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Now Wait for Last Year Paperback – June 29, 1993

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Editorial Reviews


"Dick was... one of the genuine visionaries that American fiction has produced in this century, and his best novels constitute as significant a body of work as that of any writer in this country in the last thirty years."
-- L.A. Weekly

From the Inside Flap

Dr. Eric Sweetscent has problems. His planet is enmeshed in an unwinnable war. His wife is lethally addicted to a drug that whips its users helplessly back and forth across time -- and is hell-bent on making Eric suffer along with her. And Sweetscent's newest patient is not only the most important man on the embattled planet Earth but quite possibly the sickest. For Secretary Gino Molinari has turned his mortal illness into an instrument of political policy -- and Eric cannot tell if his job is to make the Male better or to keep him poised just this side of death.

Now Wait for Last fear bursts through the envelope between the impossible and the inevitable. Even as ushers us into a future that looks uncannily like the present, it makes the normal seem terrifyingly provisional -- and compels anyone who reads it to wonder if he really knows what time it is.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 29, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679742204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679742203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,549,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By JR Dunn on April 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There's real sense of the arbitrary in the rating of Dick's books. Serious misfires like "Time Out of Joint" and "Ubik" receive high praise, while fine minor works like "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" fall through the cracks. It'll take some effort to fix this. It hasn't happened yet.
"Now Wait for Last Year" is yet another example. As with most of Dick's later novels, it's difficult to state simply what it's "about". NWFLY is "about" a future Earth that, like Italy and Hungary in WW II, has made a hideously bad choice and is lined up on the wrong side against a very alien but far from ignoble species. It's also "about" a drug that allows people to slip from one alternate timeline to another. And about a man debating his responsibility to a wife suffering from progressive brain damage from abusing that very drug. And about another man (one of Dick's beloved simpletons) whose hobby is making little carts for rejected missile guidance systems out of no more than a sense of fairness.
The other reviewers are far from wrong in their view that very little happens. This is Dick writing SF in mainstream mode, where what occurs is less important than how people handle it, from Earth's military dictator (who is a lot better than he has to be--more of a MacArthur than a Mussolini) to the guy with the carts. There's no grand climax or slick SF "solution", just a minor epiphany as things finally fall into place for one character. The last scene, which in other hands would have been simply absurd (it does, after all, portray a character named "Sweetscent" having an emotional conversation with an automated cab) comprise some of the most hopeful pages in any recent novel in SF or out.
NWFLY is the book that most clearly reveals Dick's fundamental decency, his sweetness of spirit.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This novel has been published in 1966 and belongs to the best books of Philip K. Dick. The themes treated in NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR are not a surprise for those of us who have read the precedent books of the american writer. But, in this book, Philip K. Dick succeeds perfectly in the alchemy of the plot.
An alien invasion that is never happening, a commander in chief of the Earth population who could be a simulacra, a dangerous drug that is altering time and reality, an average character who has to act as an hero in order to save the humanity : all these themes have already been treated by Philip K. Dick. But not with so much empathy - a fundamental word in PKD vocabulary - in the description of the feelings of his characters.
In my opinion, the relation between Eric and Katharine Sweetscent, the doctor and his drug-addicted wife, marks a turning point in the evolution of Dick's literary skills. Hate, Love, Regrets and Empathy hadn't been until then so masterfully painted under Dick's pen.
NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR is one of PKD's books that could let you enter the unique imaginary world of this american writer. Don't hesitate to open the door.
A book for your library.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
While Dick is no stranger to deconstructing conventional notions of time he does it threefold (at least) in this novel. It is one of his more action-packed endeavors (like his short story "The Variable Man") while dealing with temporal perception in an extremely thoughtful and playful way.
He also manages to place the earth in an incredible bind that begs the reader's compassion and stimulates the intellect: Which alien race can we trust when two appear, bringing their ancient fight to our planet? The humanoid aliens are manipulative and very powerful but their opponents are human-sized ants that speak in clicks, making it a comment on racism as well. Our only hope lies with an ailing UN super-general who isn't showing his cards, and his mild-mannered doctor who's ex-employer shows up again and again to re-hire and re-fire him.
An extremely entertaining and rewarding read that is an essential part of anyone's P K Dick library. One of his big, bright, shining stars; right next to _Flow_My_Tears,_The_Policeman_Said_!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Plumb on May 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a very engaging novel typically for Philip Dick being centred on a character not quite at the hub of the action - an observer, one who can reflect and speculate. And isn't that all of us as our everyday lives infringe on the events of the world - infringe rather than impact?
As in many Philip Dick novels there are logical challenges which may compromise the story for people who are unable/unwilling to accept a basic premise of the novel. In this case it is the power of a drug to actually move people temporarily in time - forwards or backwards - or across parallel worlds. Not make it appear that they move, but actually move them. The descriptions of characters in the influence of the drug are so fascinating - for me anyway - that the logical discontinuities disappeared into the far recesses of my mind. And now I realise that there are many logical problems for me in the REAL world that I have trundled away in the back of my mind so that I can get on with life.
Philip Dick's graphic and extending speculations on the natureof reality certainly push hard into my reality and how I understand it. And here's a quote: '..... you've only got one tiny life and that lies ahead of you, not sideways or back.'
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