The Man Who Japed
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The Man Who Japed

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  1,390 ratings  ·  71 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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Jonathan Briggs
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
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....more
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

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...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...more
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
I put this book under sci-fi because I don't know what to call it. This book has one theme, and sticks with it (rare for PKD?). I enjoyed it. It caught my eye because one of George RR Martin's books uses the word jape ALL the time. Drove me wild. Other things about Martin's books drive me crazy too, but I'm not reviewing his novels here (I think).

No nano-tech. The metal insect-like drones that record improper behavior are a foot long. Everyone on earth is subjected to moral scrutiny -- confessio...more
Patrick Nichols
Feb 27, 2012 Patrick Nichols rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dick completionists, anterograde amnesiacs, bedridden flaneurs
Shelves: science-fiction
First off, this is only worth contemplating if you're alreay a Phillip K Dick fan. You need to be previously inoculated against his usual stilted dialogue and ramshakle 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", to...more
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
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
A minor work from PKD, but a fine Double ACE novel just the same. 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 in 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...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...more
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!
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
"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
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!
Scott Holstad
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...more
This is a quiet one, but its simple charm won me over.
"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...more
C.A. Chicoine
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...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
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...more
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...more
Felix Zilich
Третья Мировая Война заставила человечество радикально изменить свое отношение к окружающему миру. Всего за считанные десятилетия Майор Штрайтер и его последователи смогли создать цивилизацию нового образца – Общество Морального Обновления, где интересы коллектива всегда доминируют над интересами индивида, а протестантская этика полностью заменила человеку римское право и уголовный кодекс. Подобный подход к жизни помог человечеству не только возродится, но и ударными темпами выйти в космоc. Поня...more
I always get the feeling that PKD was out to create a truly great dystopian novel. I don't know much about the author himself and who his influences were, but of all his novels, I get the feeling that each new novel is an attempt to fix was he didn't like with the last one. The Man Who Japed is not my favourite novel of his. I find that the story was not long enough to flesh-out the world Dick created around his story. The theme of subversive rebellion executed by a societal power is generally c...more
This is an early PKD book and feels as if he was experimenting with various ideas, some of which he would return to again in later work and others that he wouldn't. For example, he has the characters use revised grammar, such as might occur in the future. I can't recall him trying this later (he often makes up words but uses them in familiar syntax). He also disorients the reader a few times by starting chapters without telling them who they are with and where they are. Disorientation is of cour...more
Dave Lefevre
Philip K. Dick, having lived his most politically active years during the era of Nixon, believed that the U.S. was going to become a police state sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. Unfortunately the vision is coming true, albeit the march has been somewhat slower. "The Man Who Japed" is a book from his Ace Book days that has only come back into active print relatively recently, and it's timing is sure interesting. It talks about the creative concocted realities of the media and busybody communities...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
AN early PKD novel, this is already characteristic of his work, creating a dystopian setting where morality is enforced by the community, aided by spy robots, and mass media serve to help reinforce the Puritan values that prevail. The options to this are to wallow in the fantasies provided by a mental health institutes 'Other World' or to head out to the frontiers of space and start again as a colonist. Nearly any other American SF writer would have his hero choose the last option, but the man w...more
I read this book in two afternoons. It was a good change from my dissertation and I decided to give it a try, since it is a very small book and it is one of my favourite sci-fi writers.
I was not dissapointed. It is a nice story, with plot twists that really can't resemble anything I have read but it is just a nice story. Good for entertaining in a sunny August afternoon, when you don't want nothing serious to think about.

The Man Who Japed, tells us the story of a man that had a regular life in E...more
This book had no drugs or alternate realities. Instead it was just a very unpleasant distopia. People wanted to live in tiny flats close to the centre rather than in large estates on the colony worlds. People subjected themselves to all kinds of tyranny and gave up their personal freedoms for this "privaledge". The world was really oppresive, even though it did offer an out, it was just a very good example of how people get stuck in a mindset thinking something is good and what they should be fo...more
An early PDK book that i hadn't come across before, this is an interesting twist on the Swiftian parody. While the book does't do justice to later PDK works, it is still interesting as a story about a "perfect" society which, after a global war, turns to Morec or Moral Rectitude. What is most interesting here is how Dick takes the idea of neighbors judging each others and turns it into a law, where people can get thrown out from their lodging for not having "moral fortitude". Add to this an earl...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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“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?” 8 likes
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