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The Man Who Japed

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,765 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
In a society where displaying a neon sign is grounds for arrest, something as simple as a practical joke can spur a revolution. In The Man Who Japed, the government's new propaganda minister begins experiencing doubts about the society and his place in it, doubts that are exacerbated when he drunkenly chops the head off a statue of the government's founder.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1956)
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"The {_______} Who " Titles
28th out of 241 books — 77 voters
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Classic Science Fiction - 1950-1959
99th out of 140 books — 169 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 2,899)
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Mar 20, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If ever a Philip K. Dick novel needs to be made into a film by the Coen Brothers, it is The Man Who Japed.

This is Dick’s brilliant, quirky tribute to Dostoyevsky, I loved it. In the VALIS trilogy, Dick demonstrated that he is a master at that most oblique of sub-genres, theological science fiction. Here, he displays his virtuosity with a swaggering, lighthearted tale of pranks and a solemn message, like a schizophrenic reading Shakespeare while listening to The Grateful Dead and watching Animal
Mar 29, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
“A term we use in packet assembly. When a theme is harped on too much you get parody. When we make fun of a stale theme we say we’ve japed it.”


“A term we use in packet assembly. When a theme is harped on too much you get parody. When we make fun of a stale theme we say we’ve japed it.”


In a post-apocalpyse world where you are tyrannized by not just your nation (aka the Moral Reclamation, or Morec), but your HOA, it is hard to be creative, to sin, to deviate from the norm. Enter Allen P
Jonathan Briggs
Apr 19, 2012 Jonathan Briggs rated it liked it
It's 2114, and Al Gore's vision has come to fruition: All art is sanitized for your protection; everything is bland and environmentally, ergonomically and politically correct. Yuppie-of-the-future Allen Purcell is set to take over as director of Telemedia, a giant edutainment conglomerate responsible for producing a steady diet of pap programming to keep the population from thinking too hard (sort of like Fox). Things are definitely looking up for Purcell and his heavily tranquilized wife, Janet ...more
Kat  Hooper
Aug 08, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at

In 2114, Allen and Janet Purcell live in Newer York, a post-apocalyptic city that strictly regulates morality so that all citizens understand exactly how to fit in. Robotic spies film suspect behavior and turn it in to the committee members who are in charge of renting out apartments to law-abiding citizens. Citizens who get drunk, curse, or engage in sexual or other misconduct are brought to trial by the peers who live in their apartment complexes.
This if Dick's third published novel and the third I've read from his body of work. Reading the books in chronological order has been interesting as I notice a few trends developing from book to book. Having read the first three novels, I'll now move into his later work with a sense of where Dick is coming from; specifically, from those strange, post-war years of 1950's California, where all is sunny and bright and prosperous on the surface, but underneath there is the fear of nuclear annihilati ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
I was going to say that The Man Who Japed was for Philip K. Dick completists only, but then I read that in the mid 60's he considered it the best thing he had written to date. And this was after Man in the High Castle had won the Hugo Award.

I don't know why he was so fond of it. The Man Who Japed was originally half of an Ace Double, so it could almost pass as a novella. It is also just one of about five book-length works Dick wrote or put under copyright in 1956. Familiar PKD elements are all
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it
Cult sci-fi author Philip K. Dick's third novel, "The Man Who Japed," was originally published in one of those cute little "Ace doubles" (D-193, for all you collectors out there), back to back with E.C. Tubb's "The Space-Born," in 1956, and with a cover price of a whopping 35 cents. (Ed Emshwiller's cover for "The Man Who Japed" was his first of many for these beloved double deckers.) As in Dick's previous novel, "The World Jones Made" (1955), the story takes place on an Earth following a nuclea ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Judy rated it liked it

It is a post-nuclear war society run by a reactionary government that pushes a puritanical morality via the media. A Philip K Dick world if there ever was one. And this is only his third novel.

Jape is an intransitive verb meaning to say or do something jokingly or mockingly. Philip K Dick is a japer. It is also a transitive verb meaning to make mocking fun of. Alan Purcell, successful creator of propaganda, in a moment of madness, japes the statue of the current government's founder.

