Thursday, August 30, 2012


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The Man Who Japed, Philip K Dick, Ace Books, 1956, 172 pp

It is a post-nuclear war society run by a reactionary government that pushes a puritanical morality via the media. A Philip K Dick world if there ever was one. And this is only his third novel.

Jape is an intransitive verb meaning to say or do something jokingly or mockingly. Philip K Dick is a japer. It is also a transitive verb meaning to make mocking fun of. Alan Purcell, successful creator of propaganda, in a moment of madness, japes the statue of the current government's founder.

You can imagine the rest but reading the book is worth it because Philip K Dick wrote it. I am finally starting to figure out, though vaguely, his female characters. They are subtle commentaries on the effects of a straight-laced society on the female psyche.

Alan Purcell reminded me of Winston Smith in 1984. His moment of madness becomes his first attempt at freedom. How he finally breaks loose is the story.

Pretty good. I still like Solar Lottery best of the four I've read so far.

(The Man Who Japed is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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