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The Crack in Space by Philip K. Dick (Author) (1966)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The Crack in Space posits our world about 2080 (which, at the time it was published, would have been over 100 years in the future): there is severe overpopulation, to the extent that many young people are choosing to be cryogenically frozen until the labor market is better. It's an election year, and there's a black presidential nominee for the first time ever. That nominee, Jim Briskin, is struggling in his campaign until he's tipped off about some major news: there's been a rift discovered to a whole new world...one that looks like it will support human life. Briskin seizes on this development to announce that it will be his platform to thaw out the frozen and give them this world to settle, and his opponent jockeys to match his promises, when it's revealed that the new world is populated after all, but not by people as we know them. Instead it's Peking man that survived. So now what?

That's maybe half the plot of this slim volume (it's about 200 pages long), but it's the main one. First of all, let me say that I'm glad that we beat out Dick's predictions and had our first black president 75 years ahead of schedule. Moving on from that, though, what I really enjoy about reading Dick's work is that he poses interesting, thoughtful questions rooted in an understanding of human nature. As much as we might think that if we discovered a parallel Earth we'd learn from our past and thoughtfully go about exploration and potential colonization, the reality is that in an election year, politicians would be falling all over each other to posture and secure an important position for themselves. If the world's population was so huge that abortion wasn't just widespread but encouraged, that people were freezing themselves in hopes of a better life someday, it would absolutely end up with people getting sent through the door/portal/whatever without much in the way of an actual plan while news cameras flashed and the powers that be congratulated themselves on a job well done. Maybe I'm a little cynical (I was a litigator and now I'm a lobbyist, so that probably comes with the territory), but I feel like Dick gets how people would actually behave instead of how they'd prefer to imagine they would. I found it a quick and enjoyable read which had me pondering alternate realities. ( )
  500books | May 22, 2018 |
The Crack in Space posits our world about 2080 (which, at the time it was published, would have been over 100 years in the future): there is severe overpopulation, to the extent that many young people are choosing to be cryogenically frozen until the labor market is better. It's an election year, and there's a black presidential nominee for the first time ever. That nominee, Jim Briskin, is struggling in his campaign until he's tipped off about some major news: there's been a rift discovered to a whole new world...one that looks like it will support human life. Briskin seizes on this development to announce that it will be his platform to thaw out the frozen and give them this world to settle, and his opponent jockeys to match his promises, when it's revealed that the new world is populated after all, but not by people as we know them. Instead it's Peking man that survived. So now what?

That's maybe half the plot of this slim volume (it's about 200 pages long), but it's the main one. First of all, let me say that I'm glad that we beat out Dick's predictions and had our first black president 75 years ahead of schedule. Moving on from that, though, what I really enjoy about reading Dick's work is that he poses interesting, thoughtful questions rooted in an understanding of human nature. As much as we might think that if we discovered a parallel Earth we'd learn from our past and thoughtfully go about exploration and potential colonization, the reality is that in an election year, politicians would be falling all over each other to posture and secure an important position for themselves. If the world's population was so huge that abortion wasn't just widespread but encouraged, that people were freezing themselves in hopes of a better life someday, it would absolutely end up with people getting sent through the door/portal/whatever without much in the way of an actual plan while news cameras flashed and the powers that be congratulated themselves on a job well done. Maybe I'm a little cynical (I was a litigator and now I'm a lobbyist, so that probably comes with the territory), but I feel like Dick gets how people would actually behave instead of how they'd prefer to imagine they would. I found it a quick and enjoyable read which had me pondering alternate realities. ( )
  ghneumann | Oct 7, 2016 |
So much going on in this book: social and political consequences of overpopulation; the 'browning' and 'graying' of America; celebrity divorce; an unhinged and ultimately murderous do-gooder; the relationship between politicians and their key advisors; parallel worlds; time travel paradox; contingency in evolution; and the experience of the phantom twin (PKD had one, himself).

On one level, it is certainly pulp, at least in its plotting. But the quality and clarity of the writing, and the deft way Dick handles his numerous themes, lifts the book above that. And the central character - a Black man who is running to serve as the first US President of color - is a fantastic character, flawed in a couple believable ways, but genuinely noble. This book is a delight. ( )
  bezoar44 | Oct 12, 2014 |
Although for PK Dick standards it feels "conventional", this is still a good and enjoyable science-fiction book.

