The Postman

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The Postman

Post by Valarius » Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:20 pm

Written by David Brin, 1985. Re-released for the lame movie adaptation, 1997.

No zombies in this one.

Just a man, in his 30s, trying to surviving in post-apocolyptic Oregon. The once-noble and powerful State has reverted to a terrifying and dangerous territory, and its once united people turned into dangerous nomads and villagers, each with their own agenda of survival.

The man is Gordon. (Last name, I can't remember.) After having his supplies stolen, Gordon comes upon an abandoned postal jeep. A dead letter carrier sits inside, with a leather jacket, a scintillator... and a bag of mail.

Intending to disguise himself as a mailman, going from village to village to exchange the decades-old letters for food, Gordon begins a journey that will encompass all of Oregon...

And bring hope back to a dying people.


Great book. Read it now. What I've revealed is nothing compared to the plot. Great inspiration for life after a PAW, I think.
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Post by Cool as a Chicken » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:48 pm

I've already seen the movie though. Will that ruin it for me?

:cry: I find that movies based on books almost always come up short of greatness.

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Post by Plannin' Man » Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:19 am

Read the book, loathed it for some reason. (I normally enjoy his stuff)

However I caught the film and enjoyed it. Bit of a reverse polarity on my normal feelings with this one.

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Post by Joe Ghoul » Fri Jul 01, 2005 3:26 pm

I've always liked this book.

Yeah, the whole genetic engineering thing kind of doesn't fit, but still a nice little read.

The movie was ok, too. But, then again, I didn't think Waterworld was that bad either.
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Post by Tomcat1066 » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:37 pm

I just finished reading The Postman, so I looked up this thread and decided to throw my $.02 into the mix here. SPOILERS ARE PRESENT!

First, the novel is almost NOTHING like the movie. The experience of one has no bearing on the other.

I enjoyed Gordan much more than Kevin Costner's character, mostly because it doesn't start out as a scam. Gordan dons the clothing simply because he needs warmer clothes. He grabs the mail bag because his own backpack was stolen, so he needed something to carry gear in. In all, you have a much more likeable character who questions his lies, as they develope, internally.

The major issue, at least for me, is the idea that survivalists bring down the US Government. This is actually the one point where I like the movie's version better. A militia defeating the military, while unlikely, is more plausible for toppling the government than a group of survivalists.

David Brin has apparently acknowleged that the book is somewhat anti-survivalist. I have actually sent him an email as of last night to find out why he chose suvivalists as an antagonist.

One thing I like to point out though, is that the book seems to be pretty accurate about the struggles of life in the PAW. Mistrust by many towns, acceptance by others, and bizarre rituals to become a permenant resident at others, all could be a very real part of life in the PAW, especially as time rolls onward.

Taking place 16 years after TEOTWAWKI, it's an interesting study if nothing else. While I enjoyed the book, I strongly disagreed with several political-esque comments the author makes. However, I still feel I should recommend the book. If you haven't read it, you should!

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Post by Tomcat1066 » Sat Jul 08, 2006 5:10 am

Yeah, I know it's a double post, but I thought I should have a seperate post for this thread.

After reading The Postman, I actually contacted David Brin to find out why survivalists were the antagonist of his book, versus some other group. Here's is my email to him:

Our Great and Mighty Tomcat wrote: I just started reading your novel, The Postman last night, and so far I have found it much more enjoyable than the film. One thing I was most surprised about in your book was that the Holnists were survivalists, instead of a militia as in the movie. After reading an article about the book, I learned that you said that the book was, to an extent, an anti-survivalist book.

My question is simply why? What about the survivalist movement concerned you or motivated to use them as an antagonist of that magnitude? I understand that the militia idea used in the film was pretty non-existent in 1985, but I am curious as to your reasons for making this novel an anti-survivalist work.

I eagerly await your response.

Sincerely,
Our Great and Mighty Tomcat


Well, after some time, I had really just given up on getting a response, but then last night, while I was watching King Kong apparently, our villian responded!

David Brin wrote:Thanks for your thoughtful and interesting message.
It truly is gratifying when people write, and I always
try to answer.

I certainly appreciate the encouragement.

I will append a general update below, but as for the
survivalist issue, I don't think you may be recalling
very well the NASTY emotional thread that underlay a
lot of that movement, in the 80s. The tone was very
much the way I protrayed it, leading eventually to the
rationalizations of Timothy McVeigh.

