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The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick
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The Simulacra (1964)

by Philip K. Dick

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
3.5 stars
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Philip K. Dick is one of those authors who I often enjoy reading for his peculiar ideas, cool technologies, bizarre plots, and neurotic characters. But every time I read one of his stories, I need a break from him ?? thereƒ??s a feeling of frantic paranoia permeating his work that makes me feel like I just need to chill out for a while. If youƒ??ve seen the movie The Adjustment Bureau, which was based on one of his stories, youƒ??ll know what I mean. In that story, the main character discovers that the reality he thought he knew was totally wrong. Instead, there is something big going on behind the scenes and his life is being manipulated by The Unseen People Who Are Really In Charge (TUPWARIC).

This theme is common in PKDƒ??s stories, and The Simulacra is another example. The government of the United States of Europe and America, which appears to be a matriarchy, is a sham ƒ?? the President is really a simulacrum. When TUPWARIC gives the contract for building the next simulacrum to a different simulacrum company, and Hermann Goering is fetched from the past with a time-travel device, problems ensue and the USEA government is in danger of being taken over by fascists.

Quirky characters include the First Lady who never seems to age, the telekinetic piano player who thinks that a commercial has given him phobic body odor and that heƒ??s becoming invisible, the psychotherapist who has lost his job because a pharmaceutical cartel has managed to have the practice of psychotherapy banned, a couple of brothers who work for simulacra companies and are fighting over an ex-wife, and a couple of guys in a jug band who want to play for the First Lady. Then thereƒ??s the reclusive group of Neanderthals, descendents of radiation-exposed humans, who live in Northern California and seem to be waiting for something important to happen...

The Simulacra juggles a huge set of characters and several subplots which at first seem unrelated but which Dick successfully brings together into a coherent whole by the end of the novel, which is not necessarily a guarantee with PKD. The whole thing is chaotic, zany, creative, funny, and contains Dickƒ??s usual undercurrent of frenzied paranoia. With so much weird stuff going on, I thought that a plot disaster was imminent, but Dick pulls it off. The Simulacra ends at the climax, though, and a sequel would probably have been well-received.

I listened to Brilliance Audioƒ??s version of The Simulacra, which was read by ƒ??Golden Voiceƒ? and ƒ??Voice of the Centuryƒ? Dick Hill. Mr. Hill, who is always superb, handled all of those characters and that madcap plot with ease. And you should hear him play a jug. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hg
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hg ( )
  Saretta.L | Mar 31, 2013 |
Secret cabals, hidden plots, psychoanalysis, time travel, Germanic culture, simulacra, aliens, off world refugees, religious cults, throwbacks to the age of Neanderthals, an attempt to go back in time & psychoanalyse Hitler in the 1920s – classic Dick. Published in 1964 the plot is pretty tight in this novel & I enjoyed it very much. Especially after the last few I’d read were the product of a fast unraveling mind. This all seems normal by comparison. ( )
  marek2010 | Jan 9, 2013 |
I'm really digging Philip K Dick lately. The Simulacra has a lot of different layers and seems to be a commentary about the illusory underpinnings of the culture in which we live. Seems to suggest that the structure on which we base our lives and which we find vitally important may be a construct. Not just an organic construct, a gradual building up of the system as we know it by generations of individual actions and an unwritten social contract, but an intentional construct devised by individuals for the purpose of controlling the masses and maintaining their own power. This book explores what happens when those in power learn they really aren't and the reality on which we all depend crumbles. When I put it that way, it sounds a little bleak. But I actually found it somewhat hopeful. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Dec 31, 2012 |
As in many Dick's novels, there are lots of ideas introduced but most of them fizzled away. In The Simulacra there is material for another book at least. Dick stated that this book was derived from Balzac, but I don't find here nor the unity of theme nor the cohesive plot typical of the French author.
I still can't understand - after a second reading - the sense of Goering supblot. Who decided the abduction (the Ag carte or the Police)? Is the help to Third Reich a hint to the conflict with the Russians (the Cuban missile crisis happened few moths before the writing of "Novelty Act") ?
Anyway, I like "The Simulacra" more than "The Man in the High Castle". There are many interesting hints - from the identification between the power with the "Bad Mother", to the role of artist in the mass society - and a lot of glimpses of a dystopian future: the "relpol" tests, the mini-state condominiums, the omnipresence of TV.
The end reminded me the Ubik's one, is turning the tables in an unexpected way. "The Simulacra" is a nice reading with food for though, too much maybe. ( )
  Luisali | Dec 3, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coffereati, SergioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emshwiller, EdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nati, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375719261, Paperback)

Set in the middle of the twenty-first century, The Simulacra is the story of an America where the whole government is a fraud and the President is an android. Against this backdrop Dr. Superb, the sole remaining psychotherapist, is struggling to practice in a world full of the maladjusted. Ian Duncan is desperately in love with the first lady, Nicole Thibideaux, who he has never met. Richard Kongrosian refuses to see anyone because he is convinced his body odor is lethal. And the fascistic Bertold Goltz is trying to overthrow the government. With wonderful aplomb, Philip K. Dick brings this story to a crashing conclusion and in classic fashion shows there is always another layer of conspiracy beneath the one we see.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:20 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Set in the middle of the twenty-first century, "Simulacra" is the story of an America where the whole government is a fraud and the President is an android. Against this backdrop Dr. Superb, the sole remaining psychotherapist, is struggling to practice in a world full of the maladjusted. Ian Duncan is desperately in love with the first lady, Nicole Thibideaux, who he has never met. Richard Kongrossian refuses to see anyone because he is convinced his body odor is lethal. And the fascistic Bertold Goltz is trying to overthrow the government. With wonderful aplomb, Philip K. Dick brings this story to a crashing conclusion and in classic fashion shows there is always another layer of conspiracy beneath the one we see.… (more)

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