The Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick

Surprise! Another book to add to the pile of time travel literature.

This is only my second Philip K. Dick, and the first was (predictably) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I feel as though I want to read more Philip K. Dick, and also as though I never want to read Philip K. Dick again. Is that normal?

Here’s the thing with Dick: his books are twisted and intriguing and uncomfortable, which makes them great, but also makes them a hostile environment for readers. The Martian Time-Slip is especially uncomfortable, because it boils down to Dick waxing poetic on his theories re: mental illness / autism / schizophrenia. Because he was writing this in the sixties, his theories are obviously completely wrong – and while they’re interesting in some places, they’re cringe-worthy in others. You also have to keep in mind that Philip K. Dick wrote 44 novels and 121 short stories between the ages of 22 and 53, which is a really short amount of time to churn out such sheer volume. I don’t want to be sacrilegious, but some of it’s just sloppy.

Anyway, the plot of the novel is that a businessman on Mars gets his hands on an autistic kid, who he’s convinced sees time differently than “normal” people and can therefore see the future. With a little wheedling and a little wheeling and dealing, he tries to use this future-telling for his own profit – with, of course, disastrous results.

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