You guys may have noticed I don’t do a whole lot of reviews, obviously because I’m completely clueless as to how the internet (and this whole ‘blog’ thing) works. I have an overwhelming need to share this, however.
Over the years, I’ve digested and revisited PKD’s twenty or so brilliant novels. In search of fresh reading material lately, I have been forced to check out his lesser books. Usually, I would regard a least favorite PKD book the way I’d speak of, say, a least favorite type of candy. This is a different story however.
I picked up the book Dr. Bloodmoney, over three years ago. I read about 100 pages before I put it down, unable to continue. Recently, with the determination I’d imagine one would gather to perform dental work on oneself, I went ahead and finished the rest of the book.
The whole time, I was wondering to myself why I was having such trouble making it throught it. For starters, there wasn’t a character I felt I was actually rooting for. Dick has been known for his flawed protagonists, but in this case I’d even go as far as to say I actually hated most of the main characters. There’s flawed, and then there’s downright feral. Everyone’s motives are so shallow it made me feel kind of dirty. For example, at the end when (SPOILER: Bonnie tells Adrew Gill “I’ve decided I love you” I assume it’s supposed to be sweet since he’s the father of her kid and all, but since she’s spent the whole book being such a transparently conniving bitch it just nauseated me). I could barely force myself to give a shit about even the characters that weren’t busy stabbing each other in the back.
Then there’s the whole thing about the (SPOILER: sentient, talking animals). It’s so meaningless to the plot that I’m not sure why I qualified it as a spoiler. Yet they mention (SPOILER:some rat that can play a flute) a half dozen times, enough that it kinda makes all the human characters seem even more horrible and unlikeable for (SPOILER: investing in traps designed to murder dogs that can talk and musically-inclined rodents).
All in all, the most interesting thing about this book is you get to see PKD experimenting with narrative devices and unfolding imaginative landscapes that he uses much better in later works. In my opinion, however, it’s worth skipping over to get straight to the good stuff.
Think you might disagree? Go ahead and pick up a copy and we can discuss it.