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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
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Group Reads 2018 > January 2018 Group read - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo | 1092 comments This is to discuss January 2018 group read - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick.


Buck (spectru) | 896 comments This story is right out of the Twilight Zone, but not as off-the-wall as some other Philip K Dick stories. It is perhaps that missing Dick weirdness that I have come to expect that led me to give this book three Goodreads stars instead of four. It's a good story and worth reading.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 640 comments I started it a couple days ago but have only read the first chapter so far. Jason Taverner reminds me somewhat of "Jim Jam" from PKD's stories "Stand-by" and "What'll We Do With Ragland Park?"


message 4: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 572 comments This is my first PKD novel. I'm 30% in now and not very impressed yet.


Cordelia (anne21) | 1 comments I have it reserved at the library. I hope it comes to me as soon as the holiday period is over.


ᴹᵗᴮᵈ멘붕 (mtbd215) i just started it last night im only on chapter 2 but i will have alot of time later tonight to get some reading done i cant wait. im excited to be reading this with the group


message 7: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Leo wrote: "This is my first PKD novel."

*GASP!*

I've read this one before. It isn't one of my favorites, but I'll read it again. I checked-out one of the collected versions in "Library of America" series. I remember when I started reading PKD he was still fairly underground, but now he is in the "Library of America".


ᴹᵗᴮᵈ멘붕 (mtbd215) im halfway through now and ive been enjoying it rather well


message 9: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
I've just re-read chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1, a guy living in normal reality, with tentacle monsters, of course. Chapter 2, BAM! everything has changed and he can't make sense of why or how.

Pretty typical plot device for PKD. Sometimes the reality shifts keep happening over and over, but I think I remember that doesn't happen in this book. I think it is just the one reality shift, then lots of paranoia? Guess I'll see how well my memory holds up.


ᴹᵗᴮᵈ멘붕 (mtbd215) Ed wrote: "I've just re-read chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1, a guy living in normal reality, with tentacle monsters, of course.
Pre..."


yea lol quick dump liquor on it!! but you didnt get all the tentacles lol


ᴹᵗᴮᵈ멘붕 (mtbd215) ok i just finished. overall i thought it was a great book. i struggled a little lost through the last chapter ((27 i think, with the black guy at the gas station)) but thats whatever because the epilogue was really good and that made up for it.


message 12: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
I'm enjoying this much more than I did when I first read it. I think the first time I was hoping for more "weirdness". This time, I know what to expect and am enjoying it more.

Without saying too much, I find many similarities with The Man in the High Castle.

The first novel of Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music, was a clear homage to PKD. I also re-read that one recently. It seems to have a lot in common with "Flow my tears" in particular. The whole population taking drugs, a strong police state, ....

I'm actually reading a "Library of the Americas" edition edited by Lethem. As I said before, it feels weird to me to see PKD in the same series as Walt Whitman and Eudora Welty, among others.


message 13: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 572 comments I did not really appreciate the strange last part either. I think in general that I have trouble with the kind of humour and way the story develops in this book and, I guess, in all his books. Certainly will try a few of his more famous books.


message 14: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
I don't get it. I need someone to explain this book to me!

I enjoyed it very much for at least 2/3rds of it. A guy finds himself in a different version of reality and is really freaked-out by it and struggles to survive and understand what is going on and tries to find a way back "home". That is all entertaining. But I don't understand how this was supposed to have happened. Did he get to world 2 because Alys brought him there through her use of a certain new drug? Or did he get there because he was touched by the noodly appendage of a tentacle monster? (If not, why was that monster in the book at all and why was it never mentioned after chapter 1?) In the end does he get back to world 1, or is he killed in world 2?

I'm accustomed to PDK novels being confusing and sometimes not completely making sense. But I usually at least think I understand it. Maybe I just need to go back and re-read the last few chapters.

Maybe I need to get Kim Stanley Robinson's PhD thesis The Novels Of Philip K. Dick. But that costs $3773.73 on amazon.com, which would be OK, I guess, except for the added $3.99 for shipping. (The rating for that book is 3.77. Is that where the price comes from? Coincidence? Or a glitch in the matrix?)

