The Crack in Space
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The Crack in Space

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,366 ratings  ·  106 reviews
"Dick’s best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable."—The New York Times Book Review

When a repairman accidentally discovers a parallel universe, everyone sees it as an opportunity, whether as a way to ease Earth’s overcrowding, set up a personal kingdom, or hide an inconvenient mistress. But when a civilization is found a...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published 1966)
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In a future, overpopulated world, a technician discovers a portal to an alternative earth. Jim Briskin (campaigning to be the first black president) sees settling this alternative world as solution to the problem of the seventy-or-so million cryogenically suspended people warehoused throughout the country. Called ‘bibs’, they have chosen to sleep until the world’s population problem can be resolved.

The dominant hominid on this alt-earth it turns out is “Peking Man”—it appears as though evolutio...more
Although he displayed remarkable prescience in many of his books, cult author Philip K. Dick was a good 72 years off the mark in his 18th sci-fi novel, "The Crack in Space." Originally released as a 40-cent Ace paperback in 1966 (F-377, for all you collectors out there), the novel takes place against the backdrop of the 2080 U.S. presidential election, in which a black man, Jim Briskin, of the Republican-Liberal party, is poised to become the country's first black president. (Dick must have like...more
The more PKD I read, and the more I learn about him and about literature theory, the more impressed I am with what he was able to accomplish, albeit mostly posthumously.

Some observations:
PKD was a genius, that has been stated over and over. Philosophical, imaginative, social commentary about a future that varies book to book. Common threads, sure, but all intrinsically different by a massive degree.

That being said, when you really step back and take a look, his writing is SHIT.

Technical shit. Re...more
Jun 20, 2008 Aaron rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philip K. Dick fanatics
I won't even bother to describe the plot. Suffice it to say that the elements include the first black President of the United States and pre-industrial ape men from another dimension. The plot is wildly inventive, but the typical Philip K. Dick flaws are all on full display. Too much dialogue? Check. Too many characters resulting in dissipation of focus? Check. Omniscient narrator with no clear point of view? Check. Still, if you're a fan -- which I am -- it's not completely bad. There are bette...more
Even when he is not at his very best, as with The Crack in Space, Philip K. Dick is eminently worth reading. Somehow, half a century ago, he anticipated several key facets of life in our time, starting with a black president and a racist society. Over 100 million Cols (Coloreds?) have volunteered to be frozen until the socioeconomic situation for them has improved -- so many, in fact, that the number of BiBs ("Bottled in Bond") is threatening the national budget.

As a result of an accident to a J...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Regular readers of Philip K Dick would not expect him to write a novel exploring social issues, but in this case that is what he seems to think he is doing. The result is a muddle of ideas that try to stay topical while medium level PKD weirdness circles around them.

The setting is the late 21st century, and overpopulation, combined with a shortage of jobs, has become the major problem facing the human race. The solution has been to warehouse those who request it in suspended animation with the p...more
Alex Telander
There’s a unique style to Philip K. Dick’s work that can perhaps be called unforgiving: his writing isn’t easy and straightforward; you have to work at it and make sure you keep up, because he’s just going to throw you in the middle of his complex world and drag you along for one crazy ride. The Crack in Space is a perfect example of this, recently released in a minimalist-looking new edition from Mariner Books, where the world is at a distant point in our future and all is not well. While techn...more
Dustin Reade
Philip K. Dick is awesome. Most of the time. Here, he is just good. Not great. It was surprisingly tame for a Dick book, and the usual themes (Psionic Abilities, Reality Shifts, Hellish Introspection) were all sadly lacking. The most we get by way of toying with reality is a barely visited "alternate earth" and a single mutant pimping out women that are sort of half-women or something. Less than human anyway.

Worth reading if you already like Philip K. Dick's work, but if you are unfamiliar I wou...more
Andrea Blythe
In an overpopulated world, millions of people have elected to become bibs (cryogenically frozen until the job market opens up), abortion centers are prospering, and prostitution has been made legal on orbiting satellites (to ease "frustrations", while preventing pregnancy). It's a huge problem faced by the presidential candidates, who must present solutions to this problem if they are to be elected.

