Five Novels of the 1960s & 70sBook - 2008
Philip K. Dick (1928-82) was a writer of incandescent imagination who made and unmade world-systems with ferocious rapidity and unbridled speculative daring. 'The floor joists of the universe,' he once wrote, 'are visible in my novels.' Martian Time-Slip (1964) unfolds on a parched and thinly colonized Red Planet where schizophrenia is a contagion and the unscrupulous seek to profit from a troubled child's time-fracturing visions. Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb (1965) chronicles the deeply-interwoven stories of a multi-racial community of survivors, including the scientist who may have been responsible for World War III. Famous, among other reasons, for a therapy session involving a talking taxicab, Now Wait for Last Year (1966) explores the effects of JJ-180, a hallucinogen that alters not only perception, but reality. In Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974), a television star seeks to unravel a mystery that has left him stripped of his identity. A Scanner Darkly (1977), the basis for the 2006 film, envisions a drug-addled world in which a narcotics officer's tenuous hold on sanity is strained by his new surveillance assignment- himself. Mixing metaphysics and madness, phantasmagoric visions of a post-nuclear world and invading extraterrestrial authoritarians, and all-too-real evocations of the drugged-out America of the 70s, Dick's work remains exhilarating and unsettling in equal measure.