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Galactic Pot-Healer

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  3,924 ratings  ·  269 reviews

What could an omnipresent and seemingly omnipotent entity want with a humble pot-healer? Or with the dozens of other odd creatures it has lured to Plowman's Planet? And if the Glimmung is a god, are its ends positive or malign? Combining quixotic adventure, spine-chilling horror, and deliriously paranoid theology, Galactic Pot-Healer is a uniquely Dickian voyage to alterna

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Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1974 by Berkley (first published June 1969)
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3.61  · 
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 ·  3,924 ratings  ·  269 reviews


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Glenn Russell
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books


I wonder if Philip K. Dick was familiar with the Q & A:
Q: Why do ducks fly over Cleveland upside down?
A: There's nothing worth crapping on.

I ask since this novel opens in dystopian Cleveland in the year 2046, a futuristic city where absolutely nothing is worth crapping on - it's totalitarian with a vengeance: state officials utilize sinister mind control techniques and a ruthless, intrusive police force maims, brutalizes and otherwise inflicts itself on the city's inhabitants at every tur
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Lyn
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious.

Philip K. Dick’s writing makes me smile. He’s like a weird, unorthodox friend who has a loud, goofy laugh that you cannot help joining in laughing yourself.

One of the most endearing themes of Phil’s work is his propensity to cast as protagonist an ordinary guy or gal. Small appliance repairman seems to be the occupation of modal frequency, but Galactic Pot Healer joins The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch as a novel that features a ceramicist as the hero. A pot healer is one who rep
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Darwin8u
“No structure, even an artificial one, enjoys the process of entropy. It is the ultimate fate of everything, and everything resists it.”
― Philip K. Dick, Galactic Pot-Healer

description

The idea of this book at first reminded me of the concept of Kintsukuroi (金繕い or golden repair). Kintsukuroi, essentially, is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. I was first exposed to this idea and unique art form years ago when I was reading about Wabi-Sabi. I hav
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P.E.
The story of Joe, a penniless restorer of pottery whose main kick in life is playing disturbing, unsettling wordgames with remote participants (online?).

Unexpectedly, he meets Glimmung, an ancient being endowed with almost boundless powers. Joe is offered to join him and partake in a massive-scale enterprise : help in restoring a flooded cathedral lying at the bottom of an otherwordly abyss, so as to restore order and harmony in an alien planet.

Arguably the most dismay and disconsolate poetical
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Jlawrence
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PKD books are never filled with sunshine and bunnies, but this one has one of the most depressing beginnings of any I've read so far. The protagonist is stuck in a meaningless bureaucratic job in a stagnant and oppressive uber-socialist future USA, and his only enjoyment (which has become a hollow enjoyment) is the playing of "The Game" with other bored cube-rats in other countries ("The Game", amusingly enough, involves feeding a computer translation of English into a another language back into ...more
Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann
As with all of the PKD books that I have read, there always seems to be underlying messages. The protagonist is Joe Fernwright and he is a pot healer that lives in a time on earth when ceramics are no longer used and is replaced by plastic. He passes his time by playing a meaningless word game with his co-workers in a struggling economy and that is something I can relate to.

The meaning of life is one of the underlying messages that stood out to me the most. Joe is contacted by Glimmung a flawed
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Sandy
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip K. Dick's 24th published sci-fi novel, the whimsically titled "Galactic Pot-Healer," first saw the light of day as a Berkley Medallion paperback in June 1969, with a cover price of 60 cents. It both followed up and preceded two of its author's finest and most beloved works, 1968's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and 1969's "Ubik," and if not in the same rarefied league as those two, remains a fine yet mystifying addition to the Dickian canon nevertheless. In the book, in the dystop ...more
Chris
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that was a bizarre read.

