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Solar Lottery

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  2,775 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
The operating principle was random selection: positions of public power were decided by a sophisticated lottery and when the magnetic lottery bottle twitched, anyone could become the absolute ruler of the world, the Quizmaster.

But with the power came the game – the assassination game – which everyone could watch on TV. Would the new man be good enough to evade his chosen k
Paperback, 188 pages
Published August 14th 2003 by Gollancz (first published 1955)
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May 15, 2013 Lyn rated it liked it
I like the Irish rock band U2, but especially like the early music. Songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride” had an edge (pun intended) and a spiritual, raw vitality that was more than just appealing, it was hypnotic and mesmerizing. Whatever it was these young musicians were selling, I was buying into it and I felt more alive and potent while I listened to and became a part of the song. The later music was good, the members of the band are talented artists and the product is well crafted, ...more
mark monday
an ingenious, frenetically paced book crammed full of fascinating ideas. this was Dick's first published novel yet it doesn't feel like it. he jumped into writing with his style and his themes fully formed. that's not to say this isn't rough - but all of his stories are rough. for me that is a big part of their appeal. it feels like he wrote this in a white heat and then immediately had it published, screw any rewriting. it has so much energy! and talent to burn. I've always found it hard to wri ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"I'm a sick man. And the more I see, the sicker I get. I'm so sick I think everybody else is sick and I'm the only healthy person. That's pretty bad off, isn't it?”
― Philip K. Dick, Solar Lottery


I figured Super Tuesday was an appropriate time to read PKD's first novel about lottery elections, random assassins, autocratic leaders, corruption, serfs, mad women, social control, telepathic security, idealism, cults, and the search for our galaxy's 10th planet.

It is hard to believe this was Dick's f
Jul 30, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it
Although the Philip K. Dick novel "Solar Lottery" is correctly cited as being the writer's first full-length piece of fiction to see the light of day, it was hardly the first time the budding author saw his name in print. The 26-year-old Dick had already seen some 35 short sci-fi stories published between 1952 and '53, beginning with his first sale, "Beyond Lies the Wub," in the July '52 issue of "Planet Stories"; he would see 27 stories go into print in 1953 alone! In addition, Dick, who only t ...more
This is my first encounter with PKD and I was pleasantly surprised by his work, which kept me turning the pages. Solar Lottery is his first published novel and is quite good for a debut. He creates a fairly complete and believable world with consistent rules and norms and he does so skillfully and convincingly. His descriptions create good visual images, and of course, I couldn't help seeing some of the film images from Blade Runner.

PKD creates an interesting frisson of sexual tension in his de
Ben Loory
Dec 22, 2011 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read this book again for the first time in fifteen years... i remember liking it before but not nearly as much as this. it's pkd's first novel and you can tell... it's obviously been carefully laid-out and makes perfect sense; there's not that manic semi-psychedelic flight forward that you get in his later stuff (which i love)... but it's very well-balanced and is quite touching at the end... much more optimistic than his later stuff. at the same time, it somehow doesn't feel quite as human; the ...more
Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann
In 1955 Ace Books published Philip K. Dick’s novel Solar Lottery; which was his first published novel and the beginning of a career that changed his life and thousands more - decades and decades later... a brilliant novel that gives one a glimpse through an imaginative eyes; before the pupils dilated to become psychedelically wild to become the master of speculative-reality bent literature.

Solar Lottery is clever and exciting with a lot of action. It’s a novel that shows that government can get
Hertzan Chimera
Feb 19, 2008 Hertzan Chimera rated it it was amazing
Solar Lottery was Philip K. Dick’s first novel, published back in the mid-1950s before the psychedelic drugs he became addicted to plagued his work. He has used similar threads in several works, the dehumanisation of contests and lotteries. Were it not for the futuristic setting, this could so easily have seen Dick writing riveting novels of social horrors - if only he hadn’t sided with Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books.

Philip K Dick could have been one of the greats - a true mass-market writer o
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jan 07, 2011 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
I have decided that 2011 will be the Year of Philip K. Dick. (Early 2010 was the Year of J G. Ballard) I have laid in a supply of novels, non-fiction writings, a biography, a french intellectual's analysis of the work, and four, over-priced volumes of his letters. I am set to go.

I like to start at the beginning. Volume One of the Collected Short Stories proves a chore to get through, but Vol. 1 of letters contain a the truest voice of Dick anyone is likely to find. Solar Lottery is the first nov
Feb 22, 2010 Joseph rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
For the sake of full disclosure: I am a huge Philip K. Dick fan. I think Valis is one of the great novels of the 21st century. I think Dick's short stories are imaginative and well suited to his almost fractured writing style.

