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Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick

Posted by RB Kollannur on March 30, 2014


Note: This review is part of a weekly book review column that I write for City Journal, an English newspaper based in Thrissur, Kerala.

Published on 22/12/2012

Publisher – Hachette; Year of Publication – 1965; Pages – 304; Cost at the time of purchase – Rs. 325

Philip K Dick is the master of dystopian fiction. He has written countless novels set in alternate universes, each as varied as the other. Most of his work blur the boundaries of reality and stretch your imagination to the extreme and “Dr Bloodmoney” is no different. Set in a post nuclear holocaust world, the novel has deformed mutants everywhere due to the nuclear fallout. One such mutant is out for revenge against the world, for the discrimination he had to face when he was younger.

At the centre of the novel is a mutant invalid, Hoppy Harringtion, who was born with no limbs and has to rely on a mechanical wheelchair for movement. But his intellect compensates well for his physical inability such that he can sustain himself on his own. However, living in a society bred to look at him as abnormal, he has to deal with racism in every walk of life. That is until he figures out he can move matter with his mind.

Philip K Dick’s novels are worth the read purely for the imaginative world he creates for them. In this novel, the world society has collapsed, forming loosely tangled paranoid self governing communities. The world is in a transition attempting to grasp sanity in the middle of a complete overhaul. Various themes of civil society are explored in this world in an effort to induce normalcy to the daily life.

Many characters exhibit metaphysical abilities and psychotic diseases, and sometimes interchangeably confusing the reader. “Dr Bloodmoney”, like many of his other novels, makes the reader question what is unreal and what is not. The story is so plotted that the reader may get lost in the middle just like while hitchhiking in the galaxy. But it also touches upon crucial daily issues like racism at work and discrimination.

Reading any of the author’s books is like being on a perennial high. He invests a great deal of creativity while shaping each character in his novels and by putting them in a dystopian world, Dick takes the reader out of his familiar universe. Many of his novels have been made into movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report and the more recent Total Recall (which in itself was a remake of a 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger). While he met with only limited literary success during his lifetime, he needed Hollywood to expand on his works to showcase its full potential to a wider audience.

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One Response to “Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick”

  1. […] Published on 08/12/2012 39)  The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester – Published on 16/12/2012 40)  Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick – Published on 22/12/2012 41)  Who Let the Dork Out? by Sidin Vadukut – Published on 02/01/2013 […]

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