There are so many persistent themes in Dick that I really enjoy... and a few that I don't:
-His fascination with decay and the destruction of form has taken so many different shapes in his novels. There seems to be a personal obsession with death, particularly suicide, embodied in many of his characters.
-He approached failure in a peculiar way - it seemed something of an expectation for him, and he makes it in to an entertaining spectacle in so many novels. In fact, hi
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Jason
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die-hard PKD fans
Recommended to Jason by: Total Dick-Head (http://totaldickhead.blogspot.com/201...)
Observe the success of Glimmung's aspirations. Emulate him, who in his Undertaking fought and destroyed the Book of the Kalends and thus the tyrannic rule of fate itself. Be creative. Work against fate. Try. (176)

Maybe that quote from the end sums up the novel, maybe not. Sometimes I think PKD's vision of each novel unfolded as he banged away at the typewriter for 36 hours straight, which is why so many loose ends simply drift off rather than get tied up. I'm coming to the conclusion that PKD in
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David Anderson
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite of Dick's novels. At times it's funny as hell, an absolute riot. But it's also a mind bender, exploring issues of theology, such as various conceptions of the deity (the Glimmung is a deity I could warm up to, lol), and intertwined issues of philosophy, such as the concepts of fate and determinism and free will. And what a complement of bizarre alien life forms. Reminds me at times of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide (although I suppose it's really the other way around ...more
Steve
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Galactic Pot-Healer is genial, charming nonsense...
John George
Dec 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love P.K. Dick, but this book was just absolutely ridiculous. Maybe I read it wrong, or read it half asleep or something, but it made not one lick of sense to me
Mjhancock
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
While not one of Dick's better known books (probably for good reason), Galactic Pot-Healer still has some interesting elements that, in combination with its relatively short length, make it worth reading. The plot starts off simply enough; set in the future, Joe Fernwright is a pot-healer from a family of pot-healers, a popular profession after a war in the distant past shattered most of our the world's pottery. The problem is, after generations, most pots are fixed, and he's faced with a deep e ...more
Mad Dog
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only big PKD fans
This is a PKD book that I think is only for big PKD fans (like me). It is probably my 'least fave' book of PKDs. It is a very 'sci-fi-y' book with weird creatures, a dystopia, and takes place largely on another planet. I would categorize this book as 'sci-fi' and theological fiction. For vastly better theological fiction, I would recommend VALIS by PKD. VALIS combines both personal and theological elements very well (and is at least partially autobiographical fiction from PKD). You could really ...more
Ci
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
In this three-worded title, we can sense the irony of a puny life. In the unmeasurable vastness, our life is a joke, our work a smaller one. Fatalistic nihilism seem to be the only decent attitude. What is the point? One may ask. Or better: what is your punchline?

This is not a lighter nor saner version of Hitchhikers’ Guide to Galaxy. The psychedelic laugher hovers in the margin, but this story is a serious and high-brow one. Several themes intertwines in this brisk tale.

The first is the meani
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Jack
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this again as a nod to the memory of my one-time lover, best friend and confidante, the late Gina Holmes. I turned her onto it back in the mid-70's and it was one thing we discussed in depth. She'd been my friend for the better part of 35 years before passing away 2 years ago at the age of 50.

In retrospect, Dick seems to have looked into a fairly accurate crystal ball. In a "throw-away" society, nobody appreciates good craftsmanship anymore. Joe Fenwright, an itinerant war veteran, is one
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Roberto
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
What was Dick getting at with this novel? He's throws a lot at it, Faustian philosphy, flawed deities, collective consciousness, art as salvation, but not sure if any of it sticks. It's got this weird comic pulpy tone, and it's batshit crazy, not at all surprised that it was written during what Dick describes as a psychotic breakdown. Good fun though!
Kilburn Adam
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically a giant shape shifting, telepathic blob called Glimmung wants to raise a cathedral from under the sea on Plowman's Planet. And he asks Joe Fernwright who is a pot-healer to help him. This isn't PKD's best book, but it's nowhere near his worst either, and it's pretty short too.
David Allen
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's about ceramics, not leafy plants, but really it's about purpose, entropy and failure, as well as the benefits of banding together, much like the broken pots gloomy, passive Joe Fernwright mends. It's a modest 144 pages, in my edition, but it's got a lot of ideas. It's also very funny, like the robot who won't answer any question that doesn't begin with its name, Willis, until finally saying "to hell with it" and answering anyway.
serprex
7 'Rises' should be italicized
78 sherd - shard
99 'my tools' has two spaces between the words

