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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  23,884 Ratings  ·  1,089 Reviews
On October 11 the television star Jason Taverner is so famous that 30 million viewers eagerly watch his prime-time show. On October 12 Jason Taverner is not a has-been but a never-was -- a man who has lost not only his audience but all proof of his existence. And in the claustrophobic betrayal state of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, loss of proof is synonymous with los ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 1st 1981 by DAW (first published 1974)
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Duane funny... I read this question on this book, right after I read a description of his semi-autobiographical "Valis", in which he describes the suicide…morefunny... I read this question on this book, right after I read a description of his semi-autobiographical "Valis", in which he describes the suicide of this woman whom his protagonist was trying to "save" and who snuffed herself anyway, and I realized, if *that* happened to PKD - if he had a friend (or worse yet, a lover) who died that way, where you failed when you could have done something to stop it, *that* experience will scar you for *life* - and I mean, so profoundly that you'll *never* be the same and *never* be able to get "Closure" (and I'd like to KILL whoever came up with THAT word) - or even relate "normally" to other humans again, *ever* - it's akin to living through combat in war, or something... I.e., *that* would explain PKD's having gone off the deep end and ended up in the skull ranch, even more than all the dope he was on...(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apatt
Aug 18, 2014 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“Love isn't just wanting another person the way you want to own an object you see in a store. That's just desire. You want to have it around, take it home and set it up somewhere in the apartment like a lamp. Love is"--she paused, reflecting--"like a father saving his children from a burning house, getting them out and dying himself. When you love you cease to live for yourself; you live for another person.”
What? This in a Philip K. Dick novel?

This is an unusual PKD book, though you could arg
...more
Lyn
Nov 26, 2012 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is one of Philip K. Dick’s best.

Yet unlike many main characters from PKD’s books, protagonist Jason Taverner is not a misunderstood, delusional recluse, but rather a world famous, genetically superior celebrity. Supporting protagonist Felix Buckman is a police general with only a handful of individuals more powerful. PKD uses these worldly heroes to illustrate the transience and frailty of what people understand as important. Taverner spends a couple of days wh
...more
notgettingenough
You can criticise Dick all you like for being wrong about flying cars, or thinking the LP record was for ever (note: it isn't?), but he is writing science fiction and, as Ray Bradbury points out far more eloquently than will I, that is about ideas. It isn't about sentence construction, plot or character development. If you wanted to, it is easy enough to criticise this book on all these counts, but so what? Why would you bother? What matters is....


http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...

Darwin8u
Aug 28, 2013 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Probably 3.5 stars, but I tend towards grade-inflation with authors I admire, so -- just to be safe -- I'm rounding down on this one (until I decide I want to round up in 3 years). I liked the first 4/5, but the last quintile bugged a little. It started brilliantly, but ended with a J. Leno (long explanation of the joke just told). It was like towards the end PKD discounted his readers would get it, so he left simple instructions (remove plastic before eating) and tied the whole thing off neat ( ...more
♞『Ƙєє Qυєєη』


That .GIF image perfectly captures the range of distinct reactions that Philip K. Dick's Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said got out of me in the expanse of reading it in the last four days. There was bafflement--then disbelief--then mild disgust--and, finally, karmic relief. Don't get me wrong, it's not a badly written book. Of course fucking not, it's PHILIP K. DICK! His outstanding Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep will forever destroy me in this world and in another parallel existence becaus
...more
Richard
Nov 01, 2008 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Experienced readers of Philip K. Dick
Recommended to Richard by: Borderlands-Books.com
Shelves: scifi, classic, bookclub
This is a somewhat typical Philip K. Dick novel, albeit not quite as good as I expected.

PDK is mostly famous for the movies that have been made from his novels. His books are a bit obscure, even among many Science Fiction fans, and for a good reason: he's not a very good storyteller.

Now, scifi fans are frequently a tolerant bunch. Among them are fans that will tolerate abysmal writing because the author nails the science (typically physics). Others couldn't care less about hard science, but want
...more
Marvin
Oct 27, 2009 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Phillip K. Dick is a philosopher in a pulp writer's body. His books reads like pulp fiction in style but are loaded with philosophical inquires regarding reality and perception. Sometimes so much so that the text can't keep up with it. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is one example. The plot centers around a celebrity who finds himself no longer remembered. To be more precise, he no longer exists. All his identity is wiped out and no one knows him not even his friends. This is actually one of ...more
Scarlet Cameo
May 06, 2015 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rc-15
"La realidad negada regresa para atormentar. Para caer, sin previo aviso sobre la persona, y enloquecerla."

Jason Taverner es una súper estrella que un día despierta y nadie lo recuerda...a partir de ahí nos encontramos en la carrera de Jason para averiguar el porqué, el problema recae en que, en un mundo altamente controlado por la policia, sin identidad ni papeles, Jason terminará enrollándose con personas peligrosas y situaciones ilegales, en una carrera contra reloj para evitar su muerte o
...more
Stuart
This is my fifth PKD book this year, and while I thought it was beautifully written in parts, and its depiction of a police state appropriately chilling, it lacked many of the reality-bending twists and macabre humor of some of his best books, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and UBIK.

