The Postman

The Postman has a rugged post-apocalyptic setting based on a post-nuclear-war USA that almost - but not quite - survived total collapse.  Gordon, a loner who trades old tales of prewar culture in bardic style for his meals, meanders about from village to village, looking for someone who is trying to build something more than a subsistence society.

Falling into misfortune, Gordon uses the uniform of a long-dead postal worker to weave an elaborate lie that will enable him to survive.  Unwittingly, the false postman becomes a source of hope to the small, isolated communities that have had no inkling that the nation ever survived.  That tremulous hope has its own war to survive before it can really take root, though.

The writing of Postman is average, and the pacing rather compact.  I think Brin could've fleshed it out more without losing the point of the story.  Most of what Brin does in a little over 300 pages (paperback) is make interesting psychological and sociological speculations.  We get snapshots of half a dozen communities, each with its own form of government; each of which is permanently changed in Gordon's wake.  The latter is what sets this book apart from the few other post-apocalyptic works I've read.  It is a light snack of brain food, and I wish it had been more.

Categories David Brin

Fri Jun 24 02:27:19 CDT 2005 by tsarren@infodancer.org. Comments

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