I recently finished reading Philip K. Dick’s wonderful novel Dr. Bloodmoney, which is perhaps the least read deeply influential masterpiece in twentieth century science fiction. The characters and situation of the novel could only emerge from the mind of Dick. Dick unfolds a tangled story set in post-nuclear holocaust Marin county. The characters include a schizophrenic expat German nuclear physicist who just might have brought on the war with his mind; a hostile telekinetic phocomelus mimic for whom the disaster is the key to personal power; an insouciant psychic fetus in fetu, the unlikely hero of the story; a plucky “negro” TV repairman, who survives by eating rats and sellin traps; a secretive and conniving nymphomaniac housewife, and a preternaturally charming celebrity astronaut who, stranded in orbit, runs a radio show for the end of the world. From this motley assemblage Dick constructs a eerie story of American culture, fear, transformation and redemption. That the plot of the novel is implausible, impossible, and bizarre stands not at all in the way of its greatness. Dick’s creation is a collective fever-dream hallucination, an uncanny exploration of post-nuclear insanity, a space-age cultural freakshow, a novel of race and infirmity, of hatred, stupidity, community, and desire, of madness, politics, and economics. Its imprint is everywhere in the fringes of literature. Highly recommended.
Wikipedia entry on Dr. Bloodmoney