Friday, July 24, 2009

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Book review from The Movie Snob

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, by Philip K. Dick. This is the fourth novel in the Library of America collection Five Novels of the 1960s and 70s. And I remember reading it and liking it back in high school. In some alternative reality, the student protests of the 1960s became a full-fledged civil war, and now the students have gone underground while those living in society are subject to an oppressive police state of multiple I.D.'s and random checkpoints. Anybody without proper I.D. is nabbed and packed off to a forced-labor camp. Our protagonist is Jason Taverner, a world-famous vocalist with a globally popular TV show. He's also one of a small number of genetically enhanced human beings known as "sixes." After Taverner is attacked by a deranged woman, he wakes up alone in a seedy hotel room with no I.D. and a wad of money in his pocket. Things quickly get even more bizarre: no one in the world knows who he is, and the central databank has no record he ever existed. He'll need all of his genetically enhanced smarts to avoid arrest and figure out how he has been erased from reality. Nice premise for a paranoid sci-fi tale, and it's a pretty enjoyable ride, but I think the ending is a let-down.


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