Customer Reviews


82 Reviews
5 star:
 (52)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Post (Apocalypse) Man
This is the book which the film The Postman [DVD] [1998]is based upon apparently but I would say that it is very loosely based upon the book.

There is essentially a play on words within the title, the book is narrated in the third person, has a good pace and poses many philosophical questions in the opening chapters, it weaves the back story of apocalypse into...
Published on 19 July 2010 by Lark

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Postman always leads a renaissance of human society
I've really wavered about how much I like this book. After ploughing my way through a few monstrously long post-apocalyptic novels, I refreshed myself with Neville Shute's much more elegantly paced On The Beach before approaching this, which I thought would be another overblown epic. I was delighted when I realised it's far less self-indulgent than some others in the...
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Post (Apocalypse) Man, 19 July 2010
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Postman (Paperback)
This is the book which the film The Postman [DVD] [1998]is based upon apparently but I would say that it is very loosely based upon the book.

There is essentially a play on words within the title, the book is narrated in the third person, has a good pace and poses many philosophical questions in the opening chapters, it weaves the back story of apocalypse into the storyline of the travels of a contemporary of the post-apocalyptic world well but Brin has really gone all out to include as many futuristic themes as possible into a single story.

This is the reason why the book differs so much from the more straight forward story featured in the film of world wary wanderer vs. philistine nobody turned dictator.

To a point there are parallels, there is a wanderer who does stumble upon a deceased post man in a van and does decide loot the post van and take the postmans coat, the idea that villagers will invite outsiders to father children where sterility has afflicted husbands features but does not develop as a love interest as in the film, although from this point the book departs majorly from the plot of the film.

Brin's account of the end of times is different from that of most other post-apocalypse authors in that it is more a matter of society withering on the branch than war. Complicity and decadence breed an assurity which is quickly confounded when a confluence of unrelated crisis, outbreaks of disease, anti-technology riots (similar to the "simplification" featured in A Canticle for Leibowitz (Bantam Spectra Book)) and this is all told well through reflections on things like scarcity (shortages in tooth powder, anesthesia or medicine), the rise of survivalism (when a tipping point is reached beyond which people lose any hope that the authorities will recover the former order and prosperity). Its also a humanised account since the protagonist of the tale is a survivor of former times and not recalling or researching a distant past (as in Leibowitz) and he considers the cheapness of human life and the cruelty and capriciousness which has become the norm in contrast to his own efforts, with others, to try and volunteer in a socially conscientious manner as things began to collapse.

A recurrent and interesting theme is what provides survivors with hope, obviously the idea that a postal service while reconnect people is one hope but there are also some great reflections on technology and sentient machines which are totally abscent from the film.

It is a little disappointing then, when towards the end of the book, it turns into a bit of an action novel, with a guerilla struggle between settlements and then the introduction of characters into the storyline which made me think of either the incredible hulk or super mutants from the Fallout series of post-apocalypse role playing games. However I dont think this despoils the novel altogether. Not at all, although it does feel a little like genre hopping or something which could have made for a seperate sequel.

I really recommend this book, its not better than A Canticle for Leibowitz (Bantam Spectra Book) but its a good read in its own right.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than these reviews, 5 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. J. Forsyth (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Postman (Paperback)
Id like to start by saying just how surpriesd I am by all of these "a little dissapointed.." reviews im reading.

The story is great, it puts forward a now tired scenario perfectly and absorbingly with what seems a freshness as opposed to a bleakness - the post apocalyptic struggle is a positive drive, not a tiresome nihlistic drag as some books suggest.

People rattling on about the book failling to deliver its phillosophical points(?) in my opinion were looking too deep. FAR too deep. As with most good Sci-Fi there is a clever idea or message ingrained in the story but it is not the entire story, it is a skeleton to build around. Its got to have a good story or I lose interest in the ideas.

So this is just that, a great post-apocalyptic story about chance and one mans destiny/fate, survival and the rebuilding of civilisation. And a nice, clever way of doing it.

P.S. apart from the post-apocolypse thing I dont really get all the comparisons being made to A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ. Yes I read and own that book also, and to be honest didnt really get it, maybe I'll give it another read but it is SO DIFFERENT from this book. Really.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fine and easy read, 13 Jan 1998
By A Customer
In a roundabout way, I read this because of the Kevin Costner movie! I found a copy of the mass market paperback WITHOUT Kevin Costner's face on the cover, and snatched it up before only the movie tie in edition was available. It is one of the tenets of my religion that I never read movie tie in editions (the only exception I have made in recent years was THE ENGLISH PATIENT, and then only because I was not willing to wait to turn up a different edition used)? I wonder why publishers believe that there is a great demand for tie-in editions. I previously worked at the University of Chicago Press, and knew that the UC edition of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT outsold the mass market movie tie-in edition by quite a bit. And this can't be the only instance. But enough of this particular hobby horse.
Thanks to the fear of Kevin Costner's picture, I read my first David Brin novel, and I am certainly glad that I did. It is a real page turner; I bought it on a Saturday and finished it on a Tuesday, without sitting down and reading in it for any extended period of time. The story is compelling, the characters likable and interesting, and the situation intriguing. Everyone will, I am sure, have their own take on the probability of Brin's vision. For my part I do not believe that there would be the degree of loss of technology that he imagines, nor do I believe the survivalists would be so vehemently opposed to it (I have known a couple survalists, and they were as addicted to "stuff" and the products of technology as they were to their knife catalogs and SOLDIER OF FORTUNE magazine). But the great thing about the book is that it involves you to such a degree that you care enough to argue with it. Not a masterpiece, but a fun book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Brin's most frustrating book, 2 July 1997
By A Customer
I found this to be Brin's most frustrating book.

