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We Can Build You Kindle Edition
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|Length: 271 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
- File Size : 347 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 271 pages
- Publisher : Mariner Books; Reissue Edition (August 14, 2012)
- ASIN : B005LVQYWG
- Publication Date : August 14, 2012
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #490,486 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But multi-millionarie Barrows, of BARROWS ENTERPRISES, has a different outcome in mind. WE CAN BUILD YOU revolves around employees of MASA ASSOCIATES seeking financial backing from Barrows for their simulacra manufacturing. Once a faultless replica of Abraham Lincoln is produced, all bets are off as to what the 'machine' will ultimately be used for in terms of profit. All the while, a man is falling in love with a girl showing early symptoms of schizophrenia, leaving him to question his own sanity, given the incremental surge in robots, and a heart tied to someone losing touch with reality...
The real joy of such a story is the scrutiny of language; terms like 'man' and 'animal' are dissected. PKD continued his daring embarkment of 'what does it mean to be a human?' Although a reshaped lens observes the machines of WE CAN BUILD YOU than the one of Deckard from DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? While the prose is very straightforward and unpolished, it's always PDK's ideas that excite the imagination.
Philip K Dick novels are always economical storytelling; never afraid to scratch away at the superficial status quo, while always asking the boldest and deepest of questions, and confronting the strangest and darkest of personalities.
Can double-dealing be found behind the rich and motivated?
Can love be found inside the mentally unbalanced?
Might there be emotions beyond the wires and tubes of a machine?
Tell us Phil...
To my great surprise, "We Can Build You" turns out to be a very sweet, sad, insightful and amusing Dick book; quite lovely, really. It is a comparative rarity in the Dick canon in that it is told in the first person, although Louis becomes an increasingly problematic source of information as the novel proceeds. The book FEELS different from many of Dick's others, perhaps for that reason, although many of the author's pet tropes--cigars, German words, classical music, drugs, the slippery nature of "reality," Cheyenne, Wyoming (of all places!), insanity, divorce and suicide--are again trotted out. The book has loads of excellent, naturalistic dialogue, and the relationship between the two Jewish partners is a touching one. The story, in truth, almost feels as if it could have been written by, oh, Robert Heinlein, with its near future (1982) setting and simply written style; almost, but not quite. The book grows increasingly strange and unsettling toward its conclusion (Phil Dickian, I believe the expression is), as the thrust of the plot veers away from the sci-fi elements and decidedly toward the realm of the mentally disturbed; "I, Robot" meets "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Phil's novel has some typically wonderful imaginative touches, such as Louis' mutant brother with his upside-down face, the U.S. president having been married 41 times (36 more than Phil would attain to!), and the intravenous birth-control injections. Pris, grating and obnoxious as she is, yet remains a marvelously complex character; Sutin calls her Dick's "most intense exploration of his 'dark-haired girl' obsession." An 18-year-old ex-schizophrenic, she is certainly an unusual object of adoration for the 33-year-old Rosen; still, they do make for a dynamic, feisty couple. And the discussion that the mechanical Lincoln has with Barrows, regarding what makes a man a man and a machine a machine...well, one might have to wait another 15 years, till the second-season "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "The Measure of a Man," to hear a more compelling argument regarding the rights of a mechanical construct.
"We Can Build You," likable as it is, is hardly a perfect Dick novel. Several plot threads just peter out, and even the central story line involving the simulacra is left hanging in midair. Phil makes a few slips in his book, too (Lincoln was 31 in 1840, not 29; Attis was a Phrygian god, not a goddess), although he seems to have taken especial care with his general prose here; it is more mature and well crafted than in many earlier books. In all, kind of a special addition to the Dick canon, and one that I actually found pretty moving. Way to go, Phil!
Top reviews from other countries
These mental illnesses are experienced by the main character Louis who works in the electronic organ and piano business that has turned its hand to creating androids, the daughter of one of the company owners Pris (who has spent time in a state run mental hospital) and Abraham Lincoln himself who appears to be severely depressed most of the time.
In my opinion this is Dick at his best - reflecting on everyday human conditions in a far fetched environment. In this book there is very little of what always seems to me to be drug related surrealism (although I read somewhere that Dick insisted that he didn't do hard drugs, it's hard to envisage how some of his books such as `The Game Players of Titan' or `The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch' could have been written without chemical help) and it makes a pleasant change. This story for all its flights of fancy seems grounded in realism and the reflections on what it is to be human and to be afflicted by self-delusion, paranoia, OCD, and depression. There is no cure-all wonder drug and instead the state relies on long-term social exclusion, counselling and group therapy as a cure. Mental health is endemic in Dick's vision of the future. The flying cars, androids and lunar colonies are a given.