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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Paperback – June 29, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A TV celebrity of the near future suddenly finds that he has no identity in this SF variation on the amnesia novel, which suffers from an inadequate ending. Vintage also releases, for $10 each, Dick's Now Wait for Last Year (*-74220-4 ), about a doctor who is treating the world's most important and sickest man, and The World Jones Made (*-74219-0 ), about a fanatic clairvoyant.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Dick [was] many authors: a poor man's Pynchon, an oracular postmodern, a rich product of the changing counterculture" Village Voice

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 29, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067974066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740667
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My first Dick book. While not for everyone, it's pretty accessible to anyone who can appreciate alternate reality/paranoid sci-fi. It's classic man-against-the-clock stolen identity stuff in the tradition of D.O.A. and (to a much, much lesser extent) Enemy of the State. Jason Taverner, anti-hero as he may be, is a great character in which to carry the main storyline of arrogant celebrity turned underground fugitive, but the smaller characters are what make this book into something more than "one man out to get back what was stolen from him." When read as a whole, it is a great testament to being human in the face of mechanical adversity. Not clanking robots, mind you (although it does have it's share of cool futuristic gadgetry), but rather the mechanisms imposed by society, and ourselves, that would otherwise strip away or mask what is good and human in everyone. The best character in the book (in my humble opinion) is the policeman who has a ferocious hard-on for nailing the fugitive Taverner, and from whom the wonderful title is taken. To those who start this book and are inclined to put it down partway through, be assured! Good things will come to those who wait. The scene at the end that involves the title is one of the singly most beautiful ever penned, in sci-fi or any other genre. But it is a very subtle beauty and perhaps not suited for every reading palette. If yours is a refined taste that can grasp a sentiment that is not delivered with a sledgehammer, and enjoys it in the setting of a eerie future America that smacks dangerously of our present one, read this book post-haste.
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Format: Paperback
Written straight from Philip K. Dick's broken and wandering heart, this is one of the genre's best, and saddest, books. Instead of clanking heavy-metal robotics, quantum theory, or brave new worlds, Dick offers up our future peopled by fragile humans, all looking for love. It is impossible to read this book, and not feel Phil's heart breaking as he wrote every beautiful word
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Format: Paperback
Philip K. Dick had a limitless imagination, perfect for science fiction. His books burst with clever and grotesque detail, adding inimitable colour to their worlds. But this could also be a weakness. In the process of tossing off an idea, Dick's mind would already come up with ten more, and he'd never return to flesh out many of his fascinating inventions. His narratives, even the best ones, often seem to spiral off into unending, senselessly ornate embellishment.

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said is an example of this kind of derailment. In addition to the main story, in which a famous TV personality seems to be suddenly transported to a parallel universe where he never existed, we are introduced to the following details:

1. A bizarre alien creature called the "Callisto cuddle sponge" is used in an attempt to kill the protagonist early on, and never comes up again. Not only that, but there is no mention of an advanced space program or life on other worlds. The would-be assassin also disappears from the story. The protagonist's strange predicament starts immediately after this assassination attempt, yet ultimately is shown to have nothing to do with it.

2. All universities have been destroyed and turned into underground ghettos, where the remaining "students," who apparently opposed the government at one point, lead a half-feral existence and struggle to survive. The government itself has turned into a police state.

3. Jason Taverner is the product of genetic engineering (a "six"), which gives him extraordinary physical and mental powers. This appears to mark him for death, as the program has been forbidden, and the government is hunting down all survivors. However, this ultimately has nothing to do with his predicament.

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Format: Paperback
This is my first Phillip K. Dick novel, and in my opinion "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" deserves high praise. For starters, it wins the fight against one of the most difficult opponents that a sci-fi novel could face: Cliché. Simply put, this story is based on an overused plot-the man who loses his identity and struggles to regain a sense of self. Cliche is a tough monster to beat, and most sci-fi novels are devoured by it boots and all. Going into this novel (which I read on a recommendation from a friend) I had low expectations, because I for one am sick to death of this particular premise. However, Phillip Dick somehow managed to actually win the battle against this tired fiction formula, and won me over in the process. He actually found, somehow, a unique way of telling the story. A very unique way.
It deserves kudos for this alone. Not the snack, but the regard and esteem.
Apart from being pleasantly surprised at Dick's ability to pull this story off, there is a lot more that deserves commendation, too... there's a like-him-hate-him anti hero, a wonderfully fleshed-out policeman (two, actually), and a manically bizarre "mini-heroine" that pops up to simultaneously help, hurt and hinder the protagonist, Jason Taverner.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was Dick's writing style. The story is written upon a fine line between poetry and prose that often lulled me into a false sense of security. He managed on several occasions to make me say "wow" due to some particularly inspiring turn of phrase, or through some witty and poignant philosophical observation...
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