The Postman
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The Postman

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  16,868 ratings  ·  642 reviews
This is the story of a lie that became the most powerful kind of truth.A timeless novel as urgently compelling as War Day or Alas, Babylon, David Brin's The Postman is the dramatically moving saga of a man who rekindled the spirit of America through the power of a dream, from a modern master of science fiction.

He was a survivor--a wanderer who traded tales for food and she...more
Paperback, 321 pages
Published November 3rd 1997 by Spectra (first published 1985)
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Community Reviews

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Stephen
6.0 stars. This book is the newest addition to my list of ALL TIME FAVORITE novels. Simply put, I loved this story and characters with whom David Brin has populated it. The story is a post-apocalyptic novel set in a future United States in which society has collapsed. However, within this setting the book is really about civilization and the symbols that people rally behind in difficult situations in order to accomplish larger goals beyond their own interests.

The main character is Gordon Krantz,...more
Mike (the Paladin)
One of my all time favorite books, no question. I don't give out many 5 star ratings. Here I give it enthusiastically.

I stumbled on this book some years ago and frankly was surprised at how much I liked it. There are a lot of post apocalyptic books out there. They run the proverbial gamut from excellent to unreadable. This is actually not only a good one, but one of the best.

No spoilers, but we pick up some years after "the collapse" when the infrastructure of the country has ceased to exist. O...more
Clouds

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
...more
Apatt
In my experience people who pretend to be postmen are usually up to no good, they are more apt to enter your homes under false pretenses and rob you blind than attempt to unite the post apocalyptic Disunited Sates of America. The protagonist of this book has to be the most heroic postman in fiction. You thought Postman Pat and Cliff Clavin from Cheers are the bees knees? They got nothing on Gordon The Postman, he really knows how to deliver!

This is the second Brin book for me, the previous one I...more
Algernon
I stayed away from this book for a long time, mostly due to some cheesy scenes from the Kevin Costner movie I've caught between switching channels on my TV.
I'm glad I've finally got around to give it a try. It starts as a rather bland post-apocalyptic adventure, but gradually the author weaves in the real theme - the role of myths (or Big Lies as they are called in the text) in shaping society. The Postman, the supercomputer and Denna are all riffs on the theme of the Messiah in the guise of Dut...more
Wesley
Obviously the dystopian/post apocalyptic genre is my favorite. I’m not crazy or anything I just love perseverance, what more can just living or trying to live provide as an example.

In the last 5ish years it looks like it’s become more popular to write for, lucky me. That being said dystopian books written decades ago that are more relevant now, WOWEEEEEE. This came out in 1985, turns out the current years in the books are 2011ish, which is cool. Didn’t know it, aWESome bit of randomness (yes th...more
Checkman
I wish I could give this book 2.5 stars.

First let me say I have to go against the overwhelming tide of opinion that holds this novel to be an excellent work. Not that it's terrible, but it wasn't what I expected - or wanted.

The first half of the novel isn't bad as we accompany the protagonist and his effort to survive in post-apocalyptic America. The character isn't heroic. Instead he's a survivor. And then we get started with the postman charade. At first it has potential - the reestablishing o...more
Amy
Of course, I thought I'd be different and actually enjoy this book since I really enjoyed the movie. But, no. What a train wreck! The first half was great; I'd give it 4.5 stars. A post-apocalyptic wandering bard finds a postman's outfit and begins delivering the mail, hope, and unity to the scattered masses. Lovely. It could have cleanly ended there and all would have been well.

The second half of the book is, at best, 1.5 stars. It's as if someone else wrote it, and it barely resembles the firs...more
Andy
Feb 26, 2008 Andy rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: People who routinely stop reading right before the climax resolves
The Postman is a perfect example of a great storyline with a great build-up that is then totally ruined by a deus ex machina resolution. It's as if the author were given a page count limit and then realized that he was about two dozen pages from that limit and said, "Uh-oh, I'd better wrap this up."

This ranks right up there with Stephen King's The Stand for a horrible, abrupt ending that had little to do with the build-up and character development of the first 95 percent of the book.

If Brin wou...more
Nikki
I enjoyed the first two parts of this very much. The first part covers serendipitous discovery of an old uniform by the main character, Gordon Krantz, just when he needs it after his camp has been raided and all the gear he needs for survival taken. The second part involves the way he becomes a symbol, at first without meaning to, and then the way he builds up a movement around himself, making his lies a reality.

The third part is where it falls down a bit for me, where he comes seriously involve...more
Astrobravo
This book was one that held a lot of promise for me, but ultimately did not pan out. In the beginning we are introduced to an aging ex-scholar who is just trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic Oregon. While tracking bandits he happens upon an old US Mail truck and decides to act like a postman of the Restored US in order to gain safety and shelter. Eventually the lies snowball and he begins to lead Oregon back to civilization.

However, about halfway through this book is where it starts to get t...more
Mark
If I remember right, this is a book that received quite a mauling at the time of the 1997 film flop. However, when I read it in 1985 I quite enjoyed it. And it was Locus's book of the year in 1986, not to mention a Hugo and Nebula nominee.

