I was surprised I enjoyed rereading The World Jones Made, since I don’t remember thinking too much of it the first time around. Maybe I’ve built up a tolerance for Dick’s writing which has never been particularly great.*
Jones, a precog who can see one year into the future, is an interesting character in a world ruled by relativism where all absolute thought, in an effort to stamp out extremism and war, is forbidden. With his apparent proof of certainty, Jones becomes a demagogue, whipping his followers into a frenzy against the threat of amoeba-like aliens that have started to land on Earth. When it turns out these alien drifters are mostly harmless, something Jones didn’t initially know with his limited view into the future, he martyrs himself so as to blame his death on the relativists before he would have been exposed as a fraud.
The book’s two storylines don’t come together very well. The mutants being engineered to survive on Venus don’t have much to do with what is going on with Jones, but even Dick admitted the book would have been stronger if he had found a way to tie those two threads together.
*for example: moist skin, moist ground, moist legs, moist sack (don’t ask), moist car (how?), moist skin (again), moist breath, moist fog, moist atmosphere, moist hay, moist lips, moist lips (again) and moist air.
Cast of characters
- Floyd Jones – a precog who can see exactly one year into the future although he lacks the ability to change the future when it happens
- Louis, Frank, Vivian, Garry, Dieter, Irma, Syd – mutants engineered to survive on Venus who live in a moist refuge in San Francisco
- Doctor Rafferty – oversees the refuge
- Doug Cussick – member of the secret service
- Nina – Cussick’s wife
- Pearson – security director of the Baltimore secret service
- Max Kaminski – Cussick’s senior political instructor
- Hyndshaw – a traveling salesman who picks up Jones when he is hitchhiking
- Tyler Fleming – a young member of the secret service