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Minor Masterpiece of Sublimity and Insanity
on April 5, 2014
I've ready pretty much all of the sci-fi novels of Philip K. Dick (and some of the mainstream ones) and I consider him a genius of transcendental ideas and speculative nightmares. Biochemistry, physics, cybernetics, politics, history, Japanese culture, opera, hi-fi fidelity--all are his métier, immersed in a hallucinatory traumatized reality (and irreality). In "Galactic Pot Healer," Joe Fernwright a "healer" of broken pots, living on an overpopulated totalitarian Earth, is summoned to Plowman's Planet by a massive pancake-shaped creature or demigod called the Glimmung. The multifarious residents of other planets--including gastropods, jellied invertebrates, and a gray-skinned female with whom he falls in love--who are experts in specialized fields, such as hydraulic engineering and graphic archaeology, have also been summoned by Glimmung to participate in the epic task of raising a sacred Cathedral from the ocean. One of the major obstacles to success is the existence of the Black Cathedral, its malignant twin, resting alongside it on the ocean floor. Another is the Book of Kalends, which is constantly being rewritten to account for the ever-changing present, and which also predicts the future. Two significant predictions are that the Cathedral-raising project will fail and that Joe will kill Glimmung.
This minor masterpiece is replete with humor, myth and mysticism, and offers the proposition that every person's life has a purpose, however bizarre that purpose might be, and that he or she must find it and cling to it if existence is to have any meaning.
It is a short but incredible read.