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Now Wait for Last Year

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  6,438 ratings  ·  343 reviews
Dr. Eric Sweetscent has problems. His planet is enmeshed in an unwinnable war. His wife is lethally addicted to a drug that whips its users helplessly back and forth across time -- and is hell-bent on making Eric suffer along with her. And Sweetscent's newest patient is not only the most important man on the embattled planet Earth but quite possibly the sickest. For Secret ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published June 29th 1993 by Vintage (first published March 1966)
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Glenn Russell
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Welcome to the science fiction world of Philip K. Dick’s 1966 novel Now Wait for Last Year. We are plunged into the teeth of a mid-twenty-first century interplanetary war: Lillistar, (human-like beings with superhuman strength) vs reggs (human-size semi-mechanical bugs). Just so happens Terra (Planet Earth) is also a potential big player in the outer space battles.

The husband and wife team of Kathy and Eric Sweetscent are the novel's main characters. Kathy occupies a key upper-echelon post at T
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2017-shelf
I treated myself to a rather more obscure PKD book to end out the year. I've always loved just how wonky his works can get, but here's the really interesting aspect of Horselover Fat's writing: it's never really wonky.

In fact, it has heart. Especially when that heart is breaking, the story is still devoted to some of those most human questions: how to go on when life is hard.

The old saying, "All's fair in love and war" holds doubly true here. Earth is caught in a conflict between two factions of
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2015, scifi, american
"Life is composed of reality configurations so constituted. To abandon her would be to say, I can't endure reality as such. I have to have uniquely special easier conditions."

- Philip K. Dick (in Now Wait for Last Year)


This is a book for married couples (having difficulties), suicides, drug addicts, politicians, and time travelers -- and it just happens to be one of my favorite PKD novels ever (although ever with Philip Kindred Dick is always a fluid thing).

'Now Wait for Last Year' is something
Another of the tranche of novels produced in an amphetaminal frenzy in 1963, Now Wait for Last Year is like a compendium of Dick's major obsessions of the period: time travel, mind-altering drugs, multiple versions of people and places, Mad Men-style office dynamics, weird fashions, telepathy. And, of course, his habit of approaching stories through bizarrely obscure corporate entities – so that in this one, we see a three-way intergalactic war from the perspective of a middle manager in the ‘Ti ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, sci-fi
“The ethical understructure of medicine, he believed—and it was based on certain very real experiences in his own life—that if a man wanted to die he had the right to die. He did not possess an elaborated rationalization to justify this belief; he had not even tried to construct one. The proposition, to him, seemed self-evident. There was no body of evidence which proved that life in the first place was a boon. Perhaps it was for some persons; obviously it was not for others.”

That sounds depress
It's a strange feeling when you think you have an author pegged and then they go ahead and publish something straight out of left field. It's like Michael Jordan playing baseball, Lou Reed making a record with Metallica, or Michael Bay directing a Victorian drama. It just seems odd, like you've awakened in a world that is not entirely yours any more. This was entirely my feeling for the first hundred pages or so of Dick's Now Wait for Last Year, the third entry in his Library of America collecti ...more
Kat  Hooper
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Earth is allied with the planet Lilistar against the alien Reegs. Gino Molinari, the leader of Earth’s forces, has just hired Eric Sweetscent as his personal physician. For his new job, Eric has to leave his wife Kathy, who has just become addicted to a new hallucinogenic drug. Eric is glad to leave, though, because he and Kathy aren’t getting along.

