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Solar Lottery (GollanczF.) Paperback – August 14, 2003

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction.” –The Sunday Times (London)

“A brilliant, idiosyncratic, formidably intelligent writer…Dick illuminates. He casts light. He gives off a radiance.” –Washington Post

“Philip K. Dick’s best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Dick [was] many authors: a poor man’s Pynchon, an oracular postmodern, a rich product of the changing subculture.” –The Village Voice
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

“One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction.” –The Sunday Times (London)

“A brilliant, idiosyncratic, formidably intelligent writer…Dick illuminates. He casts light. He gives off a radiance.” –Washington Post

“Philip K. Dick’s best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Dick [was] many authors: a poor man’s Pynchon, an oracular postmodern, a rich product of the changing subculture.” –The Village Voice
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: GollanczF.
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (August 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,212,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By benshlomo on September 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
In 1955 Philip K. Dick was a prolific and moderately successful writer of SF short stories, but I seriously doubt that anyone really paid attention when "Solar Lottery" hit the shelves that year. They should have. It was one of the opening moves in the game that eventually tore the SF world wide open.
There were plenty of notable exceptions, of course, but early SF largely concerned itself with great men of tremendous vision and extraordinary ability who got in there and solved problems - the kind of man Robert Heinlein liked to write about. PKD was among those later writers who noticed that most people in the real world aren't like that, and wrote stories about them instead. "Solar Lottery" lacks his later interest in what makes something real (although it does include a conspiracy in which a man with no real personality drives a whole crew of telepaths crazy), but in Ted Benteley it contains an early example of his interest in regular guys.
As is often the case with PKD, Ted Benteley finds himself in a classic SF plot turned inside out. In this case, the classic SF plot in question comes almost directly from a true genre classic, "The World of Null-A" by A.E. van Vogt. In both novels, a man tries to make his way in the world by gambling his future on the game that forms whatever government exists around him, only to find that someone is cheating. Van Vogt's protagonist is a typical post-World War II SF superman; PKD's is a talented but endlessly ticked off functionary who spends most of the novel trying to figure out what's going on.
Everything in his world depends on the random activity of an atomic device that determines the fates of millions - a lottery indeed, with one man at the head of it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on December 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
First novel of Philip K. Dick, the 1955 SOLAR LOTTERY has very well stood the test of time and provides a peculiar pleasure to the sci-fi amateur or the PKD fan. In the mid-fifties, Dick had already written dozens of first rate novelettes and developed a certain number of themes one will encounter in his novels.
In the year 2203, a new political philosophy rules the world ; to avoid dictatorship, scientists have proposed that the world leader should be chosen by the hazard. So, an atomic kind of clock moves at random and decides who will be the next master. This ideal form of democracy presents advantages but also danger. The world leader is protected by telepaths whose role is to stop and kill those who want to murder him.
The action of SOLAR LOTTERY begins when Reese Verrick, the leader in charge, has just been evicted from his charge by a sudden move of the atomic clock. He wants his job back and sends an android to kill the new Master. This last idea lets Philip K. Dick develop one of his favorite themes ; the android is controlled by a dozen men who enter its mind at random and so are going to fool the poor telepaths. One of SOLAR LOTTERY heroes is Benteley, chosen with a few others to control the android and Dick plays masterfully with objective and subjective points of view when Benteley is "in" or "out" the mind of the android.
SOLAR LOTTERY, apart of the pleasure to discover an already great PKD in his first novel, presents accurate theories about politics, morals or sociology. Furthermore, you can also consider the novel as a subtle variation of Isaac Asimov's FONDATION.
A book deserving to be rediscovered.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doug Mackey on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dick's first published novel, Solar Lottery (1955) is impressive and original. It was much influenced by several famous sf novels--A. E. van Vogt's complexly plotted World of Null-A, Kurt Vonnegut's dystopian black comedy Player Piano, and Alfred Bester's pyrotechnic novel of telepathic police The Demolished Man. Solar Lottery is not unworthy of being mentioned in their company. It is not quite a typical Dick novel: it lacks the humor of the later works, as well as the theme of reality breakdown, but it is quite effective on its own terms. Dick foresaw a world where all power is concentrated in the hands of the government and private corporations. A great quiz game which decides the leader, but it is rigged against the powerless. Furthermore, the system, with its built-in structure of killing its own leaders, decrees that nothing lasts or should last. In its dark, complex picture of power relationships, this novel is totally relevant today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Adams on September 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Since this was Dick's first novel, it is lowered in value to his great ones. In fact, I did not even read it until I had read the good reviews on Amazon and realized that I had been skipping a very exciting, fast-paced novel. I am giving it 5 stars just on the chance that others may have followed my faulty line of reasoning. Solar Lottery CAN indeed be read in a couple of days, and it is well worth your time. I was reminded of Ludlum's "Bourne" novels and of course A.E. van Vogt. It is a bit slow at first, but once it gets cooking, the chase to the end makes for some gripping hours of entertainment. Yes, all of the later Dickian elements come into play -- even identity -- although the protagonist thinks he is aware of the real situation. Don't skip it!
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