Kevin Tole's Reviews > Five Great Novels

Five Great Novels by Philip K. Dick
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's review
Aug 12, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-novels, americana, trash

I don't read much science fiction (thank god) but thought I'd give this a bash. Consists of the 'Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch' which is well weird; 'Martian Time Slip' which is captivating and well written; 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' - yep the basis for Bladerunner but a lot lot better than Bladerunner in parts (and also worse in others); Ubik which is probably the most interesting and better developed of the five; and A Scanner Darkly which is just pathetic, decrepit and not worth spending any time on and written at the height of PKD's speed-power binge writing period.

Reading all five has made me understand why filmmakers and Californians in particular love PKD and see him as somehow "deep, man". He's not. In fact he's pretty shallow but the most infuriating aspect is that you can see the writer he might have become if he put an ounce of energy into the development of a half of the ideas that he spewed out onto the page in speed-fuelled ravages of writing. Its such a pity as you can see that he can write but that he can't be arsed to fully develop his ideas because the next one is already impingeing on his ephedrine buzz. A great shame and a great loss.
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