Unfortunately, Solar Lottery just failed to deliver. It came so close that as I reached the last page I wondered if two chapters had been ripped out of the edition I was reading. No such luck.
Nov 08, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans
I have always steered clear of this author. Somehow I had gotten the impression that he was insane in some way or at least egregiously weird. But I read a review or two of the recently released The Exegesis of Philip K Dick, noting that Jonathan Lethem was one of the editors, and decided to give him a try. He wrote 44 novels! Solar Lottery is his first.

I did not get any impression of insanity or weirdness at all. He seemed to be fitting right in with the way science fiction was in the 1950s. In
Scott Holstad
Dec 26, 2013 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it
As this was Dick's first published novel (1955), I think it's a pretty good effort. It's certainly more straightforward than many of his later mindf***s. In this world of 2203, the world is ruled by the Quizmaster, who oversees a lottery which is supposed to give everyone an equal chance at the position. The thing is, you really don't want to win this lottery because with it comes the sanctioning of assassins who are chosen by a televised convention to kill the Quizmaster. The average Quizmaster ...more
May 14, 2010 Dave rated it liked it
Philip K. Dick’s first novel, “Solar Lottery” was published in May of 1955. It is a relatively short novel, at around 190 pages, but it is not short on ideas or concepts. The reader is faced with a society in the year 2203 where the highest political position (Quizmaster) is chosen by a lottery which is supposed to give each person an equal chance at the position. That is coupled with sanctioning assassins which are chosen by convention to kill the Quizmaster. Another key to the society is the o ...more
-Marcando rumbos de forma dubitativa.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. El ingeniero experto en bioquímica Ted Benteley aprovecha su despido para intentar formar parte del grupo que rodea al Gran Presentador Reese Verrick, que rige la política de la Federación de los Nueve Planetas desde su sede en Batavia, pero lo consigue cuando éste pierde su puesto y es Leon Cartwright, miembro de una secta en desacuerdo con las líneas generales de gobierno, quien ocupa su lugar. Las Brigadas Telepá
Sep 06, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
While a far cry from five star, memorable, classic material, Solar Lottery very recognizably shows the mark of what made Dick such a unique writer. Surprising to me was that Solar Lottery is somewhat more complex in its mechanics than many of his novels that followed... while I would have expected the reverse.

Regardless, it's a fairly unpredictable read, which I always find admirable. This alone does not, sadly, make it a great read... it's still fairly basic genre-writing and shows that Dick h
May 05, 2010 Joseph added it
This was a extremely compelling read from the master. I loved this book as I do most of his books. It tells of a future world in which everything is run by chance, specifically the government. Todd Benteley has become frustrated with the system and seeks ways to change it. AS his loyalties shift from one quizmaster to another he learns how the system has been rigged. It's an exciting book and I liked how the plot twists kept me reading.
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
solid early PKD novel. Perhaps more polished than some of his other early novels and while it presents a unique system of government and society, perhaps not as innovative as some of his other works and thus not as enjoyable.. but definitely good overall.
Tom Britz
Oct 02, 2016 Tom Britz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Philip K. Dick was a master of the intricate plot-line. His future is usually a bleak one and this was no different. People are ruled by a lottery system that chooses a ruler by random drawings. People in the inner sector of the ruler live life well, but still have no rights of their own. It is a system much like the serfdom period, but with high tech. Murder is allowed as long as it is done according to the rules. When a new leader is picked a convention is called at intervals and an assassin i ...more
Jack Stovold
Solar Lottery is Dick’s first true sci-fi novel, (The Cosmic Puppets was more of a fantasy, and also not published as a book at this time), and his third novel over all. It was also the first novel of his ever published, so we have it to thank for jump-starting Dick’s career as a novelist. Dick himself stated that if Solar Lottery had not been published, he would have given up full-length novels.
I didn’t think Solar Lottery was a bad book, but it’s not my favorite Dick work at this point. The
Victor Hugo
Ano 2203.
Imaginem o nosso mundo sem os sistemas social, político e económico tal e qual como os conhecemos. Imaginem que os níveis de confiança na sociedade em relação aos sistemas descem até ao ponto de ruptura. Tanto a sociedade como a economia e a política desmoronam-se, e os Governos sentem a obrigação, ou a necessidade, de criarem um novo sistema base alternativo à velha ordem social.

Minimax é um sistema onde predomina a ideia de aleatoriedade e sorte, em vez de certeza e predefinição. Com
I cast about quite a while for a book to fill the "first book by a favourite author" square. I kept thinking of authors whose first works I'd already read, before finally settling on Philip K. Dick. Then it was a matter of finding a copy. I visited several bookstores (in multiple states) before finally giving up and checking this out at the library,

This is very recognizably a Dick novel, most notably for the giant, all-encompassing system of governance designed to outsmart human failings (most s
Jul 30, 2012 Marta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philip-k-dick, 2015
After reading this book for the second time, I downgraded it to 4 stars, which is still pretty good!