You can imag
Mar 17, 2015 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover, do-not-own
An great early work from PKD. Originally an Double ACE novel. It's a sort of a "give it to the man" kind of thing. A good fifties anti-establishment yarn written the way that only PKD could. It's packed with a bunch of cool (and comedic) ideas such as slow 30 mile per hour car-chases with nuke-pile driven steam cars that are steered by tiller and mini "juvenile" robots that report everything you might say and do to some kind of authority, mandatory weekly confessional tell-all meetings at you co ...more
Mar 18, 2010 Carol rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I've become quite a fan of Philip K. Dick. His books never fail to fascinate me, and this was no exception. The Man Who Japed is one of his earlier novels (written in 1956), so it hasn't got quite the polish or the heavy-duty mind bending of his mature books, but it's still a good read. The story is set in a post-nuclear-holocaust future in which a repressive Moral Majority-type government has taken over society. The government constantly monitors the population via small insectoid robots called ...more
Patrick Nichols
Jun 25, 2015 Patrick Nichols rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Dick completionists, anterograde amnesiacs, bedridden flaneurs
Shelves: science-fiction
First off, this is only worth contemplating if you're already a Phillip K Dick fan. You need to be previously inoculated against his usual stilted dialogue and ramshackle story construction to avoid wincing from time to time. Even the title aches like a string of celery stuck in my teeth - the man who japed?

It's one of his earliest novels, and it shows. I do love some of the novels he wrote in this period, from the Jodorowski-directing-an-episode-of-Twilight-Zone weirdness of "Eye in the Sky", t
Jul 23, 2010 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I really like Philip Dick, in spite of some of the weaknesses of his writing. This book is an excellent story about a future dystopia mired in a moral straightjacket. Allen Purcell finds himself in charge of Telemedia, the sole broadcast source in the Morec society. The book deals with what it means to be sane, humor as a humanizing element and a challenge to authoritarian regimes, the need for privacy, the perils of legislated or community-enforced morality, and many other subjects. It is relat ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Sloweducation rated it really liked it
A somewhat shallow vision of fascist dystopia and an entertaining, fast read in the tradition of the best fifties pulp science fiction. Moments of real illumination are broken up by extended passages of vague importance. Dick came on to the scene with a better imagination than most of his peers, but his early works are aching for the intellectual turn in sci-fi generally that came around a few years later. This could have been rewritten in one of those 10,000-15,000 digest "novels" and been the ...more
Michael A
Dec 31, 2015 Michael A rated it it was ok
I suppose you can't have success with every effort. This one is quite bland compared to "Eye in the Sky," which is the last one I finished reading a day or two ago.

I like PKD for his explorations of subjective realities and parallel storyworlds. This story has little of those and instead has more of a "V for Vendetta" plot in which a trickster/prankster sticks it in the eye of "The Man" -- in this case, a society established by a former army officer that brings everyone that is a part of his soc
Sep 09, 2015 Baarg rated it it was ok
This book was OK. The ideas in it are really good but they were undeveloped, for example (there may be spoilers, beware):

- Character development was poor, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters and didn't get a sense that they were portrayed in a way that described them well either.
- Why introduce characters like Dr Malparto and his sister when their involvement in the story had little to no consequence?
- Who really was Gretchen? Why did she want a kiss from Purcell? Why did he kiss
Aug 26, 2008 Toby rated it liked it
You can tell that this is one of Dick's earliest novels, the writing style is very weak compared to his later novels. However you still get the themes of social commentary and occasionally questioning the nature of reality and sanity that are such cornerstones of all P K Dick novels. Plot-wise this is a fairly good book with an interesting story, but as I said the writing style is off-putting. Something for an established P K Dick fan, but not if it's one of the first you read!
Apr 19, 2009 Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
An early book by Philip K. Dick--from the mid '50s--so not as complex and out there as some of his later stuff. Short and from the era but still chock full of some of his themes--repressed society, technology and how it is used to control the population, the power of media. Dick is one of the masters of science fiction so pretty much anything he's written is worth checking out.
Matteo Pellegrini
Jan 22, 2014 Matteo Pellegrini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza
"Redenzione immorale" è uno dei libri meno noti di Philip K. Dick, eppure vi si trovano temi e idee che ricorreranno nella sua produzione successiva. Siamo nel 2114, e il mondo è profondamente segnato dalla guerra nucleare e dalle regole del regime totalitario instaurato nel 1985 dal maggiore Streiter. Alien Purcell, il protagonista del romanzo, visita l'isola giapponese di Hokkaido, simbolo eloquente delle devastazioni causate dalla guerra, e qui tocca con mano le assurde imposizioni sociali d ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
Not the best Philip K. Dick but even at his worst, some good ideas. Allen Purcell, head of an add agency that upholds Moral Reclamation undermines it during his night-time hours. The copy I have sold for 35 cents in 1956 and it was paired with E.C. Tubb's The Space-Born ("two complete novels") plus two complete lurid covers.
What a deal!
Nov 30, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Great, short, witty read that lampoons, satires, criticizes Puritanism, fascism and communism--all wrapped up into one uptight governmental scheme and social/cultural milieu (in the book)!!!

