Sunday, April 8, 2012

Martian Time-slip by Philip K. Dick

The book happens in a future Mars where more and more people are moving. Schizophrenia has become extremely common as well as other mental illnesses. A plot has several eccentric characters: A former schizophrenic who may or may not have cured from his illness, an autistic boy who might be able to see to the future, businessmen who want to make a fortune by grabbing a land area before a new development is started and the original inhabitants of Mars who resemble Australian aborigines and have common genetic roots with the earth humans. And everything isn’t what it seems to be or might not even be real. A fairly typical novel for Philip K. Dick where the reality is anything but fixed and mental illness and drugs are thematically important. The book isn’t among my favorite Dicks. At places it was too confusing with too many characters who were sometimes hard to keep track of (the characterization wasn’t one of the strong points of this book) and the plot moved at very slow speed for the most part. Apparently, the book was first a novella which later expanded to longer form, and I believe that the original form might have suited the story better - but as I haven't actually read the novella I might be mistaken.

220 pp.


FCBertrand said...

Actually, TPI, Martian Time-Slip was first serialized in the magazine Worlds Of Tomorrow, as "All We Marsmen." It was expanded from that into the novel version published by Ballatine Books in 1964. And Manfred, along with the Bleekmen, are considered some of PKD's better characters. But these are the kinds of things that get discussed in the BEST serconzine about PKD, that is, PKD Otaku.

tpi said...

I agree about the bleekmen. It is pity that we don't see them more in the book.

FCBertrand said...

One could almost wish that Philip K. Dick had written a sequel to Martian Time-Slip that featured the Bleekmen, or at least some short stories with them as the main protagonist. Even their name is loaded with connotative implications.