Jim Briskin announces in a public speech a possible solution. A company has stumbled upon a porta...more
Jack Stovold
My Philip K. Dick Project

Entry #31 - The Crack In Space (written Sep. 1963-Mar. 1974, published Feb. 1966)

Jim Briskin, everyone's favorite news clown, is back for Round III, and this time, he's black! More accurately, in The Crack in Space, Briskin is a former news clown, and in the running to become America's first black president (sorry, Obama!)

One of the more depressing thing about PKD's stories is how long he often (not always) predicted that flagrant and public racial discrimination would...more
Scott Holstad
Not one of Dick's better books, but still an interesting read and, occasionally, a fun one at that. I found it a bit shocking that in the 1960s, Dick was writing about issues that are very relevant today, such as abortion, a black president, etc. Before either was possible, in other words. The book is about a parallel earth, and our attempts to populate it with 70 million bibs, or people who had been frozen due to overpopulation. Most of them are black. As far as a standard Dick novel, I thought...more
I can see, sociologically, where Dick was headed with this one. As always, his novels are daring and ahead of their time. The Crack in Space was enjoyable, but it wasn't unforgettable enough to pick up again. Dialogue was a little heavy and vaguely droning sometimes. The storyline took a while to accomplish anything with. The amount of characters also never really paid off, they all felt similar except for Jim Briskin in style. It's classic paranoid Dick though, and the same personality is retai...more
Phillip K. Dick was a working writer and this book has that feel. I would be surprised if it took him more than a couple of weeks to write the thing. It has a muddled, hurried feeling to it. It is still an good book, though. P.K. Dick is still more imaginitive and amazing on his worst day than most sci-fi writers are in a life time. I have read many of his books and even though this one was mediocre it was still completly original. It raises some interesting moral questions and touches on import...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
A rather straight-forward, for Philip K. Dick, science fiction book about a futuristic election involving the first (potential) black president of the United States, overpopulation, racism, and what happens when one encounters the unexpected. The characters in the book are all flat and dimensionless, while the message underlying message is somewhat ham-handed and doesn't resonate the way it should. Despite this, I found it a nice read, perhaps because it is more approachable and less confusing t...more
A guy discovers a hole in the jiffi-scuttler(which are never properly explained or described) that goes to another dimension. Then a lot of characters are introduced and political stuff happens for most of the book. For some reason people are racist even though it's supposed to be almost 100 years in the future. By then minorities will vastly outnumber Caucasians so the racism makes no sense and is never explained.

I understand that Philip K. Dick is supposed to be a visionary author, but this is...more
In the future, overpopulation has created an Earth in which seventy million people are cryogenically frozen until room can be found for them. When a crack in space is found by a Jiffi-scuttler repair man, Jim Briskin, candidate for presidency, announces his plan to relocate the excess population to the alternate Earth where they can live out their lives. Almost immediately, the alternate Earth is found to be sparsely populated with different descendants of early hominids, severely complicating t...more
Grady McCallie
So much going on in this book: social and political consequences of overpopulation; the 'browning' and 'graying' of America; celebrity divorce; an unhinged and ultimately murderous do-gooder; the relationship between politicians and their key advisors; parallel worlds; time travel paradox; contingency in evolution; and the experience of the phantom twin (PKD had one, himself).