In a future with new technologies but the same old problems about population and racism we find an idealistic politician, a mean business man (or two) and some sci-fi surprises. Don't want to reveal more!

Again, good plain science fiction to have a good reading time. ( )
  ivan.frade | Jul 7, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In Philip K. Dick??s The Crack in Space (1966), American technology and civilization has advanced so far that citizens can easily take a spaceship to make daily visits to an orbiting satellite whorehouse, personal Jifi-scuttlers are used to warp space/time so that people can quickly travel from home to work in a distant city, and overpopulation is such a public concern that millions of dispossessed Americans have chosen to be put in cryogenic storage until a habitable planet is discovered.

Yet, America has not advanced so far in other respects. Itƒ??s 2080, racism is still rampant, and Jim Briskin is hoping to be elected as the first African-American President. He needs to convince both the ƒ??Caucsƒ? and the ƒ??Colsƒ? (oh, what horrible nicknames!) that heƒ??s the best man for the job. This isnƒ??t always easy to do for a principled man who isnƒ??t willing to abandon his conservative ideals just to get the endorsement of the powerful mutant who controls the satellite broadcasts. It gets even harder when his white campaign manager defects to the other side and Briskin is now the target of assassination attempts.

But when a repairman discovers an alternate universe in his clientƒ??s broken Jifi-Scuttler, Jim Briskin sees a way that he can win the election ƒ?? by promising to send all the frozen people to inhabit the alternate Earth. Sure enough, in pure PKD style, the Americans quickly and unthinkingly embrace Briskinƒ??s crazy idea and off they go, heading for disaster!

The Crack in Space is related to one of my favorite PKD short stories: ƒ??Prominent Author,ƒ? in which weƒ??re introduced to the Jifi-scuttler. Dickƒ??s stories are always bizarrely entertaining. Theyƒ??re usually fast-paced and full of weird people with weird ideas doing weird things. In The Crack in Space, which contains a more straight-forward plot than many of his novels, we have a famous organ transplant doctor whoƒ??s divorcing his wife (an ƒ??abort-consultantƒ?) while hiding his mistress in a parallel universe. Where is Dr. Sands getting all the organs for his transplants? Then thereƒ??s George Walt, the man with two bodies (but only one head) who runs the orbiting whorehouse and wants to get rid of Jim Briskin because Briskin wants to shut him down. As usual, all the characters talk on vid phones, drink synthetic coffee, avoid the automatic reporters, get divorced, and worry about overpopulation.

The Crack in Space is fun, but not up to par with the best PKD offers. I donƒ??t know if Dick really imagined that in 2080 American race relations wouldnƒ??t have progressed beyond 1960s levels, but this really makes the novel feel more dated than his other works do. Also, the way that Americans dealt with the parallel universe was so simplistic and na??ve that this was hard to swallow, but yet itƒ??s so typical of PKD. Fans, who are used to his frenzied plots and other little writing quirks, are likely to just chuckle and let it go. In the end, though, thereƒ??s a beautiful ironic message. As Americans are dealing with race warfare, PKD shows us that, really, weƒ??re all human after all.

Brilliance Audio, who is gradually producing all of Philip K. Dickƒ??s novels in audio format, did another wonderful job with this one. Eric Dawe performs it superbly. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick, Philip K.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Darcie, Benjamin L.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moisan, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The young couple, black-baked, dark-skinned, probably Mexican or Puerto Rican, stood nervously at Herb Lackmore's counter and the boy, the husband, said in a low voice, 'Sir, we want to be put to sleep. We want to become bibs.'
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"In The Crack in Space, a repairman discovers that a hole in a faulty Jifi-scuttler leads to a parallel world. Jim Briskin, campaigning to be the first black president of the United States, thinks alter-Earth is the solution to the chronic overpopulation that has seventy million people cryogenically frozen; Tito Cravelli, a shadowy private detective, wants to know why Dr Lurton Sands is hiding his mistress on the planet; billionaire mutant George Walt wants to make the empty world all his own. But when the other earth turns out to be inhabited, everything changes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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