book review: now wait for last year

Another Philip K Dick book featuring disjointed time, I felt Now Wait For Last Year did more understandable stuff with the time travel than Martian Timeslip. It’s 2055 and there’s a drug that lets people shift through time (as it kills them). Dr. Sweetscent gets hooked on the drug by his vindictive wife after he’s assigned to be the UN General Secretary/Supreme Dictator’s personal physician. They say that every PKDick book, no matter what its setting, is about California in the 1950s. If that is true, 1950s Californian women were horrible creatures.

Sweetscent is smarter than some of the other protagonists Dick writes, and the fact that this book had fewer viewpoint characters (than either Martian Timeslip or Dr. Bloodmoney) made it a bit more conventional a story. There’s an action scene where Sweetscent shoots an alien military ship out of the sky (Earth is a reluctant ally to an alien race involved in a war with another alien race. The political situation is reminiscent of The Android’s Dream.) There are urgent messages to be brought back in time and sent forward in time to save all humanity, but in the end his personal problems kind of trump everything.

In any case, I’m really enjoying these novels. They’re all in this Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s collection I got for Xmas.

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