"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

THE POSTMAN by David Brin

Originally published in 1985.

This is the book that inspired the Kevin Costner movie of the same name. It has a lot of similar features but the movie changed a great deal.

Gordon Krantz is a survivor of the Doomwar, a nuclear and biological war between all of the world powers. The war was bad enough but survivalist groups called the Holnists made survival in what was left behind. The Holnists are united by a common ideology that teaches that some men are naturally superior to others and every man must grab what he can get in this world.

Krantz is slowly working his way across the country. He started out in Minnesota and 15 years later he has made it to Oregon. He has to walk because the nuclear pulse wiped out the electronics. Life is tough everywhere, but in most places it resembles the Mad Max movies more than anything else so it is slow going.

Krantz loses everything to a group of thieves and luckily stumbles upon a mummified letter carrier in a postal jeep - a man who drove off of the road and died during the later stages of the war and no one found him. Out of desperation, Krantz takes the clothes off of his mummified body and takes the letters he was carrying as well.

Krantz bluffs his way into a fortified town by insisting that he is a letter carrier for the Restored United States and he's delivering old mail and will start carrying new mail.

Turns out that people were craving news from towns just a few miles away because and were excited by the prospect of any sort of return to the old days, even if it was just a pile of old letters. 

So, Krantz promises to deliver letters as he moves along, figuring that he's got a new con he can pull on each new town sp that he can finagle a few hot meals and a decent bed to sleep in as he moves through Oregon. But, as people start to believe in him, he starts to think that maybe there's something to this postman gig after all. Things start to look better until you toss in a super-computer, a dystopian Amazon princess of sorts and the largest Holnist invasion force that anyone has seen in years - maybe the largest ever.

This book differs from the movie in a lot of key ways, as I have mentioned. There is enough of a difference that you will not feel like you have already been though this story before.

That being said, this is not a particularly great sci-fi story. I love the "big idea" part of the book (the postman inspires a renewed interest in civilization) but the book just has too many moving parts (the 3-hour long movie attempts to address this by simplifying things, believe it or not).

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.

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