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Radio Free Albemuth Hardcover – Nov 1985


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Arbor House Pub Co; First Edition edition (November 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877957622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877957621
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,542,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Here is another of the unpublished novels science-fiction writer Dick left when he died in 1982. It recounts the friendship of two California men, Nicholas Brady, a record store clerk and later a record company executive, and Philip K. Dick, a writer. During the several decades spanned by the novel, America slides into fascism, particularly under the presidency of Ferris F. Fremont, who comes into office in 1969. Once entrenched, Fremont begins tossing dissidents into camps and in some cases executing them. Brady, meanwhile, has been receiving communications from a Godlike intelligence which he dubs Valis (an idea the author utilized previously in Valis). Valis guides Brady in the secrets of the universe, in the conduct of his life, and in a plot to bring down the monstrous Fremont, a cause to which Brady is finally martyred. This bleak political vision is given extra force by its autobiogrphical tone. Though not one of Dick's best novels, it is an engrossing, non-stop excursion into a believable vision of Hell. Foreign rights: Scott Meredith. January 8
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

'An engrossing, non-stop excursion into a believable vision of hell' Publishers Weekly 'The most brilliant sci-fi mind on any planet' Rolling Stone --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Andersen on April 3 2010
Format: Paperback
Phillip K. Dick is at his best when he is working with BIG IDEAS, and it doesn't get any bigger than this. This book is connected in interesting ways with his insanely metaphysical Valis trilogy -- but what I think is most exciting about this one is the way he inserts himself into the universe depicted in the previous trilogy, as if to suggest that the genesis of the ideas from those books had its basis in his own experience. This tie to the "real" world makes this the ultimate Phillip K. Dick novel (though probably not the first one to read, since the conceit works best if you are already familiar with some of his ideas and works) -- since it "intensifies" or brings to completion the level of metaphysical speculation, as if to say: "you know all those books I wrote about fantasy worlds in which it was impossible to tell the difference between fantasy and reality?... that wasn't just fiction, some of it really happened to me." If you've only encountered Dick through the various movie adaptations (some successful some not), you should read Scanner, Ubik, and at least the Valis trilogy first, but then you won't be disappointed by this, his final work (even though it wasn't completed to his satisfaction when he died there's more good stuff in there than in several stacks of standard pulp sci-fi.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Mackey on June 5 2004
Format: Paperback
This was an early version of Dick's masterpiece VALIS. It is a very different novel and a very good one in its own right, full of the same metaphysical issues but not as directly autobiographical as VALIS. It is set in an alternate universe in which a certain Ferris F. Fremont (a thinly disguised Richard Nixon) is president. Nixon's paranoia about domestic "enemies" becomes Fremont's all-out campaign against a supposed conspiracy called Aramchek. To crack down on this enemy, an insidious secret police organization called FAP (Friends of the American People) is set up. Nicholas Brady, an alter ego for Dick himself, is the target for FAP harassment, and learns that the conspiracy is real. Aramchek is the satellite that is beaming information to several thousand highly aware individuals around the world, forming a "collective brain." Radio Free Albemuth is cast in a more straightforward science-fictional mode than the unconventional VALIS. But on its own merits, it is an absorbing novel that is the best possible introduction to the material and preoccupations of Dick's later years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 on Dec 13 2002
Format: Paperback
Having read a fair amount of PKD�s work, I�m hardly an expert but I do know that some of his stories are incoherent and directionless, while others are excellent and deeply insightful (especially my personal favorite, �A Scanner Darkly�). In either case, I will always be amazed by his uniquely subversive ideas. This book was found in unpublished form after PKD�s death, and I think I can see why he did not submit it for publication. First, it runs parallel to the Valis Trilogy in ways that may cause confusion. Meanwhile, the ideas used here and the methods of narration are kind of a messy hodgepodge, although the book does succeed in the end. The most awkward aspect is PKD�s insertion of himself as one of the two main characters in the story. This method sometimes devolves into merely an outlet for PKD to complain about being labeled as a drug-induced writer, and to play out his extremely paranoid delusions about the Feds monitoring and whitewashing his work. Meanwhile, as opposed to some PKD books that can�t quite carry a single undeveloped idea, this book has just too many of them fighting for space. Here we have rampant McCarthyism, disenfranchisement, near-death experiences, subliminal messages, cosmology, and even ancient religious philosophy. All these ideas and awkward techniques make this book rather clumsy and careening, and PKD�s sheer paranoia shines through at every turn. But you can still be moved by his nightmarish scenarios of conformity and state control gone mad - and these are valuable insights, regardless of their plausibility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By thetwonky on Oct. 26 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very well-written novel from an author who is generally hit or miss. It also has an unusual narative structure (which I will not give away) that provides a clue into Dick's own state of mind. Based on actual events of Dick's life, (as he sees them) this novel, published after his death, is the first version of what became (the very confused) VALIS. Read this first and you will understand VALIS much, much more. Dick's final four novels (RFA, VALIS, The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer) should all be read in that order to really unlock the mind of Dick in the last years of his fascinating life.
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Format: Paperback
Tired of SF novels that read like increasingly banal versions of "Starship Troopers"? Well, Philip K. Dick is the cure for you. Each of his novels sets off on its own, wonderful meandering journey that takes you places you've never imagined, and Radio Free Albemuth is no exception.
The plot basically follows American History until the late 1960s, when a character named Fremont but actually a shell for Richard Nixon takes over the country by assassinating his rivals and proceeds to make a mockery of the Bill of Rights.
That's just the backdrop for a fascinating foray into the "real" meaning of the Bible, the Jesus story, and eternal life.
BTW, this book, at just over 200 pages, takes a while to read. There are no banal page-long descriptions of the weather, clothing, etc. a la a pulp fiction novel. It's rich with ideas from page to page, so it's not necessarily a page-turner. You have to stop and think about it -- best if read not all at once but a few chapters at a time.
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