. ... Star Wars: Dark Forces is a video game produced by the LucasArts Entertainment Company. ... He Was a Quiet Man is an upcoming 2007 drama film, written and directed by Frank Capello. ...

References

  1. ^ On August 20, 1986, a part-time letter carrier named Patrick H. Sherrill, facing possible dismissal after a troubled work history. Retrieved on 2007-09-12.
  2. ^ "1991: A former postal worker commits mass murder". 
  3. ^ "Ex-Postal Worker Kills 3 and Wounds 6 in Michigan". Retrieved on 2008-02-26. 
  4. ^ Gregory K. Moffatt, Blind-Sided: Homicide Where It Is Least Expected, at 37 (2000).
  5. ^ "Ex-Employee Kills 6 Others and Herself at California Postal Plant", 2006-02-01. 
  6. ^ "Death Toll in Calif. Postal Shooting Rises: Calif. Sheriff's Deputies Say Woman Accused in Post Office Killings May Have Also Shot Her Former Neighbor". 
  7. ^ "Seven dead in California postal shooting", 2006-01-31. 
  8. ^ "US ex-postal employee kills six", 2006-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Civil Servant", 2006-10-28. 
  1. Bob Dart, "'Going postal' is a bad rap for mail carriers, study finds", Austin American-Statesman, September 2, 2000[citation needed]

Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 57th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...

Bibliography

  • Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond is the title of a book by Mark Ames, which examines the rise of office and school shootings in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, and compares the shootings to slave rebellions. (ISBN 1-932360-82-4)
  • Going Postal is also the title of a book by Don Lasseter, which examines the issue of workplace shootings inside the USPS (ISBN 0-7860-0439-8).
  • Lone Wolf, by Pan Pantziarka is a comprehensive study of the Spree killer phenomenon, and looks in detail at a number of cases in the US, UK and Australia. (ISBN 0-7535-0437-5).

A photograph of Mark Ames from an eXile article Mark Ames (1965-) is a Moscow-based American journalist and editor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A spree killer, also known as a rampage killer, is someone who embarks on a murderous assault on his victims in a short time in multiple locations. ...

See also

Incidences of going postal. ... Below is a list of incidents that are commonly labeled as massacres by reliable sources. ... Media:Example. ... Road rage or road violence is the common name for deliberately dangerous and/or violent behaviour under the influence of heightened anger by a motor vehicle operator that affects the safety of one or more other operators or bystanders. ... A spree killer, also known as a rampage killer, is someone who embarks on a murderous assault on his victims in a short time in multiple locations. ... Postal is an ultraviolent and controversial computer game made by Running With Scissors and published by Ripcord Games in 1997. ...

External links

  • Copycat Effect- review of Coleman's book on tendency of publicity about mass deaths to provoke more with section on postal shootings
  • USPS's campaign against the use of this phrase. (See articles with "Going Postal" in the title)
  • Gun advocate website listing 1986-1997 incidents
  • 2000 Report of the United States Postal Service Commission on a Safe and Secure Workplace (Report that called "going postal" 'a myth')
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the report's release

  Results from FactBites:
 
Going postal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1214 words)
Going postal is an American English slang term, used as a verb meaning to become extremely angry, possibly to the point of violence.
Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond is the title of a book by Mark Ames, which examines the rise of office and school shootings in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, and compares the shootings to slave rebellions.
Going Postal is also the title of a book by Don Lasseter, which examines the issue of workplace shootings inside the USPS (ISBN 0-7860-0439-8).
Boing Boing: Pratchett's "Going Postal": Graft, hackers, and a semaphore Internet (387 words)
I'm a sucker for stories about cons and graft (see my review of the canonical text in the field), and Going Postal revolves around a fantastic and daring series of cons that are by turns nail-bitingly tense and gut-wrenchingly funny.
Going Postal's mcguffin is the "clacks," a system of mechanical semaphore towers that have been strung across the continent in a kind of primitive telegraph/Internet.
Pratchett completely nails the pioneering spirit, hacks, grift, and ingenuity present at the birth of every network, and his accounts of the technical workings of the clacks are nearly as gripping as classic real-world accounts of hacking derring-do.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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