This is NOT to say that survival training and
preparedness are twisted, in themselves! I comsider
myself to be adefinite member of that side of it, a
real boy scout... which is why I was able to separate
the two meanings of "militia". Two meanings that are
real opposites.

With best wishes, for a confident and ambitious 21st
Century,

David Brin
www.davidbrin.com


So basically, the term "survivalist" used in the book was simply the closest term in 1985 to the militia extremists we currently have today. Also, Brin appears to be a bit of a survivalist in his own right. Hence forth, I shall definately be cutting him some slack ;)

Tom
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Post by AEnemia » Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:48 pm

I read the book after I saw the movie... To tell the truth, I actually preferred the movie, just because (to me) it "flowed" better. That, and I'm a sucker for Kevin Costner movies. FYI, Waterworld kicks ass for a PAW flik too! :D Not to mention Tom Petty's guest appearance as the mayor.....


Not to say I didn't like the book, of course. I loved the book. It's definately worth reading.

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Post by Valarius » Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:49 am

Tomcat... thank you for emailing the author. I keep forgetting that's always an option, and I keep forgetting that authors do respond to fan mail. I didn't think Postman was anti-survivalist at all, seeing as how most of the characters sorta... fit my mental image of PAW survivors. 19th century mindset, 21st century tech.

Huh. :D

Not to mention Tom Petty's guest appearance as the mayor.....


There was some scuttlebutt that the mayor was supposed to be Ringo Starr, as an inside joke of sorts, but he couldn't make it to the set. :)
See you around, HK.

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Post by Wraa » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:28 pm

Krantz, Gordon Krantz.

I am in the process of reading the book, and I just watched the movie.

I have to agree. The movie and the book are separate stories of each other, but I enjoyed the movie, and am still enjoying the book.

I think that Kevin Cosner's character might be quite close to the book version of Gordon, we simply never 'hear' his thoughts in the movie. It is obvious that he does not start out wanting to fight, and feels bad when his actions cause bad things to happen.

All in all, I like the PAW setting, both in the movie and the book, though there are things in the book that I find... questionable.
Cyclops for one.

I also note that the book is dated slightly, but still highly enjoyable.

It is worth a read IMO.

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Post by MagicJuggler » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:59 pm

There's a difference between survivalism and barbarism, and Brin simply called the barbarians the survivalists. Oops.

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Post by TheLastRifleMan » Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:30 pm

I knew some people who read it and said it was quite good. But he movie spoiled me for any of David Brin's books, sadly. Then I picked up a copy of the bood Kiln People that he wrote about six years ago. Very well done book with an interesting premise.
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Post by zXzGrifterzXz » Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:34 pm

I really need to pick this book up. This and "Starship Troopers" have been in my "Must Read" list for a while. I will have to make it a point to pick them both up this weekend.
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Post by zXzGrifterzXz » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:32 pm

I finally did pick this up a little over a month ago and finished reading it while I was flying back from Arizona last month. I have to say that while I liked the movie, I enjoyed the book much more. In fact by the time I had finished reading it I found myself wishing that Brin had written a sequel.



Spoilers to come.........





















I found the character of Gordon to be much more likeable in the book. I also enjoyed how in the book Gordon is the one who established the communication between the towns instead of the way it was done in the movie. I thought the idea of the laser satellites melting the radio towers and the EMP blast were interesting explanations for why everyone was still so isolated 16 years later. Only thing I really didn't really like(other then the "survivalist" thing which Tom helped sort out) was the whole "augment" soldiers part at the end.

Overall I thought it was a great read and a much better story then what the movie offered and would recommend it to friends in the furture.
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Post by Ben » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:40 pm

SPOILERS


























I felt the book reeked of contrived 80's SciFi. The EMP was okay since it really wasn't the all powerful now nothing ever works EMP but just the catalyst for a cascading failure. That was evidenced in the electronics that would work once they got batteries. The super soldier concept was fun but ultimately was just a Deux Ex Machina. The idea that people would interfere with the government and causing the ultimate downfall to me was the best twist.
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Post by Armed Hippie » Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:47 pm

I've only seen the movie. I've enjoyed that greatly and found it a great source of inspiration and it made me think a lot about what it takes to build/rebuild a society. I'm thinking of using in when teaching social science, but kids today are so fragile so I'll probably get in trouble for it...

