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The Postman Mass Market Paperback – November 3, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Review

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
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Spectra; Reprint edition (November 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553278746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553278743
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David's latest novel - Existence - is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers... a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin's 1989 ecological thriller - Earth - foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of "The Universe" and History Channel's "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife and three children.

You can follow David Brin:
Website: http://www.davidbrin.com/
Blog: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidBrin
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/cab801

Customer Reviews

Although the movie was good, the book was better.
S. Moore
Unfortunately the second half of the book devolved into something that could only be saved by deus ex machina - which is exactly what happened.
Joe Burks
This is a good modern classic Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi story.
J. Kimbrough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By C W Breaux on January 4, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In David Brin's postapocalyptic novel, The Postman, the civilized world has been destroyed by a brief nuclear war and the ensuing nuclear winter, diseases, and barbarism. Set in what used to be Oregon, remnants of civilization exist in small independent towns inhabited by survivors and their offspring eking out a living through agriculture and trades.
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.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At one point in David Brin's "The Postman," the narrator intones: "Gordon's appointed postmasters would continue lying without knowing it, using the tale of a restored nation to bind the land together, until the fable wasn't needed anymore. Or until, by believing it, people made it come true." There is more than a touch of William James here, of making it so by believing in it, of the "Will to Believe." Certainly, Kevin Costner's movie version demanded a heavy dose of the willing suspension of disbelief from us when an army of postmen rode to the rescue under a restored "Old Glory," forming an unwitting parody of "cavalry to the rescue" scene in old westerns, as well as of an earlier Costner epic ... the mounted ride-by presented as holy defiance in both The Postman and Dances With Wolves.
Because Brin was crafting a book, and not painting visual symbols, his demands seem more reasonable. Despite some stretches, and unlike other reviewers, I did not see the mano-a-mano at the end as "deus ex machina," but instead a reasonable question -- are we as capable of creating one kind of "superman" as that other, most feared? The fight woven into the endstory is, after all, symbolic of a struggle between Titans (an image and a term Brin consciously employs): competing world views. If we are prepared by science fiction to accept the evil member of the "superman" twins, why not also the good? Is science fiction so jaded, or will it accept the myth of the good in people as quickly as the myth of evil?
By using the Postman as the handy symbol for "swell the music, pass around the Kleenex" scenes, Costner buries the underlying irony. The Postman as epic hero....
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Joe Burks on August 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. The wandering postman poser bringing hope to every town he visits. I enjoy the post apocalyptic genre, and felt the story was proceeding enjoyably without many post-ap cliches. I really liked the hope springing eternal aspect to it.

Unfortunately the second half of the book devolved into something that could only be saved by deus ex machina - which is exactly what happened. The characters stopped acting like believable people. Critical events happened that were difficult to believe and never explained (the Scout's plan "somehow" was uncovered). Characters were being killed off almost as though the author were afraid that the story wasn't having any emotional impact for the last many pages so maybe if someone we had been introduced to died...

I was very disappointed by the end of the book. If it had left the standard "good guy vs. bad guy climax" out, the whole story would have been better for it. If you really want to enjoy the book, just stop at the second interlude.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By erica on January 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brin's tale of a loner's midlife journey in a world devastated by warfare, climate change, and disease is exactly what genre-bound science fiction readers expect. The protagonist, Gordon, is an intellectual male whose resourcefulness has helped him adapt to a world whose institutions have collapsed and whose people live in tiny, scrabbling communities. He traverses the (former) Northwestern United States in vague search of something hope for - but accidentally, by way of a postman's uniform he finds in a moment of desperation, brings hope to everyone he encounters. Ultimately he must reconcile himself to the world as it has become and decide what is truly worth fighting for.
"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.
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