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Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

Dr. Bloodmoney (edition 2002)

by Philip K. Dick

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1,464175,106 (3.61)30
Title:Dr. Bloodmoney
Authors:Philip K. Dick
Info:Vintage (2002), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

  1. 20
    Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem (sturlington)
    sturlington: Amnesia Moon is an homage to PKD and references this novel.

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The usual PKD collection of everyday characters with bizarre twists. Post nuclear apocalypse people continue to get along. Enjoyable read and amazingly creative. ( )
  kale.dyer | Apr 23, 2017 |

If you’ve seen the recently released Ex Machina, you know this is a super-slick film of two young men interacting with a beautiful version of AI, a great work of science fiction with such a streamlined, clear-cut, linear, easy-to-follow storyline, at the opposite end of the spectrum from, well, Philip K. Dick. Case in point: PKD’s Dr. Bloodmoney, the CRAZIEST novel I’ve ever read. Here are ten reasons why:

One -- Atom Bomb
The setting is San Francisco Bay Area. Soon after we are introduced to our main characters in Chapter One and Two, a series of Hiroshima-size atomic bombs hit. What remains of the population has to respond and deal with, PKD-style, the devastation.

Two – Guy in Space
The US space program shots Walt Dangerfield and his wife up in a rocket to colonize Mars. Bad timing. Immediately after blast-off the bombs hit. But Walt, who has lost his wife and is stuck orbiting Earth, maintains contact; matter of fact, everyone tunes into his hayseed broadcasts to receive updates on global news.

Three – A tiny adult person lives inside Edie Keller
If being a seven-year-old post-nuclear war little girl isn’t tough enough, Edie has tiny brother Bill lodged right inside her, next to her kidney, an adult who can carry on an adult conversation with Edie.

Four -- Dr. Bloodmoney
Bruno Bluthgeld aka Jack Tree aka Dr. Bloodmoney is an atomic physicist, a paranoid, shape-shifter who might very well be responsible for the world-wide nuclear war.

Five -- Dogs that talk
Turns out, Dr. Bloodmoney owns a frisky, playful dog who occasionally talks in a dog-like growl, a phenomenon accepted by all the survivors as routine after the radioactive fallout.

Six --- The mutants are coming
San Francisco can be a hazardous place to live. One reason is weezle-like creatures have grown wings and splatter themselves on skyscraper windows.

Seven – Less than appealing diet
Stuart McConchie is an African-American TV salesman who is forced to eat a live rat to stay alive in the cellar after the bombs hit. Seven years later, Stuart is making his living selling robot-like rat traps. In many ways, if the novel has any foundation in sanity, Stuart is our main man.

Eight – The importance of being a horse
With all the modernist, sophisticated technology, one aspect of post-bomb life is less than modern: the main mode of transportation is riding a horse. At one point, Stuart McConchie feels great sadness since he had to leave his horse hitched to a pillar under a San Francisco dock. Big mistake: the San Francisco homeless killed and ate his horse.

Nine – The danger of taking a job as a teacher
During his job interview, Hal Barnes asks the town’s clearing committee what happened to the last teacher. One of the committee members, an older lady by the name of June Robe, tells Hal matter-of-factly that they had to kill him.

Ten --- Thalidomide Boy
Hoppy Harrington is a young man who is a phocomelus, that is, without any hands or legs. Hoppy has all types of psychic powers and mechanical abilities that more than compensate for his physical disabilities. Hoppy appears front-and-center in much of the novel’s action.

PKD is actually able to have all this craziness intertwine to construct a riveting, cohesive story. How in the world does he do it? Obviously, he had one of the most powerful, most creative imaginations in history. Also, from what I understand, he was known to use tabs of speed to fuel his psychic rocket ship. Again, the craziest novel I’ve ever encountered. I’ve only read one other PKD novel: VALIS. I'll take suggestions from readers of this review, but during this summer I plan to read: The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Now Wait for Last Year, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Could be one or more of these titles will top Dr. Bloodmoney in craziness. I wouldn’t be surprised.

( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Set in the (then) near future of 1972, this 1963 novel is PKD's take on the post apocalypse subgenre of sci-fi. For my money Dick did it better than anybody else (as he often did). Grim realistic post apocalypse novels like [b:The Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320606344s/6288.jpg|3355573] or [b: Earth Abides|93269|Earth Abides|George R. Stewart|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320505234s/93269.jpg|1650913] are all well but they lack that patented PKD weirdness that makes his books so fascinating and entertaining.

