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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

The Simulacra

The Simulacra - Philip K. Dick I thought this novel was pretty bad, the worst Dick novel I had ever read. There were lots of good Dickian ideas introduced but most of them fizzled. There were TOO many ideas thrown in for a 200 page novel. Some of them were introduced but Dick seemed to lose interest or just wanted to get rid of them without completely deleting them. A lot of these ideas were better dealt with in later novels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or Ubik.The problem for me is the plot was just totally ludicrous and silly. The interconnections between the characters were so improbable that even coincidence beggared belief. This is a common criticism of Dick plots but here it was just stretched to the point of self-parody which I don't think was Dick's intention. The whole thing had the feel of a dash-off by Dick that contained ALL the ideas he was toying with at the time.The best, most developed, idea was that life is full of simulacra or facades for the real thing: government, the first lady, the president, Martian pets, insects, jalopies, your Martian neighbors, even reality itself (I've always claimed The Matrix was stolen from Dick).There were some hilariously funny totally Dickian things in the book: Kongrosian's bizarre psychosomatic delusions were frequently funny in themselves or led to funny situations. I thought Loony Luke's jalopy lots were the best. Jalopy lots, whose only semi-legal cartel was controlled by Loony Luke, sold crummy personal vehicles that were only good for a do-it-yourself emigration to Mars colony. These junkers were only good enough to get you to Mars before they broke down. The lots themselves being only semi-legal are forced to move about frequently. Another great innovation was commercials which took the form of simulacrum insects that gained access to your personal space and promptly started in on their spiel in a squeaky little voice. Again these were controlled by a cartel. Everyone hated them and smashed them, stomped them, shot them, etc. as soon as they could.An interesting read that introduces but fails to adequately develop a number of Dick's themes. A good read for Dick fans to see how these will be developed in more mature novels, but a poor place to go for the casual Dick reader. There are a LOT more better Dick novels and stories.