When Eric arrives at Gino Molinari’s side, he finds that the man has some strange health issues. At first Er
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've spent a day, basically, trying to determine what I make of this one. I read a lot of Philip K. Dick when I was in my late teens, and I specifically remember trying to read this one twice - and giving up before I got very far in at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure video evidence exists of me reading this book at community college. This time, more than a decade later, I decided to try it again as one of Brilliance Audio's rapidly-expanding range of PKD audiobooks - and although I finished it, an ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A virtual compendium of many of Philip K. Dick's pet themes, tropes and obsessions, "Now Wait For Last Year," the author's 17th published sci-fi novel, originally appeared as a Doubleday hardcover in 1966. (As revealed in Lawrence Sutin's biography on Dick, the novel was actually written as early as 1963 and rewritten two years later.) Phil was on some kind of a roll at this point in his career, having recently come out with the masterpieces "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" and "Dr. Blood ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Dick's misogyny is at full-bore here (PKD's works are so bound up in his own life and experiences that it helps, if you plan to read a considerable amount of his work, to get hold of a good biography like Lawrence Sutin's Divine Invasions and try and correlate the themes and issues in his books with what was going on in his rather messy and chaotic life at the time). So are his explorations of the nature of reality and time, the effects of weird drugs and his deep engagement with ethics, somethi ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Absolute favorite PKD. Experimental drugs, lucid (non physical) time travel, mental institutions, ahhh greatness. I would give a more thorough review, but its been a few years since Ive read it + someone perma-borrowed my copy
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I read Philip K. Dick’s 1966 science fiction novel Now Wait for Last Year in trade paperback. I’ll just assume you already know who Philip K. Dick was. Strangely enough he is probably more revered among younger readers today, than he was while alive, perhaps because of all the mind-bending films that have been made based on ideas from his works. This is one of his lesser known novels (no film) and I had not read it before.

It starts as a commonplace story of a future corporate medical doctor, Er
Cliff Jr.
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Classic PKD. It's got layers of political deception, parallel realities, drugs that raise metaphysical questions, and a narrator stuck in a bad marriage. Yep, that's PKD, for better or worse.

I enjoyed the narrative pretty consistently the whole way through, and it came to a meaningful crescendo at the end. It left me with a feeling a bit like I had at the end of Galactic Pot Healer: inspired to go on doing my best every day, because what else is there to do?
This is a fairly typical Dickian novel. Not great, but not bad. It involves drug addiction, time travel, flying autonomous cabs, war with aliens, and strange politicians. It took me a while to get into it, and when I finally did, it didn't work up to a nice climax, it just kinda finished.

I used to be a big PKD fan. The more of his I read, the less of a fan I become. I think I need to take a break from Dick for a while.
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Stephanie Jackson
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
I read this for a class I’m taking on Philip K. Dick. I’m not sure if I should even mention to my professor that I couldn’t enjoy this novel because of the misogynistic descriptions of the main character’s wife, as well as every other woman in the novel. The wife is literally described as a harpy at one point and is demonized to look like the source of toxicity in their relationship. At another point, the main character travels to the future and he’s considering whether he wants to bring back an ...more
Dave Lefevre
This isn't one of my favourite PKD works. In fact, I believe this is the 2nd time I have read it and the first time it made little or no impression on me.

There are a lot of problems in this one. One of the criticisms of PKD's overall body of work is his trouble with female characters. The complaints range from that he simply doesn't do them well to that he is a total misogynist. This is probably because of characters like this book's Kathy Sweetscent. She has no redeeming features at all and rea
Oct 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Read for the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club. SPOILER WARNING.

OH MY EFFING GOD, are people reading the same book I read?! 5 stars, 4 stars, much of these from people whose opinions I respect. But - really?

To me, this book felt like what would happen if The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination had a love child, crossbred with The Taming of the Shrew, and then someone got wrecked on acid, j*rked off all over it, and left it to molder in a sock drawer with a used pair of panties as a b
Charles Dee Mitchell
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
I hate it when this happens. I try out a brand new hallucinogenic drug only to find out that it is addictive after a single use. Then, while suffering withdrawals, I'm offered help only if I agree to spy on my estranged husband who is now special physician to the ailing Sec. Gen of the United Nations, Gino Molinari. I take more of the drug to get me through the trip to the White House in Cheyenne, Wyoming, only to discover that the drug messes not only with my sense of time but with time itself. ...more
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: srzbznz
Having flirted with a few of Dick's books, I can see why he's one of the recommended authors for entertainment designers. He has got great, refreshing concepts that would make infusions of fresh blood in the industry.

What he isn't, I think, is a terrific storyteller.

Don't get me wrong - some of his books have really tight storytelling, with not a single piece of information left unused, like Scanner Darkly/Minority Report. This isn't one of it: it's split in the middle between a sci-fi politic
Paul Spence
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Written in '63 (when Dick was arguably at the peak of his powers) and published in '66, Now Wait For Last Year has everything one could ever want in a PKD novel. All of the major "Dickian" themes are here, including the nature of reality, parallel universes, and what it means to be human. Because of this, it would be a good starting point for someone new to the world of Philip K. Dick, and for those who are already fans.

