Scott's Reviews > Counter-Clock World

Counter-Clock World by Philip K. Dick
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Jul 23, 10

liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in December, 2008

I enjoyed this book as a break between more serious nonfiction works. Here Dick describes the dystopia of a world where time spins backward due to being in the "Hobart Phase." He has an interesting problem in this narrative; physical processes work backward (people clean the air by "unsmoking" cigarettes, people regurgitate their food, place it in refrigerators and take it back to stores, etc.) but large societal organizations must force history backward. Libraries exists to systematically eradicate books so that ideas do not exist before their creation in time. Being a librarian, I'm not keen on this at all! And librarians are officious and nasty...it should make every public services librarian pause and consider the last time we've had a difficult patron!

Needless to say, this is very strange and leaves many open questions in the narrative. Those who are dead and buried become "old born" and cry out from the graveyards. An entire industry of "Vitariums" exists to resurrect these old born and sell them to the highest bidder. Everyone is aging backward, right up to newborn babies who are then implanted in a woman's womb to develop backward to the egg and sperm. However, if you are killed during the Hobart Phase, life ends, so time's arrow runs forward and backward at the same time, with surprising consequences.

The plot revolves around the re-birth of a spiritual leader and the competing forces who want to control this man, the Anarch Peak. Dick uses this plot to explore ideas about religion and belief, as well as the philosophy of ideas. There are totalitarian elements and an overriding concern about control and destiny. It is not my favorite book by Philip Dick, but if you like his writing style and the topics he explores, this is a worthwhile trip into his cannon.
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