One of Dick’s funniest premises. Former patients of a mental hospital abandoned by Earth on an Alphane moon have established a somewhat stable class system organized by mental disorder. The clans include the Pares (paranoids), Manses (manics), Deps (depressives), Polys (polymorphic schizophrenics), Skitzes, (schizophrenics), Ob-Coms (obsessive compulsives) and the Heebs (hebephrenics).
On Earth Chuck Rittersdorf is drawn into a plot involving the Alphanes and their quest to regain control of the moon. Mary Rittersdorf, a psychologist and Chuck’s estranged wife, travels to the moon to evaluate the inhabitants. Meanwhile Chuck gets involved with Bunny Hentman, a former criminal with ties to the Alphane government, who is currently working on Earth as a TV comic. He hires Chuck as a writer (apparently the scripts Chuck writes for CIA simulacra are gut-bustingly funny), but in reality Bunny is only using Chuck because of the connection to his wife.
Chuck eventually ends up on the Alphane moon, and the story wraps up with Chuck helping to convince the clans to accept Alphane rule as long as they aren’t put back into a mental hospital. Mary and Chuck tentatively resume their relationship (I forgot to mention Chuck was trying to kill Mary all this time with the use of a CIA simulacrum) and they both have mental evaluations. Turns out Mary is a Dep, but Chuck, who has a clean bill of mental health, decides to start a new clan on the moon called the Norms.
Clans of the Alphane Moon is filled with some of Dick’s most unique characters like the Heeb mystics and the telepathic Ganymedean slime Lord Running Clam, so it’s too bad we spend most of the book with Chuck, a typically bland PKD protagonist dealing with suicidal impulses and marital problems.
Cast of characters
- Gabriel Baines – the Pare delegate
- Howard Straw – the Mans delegate
- Jacob Simion – the Heeb delegate
- Annette Golding – the Poly delegate
- Ingrid Hibbler – the Ob Com delegate
- Omar Diamond – the Skitz delegate
- Dino Waters – the Dep delegate
- Chuck Rittersdorf – our protagonist. Programs simulacra for the CIA
- Mary Rittersdorf – Chuck’s estranged wife. A psychologist
- Bunny Hentman – a TV comedian
- Jerry Feld – producer of Bunny’s show
- Joan Triste – a psi capable of rewinding time
- Lord Running Clam – Chuck’s Ganymedean neighbor
- Jack Elwood – Chuck’s CIA boss
- Roger London – Jack Elwood’s boss
- Pete Petri – Chuck’s scriptwriting coworker at the CIA
- Daniel Mageboom – the simulacrum sent to the Alphane moon with Mary
- Ignatz Ledebur – a Heeb mystic
- Sarah Apostoles – another Heeb mystic
- Calv Dark and Thursday Jones – Bunny’s writers
- RBX 303 – an Alphane connected to the Alphane government
- Patty Weaver – Bunny’s mistress