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Radio Free Albemuth

by Philip Dick

This is a book which Philip Dick, a science fiction writer, wrote when he was quite mentally deranged and in a state approximating paranoid schizophrenia, perhaps due to his excessive drug use. This certainly comes across in the paranoid and delusion-like scenes from the novel. Characters in the novel believe they are being spied on, for example, by the authorities, or that alien intelligences are beaming information directly into their heads, or that time is an illusion and we are really living in Roman times since real time stopped in AD70. Like crazy people the characters see profound significance and meaning in random coincidences. But at the same time they are trying to fathom out the truth about the world and why the world is so far from ideal. The book is set in a totalitarian American. Apparently the president in the book, Ferris Fremont, represents Richard Nixon in some way, as the book was written during his presidency. Reading this book is great for people who like crazy mind-bending science fiction and who dislike totalitarian regimes. It is a bit like 1984 except more crazy. It is about some deep conspiracy apparently underlying reality. If you've ever wondered about philosophical or religious questions it is worth reading. I loved it because of the fantastical, deeply paranoid explanations the characters come up with for everything which happens and they bizarre meanings they find. We are never told whether the characters are crazy or if the aliens are real. In one interesting scene a character believes that Russian agents are beaming abstract paintings into his brain. It's great. You will like it if you are looking for something a bit different but it is also easily readable and not impenetrable. It is also a bit tragic and moving.

Suggested by Dan, London

Tagged with: fascinating



Hey Dan, haven't read this one but I think I might having read the bit in your review about 'Russians agents beaming abstract paintings in his brain' - I could do with some abstract paintings beamed into my brain, beats the TV?

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