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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt, Tavia Gilbert
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Audio)
David Eagleman

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (MP3 Book) - Scott Brick, Philip K. Dick

Published in 1974, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said presents a dystopia set in then-future 1988. The outcome of a second civil war had been the formation of a totalitarian police state in which college students are imprisoned for life in their campus housing and everyone is subject to surveillance and tracking.

Jason Havisher is a wildly popular crooner who hosts a variety TV show with a loyal audience of 30 million viewers. Suddenly his reality shifts and he ceases to be known. Nobody has heard of him or his show, including those in his inner circle. There are no records of his birth, he is missing from all of the official databases, and he has no modes of identification. Not having the latter typically means being consigned to a forced-labor camp.

Much of the narrative focuses on Havisher's struggle to figure out what has happened to him and how he can regain his normal life. Along the way, he is unwittingly implicated in the death of someone who is highly connected to the police. He might just be the most convenient fall guy, regardless of whether this death was not actually a murder.

I always find it interesting to see an imagined future set in a year that we've passed long ago. Dick was imagining that within 14 years, people would be flying around in their own hovercrafts. It seems that one is a perennial marker of the future, and here we are, still waiting for our hovercrafts! For some of the technology he imagined, he was quite prescient.

I ended up being torn as to how to feel about Havisher. On the one hand, his predicament is something that happens through no fault of his own. On the other, the narrator makes sure we know his less endearing qualities. For example, he's a racist (he sees no problem with the policy that black men must be sterilized after fathering one child). He is clearly convinced that as a "six" he is superior to all the masses of "ordinaries." Sixes were the result of an experiment in eugenics, designed to create human beings who were superior in intelligence, talent, and charisma.

I'd recommend this as a curiosity piece for people who enjoy this genre (dystopic sci-fi) and Philip K. Dick.