Time Out of Joint

The PKD series continues.

Raw Feed (1989): Time Out of Joint, Philip K. Dick, 1959.Time Out of Joint 

A very fun and enjoyable book.

I guessed, about half way through, (and given slight clues of book blurbs and Dick’s thematic preoccupations) that Ralph Grumm was being used as a weapons targeting system in a war. I did not guess the mechanism of control (and would have liked more details on that besides just “brainwashing” and mysterious gases), why Grumm had to be insane, or the nature of the war (I thought, given my limited experience, that the economic and philosophic origins of the war between Luna and Earth original and interesting).

The characterization was, as always, excellent.

One of the sad moments of the book was when the main characters found out they really had no relationship with each other. During the course of the novel you really cared for them as a family and as individuals.

I liked the look, however warped, of that alien world of the fifties with its social consciousness, conformity, and Freudian jargon. Continue reading

DAW 30th Anniversary Science Fiction Anthology

Another retro review while I work on something for another outlet.

From January 12, 2010 …

Review: DAW 30th Anniversary Science Fiction Anthology, eds. Elizabeth R. Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, 2002.DAW 30th Anniversary

Apart from the introductions by Wollheim and Gilbert covering Donald A. Wollheim’s contributions to American publishing culminating with his founding of DAW Books, there’s nothing that makes this book stand out from DAW’s many other anthologies except it doesn’t have a theme. The ratio of good to adequate to bad stories is pretty standard – not nearly high enough for a celebration of 30 years of quality publishing. That’s probably inevitable for a group of all original stories, but this anthology, which features installments in several DAW series, also doesn’t serve as much of an enticing sampler of DAW’s goods.

The two stand out stories are Tad Williams’ “Not With a Whimper, Either” and Ian Watson’s “The Black Wall of Jerusalem”. Williams’ story is told through newsgroup exchanges as various users try to figure out what is behind several disruptions of communications and utilities. It’s a worthy and ambiguous addition to a science fiction tradition of sinister machines including Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands”, Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”, and, especially, Frederic Brown’s “Answer”. Watson’s story is surprisingly Lovecraftian in structure and theme. Its poet narrator is troubled by dreams he’s been having since returning from Jerusalem where he went for inspiration to write a William Blake style work of religious mysticism. There he encountered the Black Wall, a gateway that pops up in different parts of the ancient city, and goes beyond it to investigate the lethal beings of another dimension. Continue reading