The Philip K. Dick series continues.
Raw Feed (1989): The Zap Gun, Philip K. Dick, 1965.
In a certain sense, Dick’s negative assessment of the novel’s first half being utterly unreadable is correct.
The opening is boring and confusing. We never do get a coherent explanation of “plowsharing”: it seems to be conversion of mass produced weapons’ components — which seem to work — into civilian consumer goods hence giving the illusion of security and providing an economic boost and salvation from the cost of the arms race.
Like The Penultimate Truth, this is a fake Cold War perpetrated by the power elite of East and West for their benefit. (But it is unclear exactly what the populace believe to be true).
Here the weapons are not those horrifying weapons of mass destruction of old (which are sadly lacking the Sirian slavers show) but rather silly, if inventive, weapons like the Garbage Can Banger that keeps the enemy wake, produces obnoxious odors, or merely mess up his bureaucratic records. That is a funny element. And Lars Powderdry’s horrified reaction to a mere pistol is truly moving.
Those old, truly destructive weapons of old are shown to be sadly lacking by the Sirian slavers. Continue reading