There are none of the really interesting characters that make the later PKD so excellent, this is just straight 60s pulp. It's not bad, and it's not lThere are none of the really interesting characters that make the later PKD so excellent, this is just straight 60s pulp. It's not bad, and it's not long, and nothing that inventive happens vs. a random handful of other time travel stories. This particular kind of time travel ought to be a sub-genre in itself. The future setting where society has become more barbaric and oppressive while retaining technological progress is the most interesting part.
I'd remembered a lot more of the far superior Dr. Bloodmoney, it is probably telling that none of this seemed familiar at all. I may re-read the rest of my PKD collection eventually, and hopefully sweep up a few novels that I missed earlier....more
The best parts of this book are where the characters are still converging, there are interleaved story lines at different points in time due to relatiThe best parts of this book are where the characters are still converging, there are interleaved story lines at different points in time due to relativistic travel and/or artistic license. It's not as interesting on the second read once everyone gets on board the Nostalgia for Infinity because the major plot reveals don't have much weight, though I had forgotten a lot of the specifics. Knowing that there isn't a satisfying resolution with the Inhibitors or the origins of the Melding Plague (or the greenfly plague) in later books makes them those aspects a little less interesting.
I was paying a lot of attention to the world building, a lot of things struck me as odd that I took for granted before:
Ultra culture is supposed to be very divergent and strange, but if the people have been spending a lot of time travelling at relativistic speeds and in hibernation then not a lot of subjective time has passed since their ships were built (300 years earlier, but maybe only a few decades experienced for the frequent flyers), which doesn't leave a lot of time for creating a new culture and modifying their brains and bodies.
The relative levels of technology of different aliens and human groups:
The Conjoiner drives were created by humans, though the technology seems now lost, and so were the 'hell class' weapons that can raze a planet if not reduce it to rubble entirely. There seems to be enough magic/advanced technology there the ship and presumably all or most other human groups can't manufacture duplicates of either.
The Amarantin could warp space time and construct artificial planets sized structures before getting noticed and wiped out, which is way beyond the current human level. (Warping space time doesn't get them FTL though)
The Inhibitors are another level or two beyond that, but it isn't clear what those levels are beyond the ability to interfere with stars to produce flares.
I'll eventually reread Chasm City, and some or most of the novellas and short stories if I can find a good collection of them, but the other novels I may just read the wikipedia pages to recall the major details....more