Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

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Monthly Reading: Discussion > June 2018 "The Postman" Discussion <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!>

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message 1: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Jun 01, 2018 05:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Group Read #7


message 2: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 5 stars


message 3: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
It was a rather interesting read, an unpretentious adventure novel at first that developed into something more after the second half, but still managed to retain its charm.

Personally, I would have preferred to read more even at cost of cutting some of the action scenes. Speaking of which... augments! Did not see those coming, I must say.

I can't help but think that the whole Cyclops ark was cumbersome and served little purpose in the end. Apart from introducing one of the key characters (Dana) I really didn't notice it enriching the narrative. Might be that its purpose was to help the main character to confront his own lies, for the first time ending up on the receiving end. Still, not as if he wasn't aware of any of it.


message 4: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Great review Oleksandr.

I loved this book years years ago when I first read it. I still really liked it but I totally agree with you, Art, that I didn't need all the action scenes.

Re Cyclops . . . I think the only way that the civilization could have survived was the Cyclops lie. And without that civilization, the Holnists would have overrun the area long before.

The thing I find most mystifying is, why would a guy from Minnesota who is looking for civilization decide to go straight west? I mean, shouldn't he go south where it might be warmer? If he'd said he wanted to hole up somewhere and wait for the worst to be over, then ok. But I understood he was moving straight west in order to look for civilization.

But this is just a quibble. Very satisfying read. (I bet the author lives in Oregon.)

Here's my review. I can't make the pretty links like Oleksandr.

______________

I had read this years ago and loved it.

Now, I am sick of dystopic novels, but this is still one of the best. I guess I am just an idealist like the protagonist!

That said, I am not sure I would compare this book to Alas, Babylon, as the blurb at the top of this page does. Though they are both dystopic, they have totally different outlooks. Alas, Babylon, written in the 1950's, reflects the optimism of that time. Everyone is much nicer. (It's one of my favorite books--idealist, remember?) This book is much darker, yet still hopeful.


LuthienDillon | 24 comments Finally finished the book last night. It was an interesting read, but I think the story has not aged very well.

Parts of the book were too "patriotic" for me and reminded me of "lone wolf with a good heart" cowboy stories.

And don't let me get started about the very weird idea of 'feminism' this book propagates.
I mean, really, if women emancipate themselves "I just hope they will not drown their sons if they get too strong" ? Just wow.
Also, perhaps with the exception of motherly Mrs Thompson, all the female characters were described as being pretty stupid.

I liked the book's idea that cooperation trumps hate ,though, the 80s were probably more optimistic than our own times. And I adored the meditation scenes. The action scenes fit well into the story as a whole, I think. What I also liked were the allusions to the oracle of Delphi and other Greek mythology .


message 6: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
yes, Luthien, I agree that the female characters were not that well crafted.

At the time, because they were a minor subplot, I just shrugged the stupid female militarism off. It seemed to me that they were leaping into danger without the kind of planning and experience that the scouts' job should require . . . as shown by the outcome.

So now I ask . . . Why was this subplot was even necessary to the book as a whole? The sacrifice of the women helped out protagonist and his guys ultimately prevail, but did a plot device to lead to the required ultimate ":happy" ending have to be so "duh!" I don't think so. Hmm . . . thanks for making me think about this whole issue.


message 7: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
LuthienDillon wrote: "Finally finished the book last night. It was an interesting read, but I think the story has not aged very well.

Parts of the book were too "patriotic" for me and reminded me of "lone wolf with a ..."


You make good points, patriotism played a big role in the novel and though it is not my favorite subject to me it didn't feel too forced.

As for the particular strain of "feminism", I believe that it wasn't meant to be taken that way (especially out of the context). As for female characters not being all too bright, I felt that all the characters were overly simplified and tainted by naiveté, males just as well. Many complain how women are portrayed either as sex objects or "housewives" who rely solely on whims of the men, but to me it is just as ridiculous to assume that all the men are either sniveling peasants or rapists, besides two or three "heroes". So I just assumed that it's a part of the story, a story that aged badly just as Luthien's pointed out.


LuthienDillon | 24 comments I think you both have good points.
The male characters aren't very nuanced either, I agree, especially the 'evil' ones - they are just pure evil.

And yes, Kate, I also felt that the whole "feminist subplot" was completely unnecessary.

As for the patriotism, Art, I probably see it differently because I'm German. ;-) In the West Germany of the 80s when I grew up, it was, for example, considered a bit of bad taste to hang the national flag out of the window.
And there was that part at the beginning,for example, where the book said something like :We could have conquered the world, but we chose not to. That also sounded a bit simplistic to my ears.

Anyway, if I had read the book as a teenager, I 'd probably have liked it - so many action scenes. (Sorry for the late reply, was on holiday ).


message 9: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Jul 16, 2018 08:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
It's funny, I really liked this book at the time. But now, I agree it has not aged well.

And I am tired of the end-of-the-world dystopic tomes. This was one written before the flood of end-of-the-world books, obviously. But still sick and tired of them.

Both Alas Babylon (reread recently) and the Lucifer's Hammer (dimly remembered) are better IMHO


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