Theme: Psychoanalysis

Dr. Bloodmoney published 1965

Dr. Bloodmoney is Dick’s most unique collection of memorable characters in one story. I liked it even more reading it a second time. 

Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb
Buy it on Amazon

After a few chapters set in Berkeley, California on the last day of modern civilization in 1981 we jump ahead seven years to a world trying to rebuild itself after a nuclear disaster. The mentally unhinged (and telekinetic somehow) Bluthgeld is the man responsible for raining down the nuclear bombs, and he hides out as Mr. Tree in a West Marin commune where the rest of the story takes place. The armless and legless (and also telekinetic) Hoppy Harrington, who had been held down most of his life, is able to become BMOC of this West Marin community until a showdown with seven-year-old Edie (and Bill) Keller that caught me off guard.*

On top of all this there is a man stuck in orbit, since a rocket to Mars had been launched moments before the disaster. He serves as a DJ to the inhabitants of Earth as he passes over each day. Even Stuart McConchie in this one manages to rise above the standard bland everyman in many PKD books. The whole thing comes together as one of Dick’s most accessible novels, and I would highly recommend it.

*Yes, I read this before, but my memory can charitably be described as not good.

Cast of characters

  • Stuart McConchie – salesman at Modern TV Sales & Service before the disaster
  • Jim Fergesson – owner of Modern TV Sales & Service. Modern TV Sales and Service is also the name of the store owned by Roger Lindahl in Puttering About in a Small Land. Jim Fergesson shares his name with the owner of Modern TV Sales and Service in Voices from the Street and the mechanic in Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
  • Bruno Bluthgeld aka Jack Tree– the titular Dr. Bloodmoney. Responsible for a nuclear fallout disaster in 1972 and responsible for the nuclear attack in 1981
  • Doctor Stockstill – Bluthgeld’s psychoanalyst before the attack
  • Bonny Keller – member of the West Marin community who had referred Bluthgeld to Stockstill
  • George Keller – Bonny’s husband
  • Edie Keller – the Keller’s young daughter although she was fathered by Andrew Gill
  • Bill Keller – Edie’s unborn twin who lives and communicates inside of her
  • Hoppy Harrington – a phocomelus with telekinetic powers
  • Walt and Lydia Dangerfield – supposed to be the first couple to emigrate to Mars. Instead Walt ends up in orbit around Earth after the nuclear attack
  • Mr. Austurias – member of the West Marin commune who was killed for attempting to track down Bluthgeld
  • June Raub – on the West Marin planning committee
  • Andrew Gill – a cigarette entrepreneur after the attack
  • Eldon Blaine – a glasses salesman from Bolinas
  • Orion Stroud – chairman of the West Marin school board
  • Hal Barnes – a new school teacher in West Marin
  • Dean Hardy – Stuart’s business partner in a homeostatic vermin trap business
  • Paul Dietz – West Marin’s newspaper man

Rating:

Related:

The Ganymede Takeover published 1967

The Ganymede Takeover is a forgettable collaboration Dick wrote with Ray Nelson in the mid-60s.

The Ganymede Takeover
Buy it on Amazon

Worm-like, telepathic Ganymedeans have invaded Earth, and one of the few groups of humans still putting up a fight are the stupidly-named Neeg-parts, led by Percy X, in the hills of Tennessee. These Neeg-parts get ahold of some mind-warping technology designed for the U.N. and they finally fight off the Ganymedeans in the end.

Cast of characters

  • Mekkis – a Ganymedean civilian administrator who takes control of the bale of Tennessee
  • Koli – Military Administrator for the Ganymedeans. In control of the bale of Tennessee until Mekkis takes over
  • The Oracle – a precog Ganymedean creech
  • Percy X – leader of the Neeg-parts on Earth. A telepath
  • Lincoln Shaw – Percy X’s second-in-command
  • Joan Hiashi – intends to infiltrate the Neeg-parts on behalf of the Ganymedeans
  • Paul Rivers – a psychiatrist with the World Psychiatric Association
  • Gus Swenesgard – feudal baron of a plantation area in Tennessee
  • Rudolph Balkani – Chief of the Bureau of Psychedelic Research

Rating:

Related:

The Simulacra published 1964

Set in 2041. I never realized, before I started reading a lot of PKD books back to back to back, how fascinated he is with Nazis and World War II Germany. Three of the last five books I read (this one, The Penultimate Truth and Lies, Inc) dealt with Nazi Germany in some way.

The Simulacra
Buy it on Amazon

Dick threw nearly everything he could think of into this one. The main storyline has an concept similar to The Penultimate Truth involving a simulacrum of the President, although the rest is stuffed with multiple subplots that include psionics, Neanderthals and an attempt to cure Hitler by sending a psychoanalyst back in time.

This novel has a million characters to keep track of, but the anxiety-causing commercials that buzz around like flies, used-car salesman who sell jalopies that travel to Mars and primitive alien life forms used on Earth as components in recording devices are all great.

The conclusion focuses on the least interesting subplot as a group of Neanderthals called chuppers from some different branch of the evolutionary tree gather around a television and watch as Homo sapiens destroy themselves in a war. The few Homo sapiens in the room with them have the grim realization this is the moment the chuppers have been waiting for. Just short of a classic as it doesn’t all come together in the end.

Cast of characters

  • Richard Kongrosian – a Soviet pianist who plays Brahms and Schumann with his mind
  • Dr. Egon Superb – a psychoanalyst
  • Bertold Goltz – head of the Neo-nazi group Sons of Job
  • Wilder Pembroke – commissioner of the National Police
  • Rudolf Kalbfleisch – the current der Alte. A simulacrum
  • Nicole Thibodeaux– the First Lady. Has a stature greater than the president in their matriarchal society
  • Emil Stark – Prime Minister of Israel
  • Janet Raimer – Chief White House talent scout
  • Garth McRae – Assistant State Secretary
  • Harold Slezak – White House A & R secretary
  • Hermann Göring – founder of the Gestapo, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe and Hitler’s successor in World War II
  • Vince Strikerock – works for Karp u. Sohnen
  • Chic Strikerock – brother of Vince. Works for Frauenzimmer Associates.
  • Julia Applequist– ex-wife of Vince Strikerock
  • Maury Frauenzimmer – Chic’s boss. Owner of Frauenzimmer Associates
  • Felix and Anton Karp – father and son owners of Karp u. Sohnen
  • Ian Duncan – aimless member of the Abraham Lincoln apartment building
  • Al Miller – Ian Duncan’s former friend and jug band partner. Works for Loony Luke’s jalopy business
  • Patrick Doyle – skypilot for the Abraham Lincoln apartments
  • Edgar Stone – scheming member of the Abraham Lincoln apartment building
  • Nat Flieger – works at Electronic Musical Enterprise
  • Jim Planck – employee of EME
  • Leo Dondoldo – owner of EME
  • Molly Dondoldo – Leo’s daughter

Other things to know

  • USEA – United States of Europe and America
  • McPhearson Act – outlaws the practice of psychoanalysis in favor of drug therapy
  • der Alte – German for “the old man.” The president. Has been a simulacrum for the last fifty years
  • Karp und Sohnen Werke – German for Karp and Sons. Built the Kalbfleisch simulacrum
  • the Ges – Geheimnisträger. The upper social class. Possessors of the secret that der Alte is a simulacrum
  • the Bes – Befehlträger. The lower social class
  • Frauenzimmer Associates – simulacra construction company
  • von Lessinger equipment – used for time travel
1 of 212