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The Postman

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  30,074 ratings  ·  1,273 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 sh
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Paperback, 321 pages
Published December 1997 by Spectra/Bantam Books (first published November 1985)
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Paul California Dreamin is not a Beach Boys song (Mamas and the Papas). I think it was California Girls.

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Apatt
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“The heart of my story… about a flawed and fretful hero who feels guilt over telling a beautiful lie, in order to survive.”

That is David Brin’s very nice summary of The Postman his best novel (IMO). This is from an article celebrating the 20th anniversary of the movie adaptation.

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 States of
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Lyn
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Good post-apocalyptic SF.

David Brin’s 1985 novel, really a put together of two novellas, has won numerous accolades and gushing praise, including the 1986 Locus Award. And for good reason, Brin is a good writer and backs up his prose with real science.

More than just a Road Warrior after civilization story, Brin explores themes of the frailty of civil society, but also the perseverance of that same community and the importance of belief in tradition and national identity.

A survivor dons an old po
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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
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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,
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Brent
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, kindle
I never saw the movie and I took a good long time to get around to the book, but I really like this one.
It's a cautionary, yet reassuring, story. A good fit for the apocalyptic feel of our current world situation.

Having grown up in western Oregon and visited most of the cities mentioned in the book, there was an added a extra sense of reality for me. Something missing from the many 'set in LA/NYC' disaster stories out there.
Horace Derwent
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The movie moved me, the novel is cautionary and healing me

I'm not a big sucker to Sci-Fi, and I have a penchant for Soft-Sci(Rollins, Lincoln Preston and some Crichton, etc), so few books can move me

Technically, it's a Sci-Fi, but I don't take it for a Sci-Fi. Did anyone read McCarthy's The Road as a Sci-Fi or Fantasy stuff?
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 beca
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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
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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
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Andy
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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Valyssia Leigh
Men have been writing the roles and the rules for millennium to excuse their bad behavior. For Brin to put it in the head of a female character that men's bad behavior is the fault of womankind for—of all effing lunacies—not ganking the 'bad little boys' in their beds before they can grow up to become raging hemorrhoids is just—

I have no words.

Oh! I know! How 'bout he tell a story where men are actually held responsible for the heinous, destructive shit they do? How about that?

Too much? Really
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David
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Postal inspectors, supercomputer programmers in the apocalypse
With the popularity of post-apocalyptic novels today, one almost thinks David Brin published this one too soon. Republish it today and maybe add some zombies and an EMP... okay just kidding. But Brin has always been a thinking fan's SF author, with big and intelligent ideas even in his space operas.

The Postman does not feature zombies, killer plagues, or EMPs. The "Doom War" that ended civilization was set off by the rise of fanatics in the East and the West, leaving the U.S. (and all other coun
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Sarah
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
So I finally read the book that was the inspiration for one of my favorite movies! I do mean inspiration because there isn't a whole lot that the two have in common. Bethlehem doesn't even exist in the book!!! Isn't that shocking?!

I felt that the book was a bit passive and meandering throughout. Since this fits the character I think that this was intentional. It didn't work well for me. And then it's like somewhere around 2/3 he realizes that there has to be some great conflict so he throws in a
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Amanda
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
The Postman is often in lists of Post Apocalyptic fiction must reads. I was aware that this had been made into a film in the 90s, in fact I worked in a cinema at the time. I don't remember watching the film so I thought that as this was a PA must read I would pick this up.

Boring. If I could sum this book up in 1 word. Boring. Dull characters, very little action and full of droning repetition. I'm lucky because I very rarely get bored- why would I be? There is always a book to read. The only reas
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S.J. Arnott
May 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I actually enjoyed the first half of this book - a wanderer finds a postal worker's uniform and uses it to pretend he's employed by a revived national government in order to restore civilisation to a post-apocalyptic Oregon...

But then it all goes downhill, the plot, I mean.

And then there was the movie (sad trombone...)
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
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Rob
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
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Cherie
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny to think we have passed the future timeline in this book, published thirty-three years ago, and we are still here. Its it just luck so far, that has kept us from living in the apocalyptic future that this story takes place in? It is scarier and scarier to think that we could be her any time soon. The Doomwar and the Holnist mentality seem pretty close some days.

