Gordon Krantz, a survivor of the war that brought civilization down, finds a postman uniform and uses it to trick small communities of other survivors into believing that he comes from the Restored United States of America. But soon the lie he has created gains a life of its own.
Me liking this book is a bit strange, since post-apocalyptic fiction never really appealed to me. I’ve read my share of it over the years, but still, either I got the ultra-survivalist stories that revel in the destruction of civilization and living the primitive lifestyle, or the preachy, “everyone is dying and modern civilization is at fault” tracts, that are equally boring. Even after reading Postman my attitude hasn’t changed much, but this book is the one exception (or maybe I just read the wrong post-apocalyptic fiction, after all I’m a fervent fan of the Fallout games, so I’m not completely averse to this sub genre). The hero of the book isn’t one at first, but he slowly grows into the role, into a symbol for a better past and a brighter tomorrow, learning that what glues civilization together, and what can bring it down aren’t just the bombs, but the people who either believe in it or not. It’s idealistic, and in the hands of another writer the whole thing might have looked silly, but Brin makes it work.