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Deus Irae: A Novel Paperback – November 11, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400030072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,028,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Witty, poetic, and thought-provoking.” –Bestsellers

From the Inside Flap

In the years following World War III, a new and powerful faith has arisen from a scorched and poisoned Earth, a faith that embraces the architect of world wide devastation. The Servants of Wrath have deified Carlton Lufteufel and re-christened him the Deus Irae. In the small community of Charlottesville, Utah, Tibor McMasters, born without arms or legs, has, through an array of prostheses, established a far-reaching reputation as an inspired painter. When the new church commissions a grand mural depicting the Deus Irae, it falls upon Tibor to make a treacherous journey to find the man, to find the god, and capture his terrible visage for posterity.

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Customer Reviews

Too bad it isn't worth two or more.
Amazon Customer
Though this is not the greatest philosophical science fiction novel ever written, it's right up there, and it's not to be undertaken lightly.
Kevin L. Nenstiel
Deus Irae ties together some of PKD's best themes and most in depth characters.
Jared J

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book mines one of the most fertile areas of post-apocalyptic science fiction, the conflict of faith. What do people believe in when it looks like God has turned his back on the world? This book is perhaps the best possible flip side to Walter M. Miller, Jr's "A Canticle for Leibowitz."
In a world devastated by a war that has evidently been more than nuclear, Tibor McMasters is an artist for the Servants of Wrath, who worship the creator of the bomb. Pete Sands is an acolyte of the waning Christian church. These strange friends wind up on a search for Carleton Leuftufel, the man who ordered the bomb, so that he can be painted and adored as the Deus Irae, the man who remade the world.
This brief book appears to have been written by Dick from sketches by Zelazny. These two writers, among the most thoughtful in science fiction, have created a forgotten classic of Twentieth Century literature. An acid trip view of a world twisted and distorted, you are left at the end to decipher what it means. How can we believe in a good god in a bad world? But how can we believe in a bad god and survive? What god suffices? Or is that a doomed thought?
There are no answers. Like "The Matrix" or "Leviathan," we are left with important questions and our own resources. This is hard. Though this is not the greatest philosophical science fiction novel ever written, it's right up there, and it's not to be undertaken lightly.
Though this book, like most SF from its time, has become dated, it remains eminently readable and beautifully constructed. We can only mourn that these two great minds are gone now, and enjoy this great meeting of their intellects. Highly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S. Claiborne on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
First off, I love Zelazny and Dick, especially Dick, so maybe it's no suprise that I love this book. True, part of the writing is recycled from some of Dick's short-stories, true it bears his trademark sloppy writing style. But who cares if he wasn't a 'technically' gifted writer, when his ideas are so compelling, his horror so gut-wrenching, and his humor equally so!
This ia another post-apocolyptic distopia with a few 'straight' (unmutated) humans left among various mutational forms ('bugs', 'runners', 'rollers' etc.). Dick's penchant for radioactively evolved animals (intelligent worms and dung-beetles who talk in American Slang) is in full force, as well as his signature distrust/fascination with large institutions and mechanisms. There are three scenes with old broken-down automated factories that are chilling and (in the latter cases) hysterically funny!
The hero is a 'phoce', a man with no arms or legs (phoce means something like 'dophin-like') who is (by way of military surplus extensors) a religious painter who is sent on a pilgramage of sorts to find the 'deus irae' (angry god), which is seen by his church to be the man who 'pushed the button' and started WW3. An agent from the almost defunct Christian Church is sent to foil the nearly helpless phoce, because the church fears that if the angry god church captures the deus iraes visage, their ascendancy over Christiantity will be complete. It's an insane and funny/sad prospect all around. Like so many Dick books, it contains a plot that is completely unbelievable, even absurd in extremis and yet still has a strangely truthful resonance.
This book is an easy and enjoyable read. I don't put it in the same league as the best Dick classics like Man in the High Castle, Ubik, Dr.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Doug Mackey on June 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dick wrote this in collaboration with another sf great, Roger Zelazny, though the end result is not really one of either author's best efforts. In a post-World-War-III wasteland a religion has grown up around the God of Wrath, whose human embodiment is one Carleton Lufteufel, the government official who detonated the doomsday device that contaminated the Earth's atmosphere with radioactivity. Limbless painter Tibor McMaster sets off in his cart on a quest to find Lufteufel to capture the god's true visage in a painting. There's some interesting speculation around the encounter between a vitiated Christianity with this life-negating religion (Deus Irae means "God of wrath") and a somewhat Zen-like spiritual renewal may be found in the novel's conclusion. The religious preoccupation gives the novel interest as a kind of reflection of Dick's other greater novels of the late 60s and 70s, despite the somewhat casual and fragmented history of its composition.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Pam Hanna on September 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
These two authors are, in my opinion, among the most literary in science fiction. They are right up there with Ursula LeGuin, Orson Scott Card, Theodore Sturgeon and Robert Silverberg. But while I've always loved Zelazny, I've had an almost visceral reaction to the works of Philip K. Dick. His stuff strikes me as a particularly bad acid trip and it's usually so depressing that it's hard to get through (even though I do recognize his merits as a writer). But Zelazny seems to have tempered this tendency in Dick and Dick has added some depth, spice and kick to the Zelazny passages. They're both funny writers, and I sure would like to have been a fly on the wall when they cooked this one up. I'm frankly puzzled as to how these two even got the idea of collaborating, but nevertheless, *Deus Irae* seems to have been a marriage made in heaven - and consummated in hell.
I won't reiterate the plot except to note that in this post-holocaust world of mutants and cyborgs, the man who gave the bomb order, instead of being vilified, is deified. It is he who is the Deus Irae.
There's a fair amount of theological banter that was probably the fruit of the authors' conversations, such as this passage where the Deus Irae himself (in disguise) is talking. "I see. Aquinas cleaned up the Greeks for you, so Plato is okay. Hell, you even baptized Aristotle's bones, for that matter, once you found a use for his thoughts. Take away the Greek logicians and the Jewish mystics and you wouldn't have much left."
I'm sure that the gut-wrenching, stomach-turning parts were Dick's brainchild, while the lyrical human-interaction passages were written by Zelazny. But somehow it all bakes into a cake, is witty and entertaining, and even has a happy ending - sort of.
You may like it; you may hate it, but it's NOT a pot boiler and it IS well written.
pamhan99@aol.com
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