Oh a happier note, I would like to think that people like Gordon Krantz will exist in that future time. People who care and people
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Thom
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book won two awards and was nominated for two more, is included on several "best" lists, and was made into a movie. The first half is build from two award winning novellas. Unfortunately, the second half of this book left me with the postage due.

The first half is very good. Gordon is a wandering troubadour, surviving from town-to-town in post-apocalyptic America. After being bushwacked and losing much of his kit, he stumbles on a wrecked mail delivery jeep and adds "postman" to his many rol
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Alexandra
hmmm. i'm not gonna lie, i'm kind of disappointed in this one. and it started out SO WELL. the basic premise is that the world as we know it has ended. there was a war and a three year winter and people are kind of just left to scavenge for themselves among scraps of ruined homes and ghost towns.

published in the mid 1980's, the postman actually takes place in 2011-2012. gordon krantz is one such survivor of the apocalypse and has spent seventeen or so years just struggling to survive.

one day he
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Debbie
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Freedom was wonderful beyond relief. But with it came that bitch, Duty.”
― David Brin, The Postman
I first read The Postman about 30 years ago. I remember really liking the book and the general premise about a post-apocalyptic world where Gordon Krantz finds a postman’s uniform and reinvents himself as a postman from the Restored United States. I had forgotten what a good person Gordon Krantz was - how he constantly took responsibility to try to make things better and how amazed he was at the ho
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Eric Allen
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Postman
By David Brin

A Retroview by Eric Allen

Some people may be aware of the movie adaptation of The Postman with Kevin Costner. If you haven't seen it. I would probably recommend skipping it unless you're a really huge Costner fan, because that's pretty much the only thing the movie has going for it. I found it too long by at least an hour, very boring, cheesy, and pretty confusing. Back when it came out, I had just started my job working for the post office as a mail carrier, and all posta
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Bodosika Bodosika
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A little bit interesting but too artificial for me.
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
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Philip
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Didn't realize The Postman was a book before it was a movie, and (obviously then) didn't realize it was written by David Brin. I've read a few Brin's from his "Uplift" series; liked Sundiver but not so much Startide Rising, so approached Postman with mixed feelings.

...And left the same way. First 2/3's was a near-5 stars, as Brin presented a surprisingly realistic and prescient view of how a society on the ropes after a nuclear winter could suffer a near-fatal knockout punch from radical/feudal
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Chrisl
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980s, sff, oregon
Recently started a reread ... had forgotten Brin's questionable Oregon geography. When one leaves Idaho, Oregon's Cascade Range is another 200 miles ahead, beyond the Blue Mountains, the Ochocos, and perhaps even the Wallowas, the Alps of America.
Laurie
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you saw the movie, please read the book. Classic sci-fi, combining clever ideas and people you care about.
Mitchell
A reread. But I don't know that I'd ever re-read this one before and its been a long time. My memory was always that this was one of the author's lesser books with a not very good ending. But I liked this much more than I remembered. And even though there was a few twists too many near the end, it was still a solid interesting earned ending. As an after-the-day novel, the play with the title still reads clever to me - since it stars someone pretending to be a Mail Carrier aka a Postman. When I r ...more
TraceyL
I'm one of the few people who loves the Kevin Costner movie based on this book. The movie has terrible reviews, and it's easily an hour too long, but I don't care. It makes me happy.

The book was quite dry for me, which is weird because there is a lot of stuff going on and the main character was charismatic. It could be that I was listening to an audiobook that was pretty low quality. I'll stick with the movie.
Martin Hill
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
David Brin's classic sci-fi novella of a United States shattered by a so-called limited nuclear war. A survivor discovers a postal service jeep deep in the woods. Scavenging the dead postman's uniform and letters bag, he finds himself delivering not only long-delayed letters, but hope as well. A simple, yet elegant read.
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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
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“It's said that 'power corrupts,' but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.” 7 likes
“Freedom was wonderful beyond relief. But with it came that bitch, Duty.” 4 likes
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