There are some things in this book that I really, really enjoyed. Like the "Jesus-freak" cop who offers Taverner a joint on the way to the police station for questioning. The wall-to-wall Richard Nixon themed carpet. The utter craziness of Alys.


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4090 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "...But that costs $3773.73 on amazon.com, which would be OK, I guess, except for the added $3.99 for shipping...."

LOL!


Pat (Pathrinathan) P | 3 comments Since I joined the group yesterday I wanted to get the book as soon as I can to read and provide comments before end of Jan. I couldn't wait for Amazon to deliver and it wasn't available in Kindle either.

Any of Indigo Chapters book stores in Toronto didn't carry the book either.

But, I was able to find the book at the local indie book store. Called and reserved it yesterday. Picked the book today.

I read so far around 10% and I'm liking it. Sounds intriguing.

cheers


ᴹᵗᴮᵈ멘붕 (mtbd215) whats the word ..


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 640 comments I'm running way behind on this one. Too much going on right now. I should finish it around the end of the month then I'll share my thoughts. I like it so far though.


Oleksandr Zholud | 813 comments Finished it yesterday and it was both satisfying and unsatisfying experience. I liked the story, the fact that our views about characters may change as we get more info on them, especially Kathy and her (imagined) husband, general Buckman and his sister. I chuckled a bit about a world totalitarian state description (but not on Borneo?) after all I know what a totalitarian state means, growing up in the USSR. Sometimes the language or specific words/phrases were confusing (I’m not a native speaker), like why ‘pol’ and not ‘cop’?
A social part of the story (rounded-up universities, genocide of blacks, etc) and its setting’s date 1988 made me assume it was from the mid-60s, and not 1974.


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4090 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "... like why ‘pol’ and not ‘cop’? "

Probably short for police or policeman.


message 21: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Oleksandr wrote: "... like why ‘pol’ and not ‘cop’? "

Probably short for police or policeman."


I guess PKD was using new words like "pol" to help make it seem like the future. Slang words change over time, so you'd expect new slang in the future.


Oleksandr Zholud | 813 comments Ed wrote: "I guess PKD was using new words like "pol" to help make it seem like the future. Slang words change over time, so you'd expect new slang in the future. .."

I understand the premise, but don't you find it surprising that a book written in 1974 about 1988 has so many changes? of course one can assume it wasn't our timeline at all


message 23: by Radiantflux (last edited Jan 17, 2018 07:03AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Radiantflux | 59 comments This is my first PKD novel as well, which is surprising to me, as I've read a lot of scifi, from the 1970s onwards. What surprised me is how straightforward the story was. I was expecting something truly bizarre, but it turned out to be a pretty straightforward police procedural, with a bit of a scifi twist, meditating of the importance of fame (Travener) and Power (Buckman).

Not sure I really understand why Alys's universe-hopping drug dragged Travener into another universe. And why he then turned up in downtown hotel room. But that probably doesn't matter too much either.

I liked the world building and the 1960s/70s vibe to the book. The university students/professors living in underground bunkers away from the fascist cops was a nice touch.

What did people make of the very end? That the vase was the one thing remembered and loved after all the powerful people had left the stage.

BTW: KSR's book on PKD can be found on Bookfinder.com for only 106 Euros.


message 24: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "... don't you find it surprising that a book written in 1974 about 1988 has so many changes?"

I guess he was including a lot of changes in a short time, but I didn't quibble over it. I don't think it was intended as a real prediction of 1988. (I did get confused by the use of the word "quibble" for "flying car".)

By the way, this was actually mostly written in the first half of 1970. Then he set it aside for a while, giving the manuscript to a lawyer for safe-keeping, and finished it in 1972. In 1971 his life was chaotic and included a divorce and lots of amphetimines.

This info is from Dick: Five Novels of the 1960s and 70s


message 25: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Radiantflux wrote: "BTW: KSR's book on PKD can be found on Bookfinder.com for only 106 Euros...."

I could also get it through inter-library loan, but probably will not. I don't need to know that much about the subject.


Cordelia (anne21) | 1 comments I'm about half way through at present. Up to now it has been pretty straight forward. But starting to complicate now - bits of information turning up again and introduction of sixes and sevens. Small mentions of Jung.

