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Martian Time-Slip Paperback – October 23, 2012
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As with Clans of the Alphane Moon (also published in '64), mental illness is the topic of the day, although it is handled with a level of maturity that was rarely seen in the genre at the time. The mentally ill are portrayed as deeply troubled people, rather than simply crazy, and the autistic child at the heart of Time-Slip's story remains one of Dick's strongest attempts to write a character who manages to convey so much pain with so few spoken words. Let's make another thing clear here: Martian Time-Slip, despite "time" being in the title, is not mainly a time-travel story. We do see a future, and it's a very bleak one, but it's shown mainly through drawings rather than characters experiencing it first-hand; it is a nightmarish place that we see only from a distance, but we feel the dread of its impending existence. The result is a book that—despite having a slower pace than much of Dick's other novels—possesses some truly haunting imagery and ideas that will most likely stick with the reader long after the last page is turned.
While it doesn't receive as much attention as Ubik or The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Martian Time-Slip is certainly one of the strongest entries in Dick's expansive and endlessly fascinating body of work. One could make a good argument that it's even better than the books I just mentioned, and yes, it is actually that good. Dick was never known to be a master at prose (his novels were essentially first drafts), but Martian Time-Slip is consistently well-written, at least by the author's standards; the narrative structure is also well-formed, and experimental enough that attempts to lump Dick in with New Wave writers can come off as justified. For the lucky bunch that got through Dick's more well-known novels, be sure to give this one a try.
Key themes are ecology, entrepreneurship and how a sense of one's destiny affects one's mental health.
I found the pace of the story a little lethargic at first, but it soon picks up, and with it the intricacy of Dick's vision.
A great and thought-provoking read, though some may find it a little bleak or disturbing.