On one level, it is certainly pulp, at least in its plotting. But the quality and clarity of the writing, and the deft wa...more
Not one of his better efforts. Too short for the ideas it contains, not to mention an implausible take on social morays. That said, some of the ideas are first-rate and would have been wonderful at a decent length.
Not one of Dick 's best, but still highly entertaining and very enjoyable!
I really wanted to read this one before the presidential election, since it's a story about a black man running for president. And finding an opening to a parallel/alternate Earth, which isn't happening right now, but you can't have everything. This being Philip Dick, it's also a story about amazing technology, a universe whose workings we don't really understand, and human nature. The writing, as usual, is workmanlike but that also means it's very readable. Philip Dick may be one of the only au...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In Philip K. Dick’s The Crack in Space (1966), American technology and civilization has advanced so far that citizens can easily take a spaceship to make daily visits to an orbiting satellite whorehouse, personal Jifi-scuttlers are used to warp space/time so that people can quickly travel from home to work in a distant city, and overpopulation is such a public concern that millions of dispossessed Americans have chosen to be put in cryogenic storage until...more
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
There's a good chance that you know Philip K. Dick, if not by name, then by the movies his books and stories have spawned. He's that rare author with as manyten of his stories or novels adapted for the big screen, albeit posthumously. Think Blade Runner , starring Harrison Ford, an adaptation of Dick's brilliantDo androids dream of electric sheep?orTotal Recall,with Arnold Schwarzenegger, fromWe Can Remember It For You Wholesale. More recent movies include The Adjustment Bureauand Minority Report...more
The Crack in Space by Philip K. Dick deals with social and political issues, especially racial issues.

I wrote a review of Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein where the grandmaster explored elements of racism. True, both writers go about the business clumsily and with not a small bit of racism themselves, but I would remind a gentle twenty-first century reader that these writers put their thoughts down in the 1960s and the effort was courageous in and of itself. This also examines sexual, m...more
Not a bad Philip K Dick book but definitely not his best. My main complaint was that this book seemed to have some political undercurrents. I mean, why can't I just read a good science fiction book without having to worry about political correctness?

It's the future and the United States is preparing for another election and one of the candidates could possibly be the first black president the country has ever had (this was written a while ago). The country is undergoing an overpopulation crisis...more
Kim Pallister
The Crack in Space is takes place in a not-too-distant future, where an overpopulated earth has dealt with unemployment and overpopulation by putting people into suspended animation until another planet can be found to go colonize. When a repairman looking at a dysfunctional transporter discovers a crack in space that leads to another Earth-like world, the problem may be solved. But of course, it's never as easy as that.

The book, like much 1960's sci-fi, deals with space travel, alternate histor...more
This is the first Philip K. Dick novel I have ever read, but it sure isn't going to be the last. I was really surprised - and impressed - at how much was compressed into so short a novel. Not only is there prime science fiction material here (a head with two bodies! cryogenics! and a major plot point reminiscent of a Fringe episode) but there is also a boatload of social commentary concerning race, identity, and reality. Though it's under 200 pages, I found myself getting a little bored at a few...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This is not one of Philip K. Dick's typical novels. The plot is linear and coherent, and at no point are any of the major characters confronted with the awful possibility that the universe as they experience it may be only apparently real. Unfortunately this also means that as Dick novels go, this is not a particularly good one.[return][return]Originally published as The Crack in Space in 1966, but written a couple of years e...more
So basically in THE FUTURE there's a huge population surplus and people are being put to sleep indefinitely (cryogenically, I think) so they can be woken up when the government finds a solution to the problem. There's currently a presidential race going on in which the first black president of the United States could potentially be elected. (I didn't know that when I picked up the book, but for a Science Fiction novel it seemed oddly applicable to right now...except in that book the first black...more
it's the near future and we have a bit of an overcrowding problem (70 million people frozen), the first serious african american presidential candidate, and a shadowy teabagger type group that is inciting racial tenions and unrest to influence the election. there is also a satellite/whorehouse that revolves around the earth to help alleviate the sexual needs of mankind (and we assume women, but it's never really brought up) and to help discourage procreation.

(minor spoiler below)

the "crack in...more
Thom Foolery
How's the first Negro President of the United States going to go about handling the presence of a planetful of dawn men who've proved themselves capable of constructing a fairly adequate civilization?
Add an interdimensional rift, overpopulation, chronic unemployment, and the need to deal with 100,000,000 frozen surplus citizens, and you have The Crack in Space. As always, Dick's reach exceed his grasp; as many other reviewers have noted, he had furiously inventive imagination, but he was not te...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. He briefly attended the University of California, but dropped out before completing any classes. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memo...more
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