The movie is a bit slow compared to normal american movies, but hey I'm used to german, swedish and french movies so I don't mind. :wink:

I didn't know it was based on a novel and I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy here in Sweden, alltough I doubt I'll have any succes.

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Post by Da Law » Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:38 pm

I got the movie some time ago on DVD and liked it a lot. I got the book yesterday and am almost halfway through it. So I would say I really, really like the book even more than I liked the movie.

So far it is a must read that is considerably different than the movie.
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Re:

Post by spaceman » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:35 pm

Overall, I liked this book. It had some real shiny moments, and others that weren't so shiny. At about 30 pages from the end is where I was really turned off though. (There may be spoilers below...)

Joe Ghoul wrote:Yeah, the whole genetic engineering thing kind of doesn't fit....

I agree. That's the part I hate - especially the two genetic goons fist-fighting. A-whaaat?! Not my thing.
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Re: Re:

Post by Cap'n Rae » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:37 pm

spaceman wrote:Overall, I liked this book. It had some real shiny moments, and others that weren't so shiny. At about 30 pages from the end is where I was really turned off though. (There may be spoilers below...)
I agree. That's the part I hate - especially the two genetic goons fist-fighting. A-whaaat?! Not my thing.


I couldn't agree more. The whole "augment" story-line seemed entirely contrived and tacked on at the last minute to give the novel a more tradition sci-fi feel (as opposed to a more purely PAW theme). I did not like that business it all. It almost ruined the entire read for me. In the end, I could not condemn the whole novel for the rubbish ending.

BTW, my favorite Brin books are Startide Rising and Kiln People.
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Re: The Postman

Post by REB 27 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:42 pm

I suppose that I'm with the few folks that liked the movie a bit better than the book. I mean come on, Tom freakin' Petty with a CAR-15!
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Re: The Postman

Post by Valarius » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:48 pm

I mean come on, Tom freakin' Petty with a CAR-15!


True. But I heard somewhere that it was supposed to be Ringo Starr and he couldn't make it.
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Re: The Postman

Post by zombiesean » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:45 pm

i saw the movie the other day & i had heard bad things about it, so going in i had low standards but i must say i kinda liked it. il keep my eye out for the book so i can read it.
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Re: The Postman

Post by Bricks of the Dead » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:27 pm

zombiesean wrote:i saw the movie the other day & i had heard bad things about it, so going in i had low standards but i must say i kinda liked it. il keep my eye out for the book so i can read it.


I read the book over the summer. It's surprisingly dissimilar to the movie, although I enjoyed both of them.
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Re: The Postman

Post by RoneKiln » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:58 am

Never saw the movie. Loved the book.... until the end. The end was lame. But I still recomend reading it.

What has surprised me is how many people read the book and thought it was antisurvivalist/militia and mistook the fall of the government to be the fault of the militias. As I recall, the industrial world had already been ravaged by biological warfare agents that had been released in 3rd world countries and spread. I remember it detailing all sorts of disasters that tore civilization apart, and then just when it looked like civilization might survive in North America, a single, particular militia movement was just the final straw that helped drag North America under. It never really portrayed that particular militia movement openly taking on the federal government or the military either. Small groups following similar ideologies started taking over some areas at the local level instead of a big coordinated conflict.

I liked how it stated that most militias and surivivalists fought tooth and claw to help civilization stay together. It was just the more viscious ones that survived and made the term "survivalist" something to be feared.

Did anyone else catch this in the book? Or known other people that missed this when they read it? I found it made a big difference in how believable some people found it and how they viewed the authors treatment on survivalists/militias.
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Re: The Postman

Post by Bricks of the Dead » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:49 am

RoneKiln wrote:Did anyone else catch this in the book? Or known other people that missed this when they read it? I found it made a big difference in how believable some people found it and how they viewed the authors treatment on survivalists/militias.


SPOILERS
A lot of the militia members who prevented the government from establishing control weren't normal people; they were genetically modified "super soldiers". That's why the militias were so tough.

I didn't read it as an anti-survivalist book at all. The Holnists (bad militia) were clearly evil, but that was because their senior members were extremely changed from the experiments to make them superior soldiers. One of them even said something along the lines that "They couldn't shut down; they needed to fight". It was just a different lens through which to examine the breakdown of civilization with lots of sci-fi. I was entertained.

You're right though. The ending was super lame.
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