I like it.


message 27: by Pat (Pathrinathan) (last edited Jan 26, 2018 05:28PM) (new)

Pat (Pathrinathan) P | 3 comments I could't finish the book: flow my tears, the policeman said.

After reading 40% of the book, I feel like there are lot of chit chat going on and the story is not moving forward.

However, waking up in the hotel was a thrilling scene and that was written nicely.


Radiantflux | 59 comments However, waking up in the hotel was a thrilling scene and that was written nicely.

Can someone explain why he woke up in the bed? That part just didn't make any sense to me...


Oleksandr Zholud | 813 comments Radiantflux wrote: "Can someone explain why he woke up in the bed? That part just didn't make any sense to me..."

It seems that reality can be twisted in any way, so the answer is because Alys wanted it so :)


message 30: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Radiantflux wrote: "Can someone explain why he woke up in the bed? That part just didn't make any sense to me..."

The transition between chapter 1 and 2 is never fully explained, in my opinion, and it bugs me, too.

The character himself doesn't know how he got there, which is OK. That makes the story interesting. But I never found a clear answer in the book how he got there. Probably Alys pulled him into that reality somehow. But did she do it intentionally? And why did he end up in that place, rather than with her? And is it somehow related to the angry woman with the tentacle creature at the end of chapter 1?


Radiantflux | 59 comments Yeah that tentacle creature seemed to have been a bit of a red herring...


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 640 comments I enjoyed the heck out of it but it wasn't my favorite PKD. I thought the 3 page Epilogue seemed tacked on. I didn't really follow the reason why Taverner was sucked into/out of reality or existence or whatever, but I just went along for the ride. I have the feeling I'll need to read this one more than once to really enjoy it, which is true for me of a lot of his books.

Ed wrote: "I guess PKD was using new words like "pol" to help make it seem like the future. Slang words change over time, so you'd expect new slang in the future."

I always get a chuckle out of the made-up words he uses. I think he calls a helicopter a "flipflap" in this book. He had some other great terms too. And the funniest part in the book was where Alys gives him mescaline or whatever. I laughed out loud a few times while reading that chapter.

Leo wrote: "This is my first PKD novel. I'm 30% in now and not very impressed yet."

I wouldn't recommend starting with this one. Maybe try Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or The Man in the High Castle or even Ubik. You might like some of his short stories - those are quirky and fun.


message 33: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 572 comments Randy wrote: "I wouldn't recommend starting with this one. ..." I will certainly try others. The problem I had with this one was mainly the loose ends and plotholes. If there are too many in a book it starts to irritate me. It can be much worse though. Right now I'm reading Null-A Three to finish Van Vogt's trilogy. Allmost nothing makes sense in that book.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 640 comments Leo wrote: "Randy wrote: "I wouldn't recommend starting with this one. ..." I will certainly try others. The problem I had with this one was mainly the loose ends and plotholes. If there are too many in a book..."

PKD isn't the best plotter in the world, and he leaves a lot of threads dangling in the interest of ambiguity. He might not be right for your tastes. But if you want to try another, try Do Androids Dream... or The Man in the High Castle. Those are probably his most mainstream and popular.


message 35: by Michele (new)

Michele | 16 comments The George Guidell audiobook of Man in the High Castle is a masterpiece. it's up on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URyFI...


Radiantflux | 59 comments Ed wrote: "I guess PKD was using new words like "pol" to help make it seem like the future. Slang words change over time, so you'd expect new slang in the future."

I think some of the jargon like Pols (Police) and Nats (National Guard) seem more made up now, when they would have when the book was first published.

I read this as in part a satire on late-1960s/early-1970s student revolts. An alternative reality where student and professors live in underground bunkers, and blacks are being forced into a one-child policy to get rid of the "race problem". The main characters represent the winning side of mainstream America were the counterculture never gained a purchase - mindless celebrity showbusiness (30 million saw me pull up my fly on TV) in a fascist police state.

I definitely want to try reading some more of him.


message 37: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 1907 comments Mod
Another reason to learn French: there is a French version that contains parts which were removed by the editor of the English version.

The excerpts removed from the English version are enclosed in brackets.

Coulez mes larmes, dit le policier


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