Chill winds still blew. Dusty snow fell. But the ancient sea was in no hurry. The Earth had spun six thousand times since flames blossomed and cities died. Now . THE POSTMAN is a best-selling and award-winning dystopian novel that was the core basis for a motion picture of the same name, directed by and. This is the story of a lie that became the most powerful kind of truth. A timeless novel as urgently compelling as War Day or Alas, Babylon.
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The Earth had spun six thousand times since flames blossomed and cities died. Now, after sixteen circuits of the Sun, plumes of soot no longer roiled from burning forests, turning day into night.
DAVID BRIN: The Postman
Six thousand sunsets had come and gone — gaudy, orange, glorious with suspended dust — ever since towering, superheated funnels had punched through to the stratosphere, filling it with tiny bits of suspended rock and soil. The darkened atmosphere passed less sunlight — and it cooled. It hardly mattered anymore what had done it — a giant meteorite, a huge volcano, or a nuclear war.
Temperatures and pressures swung out of balance, and great winds blew. All over the north, a dingy snow fell, and in places even summer did not erase it. Only the Ocean, timeless and obstinate, resistant to change, really mattered. Dark skies had come and gone. The winds pushed ocher, growling sunsets. In places, the ice grew, and the shallower seas began to sink.
But the Ocean’s vote was all important, and it was not in yet. Men still struggled, here and there. And the Ocean breathed a sigh of winter. In dust and blood — with the sharp davud of terror stark in his nostrils — a man’s mind will sometimes pull forth odd relevancies.
After half a lifetime in the wilderness, most of it spent struggling to survive, pistman still struck Gordon as thf — how obscure postmsn would pop into his mind right in the middle of a life-or-death fight. Panting under a bone-dry thicket — crawling desperately to find a refuge postmaj he suddenly experienced a recollection as clear as the dusty stones under his nose.
It was a memory of contrast — of a rainy afternoon in a warm, safe university library, long ago brni of a lost world filled with books and music and carefree philosophical ramblings. Words on a page. Dragging his body through the tough, unyielding bracken, he could almost see the letters, black against white.
And although pstman couldn’t recall the obscure author’s name, daviid words came back with utter clarity. There is never a disaster so devastating that a determined person cannot pull something out of the ashes — by risking all that he or she has left Gordon wished the long-dead writer were here right now, sharing his predicament.
He wondered what pollyannaish glow the fellow might find around this catastrophe. Scratched and torn from his desperate escape into this dense thicket, he crawled as quietly as he could, stopping to lay still and squeeze his eyes shut whenever the floating dust seemed about to make him sneeze.
The Postman by David Brin
It was slow, painful progress, and he wasn’t even sure where he was headed. Minutes ago he had been as comfortable and well-stocked as any solitary traveler could hope to be, these days. Now, Gordon was reduced to not much more than a ripped shirt, faded jeans, and camp moccasins — and the postmann were cutting them all to bits. A tapestry of fiery pain followed each new scratch down his arms and back. But in this awful, bone-dry jungle, there was nothing to do but crawl onward and pray his twisting path did not deliver him back to his enemies — to those who had effectively killed him already.
Finally, when he had come to think the hellish growth would never end, an opening appeared ahead. A narrow cleft split the brush and overlooked a slope of tumbled rock. Gordon pulled free of the thorns at last, rolled over onto his back, and stared up at the hazy sky, grateful simply for air yhe wasn’t foul with the heat of dry decay.
Welcome to Oregon, he thought bitterly.
And I thought Idaho was bad. He lifted one arm and tried to wipe the dust out of his eyes. Or is it that I’m simply getting too old for this sort of thing? After all, he was over thirty now, beyond the typical life expectancy of a postholocaust traveler. Oh Lord, I wish I was home again. He wasn’t thinking of Minneapolis.
The prairie today was a hell he had struggled for more than a decade to escape.
No, home meant more to Gordon than any particular place. A hamburger, a hot bath, music, Merthiolate As his labored breathing settled, other sounds came to the fore — the all too clear noise of happy looting. It rose from a hundred feet or so down the mountainside.
Laughter as the delighted robbers tore through Gordon’s gear. Gordon added, still cataloging the amenities of a world long gone. The bandits had caught him off guard as he sipped elderberry tea by a late afternoon campfire. From that first instant, as they charged up the trail straight at him, it had been clear that the hot-faced men would as soon kill Gordon as look at him.
He hadn’t waited for them to decide which to do.
Throwing scalding tea into the face ppstman the first bearded robber, he dove right into the nearby brambles. Two gunshots had followed him, and that was all. Probably, his carcass wasn’t worth as much to the thieves as advid irreplaceable bullet. They already had all his goods, anyway. Or so they probably think.
Gordon’s smile was bitterly thin as he sat up carefully, backing along his rocky perch until he felt sure he was out of view of the slope below. He plucked his travel belt free of twigs and drew the half-full canteen for a long, desperately needed drink. Bless you, paranoia, he thought. Not once since the Doomwar had he ever allowed the belt more than three feet from his bron.
It was the only thing he had been able to grab before diving into the brambles. The dark gray metal of his. Gordon blew on the snub-nosed weapon and carefully checked its action. Soft clicking testified in understated eloquence to the craftsmanship and deadly precision of another age. Even in killing, bri old world had made well.
Especially in the art of killing, Gordon reminded himself. Raucous laughter carried up from the slope below.
Nomially he traveled with only four rounds loaded. Now he pulled two more precious cartridges from a belt pouch and filled the empty chambers under and behind the hammer. Sixteen years chasing a dream, Gordon thought. First that long, futile struggle against the collapse Gordon shook his head.
He knew his own dreams quite well. They were a fool’s fantasies, and had no place in the present world. He pushed the thought aside. Whatever he had been looking for, his long seeking seemed to have ended here, in the dry, cold mountains of what had once been eastern Oregon. From the sounds below he could tell that the bandits were packing up, getting ready to move off with their plunder. Thick patches of desiccated creeper blocked Gordon’s view downslope through the ponderosa pines, but soon a burly man in a faded plaid hunting coat appeared from the direction of his campsite, moving northeast on a trail leading down the mountainside.
The man’s clothing confirmed what Gordon remembered from those blurred seconds of the attack. At least his assailants weren’t wearing army surplus camouflage They must be just regular, run of the mill, may-they-please-roast-in-Hell bandits.
If so, then there was a sliver of a chance the plan glimmering in his mind just might accomplish something.
The first bandit had Gordon’s all-weather jacket tied around his waist. In his right arm he cradled the pump shotgun Gordon had carried all the way from Montana. Get that stuff together and move davi
Another man, smaller and more shabby, hurried into view canning a cloth sack and a battered rifle. When we bring this stuff back, can we have all the ‘shine we want, Jas? I never seen anything run so fast! Gordon frowned at the insult added to injury. It was the same nearly everywhere he had been — a postholocaust callousness to which he’d never grown accustomed, even after all this time.
With only one eye peering through the scrub grass rimming his cleft, he took a deep breath and shouted. The big postmsn dropped awkwardly to the ground, scrambling for cover behind a nearby tree. The skinny robber, though, gawked up at the hillside. Their behavior confirmed that the sons of bitches weren’t true survivalists. If they had been, he’d probably be dead by now. The other bandits — Gordon counted a total of five — hurried down the trail carrying their booty.
Scrawny seemed to wake up to his exposed position and postmna to join his comrades behind the undergrowth. All except one robber — a sallow-faced man with salt-and-pepper sideburns, wearing an alpine hat. Instead of hiding he moved forward a little, chewing a pine needle and casually eyeing the thicket. We’ve got his shotgun.