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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.