DR. FUTURITY By Philip K. Dick Is An Oft Overlooked Gem

DR. FUTURITY By Philip K. Dick Is An Oft Overlooked Gem

DR. FUTURITY by Philip K. Dick is an oft overlooked gem that delves deep into the history, psyche, religion, and realities tied to humanity.

This is one of PKD’s earliest novels and publications, and while many relegate this to atypical 1950s science-fiction, albeit with more style, Dick’s DR. FUTURITY not only unleashes a compelling narrative full of page-turning urgency, but there is vast profundity here.

Make no mistake, there are powerful metaphors – thinly veiled or blatantly announced on the page – that deeply questions the history and methodology of society.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

For a sub-250-page sci-fi thriller, I was astounded by DR. FUTURITY.

As the title implies, time travel is the method for which this story moves.

Philip K. Dick wields time travel like a scalpel, it cuts efficiently and effectively.

The science is plausible and neither detracts from the plot, nor adds any superfluousness.

But what quickly becomes apparent is the startling depth to which Dr. Jim Parsons witnesses, questions, and philosophizes about the future of humankind.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

The follow book review of DR. FUTURITY by Philip K. Dick contains SPOILERS**

Time travel in this context is a fun means to explore the many faults of patriarchal society that has so damaged and imprinted humanity that civilization is warped and struggling to atone for and recover from the wrongful subjugation of people for centuries upon centuries.

The hundreds of years of racism, colonialism, and enslavement that occurs to target women and anyone that is not white creates ripples throughout time that prove extremely difficult to undo.

To counter the periods of racist, patriarchal years, Parsons finds himself in a future matriarchal system that so values the future inhabitants of the world that there is a systemic ban on free will to procreate, or even to age.

They revere death, not unlike the Ancient Egyptians, and each of the young’s demise may lead to their seeds growing better future generations, literally.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

As Parsons realizes the extent of the societal sickness, Dick writes: “And, underneath it all, the ethos of death. A system devoted to the extinction of the individual, for the sake of the future.”

Here is a brilliant critique of the patriarchal religions of Abraham and their emphasis on sacrificing individuality and even one’s own life to revel in the promise of a bright future for the next generation.

As Parsons tries and fails to save the people’s cryogenically frozen leader, it occurs to him that the leader’s own zealotry is his downfall.

“How close the idealist, with his fanatical passion, was to the mentally disturbed,” Parsons thinks, as Dick sends home the message.

The ravings of the zealots that wish to subjugate others, whether in active slavery, or in passive societal constraints on the individual, lead to dangerously warped futures, even ones where incest is a possible downfall.

In a clear and coherent time travel tale, Dick offers up a world-building of future realities that have the grit under the fingernails, the acrid smells that jar the characters on their journey.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

And right at the top matching all of the critiques, is a blatant call to arms for all people to allow women the right to choose what they do with their bodies – and men as well, as they are sterilized without choice in this far future – and Dick praises the doctors and medical professionals that Dr. Jim Parsons represents.

So much so, that Parsons inspires his own children, born unbeknown to him in the future, to form an effective illegal group hellbent on giving the right to choose to everyone and it will prevail in future elections.

“The group distributed inflammatory propaganda, demanding the end of euthanors and a resumption of natural birth – and at the very least, the freedom of women to conceive and give birth, or to turn their zygote over . . . if they preferred. The element of choice.” [Philip K. Dick, DR. FUTURITY]

There is a flawed protagonist, in Parsons, in DR. FUTURITY, and there is a love story here involving him, as he was eons away from his wife.

And though the plot is not wholly unexpected in this book, the depth with which the main characters sheers modern society’s actions – in the past and in the future – is truly fresh, surprising, and impactful.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

A note on the Centipede Press numbered edition of DR. FUTURITY:

As I previously reviewed The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick and its signed limited edition, it was one of the three books included in the CP boxed set, the second being DR. FUTURITY.

This book has a brilliant introduction by Michael Swanwick who candidly goes through Dick’s early life that led up to the writing of this book.

There are fantastic photos of the author himself, as well as the plethora of great book cover art that backed the title throughout the years.

The binding is full cloth with a foil stamped PKD signature on the front board, and the paper as well as the print quality is of the highest order.

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)!


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“DR. FUTURITY By Philip K. Dick Is An Oft Overlooked Gem” Was Written By R.J. Huneke.

DR. FUTURITY, pkd, philip k. dick, sci-fi, science-fiction, centipede press, limited edition

 

Philip K. Dick’s The Cosmic Puppets Via Centipede Press Wows

Philip K. Dick’s The Cosmic Puppets Via Centipede Press Wows

Philip K. Dick’s The Cosmic Puppets via Centipede Press Wows, and I mean Wows with a great limited edition of a fantastic book!

Philip K. Dick is an inspiration of mine, and I have only perused a healthy percentage of his prolific body of work…so far.

There is no writing, no fiction, like that of PKD. Nothing comes close.

For this very special article, we kick off the new year with a TFF book review of the 1957 Philip K. Dick classic The Cosmic Puppets and then my first fine press review of the Centipede Press treatment, which they have given to PKD in a gorgeous boxed set trilogy that also contains Dr. Futurity, and Vulcan’s Hammer.

The following TFF Book Review of The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick is *Spoiler Free

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

I was surprised upon reading Michael Swanwick’s introduction to this edition that this book is considered Dick’s only fantasy novel.

