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Counter-Clock World Paperback – November 12, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Released in 1967 and 1956, respectively, these volumes offer Dick's usual bleak outlook for the future. In CounterClock World, time begins moving backwards, and, as a result, there is a reanimation of the dead, including a religious leader who has amassed a sizable number of followers since his demise. Back above ground, he finds himself worshipped by millions who will do anything he says, making him quite dangerous. Japed follows a similar theme in the character of Allen Purcell, a highly placed politico who has the power to change the world. Dick fans and Blade Runner nuts will be glad to see these.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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

“Dick is entertaining us about reality and madness, time and death, sin and salvation. . . . We have our own homegrown Borges.” --Ursula K. LeGuin, The New Republic

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375719334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375719332
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,318,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dick attempts the impossible task of making time seem to flow backwards as the reader moves forward through the book. An eerie and unforgettable premise has the dead being "born" in their graves, crying out to be exhumed so they can begin their reverse trek through life. In other scenes food is excreted onto plates and then boxed and returned to the shelf, while bodily wastes are ingested through a "sogum pipe," a process alluded to several times but mercifully never depicted. Eventually the book reaches an action-packed climax (shouldn't it have occurred at the beginning?), in which bullets are sucked back into firearms and so forth, but by that time the paradoxes have come so fast and furious that the reader's brain has imploded. As in so many of his novels, Dick throws too many balls in the air to keep the juggling act going, and as scientifically plausible fiction, it's a mess, but only a genius would have attempted an idea as weird as this one, and taken it as far Dick does.
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Format: Paperback
Do you love PKD? Have you read a lot of his books?

If you answered yes then you'll love this. If not I would try one of his more approachable titles first (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, or one of his short-story collections). I would not recommend this to a first time Dick reader; if you don't know what you're getting yourself into you probably will not like it.

With that said, I love PKD, and have read quite a few of his works. I, having been aclimated to his style, found it very enjoyable. The only concerns I have are that some of the ideas, with reguards to the backwards flow of time, are somewhat garbled. A good example is how cigeretts are smoked by inhaling the fumes and blowing into the filter- yet the people still manage to communicate while inhaling. Try it yourself, see it's not so easy. I know it's nit-picky, I can't help it.

All in all a great book for anyone who already enjoys PKD.
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Format: Paperback
PKD faced the old problem of commercialism vs. integrity. I consider this book to be a testament to Dick's integrity. Exploring often mentioned, but never developed, ideas.
For example, the Wizard Merlin supposedly lived backwards in time. Yet this idea has only been presented, not developed in the stories I have read. Several religions suggest a rapture or ressurection of the dead, without filling us in on the details.
Dick must have really felt the avenue of backwards time was worth exploring or he never would have finished it. It was brave for Dick to see these ideas through to their conclusion. While facing the realities of rent and editors, etc.
This book is not as morbid as earlier reviews might suggest. The characters are sincere and even light-hearted at times.
I found this to be one of Dick's easier and smoother reads.
I break it down this way. If you go to a movie and willingly submit to a fantasy experience, read this book. If you go to movies to test your analytical and deductive skills don't bother.
If you suspect that time is really just one big cosmic "Wow!" that has already ensued, I highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The master of more-than-meets-the-eye pulp takes on time, relationships, and existence in this well-crafted futuristic hymn to death, religion, and the nature of love. One of his shorter dime-length pieces, Counterclock is an ethereal masterpiece that shows time in reverse, dirty plated being filled with food and the dead rising from their graves to be reborn and remember the lives they lived previously. When vitariums and the government compete over profits and the high-profile resurrection of an incredibly influential religious leader, the world is sent into chaos with only a few small players able to intercept and influence the future of reverse-humanity.

The thing about Dick is that he had gone from a pulp fiction mastermind, ratcheting out a respectable library in his lifetime to a cult phenomenon after his death, and then a respected author of great skill and having his collection released by The Library of America only a few years ago. With the Hobart Phase, Dick challenges us to reconsider our relationship with theology and existence, and while it does not have as exciting a whizz-bang environment as many of his other texts, it is an introspective and gritty noir reflection of our own sensibilities that makes it such a great little book. I am most impressed in this volume with his ability to use philosophy and allusions to great writing throughout in a subtle and accessible manner.

While I had read many of his works as an adolescent fascinated with the genre, I can certainly respect and appreciate his words and his skill a great deal more as an adult.
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Format: Audio CD
Originally posted at Fanlit

It's 1998 and time has started running backward. Aging has reversed so that people are gradually getting younger, and dead people are awakening in their graves and begging to be let out. The excavating companies have the rights to sell the people they unbury to the highest bidder. When Sebastian Hermes's small excavating company realizes that Thomas Peak, a famous religious prophet, is about to come back to life, they know that getting to him first could be a huge boon to their business. The problem is that there are other organizations that prefer for Thomas Peak to stay dead, especially when they realize he may have information about the afterlife.

Philip K. Dick is in a class of his own and it's hard to compare his novels to anyone's but his own. Maybe it's not fair, but there are certain expectations we have for other novelists that don't apply when we read PKD. Most importantly, we can't expect the plot to always make sense. This is most true, I think, when Dick shows us a future United States of America which we know could never happen. For example, in Counter-Clock World, we can't let it bother us that an excavating company has the rights to sell people it digs up and that nobody, including the resurrected people and their relatives, question this. Or that the public library system has the authority to eradicate important works of arts and literature. Or that some things work backwards (people disgorge their food instead of eating it, they say "goodbye" when they answer the phone and "hello" when they hang up, and cigarettes get longer when they're smoked) -- but most things (like walking, driving, and talking) don't. None of it makes sense, but you just have to go with it and, if you can't, you shouldn't be reading Philip K. Dick.
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