Philip K. Dick - Now Wait for Last Year

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Blow your mind

Mar 21, 2000
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This book has become my new favorite Philp K. Dick book

Cons:not your average book

I've become a little obsessed with Philip K. Dick since hbomb suggested I read A Scanner Darkly a couple of months ago. I loved A Scanner Darkly and started reading more and more of his books. With each new book, I gain a new respect for his writing style, creativity and story telling abilities. Now Wait For Last Year is no exception. I believe it is my new favorite Philip K. Dick book, knocking Confessions of a Cr%p Artist down one peg.

Now Wait For Last Year takes place in 2055 and is the story of the country's leading artificial organ transplant doctor, Eric Sweetscent, who is assigned care for and maintain the life of Gino Molinari, the leader of the Terrans. Molinari is in terrible health and constantly on the verge of death. As Eric soon discovers, his job as doctor is not to cure the patient of his illnesses. For doing so, would jeopardize his planet's future. His job is simply to maintain Molinari at near death levels while he attempts to discover which force to ally with, the Lillistar Starmen or the Reegs.

In the meantime, Eric's wife becomes addicted to a new drug, JJ-180, that is being developed for the war time effort. Besides it being extremely addictive, the drug has a side effect that causes the user to time travel. For most, like his wife, the drug causes the user to slip backward in time. For a few, the drug causes the user to jump forward in time. This is the effect on Eric when his wife addicts him to the drug. He is able to use these powers to see into the future and save himself, his wife, and the rest of the planet... or is he? For fewer still, the drug causes the user to remain in the same time, but in a different dimensions. This is the political tool Molinari is "blessed" with.

As with most Philip K. Dick stories, science fiction elements (such as time travel) of the book are important for the plot line, but more importantly, they are key to examining such basic human ideas as relationships and the consequences of action and inaction. Dick takes you on a ride from the beginning and never lets you off until the book comes to a complete stop. The book is jam packed with ideas of conspiracy, issues of loyalty, and misplaced intent. Just when you know where Dick is taking you, he changes direction. He may move you towards the relationship between Eric and his wife and instantly change to the political strategies of Molinari. In the end, the science fiction fades and you are left with a story of human emotion.

This book is a great example of Dick's use of characters. He introduces several minor characters that appear to be fluff, yet take on key roles later on in the book. A great example of this is Bruce Himmel. Dick takes great pains to introduce this character and meld him into the plot line in the first 50 pages, yet he does not reappear until the last 30.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes Philip K. Dick. It's one of the best I have read so far. As well, I think this book is very accessible for science fiction readers.



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