Janelle Dazzlepants's Reviews > Now Wait for Last Year

Now Wait for Last Year by Philip K. Dick
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Oct 09, 10

bookshelves: sci-fi, utopia-dystopia, aliens, apocalypse, time-travel
Read from September 29 to October 09, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I have mixed feelings about this story. I enjoyed reading it, and god knows I love me some Philip K Dick, but I feel like it was really lacking. It had some great potential, but the ambiguities totally ruined it for me. It's quite a schizophrenic read, setting up exciting storylines but hastily jumping to others, without any resolution going on.

I loved the alien and time travel aspects of this book, because those are some of my favourite story lines to read. But in the context of this story I feel they didn't reach their full potential, and kind of got lost. They seemed to take a back seat to the main character's emotional rollercoaster bullshit.

Philip K Dick could've done SO MUCH with the 'Starmen, particularly the way that Frenesky could practically kill Molinari with his presence alone. And what about the Reegs? They barely got a mention, considering they were the enemy that Terra and Lilistar were at war with. I was intrigued by them, because they seemed similar to the 'Prawns' in District 9.

And what about Molinari's illnesses? They were never fully addressed, or maybe they were and I missed it. I was really looking forward to Eric Sweetscent investigating how staff members in the White House mysteriously fall ill from the same illness at the same time as Molinari, but that storyline never eventuated. I don't know if they were pure coincidence and/or a result of Molinari's use of JJ-180.

I also would have liked to have found out more about JJ-180 - I found it fascinating that most people travel into the past, Sweetscent into the future, and Molinari moved sideways into alternate realities. There was real potential there for exploring how the drug facilitates time travel, and exactly why it's so damaging on the brain.

And can I just say that Dr Eric Sweetscent was REALLY fucking annoying? It pains me to say this, but I haven't read a story with such an annoying protagonist since Twilight. :( Initially I felt awful for him because he was married to an absolute BITCH, but as the story progressed he just got more self-loathing and obnoxious.

He got mildly better in the middle of the story, but then towards the end he became twice as pathetic to compensate. I wanted to punch him at the end - he was going to kill himself, decided against it, then when the 'Starmen invaded he just decided to DO NOTHING. I sat there most of the time headdesking, wishing that he would man the fuck up. >=|

While reading this it felt like Dick was consciously trying not to turn the story into a Space Opera, but I think it would have really benefited from going in that direction. Instead it became stagnant and more focused on the protagonist's inner turmoil, which wasn't even that interesting to begin with. I'm sure there were some metaphors in there about the war with the Reegs and Sweetscent's war with himself, but I have so little love for that character that I just don't give a fuck.

So I guess I really contradicted myself there, huh? I say I enjoyed reading it, and I honestly did. It was interesting to watch it unfold and kept me entertained for a few days. But now that I'm reviewing it, I can only focus on the negative things, even putting a negative spin on the aspects I did like. It's just really not one of Dick's best works, feeling kind of schizophrenic in the way it jumps from one important storyline to another without resolving any of them.
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