In the far-off future mankind has evolved. The New Men are those with bigger brains and a greater intellect, while the Unusuals are mutants with psionic abilities. These two groups form a loosely-aligned ruling class who oppress the unevolved Old Men just struggling to get by. But don’t forget about the Under Men! They follow the writings of Eric Cordon and rebel against the whole class imbalance while waiting for Thors Provoni to return from outer space with some kind of help to free them from the tyrannical rule.
Our Friends from Frolix 8 is about as middle of the road as you can get with Dick’s minor works. I remembered almost nothing about it before I reread it. It’s redeemed by the oddball telepath and supreme leader of Earth Willis Gram, but only somewhat, and if you replaced sad-sack Nick Appleton with the protagonist from a dozen of Dick’s other stories you probably wouldn’t notice a difference.
Cast of characters
- Nick Appleton – our protag. He’s employed as a tire regroover, an odd profession since the squibs in the book are flying vehicles
- Bobby Appleton – Nick’s son
- Kleo Appleton – Nick’s wife
- Thors Provoni – left Earth to look for help in the far reaches of outer space
- Willis Gram – Council Chairman of the Extraordinary Committee for Public Safety (Unusual)
- Lloyd Barnes – the police director (New Man)
- Eric Cordon – Under Man organizer and propaganda writer
- Earl Zeta – Nick’s boss (Under Man)
- Charlotte Boyer – a sixteen-year-old Under Man girl who gets involved with Nick
- Denny – Charlotte’s boyfriend (Under Man)
- Morgo Rahn Wilc – the Frolixan friend who accompanies Thors Provoni back to Earth
- Amos Ild – one of the world’s smartest New Men