There are actually two nuclear apocalypses in this book, the first one was caused by an accident during a nuclear weapon test, millions of people died or affected by radiation. The second one takes place only a decade later with much more catastrophic results. Besides millions of death most modern technology is destroyed, electricity and motor vehicles are things of the past. Mutated humans and animals are common place. The human mutants often have “funny powers” and the animals have their intelligence greatly enhanced.

Most of Dr. Bloodmoney* is set in the rural town of West Marin which Dick has populated with some very colorful characters. The trouble starts with the eponymous Dr. Bloodmoney, real name Dr. Bruno Bluthgeld. He led the nuclear weapon project in 1971 and is responsible for the error that caused the first nuclear disaster. For most of the book he is living incognito in West Marin as Mr. Jack Tree. Other notable characters include “Hoppy Harrington” the phocomelus** handyman with telekinesis powers, a little girl with a brother embedded inside her body, a man stuck in a satellite orbiting around Earth who becomes the world’s last DJ, weatherman and news reporter, a talking dog etc. Dick’s depiction of a post apocalypse world is refreshingly different, it is not a grim radioactive wasteland setting you get in most books in this subgenre. There is a semi-functioning government, limited commerce, local newspapers and some primitive manufacturing.

The narrative structure of Dr. Bloodmoney is quite usual for PKD, there is no main protagonist, Dick uses the “third person omniscient” style switching points of view many times as he sees fit throughout the book. This helps with the world building though it does make the book a little slow to begin with as you are familiarizing yourself with the characters. Interestingly none of the characters are particularly likeable, this would be a weakness in books by other authors, but in this case I find the characters’ individual foibles kind of hilarious.

Dick’s often criticized simplistic prose style is always oddly appealing to me, as is his often stilted dialogue which suits the bizarreness of his worlds quite well. I don’t know why some literary critics presume to know better than Dick how he should have presented his stories. I love how the storyline is unpredictable form beginning to end with many surprises and bizarre happenings along the way. Given the scenario the book has a surprisingly uplifting, optimistic tone and the eccentric humor made me laugh several times.

It’s a (nuclear) blast, read it!

* The original title was Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along after the Bomb, a tribute to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

** Armless/legless condition caused by Thalidomide. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
One of Dick's most disturbing and funny and poignant novels. This is not your typical post-apocalyptic story. Feels like a religious allegory that holds nothing but contempt for religious allegories. As Californians struggle to rebuild the old civilization after armageddon, they are faced with creatures, beings and states of consciousness that are completely new. Rats have learned how to use carts. Dogs can talk. Humans are living inside of other humans. Yet, in Dick's deft hands, it is not only plausible, but proper. ( )
1 vote byebyelibrary | Apr 11, 2014 |
Disfruté cada página del libro y ya se cuál va a ser el siguiente que leeré del Sr. Dick. El argumento de la novela es simple: Las bombas caen, desde el cielo o desde casa o desde el enemigo. El hecho en sí mismo es irrelevante; lo importante acá son las consecuencias. Una reflexión temprana del Dr. Stockstill es la siguiente: “Es lo impersonal lo que nos ha atacado. Eso es; nos ha atacado desde dentro y desde fuera. El fin de la cooperación, a la que nos habíamos aplicado todos juntos. Ahora no queda más que átomos. Discretos, sin ser apreciados. Colisionando sin hacer ningún ruido, tan solo un zumbido generalizado”. La humanidad queda de pie ante el precipicio que le guiará con gusto hacia su extinción, una raza que respira con una evidente y natural nausea que se confunde entre el horror y la confusión. Los sobrevivientes no quieren explicaciones, de alguna forma suponían que esto ocurriría, pero guardaban la esperanza razonable (pero no compartida, valga realizar la aclaratoria) de que no fueran ellos quienes lo vivirían sino sus hijos o sus nietos (no debemos olvidar que la novela fue escrita en plena Guerra Fría, en el 65). Por lo tanto, la fortaleza del relato no está en los elementos fantásticos (o de ciencia ficción) sino en los protagonistas que con resignación asumen las nuevas y adversas circunstancias (aún más si consideramos que hay otras especies que compiten con el hombre, en especial gatos, perros y ratas que alcanzan un avanzado y creciente nivel de inteligencia).

