Ratiocination's Reviews > The Postman

The Postman by David Brin
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Oct 09, 09

bookshelves: science-fiction

A thoughtful take on a post-apocalyptic setting. There's a hard balance to strike in the subgenre; a lot of works suffer from either "too close to be so different," or "too far for so much to be the same." Either the big global disaster is in the recent past, in which case you shouldn't have complex new societies and traditions yet, or it's in the distant past, in which case there shouldn't be quite so many artifacts of our present lying around. You want your mohawked barbarians, but you also want them to have guns to shoot each other with, and some grizzled survivors of the old world would be nice too. This isn't really a problem if you aren't trying to be too serious (Road Warrior, the Fallout games,) but a more realistic approach takes some doing.

I think Brin pulls it off pretty well. The timescale is, if I remember correctly, twenty years or so after the war, right on the cusp of the generation that does remember the old world and the one that doesn't. There's been some time for things to develop, and most of what's strange and new has some kind of root in the old.

One of the things that's striking about The Postman is that the protagonist is just a guy. He's not an extraordinary hero; he makes a small decision and follows it forward. He tries to do the best he can and it ends up having large consequences. The scale is very human.

Well worth the read, and a good standalone introduction to Brin.
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Lani I swiped this and the Years of Rice and Salt from your bookshelf downstairs and am putting it on my to-read shelf upstairs for when I take another Kindle break. In case you go looking for them. :-)


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