Neat to see the Lies Inc ideas of Thingisms pop up for a paragraph, along with "The Book" which is updated everyday with what's about to happen in the near future

Glimmulg made for an interesting antagonist/protagonist. In a way his alien nature made his motives opaque enough to give controversy to build plot over the conflict of raising Heldscalla

Great Hardovax commercial, "Gosh, everyone's noticed." thro
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Roddy Williams
Joe Fernwright is a pot healer - as was his his father before him - in a future totalitarian dystopia although his services are somewhat redundant since no one makes or breaks ceramics any more.
One day Joe gets a mysterious message offering him a job on Sirius V. The message turns out to be from an all powerful entity known as the Glimmung who is launching a project to raise a sunken cathedral from the ocean bed.
Being a Dick novel, things are not as straightforward as this synopsis would imply.
F
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Julie Davis
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Jesse from SFFaudio
Latest Update:
I'm rereading this preparatory to this weekend's discussion with the SFFaudio podcast gang. I have to say the book definitely warrants two readings. The first time through I was rather overcome by the depressing world of Dick's creation. This is leavened somewhat by Dick's use of humor of all kinds, even wrapped in the depressing details of a life micro-managed by the government. However, the second time through, knowing the basic plot and resigned to the depressing world, the humo
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pinknantucket
I convinced Scifi bookclub to read this because it is about a futuristic ceramics conservator (pot-healer, rather), and I wanted to see what that would look like. It was at once sad and funny, and in the end I'm not sure what it was all for - or why the main character needed to be a pot-healer at all - but I did love all the eccentricities of language and the odd details. Overall I don't think Scifi bookclub was too thrilled with it - it doesn't have as much substance to it as some of Dick's oth ...more
Martha
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read all of PKD's books and I like various books for various reasons -- my favorite is Ubik. Some of the novels hold together well, some don't. Some are so depressing one wants to give up and just grab a sharpie and find a job drawing tire treds on old tires in some small California town (what?).

For some reason, I love this book. Maybe I believe God is art; maybe I believe God is broken, I'm not sure, but at a dark moment in my life this book got on a transatlantic flight with me and helpe
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Bruce
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I probably should have started my Philip K. Dick experience with a less obscure title. This one was well written and well imagined, but the story dragged, the characters were erratic and inconsistent in their behavior, and the ending was just stupid and abrupt. I'll read more of his stuff, but I'll stick to the ones that have become classics instead of the long-forgotten lesser titles.
Paul Spence
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Galactic Pot-Healer is an odd melange of concepts all rolled into a strange, almost nonsensical journey of Joe Fernwright, Pot-Healer. It's 2046 and the set up is very much like 1984 where Big Brother is everywhere and constantly waiting for you to screw up, put you in your place and remind you you're nothing.

Joe is a regular guy trying to use his talents as pot healer (and by that, he restores ceramic pots; that's it, nothing else to it) but there just isn't any work these days. His office day
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Larry
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear!
There's an engaging adventure in there somewhere but its hidden amongst his drug enduced pseudo-scientific ramblings. And at end I was left thinking, what was the point of this book?
This is what I think of when I typically think of PKD!
Michael
I was about to give this book 2-stars, but the last sentence was worth the extra point. Best last sentence I've ever read.
Amber
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Once again, PKD makes me smile. Blobs from other planets discussing and pontificating on the flaws of Faust? Oh hells yes. A sad, weird ending, but perfectly fitting for this tale.
Daniel Burton-Rose
Solid B-list, extra-canonical Dick. His descriptions of women are always so sour and off; he must have been a real charmer in person!
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14,895 followers
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
“No structure, even an artificial one, enjoys the process of entropy. It is the ultimate fate of everything, and everything resists it.” 92 likes
“Death is very close, he thought. When you think in this manner. I can feel it, he decided. How near I am. Nothing is killing me; I have no enemy, no antagonist; I am merely expiring, like a magazine subscription: month by month.” 24 likes
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