- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (Oct. 23 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547572573
- ISBN-13: 978-0547572574
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 404 g
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Martian Time-Slip Paperback – Oct 23 2012
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Over a writing career that spanned three decades, PHILIP K. DICK (1928-1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film, notably Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
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What happens when one of the most powerful men on the planet Mars finds that real-estate speculators are intent on gobbling up the remote and seemingly worthless Franklin D Roosevelt mountains? Naturally he wants to find out why. A casual conversation with a psychologist followed by a chance encounter with a master repairman leads to one of those Dickian leaps: Since (1) autistic children do not respond to others because they are living in the future, (2) just build a machine to slow down time and (3) maybe even use it to go back in time and retroactively post a claim on the land before the speculators do.
Well, the mechanism works, in a way. The speculators were proposing to build giant apartment blocks to help relieve overcrowding on polluted Earth. The autistic boy, Manfred Steiner, sees much further, however, to the time the apartment block would become a warehouse for the sick and dying, a "tomb world," of which he himself is a denizen. Manfred's visions have a way of bending the reality of those around him; he persistently retreats to a vision of reality as "gubble" -- entropy seen as large wormlike constructs that underlie reality, leading to pure "gubbish."
MARTIAN TIME-SLIP is one of my favorite Philip K Dicks. (The problem is that I like all 15 or so I've read more or less equally.) Reading Philip K Dick tends to bend your sense of reality much as Manfred Steiner does. And one can't help looking over one's shoulder for a few hours after reading him.
I see Dick as not so much a science fiction writer as a creator of disturbing and eerily plausible futures.
Jack Bohlen is a repairman, and a "recovered" schizophrenic. Jack is contacted by Arnie Kott, a businessman who is involved in land speculation. He seems to believe that a schizophrenic boy can somehow see into the future (slip in and out of TIME) on Mars, and Jack can help Arnie communicate with the boy, by building a machine that will translate the boy's gibberish speech into something Arnie can understand. Arnie would like to make a killing in land speculation, with Jack's help.
Add to this: there is an aboriginal race of humans on Mars called the Bleekmen, who resemble Africans of very materially primitive societies. They wander the vast deserts of Mars, impoverished and disenfranchised, but hold the mystical keys to this time travel.
It's a strange and beautiful novel. Action Sci-Fi fans beware. This novel takes a long time to get going. The first 80 or 100 pages are taken up with that stuffy writing goal called "character development," and you won't get many shoot-em-up scenes with spaceships etc. This novel is pretty typical of Philip K. Dick in that it's more cerebral than it is visceral. I found the first half of the novel fascinating but slow going, myself. After I was halfway through, I spent all of my spare time reading it until I was done.
If you like Philip K. Dick, you ought to read Martian Time-Slip.
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