There are some obvious deficiencies in the book, and many places where PKD could have delved way deeper into development and exploration of characters, motives, agendas, etc., but I don't think that was what he was after. In almost all of his fiction, he deals with the question of what is humanity? What makes
Christian Thorpe
Jan 04, 2016 Christian Thorpe rated it really liked it
For the first book of 2016 I went with a PKD to start things off right. I actually took a trial run of Audible for it and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the format. The story is set in a society where morality is law. Anonymous, public cross-examinations of accused transgressors and patrolling recording devices are just a pair of examples of how the status quo is maintained. These steps aren't seen as being oppressive by the citizens, but are readily embraced. There is to be a ne ...more
Scott Holstad
Jan 18, 2014 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it
As Philip K Dick's third novel, this is a pretty solid effort. More linear than later works, it's about Allen and Janet Purcell, who live in Newer York in 2114. It's been 130 years since a nuclear war has destroyed much of the world, and thanks to a Major Streiter of years past, society now lives under Morec (Moral Reclamation), a prim and proper, puritanical society where one can't curse, get drunk, engage in pre or extramarital sex -- even neon lights are banned!

Allen is the head of his own sm
May 18, 2010 Aaron rated it really liked it
This is a quiet one, but its simple charm won me over.
Apr 22, 2015 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1956 the years in the book were ones that I lived through. I love sci-fi writing that looks to what the future might be like. If this was our future I would have to go live in the Resort. Imagine a society where everything you do is judged and every week your block has a meeting to publicly shame you. Salem witch trials just in a different way. But totally loved this book and the writing of Philip K. Dick. This was my first book by him and I plan on reading more. I think this would ...more
Bruno Silva
Apr 12, 2015 Bruno Silva rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Excelente. Podia ser um feito um filme brilhante inspirado neste livro. Um mundo que foi transformado num paradigma de abjeta moralidade em que em blocos de apartamentos com uma divisão minúscula, onde se faz tudo, exceto a casa de banho que é única, pública é comum, existe uma quase militar fiscalizadora em que semanalmente as pessoas são acusadas por terem cometido atos que atentam contra a suposta moralidade desse mundo. Essa modalidade é transmitida regularmente em programas, que são desenha ...more
Oct 21, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
Some two hundred years after nuclear and chemical weapons devastated the earth, society has been reorganized based on the Morec (Moral Reclamation) philosophy. This is a humorless blend of communism and puritanical morality. The protagonist, Allen Purcell, comes to realize that the one thing this stifling society cannot tolerate is someone with a sense of the absurd. He uses his position in the propaganda agency to fight back against the pressure to conform with what amounts to an elaborate prac ...more
Perry Whitford
In the post-WWIII 'Morec' society of 2114AD public ethics are severely strict with standards set through the propaganda of Telemedia, morally lax behavior is punished by councils which sit in judgement at each apartment block, citizens are constantly monitored by electronic 'juveniles' which can pop up anywhere like mobile CCTV cameras.

Allen Purcell runs an agency producing 'packages' for Telemedia. When their Director of Propaganda resigns, he is offered the big job. He wants it, but he seems t
Jan 13, 2012 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, statunitensi
"Nessuno può dire cosa può essere inculcato nella testa della gente."

Finalmente riedito, Redenzione immorale è il terzo romanzo di fantascienza di Dick. Per le tematiche affrontate, per stile, scelta dei personaggi, è ancora assimilabile ai "romanzi d'esordio", scritti e pensati nell'America del dopoguerra. Il potere, il controllo delle masse, la globalizzazione sono temi che dominano il decennio che, in seguito alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale, ha conosciuto una maestosa opera di ridiseg
C.A. Chicoine
May 23, 2013 C.A. Chicoine rated it it was amazing
This is one of PKD's lesser-known novels. But it was a welcome surprise, nevertheless. It is full of humour and clever goings-on.

And there was quite the creative writing in this novel as well. One example is the opening of chapter eleven. PKD wrote; "The dream, large and gray, hanging like the tatters of a web, gathered itself around him and hugged him greedily. He screamed, but instead of sounds there drifted out of him stars. The stars rose until they reached the panoply of web, and there the
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Jan 21, 2012 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tancredi
Finalmente riedito, Redenzione immorale è il terzo romanzo di fantascienza di Dick. Per le tematiche affrontate, per stile, scelta dei personaggi, è ancora assimilabile ai "romanzi d'esordio", scritti e pensati nell'America del dopoguerra. Il potere, il controllo delle masse, la globalizzazione sono temi che dominano il decennio che, in seguito alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale, ha conosciuto una maestosa opera di ridisegno geopolitico.
L'altra faccia dell'America è la sua realtà provincial
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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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“Odd that the brain could function on its own, without acquainting him with its purposes, its reasons. But the brain was an organ, like the spleen, heart, kidneys. And they went about their private activities. So why not the brain?” 9 likes
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