When a writer cross-references himself as much as Philip K. Dick does, the absence of certain details becomes as powerful as the details that actuallyWhen a writer cross-references himself as much as Philip K. Dick does, the absence of certain details becomes as powerful as the details that actually appear on the page. The reader struggles with what he or she knows to have been true many times before. But after repeated attempts to adjudicate the divide between the known past and the unfolding present, the reader is faced with a stark choice: fail and walk away from the novel as a lessened member of literary society or engage the author for the first time again.
Laying aside convenient devices like the Time Scoop and androids, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said brings readers to post Second Civil War America filled run by a fascist police force and fear. Entertainer Jason Taverner wakes up one morning to find more than just his identity cards gone. More than a theft, he struggles to survive in a world where he apparently never existed. Dick's twist on time and the complexity of Police General Buckman more than make up for the tacked on happy ending....more
Few studies offer its disciples more opportunity for misguided assumptions than history. Existing records are only as accurate at the writer (and areFew studies offer its disciples more opportunity for misguided assumptions than history. Existing records are only as accurate at the writer (and are often as biased). And more often then not, the fragile word and questionable word simply does not exist. The realm of biography heightens these perils as researches move from listing mere action (complex enough) to answering the immortal question: what was that person thinking?
As a biographer, Robert K. Massie writes with a command of 18th Eurasian history that reveals both his passion and his knowledge of the subject. His grasp of narrative allows him to explore apocryphal anecdotes like the veracity of Catherine's secret marriage to General Potemkin, with a storyteller's engaging style, but an investigator's take on circumstantial evidence. Fans of Simon Schama's documentaries will appreciate Massie's style, although literary hipsters who claim to enjoy the imposingly dense (although brilliant) essay's of Bhabha, Homi K. Bhabha, Homi K. will find Massie a bit light.
Regardless of the author's skill, however, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman covers a complex, wide ranging cast Eurasian nobility, all of whom had complex relations with each other to a degree that makes the cliché Appalachian gene pool look positively Atlantic in dimensions. Family trees, political and personal time-lines, and other visual aids would have proven invaluable for readers. ...more
Filled with Philip K. Dick's usual cadre of determined women, business bulls, semi-functional schizos, and precog autistics, Martian Time-Slip reads lFilled with Philip K. Dick's usual cadre of determined women, business bulls, semi-functional schizos, and precog autistics, Martian Time-Slip reads like a fractured chess game. Petty squabbles between pawns eventually upset the kings and the entire power structure of a futuristic Mars colony.
Writing in the early 60s, Dick explores schizophrenia and autism as symptoms of a society split apart, dehumanized, and purposeless. Like all great science-fiction, Martian Time-Slip is a timeless examination of human society here and now. An inability to connect beyond a superficial level even as communication technology advances exponentially and the ever growing divide between the have and have nots, are problems Dick began to explore fifty years ago. And in 500 years, they will still be here. ...more