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Counter-Clock World [Hardcover]

Philip K. Dick
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1979 0839824858 978-0839824855
Pre-empting novels such as the Booker Prize-winning 'Time's Arrow' by as much as twenty years, Counter-Clock world is a story of racial tensions told against the background of the year 1998 in which time flows in reverse as people are born old only to grow younger and younger. Time runs backwards in the Counter-Clock World. Old people emerge from their graves, grow to middle age, youth, adolescence and childhood to be finally unborn in their mothers wombs. The most powerful - and most feared - organisation in the world is the Library, in charge of expunging the written records of events, which have no longer happened. When a powerful black leader is reborn, the Library's one concern is to eliminate him before the renewal of racial violence tears the country apart. But in this counter-clock year of 1998 it isn't that simple! This eerie and unforgettable premise encapsulates Philip K Dick's ambitious and inimitable approach to fiction writing. The attempts of his characters to cope with the bizarre reality of a world that runs backwards while their minds run forwards like ours, operate as a stunning critique of the way in which we perceive our own civilization.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Released in 1967 and 1956, respectively, these volumes offer Dick's usual bleak outlook for the future. In CounterClock World, time begins moving backwards, and, as a result, there is a reanimation of the dead, including a religious leader who has amassed a sizable number of followers since his demise. Back above ground, he finds himself worshipped by millions who will do anything he says, making him quite dangerous. Japed follows a similar theme in the character of Allen Purcell, a highly placed politico who has the power to change the world. Dick fans and Blade Runner nuts will be glad to see these.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

'One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction' Sunday Times 'Dick quietly produced serious fiction in a popular form and there can be no greater praise' Michael Moorcock 'No other writer of his generation had such a powerful intellectual presence. He has stamped himself not only on our memories but in our imaginations' Brian W. Aldiss 'The most consistently brilliant SF writer in the world' John Brunner --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker shade of Dick June 5 2004
Format:Paperback
This novel, first published in 1967, has a more serious and darker tone than most of Dick's earlier works. It is an ambitious novel, underread and underrated in the Dick canon, in which the author attempts to integrate religious and metaphysical thought from a wide variety of writers across history. The premise is that time has started to run backwards due to something called the Hobart Phase. Dead people come back to life in their graves; living people grow continually younger until they reenter their mothers' wombs. Food is regurgitated into its original form, and while eating is considered obscene, waste ("sogum") is "imbibed" through tubes in public. People say "goodbye" when they greet each other and "hello" when they part. Critics have derided Dick's use of time reversal as completely illogical and inconsistent. That doesn't seem to matter really. The novel's serious concerns, about the frailty of life and love in the face of monolithic external forces, lift it above its own contrivances.
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Format:Paperback
PKD faced the old problem of commercialism vs. integrity. I consider this book to be a testament to Dick's integrity. Exploring often mentioned, but never developed, ideas.
For example, the Wizard Merlin supposedly lived backwards in time. Yet this idea has only been presented, not developed in the stories I have read. Several religions suggest a rapture or ressurection of the dead, without filling us in on the details.
Dick must have really felt the avenue of backwards time was worth exploring or he never would have finished it. It was brave for Dick to see these ideas through to their conclusion. While facing the realities of rent and editors, etc.
This book is not as morbid as earlier reviews might suggest. The characters are sincere and even light-hearted at times.
I found this to be one of Dick's easier and smoother reads.
I break it down this way. If you go to a movie and willingly submit to a fantasy experience, read this book. If you go to movies to test your analytical and deductive skills don't bother.
If you suspect that time is really just one big cosmic "Wow!" that has already ensued, I highly recommend it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A counter-clock comment Nov. 17 2002
Format:Paperback
Started of with too many characters and too many conversations, this book almost forced me to give it up straight away. But perseverance to read until the middle will be rewarded.
The concept itself is interesting. A world when times move backwards. When the deads are 'revived' from the grave, being sold as a property to anyone who would bid the highest.
And when the one who's coming back to life is a religious figure, interesting things can happen.
There are two kinds of sci-fi books: one that is written by a scientist and one written by a non-scientist. This book is the latter. Sci-fi Books written by scientist contains the actual correct science or science of what would be possible in the future. While non-scientist writers tends to use science as basis and props for futuristic situation, emphasizing more on (perhaps) psychological and philosophical issues.
This book puts forward some interesting religion and philosophical issues such as how a person who live in the period where times move backwards reacts to the mind that move forwards. However, a reader with a scientific background might be put off by the some of the logic and science in this book, that are rather inconsistent and incorrect at times.
Take the example of this: [A person in a coffin in a grave just woke up]
" 'Get air down to me!' he tried to yell, but since there is no longer air he could not breathe; he was suffocating. `Hurry!' he called, but his call became soundless in the absence of air; he lay compressed, crushed, by an enormous vacuum; the pressure grew until, silently, his ribs broke. He felt that, too, his bones one by one snapping."
Overall it's an enjoyable book if you somehow can disregard the incorrectness of the science behind it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Something of a "clunker" (2.5 stars) Jan. 20 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I'm reviewing this book, because I've just read it; also, I'm a bit appalled at the number of high reviews of Dick's work in general.
Dick is definitely one of the all-time great SF writers (and he's arguably one of the few geniuses to have worked in the field). Approx 6-10 of his books are classics; however, Dick also wrote a lot of just plain awful books (esp. in the 1950s); and due to his growing popularity, some of these books are actually being brought back into print (e.g., the Man Who Japed, World Jones Made). Luckily Counter-Clock world (1966) isn't one of them; however, this is one of Dick's lesser works. It's a short, mildy amusing read, but the ideas in it are frankly underdeveloped and unconvincing. Race relations also are thankfully much better than depicted in this rather quaint and obsolete "clunker" of a book. Save your money and get this from the library; or better yet, read something better (and similar) like Ubik.
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