The Postman's America went out with whimper, not with a bang. The exact cause is unimportant, and I'm not even sure it's revealed. (Nuclear weapons were used, but they seemed to be a last gasp as nations collapsed.)

The true cause of the collapse was the vermin who nibble on the edges of our soul; they caused America to lose faith in herself. When the inevitable rough spot happened people just resigned themselves to the "inevitable." America collapsed into isolated feudal societies; most of these pocket fiefdoms were ruled by "survivalists" who had pushed the country over the edge with their own egocentricism.

Many years later our protagonist arrives in Oregon. He is no hero; instead of fighting to improve his own town he was hoping to find a mythical land of easy living. He's attacked and barely escapes with his life. To survive he takes a postman's uniform which dates to the collapse. He also takes the postman's leather bag.

At the next town he approaches cautiously, but a few other survivors of the earlier America insist on seeing him as a symbol of a reborn America. Long delayed letters in the leather bag reinforce his status. Like Moses, he has found his promised land only to be turned away. While many townsfolk know that a reborn America is just a fantasy, others would never tolerate his presence as a constant reminder of how they fooled themselves. He relunctantly moves on to the next town.

To make a long story short, America has not been reborn... except in one small area where a reborn United States is personified in an unwilling postman. Young boys are eager to join the new postal service. Families are reunited for the first time in years as townsfolk look beyond their own town borders. The protagonist feels like a fraud and misses the miracle of rebirth surrounding him.

Needless to say this rejuvenation is not welcomed by everyone. A survivalist nation-state in southern Oregon and northern California wants to expand its slave base, but it can no longer pick off towns one by one through sheer intimidation.

This is a wonderful setup. Will the common citizens newly rearmed with a faith in society defeat the heavily armed barbarians who have a social pecking order so rigid that barnyard fowl seem democratic? Which matters more, steel forged to the human will, or the human will tempered to the hardness of steel?

We never learn. The climatic battle is not between two men from different worlds, but between two men with special military augmentation to their bodies who just happened to be on opposing sides. The change could not have been more abrupt if we went to Psychotic Theaters and saw the first two-thirds of a classic Hitchcock thriller followed by the final third of Friday the Thirteenth, part VI.

The movie treatment of the book has not been released yet, but I would not be surprised if the superhuman feats of the final fight are emphasized and the morality plays on the importance of self-reliance in the service of the community lost. And that's the ultimate shame. In many ways our country is forming isolated fiefdoms of special interests; instead of asking what's best for the nation our first demand is "what's in it for me?" The Postman is a good cautionary story, but the augmented marines seize the story and leave its broken body trampled in the mud.

The first two-thirds of the book are a solid ten. The deux ex machina conclusion would have been interesting in another novel, but not this one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars One of the 10 books I'd take to a desert island, 17 Feb 1997
By A Customer
Brin's novels tend to be "simply" stories. His short stories almost always have an element of the mythic and moral to them. For this reason, The Postman always seemed strange to me: it is mythic and definitely has a moral. I tracked out the first edition and learned why: the book started life as a novella. If this is the result, I wish Brin would make more of his short stories into books.

Humankind did not blow itself up, it sort of sputtered most of the way there -- with a couple of nukes, a couple of biological weapons, and a big push from those descendents of gun-nuts, the survivalists -- and stopped. The main character combined the survival instinct of postWar types with the wonder and intellectualism of the preWar types. He is wandering the US, looking for something. In the end, he himself creates what he has been looking for -- someone who is taking responsibility, who is creating something greater than himself or his village.

The mythic and the moral emerges towards the end of the book, and it is for this element that I take this book to my desert island. It becomes a fight between good (those who will take responsibility, however unwillingly) and evil (the survivalists, who won't), unexpectedly involving preWar science and philosophy. The forming of the US after the Revolution, the thoughts of Ben Franklin, and the legend of Cincinatus (look it up, it's worth knowing) are the pegs upon which Brin hangs his moral tale.

