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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  36,121 ratings  ·  1,788 reviews
Jason Tavener woke up one morning to find himself completely unknown. The night before he had been the top-rated television star with millions of devoted watchers. The next day he was just an unidentified walking object, whose face nobody recognised, of whom no one had heard, and without the I.D. papers required in that near future.

When he finally found a man who would agr
Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 8th 2001 by Gollancz (first published February 1974)
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Keasha Martindill Per wikipedia, he wrote this during a divorce. I think his relationships were a major, contributing factor.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Erika I think you are spot least that's how I read it. That's why his normal life came back due to her death. …moreI think you are spot least that's how I read it. That's why his normal life came back due to her death. (less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Glenn Russell
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Flow My Tears, the

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.”
― Philip K. Dick, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Written in 1974 and set in the near future (at that time) of 1988, Philip K. Dick’s haunting dystopian novel addresses a range of existential, social and political themes: identity and loss of identity, celebrity and ordinariness, subjective perceptions and objective realities, state sponsored mind control and drug induced mind bending, genetic engineering
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is one of Philip K. Dick’s best.

Yet unlike many main characters from PKD’s books, protagonist Jason Taverner is not a misunderstood, delusional recluse, but rather a world famous, genetically superior celebrity. Supporting protagonist Felix Buckman is a police general with only a handful of individuals more powerful. PKD uses these worldly heroes to illustrate the transience and frailty of what people understand as important. Taverner spends a couple of days wh
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“Love isn't just wanting another person the way you want to own an object you see in a store. That's just desire. You want to have it around, take it home and set it up somewhere in the apartment like a lamp. Love is"--she paused, reflecting--"like a father saving his children from a burning house, getting them out and dying himself. When you love you cease to live for yourself; you live for another person.”
What? This in a Philip K. Dick novel?

This is an unusual PKD book, though you could a
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
“St. Paul said, ‘If I have not love then I am jack shit’... or something like that.”
—Phillip K Dick, 1977 interview

Jason Tavener, celebrity singer and television personality beloved by millions, wakes up one morning in a dingy hotel room to find that nobody has any idea who he is. His agent has never heard of him; his superstar girlfriend has never heard of him; people in the street don't recognise him. He has no ID and no papers – which in a futuristic police state is a serious problem.

What do
Manuel Antão
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, 2008
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

The Nature of Reality: "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" by Philip K. Dick

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled forever, let me mourn;
Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.
Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their lost fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.
Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american, sci-fi
Grand Theft Identity

An old-fashioned Western dressed as sci-fi? Could be, but with a Dickian twist: everyone loses, and no one gets the girl. Or a murder mystery? Only no one is murdered. I tried my best all the way through to pick up the thread. It eluded me entirely.

The guy in the White Hat, Jason, is an intelligent, handsome, talented and popular musical celebrity. He is also a narcissistic, misogynistic druggie who manipulates women to get where he thinks he should be. He is fundamentally am
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sfmasterworks, scifi
SF Masterworks #46: A haunting cover, a haunting constructed reality and a haunting story itself! PKD brings it all - a post Second American Civil War world where the student campuses of America were on the losing side; where the vast majority of citizens live under police martial law, and the super rich live in the clouds, albeit not literally.

Jason Taverner is a 'Six' one of the pre-destined elite, a well known and heavily feted TV star whose world turns around one day and finds himself unreco
You can criticise Dick all you like for being wrong about flying cars, or thinking the LP record was for ever (note: it isn't?), but he is writing science fiction and, as Ray Bradbury points out far more eloquently than will I, that is about ideas. It isn't about sentence construction, plot or character development. If you wanted to, it is easy enough to criticise this book on all these counts, but so what? Why would you bother? What matters is....


Brett C
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philip-k-dick
This is my third PKD book and I enjoyed it. I appreciate how his books are extremely unique and original. This story was like the others: simple, clearly written, and to-the-point. His writing style stays away from over embellishing and over the top verbiage; his stories are always very direct.

This story gives us a look into a police state, identity, senses of control (or loss of control), and other details associated with a authoritarian society born out of a Second Civil War.

