Sunday, October 2, 2011
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick (1974)
I first discovered my favorite Science Fiction writer in 1973 or '74, just around the time this novel was first published. Dick only published a handful of novels in the '70s, after having been quite prolific in the 1960s. This is one of his most excellent books, featuring many of his trademark themes: paranoia, drugs, an unstable reality, flying cars, Jungian philosophy, etc. Jason Taverner, a very famous television personality wakes up (after have been bitten by a sponge creature) to find that no one knows who he is, that he in fact does not seem to have existed in the world he has woken up to. Nothing goes too well after that. There are several encounters with dubious individuals, including the policeman of the title. Finally, his past starts slipping back into the world after he ingests some drugs. Of course it doesn't end there. It's all quite brilliant in that Philip K. Dick way. My only criticism would be the epilogue, which I felt was not needed and diminished the impact of the last chapter. But it's just a quibble. Overall an outstanding novel.
Several excellent paperback editions were published by DAW. I'm referring to the artwork of course. My favorite is the first from 1975, but I quite enjoy them all. Art by Hans Ulrich & Ute Osterwalder (top, 1975), Larry Kresek (middle, 1976) and Oliviero Berni (bottom, 1981).