Basically it's the story of how a postman (or at least someone with the garb of a postman) reunited a post-apocalyptic America by helping connect disparate communities through their official function.


The first section deals with how the Postman, aka Gordon Kran...more
Lori
Review copy from author

This was another one of those novels that eluded me for quite a few years. Originally made aware of it's existence when checking out top 10 post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction lists, The Postman was hailed as one of the better books within those genres.

After searching high and low at local book chains, indie shops, library and used book sales, I contacted it's author David Brin, who selflessly sent me a copy for review. (Many thanks David!)

My timing for this novel could...more
Rob
Aug 23, 2007 Rob rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of post-apocalyptic America
To Brin's credit: this book moves along quickly, follows a nice formula, and goes roughly where you expect it to go with just enough twists to keep it engaging along the way.

That said, this is also an exemplar of a very average novel about a "post-apocalyptic America". It makes me want to see the film with Costner. Just to compare.

Also: Brin's attempt at being sympathetic to a woman's plight in this post-apocalyptic scenario? Fell way short. Trust me bro, these broads would be way tougher than y...more
Greg of A2
Apocalyptic SF at it's most fun and endearing. I wouldn't call this great literature but the tale is quite enjoyable and it's softer (science-wise) than much of Brin's repertoire. It's almost like Brin decided to make a modern SF pulp novel and he succeeded.

Movie Opinion: Kevin Costner's movie version did not do this novel justice and was a big bore in comparison.

Also, if you ever get a chance to attend a Brin talk, he's an excellent speaker. He's very engaging and knowledgeable especially on s...more
Roger

Again with my interest in post-apocalyptic stories. I guess I’m always a sucker for man stripped of all his contrivance and forced back to earlier software build. It’s kinda like reinstalling the OS for the world, I guess.

The Postman must not be confused in any way with the Kevin Costner adaptation for screen. While that one did a decent job of capturing some of the visuals, the emotion of the story seems bleached out.

In brief, our hero is a survivor in a fractured post nuclear war United States...more
Travis L.
One of my favorites from the Science Fiction genre. It is amazing (and frightening) how in many ways it parallels our current political/societal discourse. Society in "The Postman" is in shambles and is polarized to the extreme. There are two types of people in this novel: 1.) Those who survive at any cost, who haughtily mock and murder those innocents that cross their path (perhaps in a subconscious play of survival of the fittest i.e. survive or die becomes kill or be killed) and 2.) Those who...more
Ben Babcock
My copy of The Postman is battered, well-read, and much loved. It's a movie tie-in Bantam paperback that I found at a used bookstore, the pages ever so slightly yellowed, the cover worn, its top corner ever so slightly curling up in a dog's ear. It fits perfectly with the atmosphere that David Brin creates. This is not a book to be treated delicately or reverently; it is meant to be read, re-read, enjoyed, and explained.

As good fiction, and science fiction, is wont to do, The Postman made me thi...more
Pamela
Wicked good! My husband asked me if it was the same one about an apocalyptic future like the movie with Kevin Costner. I didn't know the book had been made into a movie. He said it wasn't very good. I told him the book is WICKED GOOD!! SCARY GOOD!! and that sometimes screen writers just don't adapt books well. I told him I didn't care if the movie sucked.... he NEEDED to read the book! Yes, I guess it is the basis of the movie as the plot is the same... after a great war... a man trying to survi...more
Jayme
I love a good post-apocalyptic book and The Postman was on its way to becoming one of my all-time favorites. Our hero, Gordon, a guy who has been on his own for the last 16 years traveling from place to place trying to survive, stumbles upon a Postman’s jacket and uses it as a ruse to get food and shelter from forted villages by telling the villagers that he is there to reestablish the postal service by linking communities. The first two thirds of the book was fast-paced, interesting even humoro...more
Leo
What starts as a ploy to survive takes on a life of its own and propels Gordon into an epic quest to bring hope into a dying and cruel world. The selfishness of the world is all that is left when everything else crumbles but Gordon is able to progress beyond mere survival and sacrifice his own desires for that of the greater good. Will his example be enough to inspire what's left of society to rise up and triumph over the terror the waits just over the horizon?

The author does a fantastic job of...more
stormhawk
Jun 22, 2011 stormhawk rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to stormhawk by: Apocalypse Whenever Group
The front half of this book is great. Gordon Krantz, struggling across the wilds of the Western United States, telling stories and singing songs to earn his keep along the way. A minstrel spinning tales reminding people who they are and what they were before a series of events called only The Doomwar. He continues doing the same but in a broader context after becoming the eponymous Postman.

That's the front of the book.

The second half, unfortunately, lacks that same power and wonder. The figure...more
Audrey
Aug 25, 2010 Audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Rachel
This is a doom-gloom-post nuclear world where a man is struggling to survive and in a twist of fate keeps hope alive.