But I hate labeling genres, and I do not know it, but I suspect he would have as well.

What is immediately intriguing at the outset is the utter realness of the protagonist Ted Barton, as his emotions, confusion and painful revelations shake the reader to their core.

You feel what he feels, and as the precarious situation gets stranger and grander in scope than one would think possible, the suspension of disbelief is there and we hungrily eat up the world that has been built.

It is through this vessel that crafting such a marvelous world is possible.

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

That world is Ted’s hometown, which he returns to after many years to find its history is not as he has remembered.

And there are unexpected gods, unforeseen characters of diabolical, selfish, and devious minds, and also their foils who are dying lights amidst the darkening battleground for something far vaster than Ted could have ever guessed.

It is here that Philip K. Dick’s voracious appetite for reading Carl Jung, Plato, and any philosopher of note’s text that he could get his hands on shines through masterfully in myriad nuanced subtleties.

Some of the symbolism may seem more obvious, but it is but done in new and unique ways, whether in the grandiose cosmic chess matches, the battles of nature – in all manner of creatures’ strife; nature versus nature – and even in the creation of life through clay it is all remarkable.

The pacing, the stomach gripping suspense, and the quickly unfolding mystery that seizes the weird, and Ted with it, fiercely make this a book that once started cannot be put down.

The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick As Part Of The Centipede Press Signed Limited Edition Boxed Set Is Spectacular!

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

The box itself has navy and black cloth and emits quality.

And despite a very modest price-point, not one, but three great PKD novels are encompassed in beauty and a sense of dedication that truly pays respect and homage to the great author’s work.

I am still blown away by the production.

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

The Centipede Press edition of The Cosmic Puppets is limited to 300 copies signed by all of the contributors, including by Michael Swanwick, Peter Strain, and Chris Moore, with an Estate-approved facsimile signature by Philip K. Dick.

The book itself features an amazing theme bound to the dustjacket art by Peter Strain, which features a boy whose melted head contains a chessboard, honeycombs, and a flurry of bees, while beneath him rests the town upside down, in distress, and it wraps around to the spine and the back as the pieces are held by a hand pulling their strings!

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

And beneath the jacket is the finest black cloth, with two color foil stamping, and an asteroid-like design bearing Philip K. Dick’s signature on the front, as well as little specks of tiny meteors possibly.

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick, PKD, fine press, Centipede Press, Signed Limited, S/L

A Centipede staple, there is a history presented in the book’s cover art, from its first novel form in Ace’s two-novel 35 cent paperback to many others, throughout the brilliant introduction.

The fonts, the gorgeous archival artwork by Chris Moore, and the entire design is truly a work of art.

And with that my dear friends, Eager Readers, and comrades, I can give you something to look forward to: there are two other novels in this boxed set that are begging for me to review.

Happy New Year! [I have been told I will have to put money into the jar if I say that after today]


The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


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“Philip K. Dick’s The Cosmic Puppets Via Centipede Press Wows” was written by R.J. Huneke.

 

The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick Explores Mutants Hunted

The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick Explores Mutants Hunted

“The Golden Man” by Philip K. Dick explores mutants hunted in a long short story, or short novella, from 1954, long before Stan Lee’s X-Men emerged!

It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where atomic radiation has produced mutated human beings.

A government task force has been created to hunt down these mutants.

SPOILER WARNING for “The Golden Man” an 11,600-word science fiction short story written by Philip K. Dick and published in the April 1954 issue of If magazine.

Mutants are either neutered or killed, depending on the strength of their abilities, so that they cannot harm humanity.

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But the one mutant still at large is the elusive Golden Man who is always a step ahead because of his ability to see the future.

PKD explored a future where the next step in evolution may very well leave humans behind.

He explored the idea of the next superior being as neither a benevolent leader-type, nor a malicious genocidal dictator-type, but rather a Magneto-like being that would set a course of natural selection that would replace humanity in favor of a new mutant race.

Evolution itself, after all, is a natural process with no malicious intent behind it. Human beings simply would not be able to compete.

The comparison between the X-Men nemesis, Magneto and his mindset, cannot be ignored here, though PKD preceded Magneto’s invention by close to a decade.

This practical perspective is rather interesting and refreshing.

Superheroes, essentially mutants, have dominated popular culture for quite some time. Heroes, like the Justice League of DC comics, have helped lead humanity where villains, like Magneto of X-Men, are more interested in leaving humanity behind.

“The Golden Man” alludes to a more plausible Darwinian approach that seems to encroach on Magneto’s thoughts and arguments, at times, but stands alone in its insightful approach to the mutants in the story.

This novella was the inspiration for the movie Next with Nicolas Cage.

Ironically, similar to that of iRobot, the studio borrowed just one small concept from the entire story in its adaptation.

Surprisingly, the only similar parallel these two works share is the elusiveness of both characters when avoiding arrest.

Hollywood certainly had a fun time showing off this skill with Cage during the casino chase.

Although Nicholas Cage has the similar ability to see into the future, he certainly does not have the Golden Man’s secondary traits and his philosophy that make him so extraordinary. If you are a fan of film adaptations (as I am) you may find this interesting.

 

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


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“The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick Explores Mutants Hunted” was written by Peter Maisano.