The key to readin
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, fiction, scifi, american
Probably 3.5 stars, but I tend towards grade-inflation with authors I admire, so -- just to be safe -- I'm rounding down on this one (until I decide I want to round up in 3 years). I liked the first 4/5, but the last quintile bugged a little. It started brilliantly, but ended with a J. Leno (long explanation of the joke just told). It was like towards the end PKD discounted his readers would get it, so he left simple instructions (remove plastic before eating) and tied the whole thing off neat ( ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: daw_own
DAW Collectors #146

Cover Artists: Hans Ulrich Osterwalder , Ute Osterwalder.

Name: Dick, Philip Kindred, Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA, 116 December 1928 - 02 March 1982.

Alternate Names: , Mark Van Dyke, Chipdip K. Kill, Richard Phillipps.

"Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" was published in 1974, the same year Philip K. Dick had his famous 'revelation' that led to his extremely different later works such as VALIS. Presumably this book was completed before that revelation. It stands as perha
This is my fifth PKD book this year, and while I thought it was beautifully written in parts, and its depiction of a police state appropriately chilling, it lacked many of the reality-bending twists and macabre humor of some of his best books, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and UBIK.

The main characters Jason Taverner and Felix Buckman were sufficiently troubled and complex to keep my interest, but the events of the middle portion of the book dragged a bit, although the ending does prov
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
"So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power."
- Philip K. Dick, "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later"

It's going to take a while to process this one. PKD's novels often strike an existential chord and FMTTPS is no exception. Amoral TV personality Jason Taverner is attacked

That .GIF image perfectly captures the range of distinct reactions that Philip K. Dick's Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said got out of me in the expanse of reading it in the last four days. There was bafflement--then disbelief--then mild disgust--and, finally, karmic relief. Don't get me wrong, it's not a badly written book. Of course fucking not, it's PHILIP K. DICK! His outstanding Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep will forever destroy me in this world and in another parallel existence becaus
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

Despondent over the failure of his fourth marriage and at the same time stimulated to fresh creativity after his first mescaline trip, cult author Philip K. Dick worked on what would be his 29th published sci-fi novel, "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said," from March to August 1970. Ultimately released in 1974, an important year in Phil's life (the year of his legendary "pink light" incident), the book went on to win the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award, was nominated for both the Hugo
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason Taverner is on top of the world. He has it all- a house in the Swiss Alps, a beautiful girlfriend, an illustrious singing career, and a hit late-night talk show. In a sense, he is Justin Timberlake (yes, Timberlake doesn't have a talk show... yet). Until one morning he awakens to find that no one knows who he is anymore, all of his IDs are gone and, in the matter of a few hours, he has become an unperson. Which, in the militarized post-Real ID future this book is set in, makes him a very o ...more
Oct 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Phillip K. Dick is a philosopher in a pulp writer's body. His books reads like pulp fiction in style but are loaded with philosophical inquires regarding reality and perception. Sometimes so much so that the text can't keep up with it. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is one example. The plot centers around a celebrity who finds himself no longer remembered. To be more precise, he no longer exists. All his identity is wiped out and no one knows him not even his friends. This is actually one of ...more
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Experienced readers of Philip K. Dick
Recommended to Richard by:
Shelves: classic, bookclub, scifi
This is a somewhat typical Philip K. Dick novel, albeit not quite as good as I expected.

PDK is mostly famous for the movies that have been made from his novels. His books are a bit obscure, even among many Science Fiction fans, and for a good reason: he's not a very good storyteller.

Now, scifi fans are frequently a tolerant bunch. Among them are fans that will tolerate abysmal writing because the author nails the science (typically physics). Others couldn't care less about hard science, but want
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2018
It really was refreshing to read such a simply and straightforwardly told story for a change. This novel contains the usual stuff you’d expect from PKD, with heavy themes of drugs, and strange metaphysics (the novel is more about these than any sort of futurism, which comes across as incidental). The story itself was compelling, and the conclusion was surprisingly coherent, given the loose ends and meanderings of the plot, though I didn’t find the ending entirely satisfying. There was a point at ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
All who have tasted the bitter juice of madness know that reality is ultimately a fragile creature. It is a pale insect, a lightning gnat in a vitreous lantern, that each of us brandishes at the dark unknown. Our tepid light pushes back this tenebrous sea only just enough to reveal a shadowy landscape, a hazy glimpse of truth. The worst of us see this and declare all is known. The best of us admit doubt. Either way, what we think we know is little more than an Escherian architecture of heuristic ...more
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My third novel by Dick and I must be on a roll because they've all been really great.

