I've seen "BladeRunner" so many times I could puke and watch it again (hell, I even wrote a 15 page critical analysis of it as a neo noir film). And i...moreI've seen "BladeRunner" so many times I could puke and watch it again (hell, I even wrote a 15 page critical analysis of it as a neo noir film). And it's an amazing, beautiful film.
I read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" when I was a junior in highschool, after having grown up with "BladeRunner." And it was fabulous.
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and "BladeRunner" are not the same thing. At all. Which is conceptually really, really intriguing. And I love that about the two.
By the time I got to "Do Androids Dream . . .", I'd already read "Ubik," and seen some of the movies based on PKD's novels, and when I got to the end, where Deckard is struggling up the hill and there are rocks flying at him from out of nowhere, I suddenly found myself in awe. Of PKD in general. I loved his narrative voice, his zany sense of science fiction, the quirky sense of humor wrapped around a darkly intelligent philosophy. Absolutely beautiful.(less)
This was the third PKD book I read, starting right after "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," which had already blown my mind.
"Three Stigmata" was a...moreThis was the third PKD book I read, starting right after "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," which had already blown my mind.
"Three Stigmata" was a mindfuck and a half.
So, "Do Androids Dream" had pretty much hooked me on PKD. "Three Stigmata" made me an addict.
The thing I love the most about PKD's novels, I got from reading this, and hinging on having read "Ubik" and "Do Androids Dream" beforehand: how he completely suspends reality as we know it at the end of his books. It is incredible.
I simply don't have the words to describe how amazing it was to reread this. Still a mindfuck, for sure, but simply . . . powerful. And, obviously, since I have read it I know what's going to happen (to an extent, what I haven't forgotten over the years of course) that allows for greater understanding of the presented text and its inherent philosophy, but also having read VALIS earlier this year, perhaps that lends something to my reaction, in that I have a better informed sense of the ideas that Dick is grappling with. Regardless, I was swept along, just as drawn in and just as excited to turn the pages as when I first read this; I have a very distinct memory of me as a high school junior camped out on my bed one evening, probably in the middle of the week, zipping through the last several chapters and then everything suddenly solidifying with Barney's line, "My God. We would all have become your children." And the fact that that happened AGAIN really speaks to Dick's talent as a writer and a theologian.
This was honestly one of the scariest things I've ever read, and not because it was particularly scary, but because it was my first exposure to PKD an...moreThis was honestly one of the scariest things I've ever read, and not because it was particularly scary, but because it was my first exposure to PKD and I was a sophomore in highschool. For the longest time, a copy floated around the basement floor of my house, and why we never put it back on the bookshelf I have no idea, but eventually we moved and the book didn't come with. So my mom wanted to read it again, and I got the only copy from the library were I worked, and she reread it, and I read it.
This and "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" are my favorite PKD books of all time.
The introduction of Joe Chip, hungover at his homeopape machine, too poor to pay his front door, will forever be my favorite character introduction of all literature.(less)
The reason why I gave this 3 stars and not more is probably the same reason why PKD himself wasn't so happy about this one: the beginning is nearly im...moreThe reason why I gave this 3 stars and not more is probably the same reason why PKD himself wasn't so happy about this one: the beginning is nearly impossible to comprehend. What exactly is Lars thinking about, actually? I don't know. This is more confusing than normal PKD fair.
Everything else is awesome. The completely, ridiculously, absurdly, wacky weapons designs were phenomenal. How does one come up with these things?
Well, when one is Philip K. Dick, they're almost mandatory.
The paranoia, as well, is pretty mindblowing (granted, I was too young to understand anything of world events when the Berlin Wall fell, so). The two opposing forces continuing the war only to keep the deluded masses happy, then faced with a new, outside alien force (which they can't even join forces to defeat), but when the aliens are defeated the East and West return to normal, go back to being enemies. That's pretty incredible.(less)
I think this is the fastest I ever read a PKD book.
Also, of the 3 PKD books I have w/ the Masters of Science Fiction covers (the other two are The Zap...moreI think this is the fastest I ever read a PKD book.