Ok. I've finished reading it. The myth Gordon builds is brilliant. However, I thought the description of the augmented soldiers was a little too Bruce Banner turns into Incredible Hulk. Overall, it was really good.
Brad
This got me back into Sci-Fi after a long lay off, then Costner had to go and make a film. Ugh.
Cécile C.
Aug 28, 2009 Cécile C. rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Kevin Costner fans????
Shelves: science-fiction
Given what I had heard of David Brin, I had very high expectations when I began The Postman. Consequently, I was sorely disappointed. This does not sound at all like the work of a major SF author. The writing has absolutely nothing exceptional, I cannot remember a single striking sentence, image ir idea. As for the story, the only thing that struck me about it was its lack of subtlety. I really don't know if it can seem meaningful or moving to an American (after all, this is about rebuilding the...more
Ross
This book sucked. It disappointed me in so many ways.

1. To glorify lying to vast numbers of people is, in my book, never a good idea. If I were the people he lied to the entire book I would hunt him down myself. False hope is NOT better than NO hope. It's arguably worse, due to the fact that once found out, it leaves the person with less than they started. Negative hope.

2. He's a man whore. The dude sleeps with any woman that shows interest, and the only reason he doesn't have sex with the final...more
Jason Fischer
This isn't a perfect novel, but as far as canonical postapocalyptic work goes, it's right up their with A Canticle for Leibowitz (indeed, the Postman is resonant of this work in many ways). Brin posits a post-war America that is on its knees, with feudal societies, walled off villages and almost non-existant trade. Interestingly, in his setting it is the militant survivalists that are the problem, whereas in this subgenre the rugged individualists are usually the heroes. It's an interesting take...more
Jeffery Moulton
Is a lie okay if it makes the world better? That is one of the main questions at the heart of David Brin's The Postman, a story about a man wandering through a post-apocalyptic America who, by sheer happenstance, comes to represent much more than himself and brings hope to people buried in a new Dark Age. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the book and loved the first half, the second half abruptly changed directions and left me wanting.

The book follows the exploits of Gordon Krantz, who finds the u...more
Lindsay
I'm always a little amused when a "future" world takes place in my past.
So I saw the movie first. That's always a bit of a hit or miss with me. The books are almost always exclusively better, but every now and then I decide that a movie was well adapted. When this rare thing happens, it's usually because I didn't like the book. The Postman, however, was both well adapted (if you ignore the stupid ending), and well written. It's not precisely the same story, which actually made reading the book m...more
Perrin Pring
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David Brin is a scientist, 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.

Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends...more
More about David Brin...
Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2) The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3) Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1) Foundation's Triumph (Second Foundation Trilogy, #3) Brightness Reef (Uplift Storm Trilogy, #1)

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“Snow and soot covered the ancient tree's broken branches and seared bark. It wasn't dead, not quite yet. Here and there tiny shoots of green struggled to emerge, but they weren't doing well. The end was near.
A shadow loomed, and a creature settled into the drifts, and old, wounded thing of the skies, as near death as the tree.
Pinions drooping, it laboriously began building a nest--a place of dying. Stick by stick, it pecked among the ruined wood on the ground, piling the bits higher until it was clear that it was not a nest at all.
It was a pyre.
The bloody, dying thing settled in atop the kindling, and crooned soft music unlike anything ever heard before. A glow began to build, surrounding the beast soon in a rich purple lambience. Blue flames burst forth.
And the tree seemed to respond. Aged, ruined branches curled forward toward the heat, like an old man warming his hands. Snow shivered and fell, the green patches grew and began to fill the air with the fragrance of renewal
It was not the creature on the pyre that was reborn, and even in sleep, that surprised Gordon. The great bird was consumed, leaving only bones.
But the tree blossomed, and from its flowering branches things uncurled and drifted off into the air.
He stared in wonderment when he saw that they were balloons, airplanes, and rocket ships. Dreams.
They floated away in all directions, and the air was filled with hope.”
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“He approached the great glass barrier dividing the room, and the speaker at the end of the table. "Cyclops?" he whispered, stepping closer, clearing his tight throat, "Cyclops, it's me, Gordon."
The glow in the pearly lens was subdued. But the row of little lights still flashed--a complex pattern that repeated over and over like an urgent message from a distant ship in some lost code--ever, hypnotically, the same.
Gordon felt a frantic dread rise within him, as when, during his boyhood, he had encountered his grandfather lying perfectly still on the porch swing, and feared to find that the beloved old man had died.
The pattern of lights repeated, over and over.
Gordon wondered. How many people would recall, after the hell of the last seventeen years, that the parity displays of a great supercomputer never repeated themselves? Gordon remembered a cyberneticist friend telling him the patterns of light were like snowflakes, none ever the same as any other.
"Cyclops," he said evenly, "Answer me! I demand you answer--in the name of decency! In the name of the United St--"
He stopped. He couldn't bring himself to meet this lie with another. Here, the only living mind he would fool would be himself.
The room was warmer than it had seemed during his interview. He looked for, and found, the little vents through which cool air could be directed at a visitor seated in the guest chair, giving an impression of great cold just beyond the glass wall.
"Dry ice," he muttered, "to fool the citizens of Oz.”
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