Los personajes aparecen uno tras otro, de manera casi vertiginosa, lo que se hace un poco pesado al comienzo de la lectura. En uno de los reviews en inglés hay un breve listado de los personajes principales, sin ahondar en más detalles para quien no quiera sorpresas. (Cuidado: en adelante hay unos cuantos spoilers). Quizás el que más recuerden quienes lean la novela sea el del focomelo, Hoppy Harrington, un hombre sin extremidades que se moviliza a través de un carro y que en sustitución a su carencia articular utiliza unas extensiones mecánicas, con una gran habilidad técnica para reparar objetos, una que parece ser originaria de algo más misterioso y oscuro. Un ser repulsivo y despreciado por el resto, y que más tarde sería temido por su creciente influencia en la comunidad. El Dr. BloodMoney, o Bruno Bluthgeld o Jack Tree es un constante misterio. Un científico nuclear que quizás pudo ser el causante del desastre, al menos eso es lo que él cree, al menos eso es lo que otros cercanos a él también temen, y pese a que no tiene una intervención activa en el relato, sí lo hace al final de una manera maestral, con una escena en la que raya entre la supuesta demencia del personaje con el desastre inminente y definitivo de la Tierra (excelentes capítulos). El Dr. Stockstill (psicoanalista) me pareció el personaje más neutro de la novela, casi como uno de soporte vital que inyectaba la racionalidad entre el caos; incluso, con perfección podría haber sido la voz narrativa testigo en toda la novela. Bonny Keller, la mujer más codiciada del pueblo, me parece que es el personaje que con más resignación vive entre todos; quizás también Stuart, con la diferencia de que este último parece abrigar una esperanza optimista (lo que significa mirar hacia el futuro) mientras que Bonny parece más dispuesta a enfrentar y gozar el ahora (si mal no recuerdo tiene tres amantes y un esposo). Su hija, una niña de 12 años, creo, Edie, es otro personaje excepcional. Tiene una extraña formación bultosa en su vientre que al comienzo se nos presenta como un tumor, pero que en realidad cobija a su hermano Bill (o al menos así le llama, hermano; al menos así se hace llamar él, Bill), quien está muerto y mantiene comunicación con otros como él (es decir, muertos); está ansioso de salir de Edie, tener su propio cuerpo, ver y hacer lo que todos los demás vivos ven y hacen. Y Walter Dangerfield, quien junto con su esposa tenían como misión convertirse en el Adán y la Eva que colonizarían Marte. Pero al ser lanzados el mismo día del desastre, quedan varados en la órbita del planeta terrícola. Su mujer muere y él, solo desde el espacio, es la única fuente confiable para transmitir información a través del planeta, la última fuente del conocimiento del hombre, el alimento de la esperanza para no caer en la demencia.

Mientras avanzaba en la lectura, bastante oscura, me preparaba para recibir un puntapié en el estómago hacia el final, pero PKD parece desistir el camino del pesimismo y nos da una oportunidad para creer en que no siempre uno caerá al abismo, en que hay veces en que una mano (amiga o desconocida) te agarrará en el borde (de las ropas o del pescuezo, para el caso es lo mismo) y evitará que pierdas el equilibrio, con lo cual tendremos una oportunidad para emprender un nuevo camino más brillante. Una oportunidad, no una certeza. ( )
  david.uchile | Mar 18, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, BarclayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Early in the bright sun-yellowed morning, Stuart McConchie swept the sidewalk before Modern TV Sales & Service, hearing the cars along Shattuck Avenue and the secretaries hurrying on high heels to their offices, all the stirrings and fine smells of a new week, a new time in which a good salesman could accomplish things.
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Book description
Seven years after the day of the bombs, Point Reyes was luckier than most places. Its people were reasonably normal -- except for the girl with her twin brother growing inside her, and talking to her. Their barter economy was working. Their resident genius could fix almost anything that broke down. But they didn't know they were harbouring the one man who almost everyone left alive wanted killed...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375719296, Paperback)

Dr. Bloodmoney is a post-nuclear-holocaust masterpiece filled with a host of Dick’s most memorable characters: Hoppy Harrington, a deformed mutant with telekinetic powers; Walt Dangerfield, a selfless disc jockey stranded in a satellite circling the globe; Dr. Bluthgeld, the megalomaniac physicist largely responsible for the decimated state of the world; and Stuart McConchie and Bonnie Keller, two unremarkable people bent the survival of goodness in a world devastated by evil. Epic and alluring, this brilliant novel is a mesmerizing depiction of Dick’s undying hope in humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:21 -0400)

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Years after the day of the bombs, Point Reyes was luckier than most places. Their barter economy was working and their resident genius could fix almost anything. But they didn't know they were harbouring the man who almost everyone left alive wanted killed.… (more)

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