Sunday, 9 January 2011

Top Ten Favourite Books - Number 5

It's been awhile since I wrote an entry for this Blog so I figured I should at least do a short one to get back into the habit. Number 5 on my all-time favourite list is a post-apocalyptic story, by David Brin. The Postman tells the story of a survivor of a devastating war, a loner who has been travelling across the wasteland that is the U.S.

The back jacket describes it, "He was a survivor - a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war.

Fate touches him one chill winter's day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold. The old worn uniform still has power as a symbol of hope, and with it he begins to weave his greatest tale, of a nation on the road to recovery."

The book is compared to other's of its genre, also favourites of mine; Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank which is set in Florida in the aftermath of a nuclear war and War Day, by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka, a story of two journalists who travel around the U.S. years after a post-apocalyptic event to see if the U.S. is rebuilding and surviving. (I do enjoy this genre of book, especially if it well-written and if there is a positive outlook at the end.)

A bit spoilerish below.

The main character of The Postman, Gordon Krantz, is very much an anti-hero. He lives on his wits, scavenging to survive, sometimes becoming a story - teller to get food from small communities. The postman's jacket is a boon. He acquires it mainly to keep warm as it is well-made, but he also takes along the postman's bag, which contains letters and he uses these letters from a time gone by to gain access to communities.

Against his will, he becomes a beacon for hope as communities begin to set up post offices to provide a link to each other. These efforts are fraught with danger as they threaten a group of hyper-survivalists from the Rogue River area. Working with a group of scientists who still reside at Oregon State University, the war for the future takes place.

It's a fascinating story that draws you in and ensures you can't wait to find out what happens on the next page. The characters are well-drawn and the story is so very interesting. I've read 3 or 4 times and would gladly read again and again.


There was a movie based on this book, which I must admit that I looked forward to for many months. I remember rereading the book to be fresh for the movie and then being totally disappointed when I watched it. It was nothing at all like the book, left out key parts and added elements; e.g. Tom Petty's hippy survivors, that had nothing to do with the book.


David Brin has written some of my favourite SciFi stories. Along with The Postman, I also recommend -

Heart of the Comet - The story of a group of scientists living on Halley's Comet, trying to put it in orbit around Earth so that it's resources can be mined.
The Uplift Wars - This is actually a series of novels; I've put a link to Startide Rising, the story that introduced me to the series. It's basically about a group of Earthling spacemen/ women, with a crew augmented by genetically enhanced dolphins and chimpanzees who get in the middle of a Space War. That's a very simple summary and does the series no justice. Humans and the apes and dolphins are considered wolflings by the other major alien species. They are watched over by friendly aliens, but because of something they discover in space, they become the target of certain alien races. Anyway, suffice it to say, this series is fascinating as well, with characters that really grab you and keep your interest.

At the very least, read The Postman, you'll find it great.

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