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Galactic Pot-Healer Paperback – May 31, 1994

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Paperback, May 31, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Vintage paperback, 1994
Previous ISBN: 978-0-679-75297-4
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

What could an omnipresent and seemingly omnipotent entity want with a humble pot-healer? Or with the dozens of other odd creatures it has lured to Plowman's Planet? And if the Glimmung is a god, are its ends positive or malign? Combining quixotic adventure, spine-chilling horror, and deliriously paranoid theology, Galactic Pot-Healer is a uniquely Dickian voyage to alternate worlds of the imagination.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679752978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679752974
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
According to the author's biographer, Laurence Sutin, Dick didn't much care for this book. I can't imagine why, except that in his more determinedly resolute moments he may have considered the ending too patly pessimistic. I agree with Sutin's rating: Pot-Healer is a gem. Rarely for Dick, it has only a single point-of-view character, the pot-healer (not mender), stranded in a Stalinist USA of the 2040s, who is somewhat circuitously approached by the Glimmung - a possibly divine, certainly whimsical entity of faraway Plowman's Planet. The Glimmung is putting together a collaborative enterprise of life-forms from around the galaxy in order to raise a sunken cathedral, and along the way our hero meets with some spectacular inconveniences, including his own corpse and a book in which his future (or one of them) is inscribed (possibly), occasionally in language he can understand. This is one of Dick's funniest and most enjoyable books, putting a light touch to many of his favourite issues. It's as packed with energy and invention as any of his more famous works and, perhaps because of the single point of view, feels more focused and coherent than many - and this in spite of the fact that its epic plot and impressive special effects all take place within the space of less than a hundred and eighty pages.
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Format: Paperback
When a man finds a job offer floating in his toilet, he's either desperate or in a Philip K. Dick novel. Joe Fernwright, the title character in this novel, is, of course, both.
We might consider it odd that a job offer in a place like that should lead Joe Fernwright to his life's purpose, but this is, after all, PKD's world; the job offer does exactly that. At the start of his story, Fernwright has little else to hold onto - his ex-wife thinks he's a joke and tells him so as often as possible, the craft of ceramic repair that he loves is useless in his plastic age, his government gives him no privacy even in dreams. It's part of PKD's brilliance to give us such a character - we believe that Joe Fernwright would accept the offer in his bathroom tank, just on the off-chance that it might restore his dignity and give his life some meaning.
The search for meaning is not an uncommon theme for PKD, but "Galactic Pot-Healer" is different in the extent to which Joe Fernwright's search is conducted alone. There's community in it, to be sure; on the other hand, Fernwright begins and ends the book in isolation, an unusual state for PKD characters. It's an important one, though, because although his isolation at the end of the book saddens him, he is content.
It would be unfair to suggest that he's content with his isolation because every other character in the story drives him crazy, but any reader might be excused for saying so. Most of these beings, human and non-human alike, change their attitudes from paragraph to paragraph for no discernable reason, which can get dizzying real quick. For instance, Joe has a love interest, Mali.
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Format: Paperback
Philip K. Dick wrote over forty novels, most of them science fiction. Often churning out books with the expectation that the paperback editions would have the shelf life of lettuce and then vanish from the earth never to be read again, he often repeated himself and took huge leaps of absurdity, sometimes for the sake of laughter, sometimes to work himself out of a painted plot corner. Galatic Pot-Healer is one of his lesser novels, a fast read and almost comic book in its imagery and characters. It recycles some names and concepts from earlier works (his children's story "Nick and the Glimmung" comes to mind) and contains some unexplained absurdities, but it shines out from his other lesser works with its deep use of Gnostic theology and metaphysical ideas couched in science fiction narrative.
The Glimmung is a Jabba-The-Hut-like creature, weighing 40,000 pounds, living on a remote planet but being capable of physical projecting himself by unknown means to other planets where he appears to a select group of humans sometimes in the form of an albatross, sometimes in the form of a hoop of fire and a hoop of water intersected with a paisley carpet and a teenage girl's face floating in the middle. This is clearly a comic composite of Zeus and Jehovah with a heavy dash of Judeo-Christian mysticism thrown into the mix. The Glimmung bundles up his small group of artisans from Earth (including Joe Fernwright, the Pot Healer of the title who can restore antique ceremaics) to come to his home planet to raise the ruins of the ancient temple of the Fog-Things, known as Heldscala, from the ocean floor to restore the ancient way and bring peace back to the planet.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another great crazy science fiction novel from the inimitable Philip K Dick. Darkness and paranoia are always evident, including imaginative and unpredictable plots with unearthly characters. Dick lived in the Bay Area during the 50s and 60s, and some of the flavor of that period, such as creating modern ceramics and making contemporary jewelry, often make their way into his books. I enjoy these personal insights of Dick's, which just add to the scope of his talents. I love this book and highly recommend it.
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