The main characters Jason Taverner and Felix Buckman were sufficiently troubled and complex to keep my interest, but the events of the middle portion of the book dragged a bit, although the ending does prov
...more
Adrienne
Apr 17, 2014 Adrienne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mysterious book that raises many more questions than it answers. Among the questions this book has inspired me to ask:

-How on earth could I have spent a year and a half in love with a woman who told me this was her favorite novel?

-Is there a time/space-altering drug that can transport me to a universe where I never wasted my time on this book?

-Am I honestly supposed to believe that a world in which not everyone cares about the existence of a pompous white dude is some kind of dystopia?
...more
Derek
Jun 15, 2012 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first dip into the work of Philip K. Dick. After reading a chat board on where to start reading PKD, I kept hearing Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said mentioned over and over again. So, without pause, I went to the library the next day and retrieved a copy.

I sat and read this book in one sitting. It is not often that I read books at once. In fact, the last time I remember reading a book so quickly was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I am certainly not a fast reader -- I take my ti
...more
Algernon
Feb 25, 2012 Algernon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Maybe I was in the wrong mood for it, but something was off with one. I usually love the classic science-fiction (Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Vonnegut, etc) and Flow My Tears had some moments of greatness, especially in the interraction between the man with no identity and the various women he encounters. The change of POV to the police general was also effective, and the paranoid surveillance state described almost 40 years ago still has the power to evoke disturbing thoughts of "are we there yet ...more
Sandy
Apr 13, 2012 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Despondent over the failure of his fourth marriage and at the same time stimulated to fresh creativity after his first mescaline trip, cult author Philip K. Dick worked on what would be his 29th published sci-fi novel, "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said," from March to August 1970. Ultimately released in 1974, an important year in Phil's life (the year of his legendary "pink light" incident), the book went on to win the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award, was nominated for both the Hugo
...more
Chloe
Jul 21, 2012 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason Taverner is on top of the world. He has it all- a house in the Swiss Alps, a beautiful girlfriend, an illustrious singing career, and a hit late-night talk show. In a sense, he is Justin Timberlake (yes, Timberlake doesn't have a talk show... yet). Until one morning he awakens to find that no one knows who he is anymore, all of his IDs are gone and, in the matter of a few hours, he has become an unperson. Which, in the militarized post-Real ID future this book is set in, makes him a very o ...more
Toby
Aug 14, 2008 Toby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a time and place where the pols (US Police) and nats (national guard) carry out random ID checks to catch escaped students and send them to forced labour camps, what would happen if you woke up one day with no identity? Jason Taverner, host of a hit TV show with thirty thousand weekly viewers, find's himself in exactly this position. Not only have his ID cards disappeared, but his whole identity. One day a worldwide celebrity, the next a nobody, someone who no one has ever heard of before.

Wha
...more
F.R.
Jun 06, 2011 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a terrible confession to make, but this is my first read of a Philip K. Dick novel. I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to pick up one of his books, but it’s probably something to do with the zany titles or those wide eyed zealots determined to tell you how he was the greatest and most visionary writer who ever lived. And I’ll be honest: there was part of me which expected to be disappointed and uninvolved in what I found, but instead I greatly enjoyed ‘Flow My Tears, the Policema ...more
Sarah Anne
Nov 16, 2015 Sarah Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My third novel by Dick and I must be on a roll because they've all been really great.

Jason Taverner is a TV celebrity and vocalist and he's extremely famous. He's attacked one night (which is never actually explained) and ends up in the hospital. The next morning he wakes up and he's in a rundown motel with no ID of any kind. If he gets caught at a checkpoint then it's off to a labor camp for him. Luckily he's rich and carrying ridiculous amounts of cash. He asks someone to help him get fake IDs
...more
Estelle
Closer to a 3.5 rating.
While I enjoyed this novel and thought it was really well written and at times beautiful and moving, the story didn't quite blow me away. Something was missing for me, I didn't feel that little spark of brilliance that I so often find in PKD's novel.
Still a very good book!
Jayanth S
Mediocre. I tried so hard to like it, but the way the story took shape did not help one bit.

I chose to read this while searching for long, quirky, strange titles. Having read and liked 'Second Variety' by Philip K. Dick, I was eager to read this one. PKD is considered to be a sci-fi genre defining author, for having thought of unimaginable things during his time, opening up a new worlds of imagination for future authors and readers.

The premise is very very interesting and the book started off v
...more
Michael
Mar 16, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, conspiracy theorists, Dickians
Recommended to Michael by: Tom Maddox
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of Philip K. Dick's most "literary" novels, which is to say that it reads as if he took some time to edit and think about the plotline, rather than just getting cranked up on speed and hurling out the words as fast as they would come. Decades of that style of writing had already taken their toll on the paranoid genius, however, and anyone hoping for the lyric poetry of a Samuel R. Delany will be disappointed.

