Nick and the Glimmung

Nick and the Glimmung

Nick and the Glimmung is Philip K. Dick’s lone children’s book. He wrote it in the late ‘60s, but it wasn’t published until 1988. After reading so many of his dour mainstream novels I forgot how deadpan and funny he can be.

Because there isn’t enough food to go around on Earth, it is illegal to own pets after 1992. Young Nick Graham owns a cat named Horace, but after it slips outside and gets exposed, Graham’s family decides to emigrate to Plowman’s Planet with the cat rather than let the cat be taken away.

Once on Plowman’s Planet the Grahams have to deal with the various local creatures who are fighting a war amongst themselves spurred on by the evil Glimmung. Horace gets snatched up several times by werjes and trobes, but in the end, Nick fends off Glimmung and is reunited with his cat.

Plowman’s Planet, with a similar group of alien creatures, is also the setting for Galactic Pot-Healer written shortly after this one.

Cast of characters

  • Nick Graham– our protagonist
  • Peter Graham – Nick’s father
  • Helen Graham – Nick’s mother
  • Horace – Nick’s cat
  • Miss Juth – Nick’s teacher on Earth
  • Mr. Deverest – a newspaper reporter on Earth writing about Nick and Horace
  • Reg Frankis – a human colonist/scavenger on Plowman’s Planet
  • Jack and Doris McKenna – neighbors on Plowman’s Planet

Other things to know

  • One Summer Day –  Glimmung’s book that lists the weaknesses of every creature on Plowman’s Planet and can also predict the future. A similar book shows up in Lies, Inc.
  • The Last and Final War – Glimmung’s book of propaganda
  • wubs – a different sort of creature than the one in Dick’s short story “Beyond Lies the Wub.” This one can’t speak and communicates through the use of pre-printed cards
  • The Grand Four – the printers, nunks, spiddles and humans united in a war against the trobes, father-things and werjes who fight on the side of Glimmung