Authors: Philip Dick, Ray Nelson
Original language: English
First published, in paperback, in 1967, this is one of two novels Dick wrote in collaboration. Stylistically, it is typical Dick, but it lacks the gravity and conviction of most of his other novels. It’s set in the 21st century when the Earth has been conquered by a race of alien, telepathic, wormlike creatures, one of whom, Mekkis, is attracted to the theories of the psychologist Rudolph Balkani. Although ostensibly a “wik” or worm-kisser (i.e., one who freely serves the Ganymedians), Balkani is a complex man whose allegiances and motives are not easily discerned; indeed, Mekkis’s attraction to his ideas leads to the worms’ undoing. Other characters include the musicologist Joan Hiashi, whom Balkani unsuccessfully pursues, and Percy X, the black revolutionary who represents the ony overt resistance to the worms. Characterizations are unusually weak for Dick, and the ultimate instrument of the alien downfall–Dr. Balkani’s “hell-machine,” which distorts reality–cannot summon up in the reader the ontological confusion and terror that drives Dick’s best work.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.