Solar Lottery, the first novel by Philip K.Dick to be published, features some of his recurrent scenarios and themes: a future where mankind has colonised other worlds (although here the Earth is still habitable, unlike in some of his later novels), the existence of individuals with telepathic abilities, a totalitarian government that rules over the entire civilization and trends like multiple col
Dec 21, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is another good read by Philip Dick. Here he explores power, socio-political systems, game theory, and the need for individual autonomy, control, and responsibility. The author is at his best when throwing ideas against the wall through dialog. His major weakness is the inability to craft a female character that isn't a negative stereotype of feminine behaviors of the 1950's - dependent, cloying, manipulative, accessories of the male characters. I find Dick's writing to put me in mind of a ...more
Jun 08, 2008 Aharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
For an early book (1953) this novel contains almost all the elements one expects to find in his later novels: an uncertain everyman suddenly exalted, a young and manipulative female, a large overbearing coldly calculating boss. One complaint: for an everyman I couldn't get over the waspy name of the protagonist... I think PKD chose better names in his later works. But it's all forgiven since PKD shows his characteristic brilliance in taking an idea, namely a feudal society operating a capitalist ...more
Oct 08, 2008 Stark rated it really liked it
early-period, surprisingly coherent Dick. i liked the depiction of a man driven by conscience to tear down the rotten system he lived under. however...i ended up disagreeing with the central thesis that man's dissatisfaction drives his evolution, and "progress." "progress" is a dumb construct and has nothing to do with how evolution actually works. evolution is about adapting to change, and then maintaining a population with enough variation to cope with random future change. it's not about tryi ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved Solar Lottery. Dick is a fantastic writer of dystopian sci-fi, and I never find myself disappointed with his stories. That said, I found this one to actually be more exciting than his others, most likely due to the assassination plot coming to fruition in the middle of the story. The world that Dick paints on the lead up to that is one that feels unnervingly possible, and by the end it becomes easy to believe such a society could exist without too much more of a push.

I think any f
Robyn Blaber
Apr 13, 2016 Robyn Blaber rated it really liked it
Yay! In my quest to read all of Philip K. Dick this is about my 10th book and I'm happy that we're back in the realm of science fiction. In our new dystopian future, leadership is handed out by a lottery. Of course, the powerful manage to monopolize on leadership, but this is kind of upended by the 1950's sentiment that a hard working man with two good hands can change the world.

Our hero in the novel drips with 1950's sentiment and saves the day, but not before several interesting ideas in the
May 10, 2009 Jorps rated it liked it
Many of his "futuristic" details have come true in the 50+ years since the book was written. I love how in a future where planets have been colonized and space travel can be near instanteous, people still smoke cigarettes indoors in public places. Dick didn't get that one right.

Some interesting ideas about class and how people are motivated when their station in life is random.

The characters are not very well defined, even for Sci-fi, even for PKD.

Still, pretty readable on the whole
Jan 04, 2009 Noah rated it liked it
I'm a longtime fan of P.K. Dick, though I had to check the publication date of Solar Lottery as I was reading it. The extremely outdated stereotypes of women seemed out of place, but made more sense when I saw that it was published in the 50's (and indeed was his first full-length novel). Even still, the inventiveness and themes of questioned identity that become Dick's trademark are present and make it an enjoyable (and quick) read, if you keep it in context of the era in which it was written. ...more
Leo Polovets
Sep 07, 2011 Leo Polovets rated it really liked it
This is the first Philip K. Dick book that I have read — and the first one that PKD had published – and I was impressed. As I expected, the plot was creative and unorthodox. What I found surprising was that the book read like a movie script: the pacing was fast, each page was filled with dialogue, and the characters had just enough meat to avoid being one-dimensional. Dan Brown would be jealous. A fun hundred-pager.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternative cover for a reprint of an existing edition 3 20 Apr 22, 2016 02:19PM  
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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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“You're - psychotic. There's something wrong with you."

"I know," Benteley agreed. "I'm a sick man. And the more I see, the sicker I get. I'm so sick I think everybody else is sick and I'm the only healthy person. That's pretty bad off, isn't it?”
“It isn't a brute instinct that keeps us restless and dissatisfied. I'll tell you what it is: it's the highest goal of man - the need to grow and advance . . . to find new things . . . to expand. To spread out, reach areas, experiences, comprehend and live in an evolving fashion. To push aside routine and repetition, to break out of mindless monotony and thrust forward. To keep moving on . . .” 5 likes
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