The plot is so convoluted, in a good way, that it's next to impossible for m
Carla Remy
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a big re-reader of books I like, but this is my first time re-reading PKD. Now Wait For Last Year was the first of his sci-fi books I read - oddly, I read two of his non-sci-fi "literature" novels first (Confessions of a Crap Artist was great, but then I came across Puttering About in a Small Land -is that the title?- which I found odd and oddly off-putting) so then it was some years before I read this- I was 30, I think, and I've since read an amazing amount of PKD books, considering it has ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
An not often mentioned title written during PKD's most prolific period. A must read. Full of cool ideas. One of the most important elements is that of Earth's aligning itself with the wrong side of a conflict between two alien races for reasons of physical similarity. I savoured every word. ...more
Time-altering drugs
unjust way to fight a war
or your weak husband.
Lewis Szymanski
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
This is one of PKD's mid-sixties novels. One of many middle-of-the-road, funky, throwaway PKD novels from the mid-sixties. This gives the impression of being written quickly while eating handfuls of amphetamines. I would also guess that Phil was making it up as he went along, and sent it to the publisher without revision.

It's primarily the story of a dying marriage, probably based on one of his failed marriages. To pad out the book Phil jams in a bunch of his favorite ideas and themes. The PKD
Trevor Seigler
Aug 11, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while, my friends...

I think it was about this time last year that I read "Martian Time-Slip" and all of a sudden stopped reading Philip K. Dick's work. It wasn't related to "Time-Slip," which I enjoyed for all the usual reasons one reads PKD (rampant drug use, fairly convincing "in media res" storytelling in fantastical worlds that still bore a trace of the familiar, wacky character names and last-minute betrayals and reversals, etc.). I think that sometimes, when devouring the wor
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another PKD novel - containing all the usual writing style elements that we all know and love. This one was quite a bit more difficult for me to get into. I resisted enjoying this one for the first quarter of the book, I think. The central theme and focus was distasteful and uninteresting and so very miserable that I really did not want to continue reading. But, it is a mark of PKD's skill that I kept on reading and am giving this thing four stars.

Literally, I think this plot runs around in circ
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became a big Dick fan (ahem!) in the late Seventies, reading every one of his books I could get my hands on... but it's been years since I read any of his novels. Here in the early months of COVID-19, I decided to revisit some old favorites. I picked this one more or less at random.

The prose seemed a bit indigestible at first. I wondered if this would be one of those situations where I find the beloved entertainments of my youth insufferable today. But as I hung with it, I became engaged in th
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
It's always a strange thing to read accounts of the future from the past. Welcome to 2055, where people still smoke cigarettes, "robant" servants and flying robant cabs cater to humanity, and no one has a mobile phone. Oh yeah, and Earth is involved in a war between 'Starmen (cue Bowie music playing on a loop the whole time I was reading this), who seem to be homo sapiens from way back, and Reegs, who look like giant bugs. Earth got in on the wrong side, though, because the Reegs are chill AF an ...more
Izzy Corbo
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Silly, absurdist PKD novel with such things included: a drug that causes you to time travel and makes you addicted after one use; a doctor how does artificial organ transplants, with one client--the president of the United States, who happens to be over 160 years old; a war between two alien factions in which Earth is a weak ally to one of them; the leader of Earth has a death wish and may be using the time traveling drug himself; the main protagionist's marriage is failing and his wife is also ...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more

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“All right," Eric agreed. "If you were me, and your wife were sick, desperately so, with no hope of recovery, would you leave her? Or would you stay with her, even if you had traveled ten years into the future and knew for an absolute certainty that the damage to her brain could never be reversed? And staying with her would mean-"

"I can see what it would mean, sir," the cab broke in. "It would mean no other life for you beyond caring for her."

"That's right," Eric said.
"I'd stay with her," the cab decided.
"Because," the cab said, "life is composed of reality configurations so constituted. To abandon her would be to say, I can't endure reality as such. I have to have uniquely special easier conditions."

"I think I agree," Eric said after a time. "I think I will stay with her."
God bless you, sir," the cab said. "I can see that you're a good man.”
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