Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick (1965)

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.

Further Reading

Wikipedia entry on Dr. Bloodmoney

  2 comments for “Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick (1965)

  1. doug
    October 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm


    I just read this too. Your review is spot on. This novel really does defy description.

    Do you think that Hoppy was still pulling the strings at the end, emulating Dangerfield, either from the little shrivelled ball that had been the twin or from some other vessel? I’m not sure if there was supposed to be a clear cut “twist” like that.

    • Matt
      October 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      Doug I hadn’t thought about that! It’s “nice” (in a creepy kind of way) to think that Hoppy might have continued on. My favorite section of the book might be the part where the twin gets yanked out by Hoppy and subsists temporarily on his own, before swapping with the Phocomelus.

what do you think?

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