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The Crack in Space

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  2,027 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
In The Crack in Space, a repairman discovers that a hole in a faulty Jifi-scuttler leads to a parallel world. Jim Briskin, campaigning to be the first black President of the United States, thinks alter-Earth is the solution to the chronic overpopulation that has seventy million people cryogenically frozen; Tito Cravelli, a shadowy private detective, wants to know why Dr. L ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published 1966)
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Dec 19, 2012 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 28, 2009 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2009 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, pulp
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
Oct 10, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read quite a few of Philip K. Dick's unique brand of science fiction over the years. A personal favourite of mine is The Man in the High Castle, which I've read 3 or 4 times. In 2017, I finished Time Out of Joint, which I enjoyed very much and now, most recently, The Crack in Space, which was quite excellent.

The Crack in Space was written in 1966. The basic premise is an over-populated world, where people have the option of becoming 'Bibs'; they are cryogenically frozen, hopefully being awo
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
Jun 03, 2015 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mid-period PKD novel (expanded from the novella Cantata 140 published in the July 1964 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.).

It is a humorous novel packed with many unique ideas and interesting themes including over-population, politics and racism.

Initially, unlike with the majority of PKD’s other works, I didn’t find this novel as interesting as others I’ve read. It seemed to lacked something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on... Too conventional? But by the second hal
Nov 22, 2007 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  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
Alex Telander
Feb 05, 2012 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, fiction
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
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
Julieta Steyr
May 29, 2017 Julieta Steyr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creo que no existe una versión editorial de "The Crack in Space", pero encontré una como "Cantata 140" (el otro nombre de este libro) que está traducida al español.
Es una historia sobre racismos, poder, asesinato con toques de alcohol y prostitutas (¡amo a Dick!). Podría ser una buena mini serie sin romance por cómo comienza a mezclar a todos los personajes que tiene en un entramado perfecto, cada uno cumpliendo su rol y teniendo como principal a Jim Briskin, un candidato a presidente negro, los
Jun 14, 2017 MGMaudlin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A very rough plot which Dick barely fills in, but what a unique plot. Is this the first sci-fi novel that made use of the multiverse? I can only read Dick occasionally since I worry that all of life will start to bend and distort like his novels. Still, reading his novels is a healthy reminder that all is not as ordered and normal as we think.
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
Kat  Hooper
Feb 06, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Stuff I Read - The Crack in Space by Philip K. Dick Review

Man, Philip K. Dick has written some rather odd stuff. This is the second of three books of his that I'll be reading this year, and while Eye in the Sky was rather messed up, this one has it's own brand of weird. Of course, both stories are at least a bit about race, with The Crack in Space being much more direct and hitting. It's also about difference and about responsibility, about overpopulation and poverty and a whole lot of other thi
Oct 03, 2015 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Crack in Space was a chore to read. If this is any indication of a typical Philip K. Dick book, I am never going to attempt another one.

First and foremost, this book has too many ideas squished into one novel (a short one too!). There is no way I can adequately summarise the over-complicated plot, except to say it involves a dystopian future society afflicted by over-population and rampant prostitution, widespread cryogenic freezing, the discovery of a tunnel to a parallel Earth, encounters
Andrea Blythe
Dec 02, 2012 Andrea Blythe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fic-scifi
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
Scott Holstad
Apr 29, 2012 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 30, 2012 Linnea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Dec 25, 2014 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've definitely read better PKD books but The Crack in Space is by no means horrible. It's a creative plot that ends sort of abruptly; it kind of seems like Dick got bored right at the tail end of the novel and decided to wrap it up as quick as possible. Nonetheless, it's a good read for PKD fans, but is probably not the best recommendation for someone just getting into Dick.
Carla Remy
Aug 17, 2010 Carla Remy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The first several (like eight) PKD books I read, I thought he was the oddest most unpredictable author I'd ever encountered. Such inscrutable choices and themes. Now, for like the last three I've read, I'm over that. I guess I'm used to him. And I love his writing more than ever. Still bizarre, but I know what to expect now. I LOVED THIS.
Aug 02, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 04, 2014 Joni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pkd
Re-read this for the first time in years. Pervasive sense of dread as all the implications of this incredibly imaginative, terrifying colonial allegory gradually kick in. It's still shocking to me that this man was able to write so many great books in one lifetime.
Mar 15, 2015 Geraud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pas grand chose a en dire sinon que j'ai passé un bon moment :-)
Nov 18, 2008 Doug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly prescient, with some major tension around the climax. The ending, however, feels like a worse let down than even PKD's often oddish pseudo-resolutions.
Not one of Dick 's best, but still highly entertaining and very enjoyable!
May 19, 2017 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We who love science fiction cherish Philip K. Dick (PKD) but there are things we don't cherish him for. These would be his writing style, his prescience about technology, or his clarity about human institutions. Those things don't really exist in his writing. The things he is cherished for are enough, however: his sense of a tenuous attachment to reality, insight into human longing, his willingness to run with near nonsensical ideas to play with them, and his always innovative perspectives on th ...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. 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 Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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“They were a form of mutated twinning, joined at the base of the skull so that a single cephalic structure served both separate bodies. Evidently the personality George inhabited one hemisphere of the brain, made use of one eye: the right, as he recalled. And the personality Walt existed on the other side, distinct with its own idiosyncrasies, views and drives—and its own eye from which to view the outside universe.” 1 likes
“You stupid bastard, does what you’re fighting for look so real now? Skin pigment. What a laugh! Why not eye color? Too bad nobody ever thought of that. It cuts it a little finer, but basically it’s the same thing.” 1 likes
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