Monday, June 12, 2006

06.19 Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K Dick


Our Friends From Frolix 8 (1970) by Philip K Dick
Paperback, Pan, 211pp.

More dystopia from Dick. In the future, the world is controlled by "New Men" who are essentially a small number of hyper-intelligent folk in control of the government. They run entrance exams to find others of their ilk and fail to allow the vast majority of the population, the "Old Men", any say in ruling. In addition to these rulers, a small cadre of "Unusuals", the empaths, precogs, telekenetics, etc. hold the highest positions of government.

The Old Men have an underground network of anti-New Man propaganda that they try to distribute to bring down the power structure. Dissention (along with alcohol and other forms of free thought) is strictly enforced with thousands of Old Men being interned. One of the leaders of the resistance, Thors Pavoni, has stolen one of the few interstellar spaceships and has vowed to return with alien help to free the Old Men.

Against this backdrop we follow the story of Ned, a lowly tire regroover, as he falls out of his banal lifestyle and into one of sedition and anarchy. He has his first drink, gets exposed to Old Man propagada and falls in with a beautiful teenage anarchist.

The novel flashes back and forth between Pavoni, Ned and one of the supreme leaders of the New Men as he realizes that Pavoni has, in fact, located a sentient species and is returning to Earth. No one knows what his new friend from Frolix 8 will do when he arrives but it scrambles the current world order at least.

This was a fairly good novel. Dick is making some pretty obvious points about class structure and totalitarianism however he writes an entertaining story so it never becomes too polemic. Not the bes PKD I have ever read, but by no means the worst.


Crumbolst said...

Tire regroover. That sucks.

Buzby said...

At every turn I discover a new PKD novel that I have neither heard of nor read. He was the Michael Caine of novelists.