And, as always, Brin has written a simply good book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Mythology reborn., 1 Dec 1997
By A Customer
The Postman is the Iliad of modern day America. The plot is tight and lean, and one of the most cinematic books I've read (a perfect candidate for a film). The characters are mythological archetypes molded by the (foolish) gods of technology. The Postman explores many aspects of symbols and their social impact, through for example, the mythology of the postman and the ideals of the United States. The book evokes a sense of majesty and magnificence to the technological wonderland that precedes the period of post-nuclear holocaust that the book is set in. It is also remarkably restrained in its usage of the science fiction element. Brin wisely let's us see the technology through the imagined social ramification rather than making it the linch pin of the novel, (there's a scene where the climax involves the sound of space invaders) a mistake I think that many sf writers make. The setting of the book is so well constructed that many disparate theme's are encompassed quite naturally - post nuclear holocaust, genetic engineering, the basis of government and the myth of the nation and the call for moral responsibility. At no point does he let the plot unwind into the realm of the fantastically ridiculous. At the end of the book, you'll be cheering for those inspirational ideals which drive the characters in the book but more importantly, should be a reflection of our pre-holocaust society.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Brin wins again... The Postman lives on!, 11 Jan 1998
By A Customer
I read this when I was in high school and although I understood it, I didn't really take this story to heart. Two questions were finally answered: Could I have survived like Gordon Kranz did? and What would life be like without life's simple pleasures...? David Brin brings to life a normal Minnesota man who struggles with the way things are now versus how they were before the war and the winter. Gordon gets lucky and makes a lie become a truth when he takes on the persona of the Postman and reconnects several Oregon towns while keeping just a step ahead of Holnist survivalists. Brin also ties in the dependency on technology for the survival of a community...Cyclops, as well as the government's military experiments (not in the movie). In the end, because of a simple pleasure, something that we take so much for granted...the mail...a nation is restored. I loved the book, winced at the movie version (although it does turn out quite nicely), and wished that other writers could capture, as Brin does, the very nature of the post-haulocaustic U.S. Read it, understand it, and think... Could I have survived like Gordon did or would I have listened to those "little" voices that told me to quit?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant character study and unique, uplifting concept., 31 Mar 1998
By A Customer
David Brin's "The Postman" is a brilliant conceptualization of the human truism "where there is no vision, the people perish". With his main character, Gordon, he portrays the plight of an idealist and dreamer thrown into a situation that demands decisiveness and action; in short, a modern Hamlet. Like Hamlet, Gordon is torn between his natural idealism and the terrible cynicism that the reality of his situation forces on him; like Hamlet, he flounders in moral introspection and debate when action is clearly required. It is interesting how natural cynics (call themselves realists) despise Gordon, while natural idealists understand and admire him; both within the novel and on this review site. Like every great novel, it reveals truths about human nature to the extent that the reader is able to perceive them. Keep writing, David! SF has too long been dominated by cynics, sensationalists and technotwits!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me wonder what it really would be like..., 19 Feb 1998
By A Customer
if there really was a war (or whatever) that destroyed/alienated civiliation? What would it be like to not have to live by any rules save the rules of survival? This book truly made me think of whether I would be up to the challenge. Not to be a Gordon Krantz, necessarily, but simply to live as long as he and all the others did in a chaotic and violent "new" world. I almost stopped reading it, though, when Cyclops was introduced. I though to myself "Oh, no, here comes some story about some magical machine that will save the world, or plot to destroy it further!" I won't talk further about it here, so as not to ruin this sub-plot, but if you come to that point and draw the same conclusion as I did, please, just keep reading. Great books leave you thinking and wondering. It's been over a month since I've read this, and the "what ifs" are still lingering in my mind!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Postman always leads a renaissance of human society, 4 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Postman (Kindle Edition)
I've really wavered about how much I like this book. After ploughing my way through a few monstrously long post-apocalyptic novels, I refreshed myself with Neville Shute's much more elegantly paced On The Beach before approaching this, which I thought would be another overblown epic. I was delighted when I realised it's far less self-indulgent than some others in the genre and weighs in at about 400 pages, a length which feels 'right' for the story to be told.

It starts really well, constantly changing direction as Gordon Krantz struggles to survive in (yet another!) post-apocalyptic North America. It's realistically done and I enjoyed the focus on the rights and wrongs of life in this much battered society. In this respect this early section is rather like The Road, albeit nothing like so dark and without Cormac McCarthy's lyrical psychological insight. The core idea, that a small lie can snowball and serve a much bigger and better truth, is a really interesting one and kept me engaged off and on to the end. In fact there are interesting ideas throughout - the book also meditates on the nature of leadership and how leaders should relate to society, for example.

The book was originally written in three sections, which is obvious but actually works in its favour as each section has a different theme. It lost me slightly in the last section, as this element felt more like pulp scifi than the first two, but each to his own and I can hardly blame Brin for being a scifi author! Still, I found the final section less original than the first two and in this section the themes being explored are less subtly drawn, coming down to a physical confrontation between adherents of two different philosophies. For me, this has lost this easy to read and entertaining book one star.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Postman
The Postman by David Brin (Paperback - 3 July 1997)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews