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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Paperback – July 17, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said grapples with many of the themes Philip K. Dick is best known for identity, altered reality, drug use, and dystopiain a rollicking chase story that earned the novel the John W. Campbell Award and nominations for the Hugo and Nebula.
Jason Tavernerworld-famous talk show host and man-about-townwakes up one day to find that no one knows who he isincluding the vast databases of the totalitarian government. And in a society where lack of identification is a crime, Taverner has no choice but to go on the run with a host of shady characters, including crooked cops and dealers of alien drugs. But do they know more than they are letting on? And just how can a persons identity be erased overnight?
PHILIP K. DICK (19281982) wrote 121 short stories and 45 novels and is considered one of the most visionary authors of the twentieth century. His work is included in the Library of America and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Eleven works have been adapted to film, including Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly
About the Author
Over a writing career that spanned three decades, PHILIP K. DICK (1928–1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film, notably Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall,Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
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The biggest critique I have is that the choices and behavior of some of the characters seems so erratic at times that it disrupts the flow. The strange cat-and-mouse game between the protagonist and the police kept my attention but the constant intro and outro of one psychotic, tragic, or dislikable character after another didn't really seem to help the plot along that much. But again, that's not unusual for PKD.
Despite its issues, it somehow all works, and makes the time spent reading it rewarding in its own way. Dick has always been able to work magic and turn what would otherwise be odd bits and pieces of philosophy, futurism, and social commentary into something entertaining and thought-provoking. The bottom line is that if you like the PKD style, you'll enjoy Flow My Tears.
[...] dope, he thought. You can always tell when it hits you but never when it unhits, if it ever does. It impairs you forever or so you think so; you can't be sure. Maybe it never leaves. And they say, Hey man, your brain's burned out, and you say, maybe so. You can't be sure and you can't be not sure."
I have read other Philip K. Dick works and FLOW MY TEARS had been on my "to be read" list for years. I finally bought it just prior to a business trip that would include a half-dozen airport hours. The main (anti-hero) character, Jason Taverner, is everyman and no-man. As anyone familiar with Dick knows, he was ahead of his time, in the company of Heinlein, Bradbury, and Asimov. This story, with its "Police State" setting, is suddenly current and relevant to 2006. A quick and easy read on the surface, if consumed cerebrally, the twists and machinations that Dick works into the "two" worlds, reveal a startlingly philosophical look at what constitutes identity and reality.
So much happens in this book, but the book is an easy, quick read with a typical twist of an ending, and I cautiously recommend it. It did, BTW, win a major award and was nominated for several others, so many people hold this book in high esteem. It's not my favorite of his, but it is good.