The Postman, The
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Gordon Krantz survived the Doomwar only to spend years crossing a post-apocalypse United States looking for something or someone he could believe in again. Ironically, when he's inadvertently forced to assume the made-up role of a "Restored United States" postal inspector, he becomes the very thing he's been seeking: a symbol of hope and rebirth for a desperate nation. Gordon goes through the motions of establishing a new postal route in the Pacific Northwest, uniting secluded towns and enclaves that are starved for communication with the rest of the world. And even though inside he feels like a fraud, eventually he will have to stand up for the new society he's helping to build or see it destroyed by fanatic survivalists. This classic reprint is not one of David Brin's best books, but the moving story he presents overcomes mediocre writing and contrived plots. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
A major motion picture from Warner Bros., directed by and starring Kevin Costner.
Critical acclaim for David Brin and The Postman:
"The Postman will keep you engrossed until you've finished the last page."--Chicago Tribune
"Brin is a bold and imaginative writer."--The Washington Post Book World
From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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I would suspect that a lot of people form their opinion of this story from the way the movie played out. The book is a much more detailed and effective story. There are more characters that are reasonably complex and believable. There are also a number of communities, or regions, that factor into the book itself and the author does a good job of explaining the dynamic of the world that the Postman is living in. In the movie, General Bethlehem notes that "this is a feudal system", but the book makes it clear that civilization (at least on the west cost of the former USA) has reverted to a more primitive form of governance, without having to come out and say it. A written story is often so much more effective than a story told through film. That is the case with this story.
THE POSTMAN is set sixteen years after a cataclysmic event (presumably a nuclear war although there is room for speculation that it may have been some other disaster such as a large comet hitting the earth) has plunged the world to the brink of a dark age. Trying to survive in Oregon's Cascade Mountains, Gordon Krantz happens upon a run-down United States Postal Service jeep while trying to find a warm place to sleep and spends the night. Taking the leather jacket and cap off the skeleton of his unfortunate bunk-mate, with the full regalia of the U.S. Postal Service as accoutrements, and a sack full of old mail, Gordon sets off to hunt supplies. Thus begins Gordon's almost unconscious generation of a false legend.
Attempting to extort supplies from settlement in the mountains, Gordon comes up with a story about a "Reformed United States" to the east and the reorganization of a Postal Service. Using his newly acquired postal gear as props, Gordon takes upon himself the role of a "postal inspector" who has come to reestablish postal routes and "inspect" local governmental institutions. He even, luckily, comes up with a few letters from the mailbag addressed to relatives of people in the community as a ruse to bolster is story. Through this reckless prevarication Gordon weaves his way into the good graces of the people he comes into contact with, simply by being a catalyst to their nostalgic remembrance of a time when the United States was a superpower and the postal service was so reliable as to be taken for granted. Gordon's "big lie" offers hope of a return to better times.
Traveling around in this persona, Gordon lets the legend grow, even appointing "postal inspectors" in various areas as he goes along, creating a loyal cadre of "followers".Read more ›
"The Postman" fancies itself an ideological novel, and Brin lays it on thick. Gordon's search for meaning is unceasing, and unceasingly discussed. While his crusade is at first sympathetic, it quickly wears thin under the novel's weight as, instead of developing Gordon's character, Brin attributes his every decision to the increasingly desctructive cause.
More than just lazily written, "The Postman" can be frustratingly immature. The protagonist's - and the book's - tone toward technology is plausible for the young college student Gordon once was, but inappropriate for a middle-aged man whose life and country have been destroyed by a machine society. Brin's version of feminism seems designed to win bonus points with female fans, but its heavy-handedness and condescension are no less alienating than outright sexism. These flaws, combined with Brin's broad-stroked, barely-serviceable prose, undermine any serious reader's enjoyment.
But "The Postman" is appealing nonetheless. It's easy to get into, and the action sequences are freqent and page-turning.Read more ›
Gordon Krantz is a lone wanderer, surviving by moving from village to village as a storyteller and minstrel. He finds a dead postal worker's skeleton in the woods and co-opts his clothing to stay warm. With the bag of postage, he hits upon a scam of representing himself as a postal inspector of the "Restored United States," sent to establish post offices in each town and re-establish mail service. He is surprisingly embraced everywhere he travels because of people's thirst for community and communication... and hope. He unwittingly becomes a victim of his own scam and is reluctantly thrust into a leadership role in reuniting Oregon, and by implication the rest of the nation in the future. Along the way, he discovers the way each town coped with the aftermath of the war, makes various friendships, falls in love, and leads the war against the rogue survivalists from the south.
I quite enjoyed this novel and found it uplifting in the message of a regular man who had greatness thrust upon him and came to realize that he had to take responsibility. The movie, starring Kevin Costner, is also good but diverges a good bit from the book, especially in the second half. As is often the case, the book is better.
Most recent customer reviews
I quite liked this post-apocalyptic book -- much better than the movie (isn't the book always better than the movie?).Published 8 months ago by E. Andres
An interesting little read, the film version does this book no justice.Published 11 months ago by AJ
I wouldn't buy them if I didn't want them. Always good. Especially this author. I need to add more words so. There.Published 20 months ago by Paul Mayall
If all you know about this book is the Costner movie you need to clear your palate.
There is a reason this story has stood the test of time for as long as it has. Read more
There are very few Armageddon tales that are as well constructed as this one is. 'The Handmaid's Tale", the trend-setting "We" and "A Canticle for Leibowitz" while also being well... Read morePublished on Dec 8 2011 by Ronald W. Maron
I was looking forward to another nightmare realistic version of the apocalypse this book did not deliver. Super Soilders, a computer that talks to people. Read morePublished on April 29 2009 by Reads bookman
I loved this book when I read it the for the first time 10 years ago. It's a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel as it shows you how the world could look after a nuclear... Read morePublished on April 26 2008 by K.P.
You know, without having to look at Kevin Costner, this is a pretty good story. I haven't seen the movie, but I have read many other books by David Brin, and they've all been... Read morePublished on July 19 2004 by Eric D. Austrew