Also, of the 3 PKD books I have w/ the Masters of Science Fiction covers (the other two are The Zap Gun and The Penultimate Truth, this cover makes the least sense. Okay, so you have PKD in the middle, yeah, that makes sense, he wrote it. The bug thing fits, it's an Alphane. (There's a moon in the background, too.) But who the hell is the guy in the overcoat?!(less)
Really interesting to see that this, The Zap Gun, and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch were all written (or at least conceived) in the same year...moreReally interesting to see that this, The Zap Gun, and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch were all written (or at least conceived) in the same year (along with Clans of the Alphane Moon, which I read before this). Granted, yes, the whole thing fits together like several different jigsaw puzzles all squished into one big picture, but then again, most of his novels are like that. And (at least as far as I'm concerned) it's that writing quality that the afterword compared to "downhill racing" (just go forward and don't look back) that I think really adds the, if not always "intelligent," then at least uniqueness that makes a PKD novel a PKD novel.(less)
Sort of reminded me of The Simulacra, though it's been too long since I've read that one to be able to say why it reminded me of it. Some really great...moreSort of reminded me of The Simulacra, though it's been too long since I've read that one to be able to say why it reminded me of it. Some really great theological/philosophical debates, though.
Plus: Hobart Phase. How much of a genius do you have to be to think that up? Awesome.
But poor Joe Tinbane! Why did he have to die!(less)
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 m...moreThe 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. Red herrings, plot holes, story lines that start and then stop suddenly, sometimes never to be revisited, the kind of stuff that really doesn't fly today with modern ideas of structure and mechanics. But he does it! And it works! So what if a character makes a hypothesis and then on the next page it's the fact of the novel and you can actually see Dick work things out as he writes.
I had several of those moments while reading this one, probably the first time I've had that break with the text. But that's what I think I liked the most about this, because to a degree you really can see the man behind the curtain, you can see Dick think out "what does this mean" to Jim Briskin and how does it influence the story. Not that I didn't like the story proper, I did, but it was those moments that made me think, "This is bloody awful," that made me appreciate it all the more. And I also think I give him a certain leeway, because he is Philip K. Dick and he was a genius and he was paranoid and I have been hard pressed to find anyone that can write a story with even a fraction of the magnitude of his imagination or write one like it myself, that almost entitles him to have those plot holes and red herrings that give just that much more character to his books. If any other author were to do that, I'd quickly jump on it and tear it to pieces in true critic form: "What about this? It seemed important, but it wasn't developed" blah blah blah.
Not with Dick. With Dick it's more like, "Well, now that we have a crack to a parallel-Earth that we could populate with our frozen Cols, who cares what happens to Lurton Sands?" (The fact that Lurton Sands actually makes a reappearance was impressive to me; normally that doesn't happen. Take, for example, how Myra Sands drops away completely.)
Just a final thought, as it suddenly strikes me: similarities between Jim Briskin, as first colored presidential candidate, and Barrack Obama, as first colored US president.(less)
I couldn't help but wonder, while I read this: if present Jones exists and is aware of both present and future (to him, present and past) one year in...moreI couldn't help but wonder, while I read this: if present Jones exists and is aware of both present and future (to him, present and past) one year in advance, then is future/present Jones also aware of his future one year in advance? Is his perception of the universe infinitely recursive?(less)
By the time I read this I thought I'd figured out PKD's tricks: that at the end they were going to end the nightmarish transitions between each person...moreBy the time I read this I thought I'd figured out PKD's tricks: that at the end they were going to end the nightmarish transitions between each person's inner worlds, only to come back to reality and it not be reality.
Imagine my surprise when it had a happy ending. Definitely an early novel for PKD.
In retrospect, it would've been interesting to start reading his works from the earliest to the latest, to watch him change as a writer over time.(less)
I'm finding it hard to write any sort of review that doesn't make it sound like I hated it. I didn't hate the stories, but I found them dry and dated....moreI'm finding it hard to write any sort of review that doesn't make it sound like I hated it. I didn't hate the stories, but I found them dry and dated.
For the time, I can understand how this was influential. It does fit the time period.
It's not so much the science fiction that bothers me, actually, it's the writing. And I'm sure I would have liked this more if Breuer had been a better writer or even had a modicum of finesse in his craft. I mean, the world of Paradise and Iron was rather well-constructed, I just couldn't stand any more of Davy's American stoic heroism, which goes for most of the other main characters as well. Pip-pip, hooray, all sort of machismo.
Granted, this does cycle back around to it being dated. And trust me, I'm not one for faulting men because they are men and they write for a masculine audience, but the treatment of women in this as pretty, frail, helpless things with such homely names as Mildred (who started out as a particularly strong character and became more subdued over the course of the novel) was dated unto offensiveness.
Onto his endings. I actually liked the ending to the first story, thought it worked rather well in its abruptness, but then as the stories continued I discovered that all of them came to a rather abrupt, almost brusque, end. Rather as if the writer had figured he'd wrapped up all the ends nicely in a bow, and had nothing else to say or do, and without any finesse simply up and stopped. Pip-pip. Hooray.(less)