Have you even thought how fragile is our beautiful mighty technocratic civilization? And what happens if it crumbles for some reason? And how to rebuild it, if that happens? Well, I don't know about you, but many SF writers sure do. Many wonderful books were written about it and now I'm gonna present you one of them: David Brin's "Postman".
Well, when you read one of such books, first thing to know is how have civilization crumbled? In our case, everything is pretty standard: it a 'good old' nuclear war with all its 'relatives' like chaos and civil disorder. Now little islands of order and civilization are slowly reappearing in this ocean of barbarity (phew, how melodramatic). But, as usual, this noble process is indangered by The Bad Guys.
The main character of this book is a guy named Gordon. He used to be university student, when this whole mess started and he was recruited into the army. Eventually his unit was destroyed during the riots and he has began his search for a quiet place "where somebody would take responsibility". He has spent seventeen years searching and now he suddenly realizes that he has an opportunity to make this cruel world little better by himself. He finds that people are more then ready to do their best for civilization's ressurection. All they need is a symbol to follow and some leadership. And he eventualy becomes both symbol of ressurection and its leader. He would have to go though many difficulties but in the end we would be unexpectedly victorious.
The book itself concentrates not so much on his battle with Chaos, but mostly on his battle with himself for 'taking responsibility'. He is quite a usual man, who has been put into his superior position only by blind chance, but who now has to take responsibility for the whole future development of human civilization. Yet usual egoist sitting in him, raised by savage years when egoism was the only way to survive, is trying to make him run away from this fight into much safer calmness of autonomuos egoism. And he has not only to battle with such feelings not only in himself, but in most people he is meeting, including the ones much stronger and much more capable of taking responsibility.
The book itself is written with a very good language, and the emotional moments is one of the strongest I've ever met in SF. Characters are good, plot is better than average too and the whole book leaves very strong impression. To me, it has only one serious drawback: it's little overfilled with american patriotism, which makes some moments too melodramatic and innatural. But, in the other hand, it surely was necessary for the plot and its not a serious drawback for such strong book. So, once again: take my advice and read this book - you won't regret this.
Title: The Postman