The Penultimate Truth

I’ve read a lot of Philip K. Dick. That includes most of his science fiction except the VALIS books.

However, I didn’t write any notes on most of that reading.

Still, since Dick seems to interest several readers, I’ll put up what reviews I have while I work on new posts — some of which have been written, but they’ll be put up as part of a long series.

Raw Feed (1989): The Penultimate Truth, Philip K. Dick, 1964.Penultimate Truth

The influence of A. E. van Vogt on Dick’s plotting is quite obvious here. Virtually every chapter wrings a new wrinkle on the plot. However, the plot of this novel is its weakest point.

Not only do we never have the origin of David Lantano’s time oscillating explained, but we only get a vague reference to him taking a few “starring roles” in history prior to the war. Why didn’t he make alteration in events so the war would be avoided if he was so powerful? For that matter why didn’t he exhibit his allegedly humanitarian side then? Why did he wait 15 years to make his move?

Thematically the book never really comes to making a statement.

At one point, when explaining the rationale for keeping the general populace underground, it is said it will spur their leaders on to war if they know the U.S.S.R. is relatively untouched (and did spur the military to war 15 years ago).

Yet, Dick celebrates, in Nicholas St. James especially, the liberation (as he always does) of the deceived and victimized population. Continue reading