Flow my tears, the policeman said (Philip K. Dick, 1974)

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Flow my tears, the policeman said, by Philip K. Dick (1974).

Score: Typical K. Dick.

You picked up a book by PKD, you knew what you were getting into. This one is about Jason Taverner, a rich and famous singer and TV host in a dystopian police-state that wakes up in a sleazy hotel after being attacked with a spongey parasite by a spiteful lover. In this new reality, he has never existed and nobody has a clue who he is. He doesn’t have any ID cards on him, which is a big no-no in a police state, so he embarks on a quest to get some forgeries that will allow him to walk two blocks through a random checkpoint.

It’s everything PKD from here: psychotic secondary characters, existential conversations held for no reason, main character questioning his own sanity, drug use and so many loose ends and frayed narrative that you don’t know if PKD is making it up as he goes along or he’s a wizard of red herrings.

It was entertaining mostly because it’s not too long, luckily. His concern about police brutality, corruption, and his fear of a totalitarian state show up in this, the first of his books that I’ve read that have this element. I didn’t like the resolution so much ***SPOLERS*** A drug that alters not the consumer’s reality, but everyone else’s, dragging them along to an alternate reality? Not very satisfying. Too fantastic for my taste.

So if you’re a fan of PDK’s work, you’re going to like this one too. I think it’s on the short list of what you should read that the man wrote.

BONUS: If Kevin Spacey is on the cover, it can’t be a bad book.

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