Jason Taverner is a TV celebrity and vocalist and he's extremely famous. He's attacked one night (which is never actually explained) and ends up in the hospital. The next morning he wakes up and he's in a rundown motel with no ID of any kind. If he gets caught at a checkpoint then it's off to a labor camp for him. Luckily he's rich and carrying ridiculous amounts of cash. He asks someone to help him get fake IDs
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Maybe I was in the wrong mood for it, but something was off with one. I usually love the classic science-fiction (Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Vonnegut, etc) and Flow My Tears had some moments of greatness, especially in the interraction between the man with no identity and the various women he encounters. The change of POV to the police general was also effective, and the paranoid surveillance state described almost 40 years ago still has the power to evoke disturbing thoughts of "are we there yet ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
It’s a terrible confession to make, but this is my first read of a Philip K. Dick novel. I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to pick up one of his books, but it’s probably something to do with the zany titles or those wide eyed zealots determined to tell you how he was the greatest and most visionary writer who ever lived. And I’ll be honest: there was part of me which expected to be disappointed and uninvolved in what I found, but instead I greatly enjoyed ‘Flow My Tears, the Policema ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is my first dip into the work of Philip K. Dick. After reading a chat board on where to start reading PKD, I kept hearing Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said mentioned over and over again. So, without pause, I went to the library the next day and retrieved a copy.

I sat and read this book in one sitting. It is not often that I read books at once. In fact, the last time I remember reading a book so quickly was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I am certainly not a fast reader -- I take my ti
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, conspiracy theorists, Dickians
Recommended to Michael by: Tom Maddox
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of Philip K. Dick's most "literary" novels, which is to say that it reads as if he took some time to edit and think about the plotline, rather than just getting cranked up on speed and hurling out the words as fast as they would come. Decades of that style of writing had already taken their toll on the paranoid genius, however, and anyone hoping for the lyric poetry of a Samuel R. Delany will be disappointed.

One does not read Dick for the subtle crafting of the English language, how
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a time and place where the pols (US Police) and nats (national guard) carry out random ID checks to catch escaped students and send them to forced labour camps, what would happen if you woke up one day with no identity? Jason Taverner, host of a hit TV show with thirty thousand weekly viewers, find's himself in exactly this position. Not only have his ID cards disappeared, but his whole identity. One day a worldwide celebrity, the next a nobody, someone who no one has ever heard of before.

Apr 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is a mysterious book that raises many more questions than it answers. Among the questions this book has inspired me to ask:

-How on earth could I have spent a year and a half in love with a woman who told me this was her favorite novel?

-Is there a time/space-altering drug that can transport me to a universe where I never wasted my time on this book?

-Am I honestly supposed to believe that a world in which not everyone cares about the existence of a pompous white dude is some kind of dystopia?
Jayanth - A Capricious Reader
Mediocre. I tried so hard to like it, but the way the story took shape did not help one bit.

I chose to read this while searching for long, quirky, strange titles. Having read and liked 'Second Variety' by Philip K. Dick, I was eager to read this one. PKD is considered to be a sci-fi genre defining author, for having thought of unimaginable things during his time, opening up a new worlds of imagination for future authors and readers.

The premise is very very interesting and the book started off v
Closer to a 3.5 rating.
While I enjoyed this novel and thought it was really well written and at times beautiful and moving, the story didn't quite blow me away. Something was missing for me, I didn't feel that little spark of brilliance that I so often find in PKD's novel.
Still a very good book!
Jerry Jose
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
In a highly reductionist view, this novel is Borne Identity on drugs and in reverse, with Dick’s own domestic Jason.

(view spoiler)
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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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