One does not read Dick for the subtle crafting of the English language, how
...more
Chris_P
When one reads a PKD novel, one enters a whole new universe. And I don't mean it as in each book is a different universe blah blah blah. Dick's worlds are almost solid with a psychedelic quality in them, reflected in every word and every punctuation mark. I don't know exactly how this works but I can feel the auras of those worlds through the lines and it's amazing.

Jason Taverner is a TV show host watched and loved by 30 million people until one day he wakes up and he isn't. He finds himself to
...more
Liviu Szoke
I-aș fi dat cinci stele fără regrete acestui roman a cărui traducere s-a lăsat îndelung așteptată, dar finalul m-a cam dezamăgit. Spun asta pentru că este printre puținele romane de Philip K. Dick citite de mine care nu o ia pe arătură de multe ori, ajungând să-i pierzi firul. Tema este destul de obișnuită pentru opera lui Philip K. Dick: alterarea realității, droguri psihedelice, state totalitare, absurdul kafkian ce ia locul realității și normalității. Recomandat, mai ales că are nominalizări ...more
Matt
I'm beginning to think that Philip K. Dick is to be blamed for Hollywood's typical inability to make good science fiction movies.

It's clear that PKD had no idea where he was going with this story when he started it, nor did he care where he had been while going forward with it. Most of what happens in the story is irrelevant to it. A cavalcade of broken dysfunctional geniuses come and then disappear, serving as little more than eye candy and vehicles for monologues on PKD's thoughts about the m
...more
Simon
Sep 19, 2011 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-masterworks, sf
Last book I'm going to finish this year so why not something by the master of shifting perceptions and realities? And if that's what you're looking for, you wont be disappointed with this book.

I don't know if this is one of those stories Dick just sat down and wrote without plan or direction but it certainly felt like it. The story meanders along often taking strange new directions seemingly for no more reason than the author's whim. It's an approach that feels quite familiar now, having read qu
...more
Gray Emerson
Dec 17, 2007 Gray Emerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read two other novels by Philip K. Dick and a lot of his short stories. He's one of the best American novelists (if not the best) of the later 20th century and this book is the best I've read so far. It's about a television/music star who suddenly discovers no one knows who he is anymore. Even the totalitarian government has no record of him ever existing. His struggles to reassert his identity cause him to question the authenticity of the reality he had been living in. More important than ...more
Luca Rossi
Jun 15, 2014 Luca Rossi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and brilliant masterpiece. Teverner is one of the best character in the history of sci-fi. I loved the way Dick used to imagine our future and made funny sketches about his time. In these book drug is a door to another time line, but I think that Dick helped everybody to think about the theories of multiple dimensions
Laura
May 07, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alabado seas Philip...
Scott Holstad
Sep 19, 2012 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What else is there to say after reading this wild prototypical Philip K. Dick novel? Published in 1974, it's about the future world of 1988 where there are flying cars, floating houses, packs of marijuana for sale, and all sorts of other crazy things he got wrong. Could that have been on purpose? In this world, it's a typical Dick police state where having your ID means likely freedom. Not having ID means forced labor camps, where they also send university students at war with the police an ...more
Robyn
Oct 11, 2011 Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an enigma. Well, all of PKD's books are enigmas, but some more than others, and for me, that's what draws me to the author. Reading PKD is like being in a riddle contest, but you're unsure if your opponent is a master riddle crafter, or some drugged out yahoo who wandered in off the street, who doesn't even know the answers to the puzzles he's giving you.

I read this book because I had heard the story about one of the later chapters of this book, and how it relates to the biblical b
...more
Sesana
Apr 01, 2011 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason Taverner is a famous entertainer, instantly recognizable worldwide for his long recording career and hugely successful TV show. And then, suddenly, he's not. All of his identification documents have gone missing, nobody recognizes him or the name of his show, and, most disturbingly, there isn't even a record of his birth. Taverner has simply ceased to have ever been, in one of the worst possible times and places to do so.

It might help to note that this book was originally published in 1974
...more
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  • On Wings of Song
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Now and on Earth
  • Dead Babies
  • Behold the Man
  • Dark Benediction
  • Emphyrio
  • The Child Garden
  • Downward to the Earth
  • Jem
  • Life During Wartime
  • Crash
  • Clown Girl
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Glue
  • Letters from LA
  • The Centauri Device
  • Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick
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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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“Reality denied comes back to haunt.” 347 likes
“Grief reunites you with what you've lost. It's a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that's going away. You follow it a far as you can go.

But finally,the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him.

And you can accept that. What the hell choice is there? You cry, you continue to cry, because you don't ever completely come back from where you went with him -- a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A cut that never heals.

And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can't feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You'll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.”
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