Sunday, June 25, 2017


Ms. Hen surrounded by Kipple, in the novel Kipple is trash that multiplies

Philip K. Dick
Ballantine Books

Ms. Hen read this because she likes to read science fiction from time to time. She had heard that Philip K. Dick is a great writer, and a lot of sci-fi films are based on his books. She liked this book, but she found herself distracted while she was reading it. She found she couldn’t fully immerse herself in it, that may have been because of the silliness of the book, or the fact that it takes place two years into the future from now, in 2019, and she kept looking for things that were real that weren’t there. Also, the writing is not perfect. Ms. Hen is a fussy hen about writing, and if she reads something that is not exquisite prose, she is disappointed.

This novel is about Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who retires (another word for destroys) androids that have escaped to Earth after having worked on the colonies in space. His wife, Iran, is a weak woman who clings to their Penfield machine, a device that takes a person’s emotions and gives the emotions of other people away. Isodore is a man who is a “special” meaning he can’t emigrate to the colonies. He meets Pris in his apartment building and wants to help her.

Isodore is considered a “chickenhead,” which Ms. Hen thought was very funny. A chickenhead in this novel is a person who has no skills and a very low IQ. They are considered to be less that other humans. Ms. Hen is a little offended that chickenheads are considered inferior, because she thinks chickens are superior, being a chicken herself. Isodore contemplates, “Can I give her any help? he asked himself. A special, a chickenhead, what do I know? I can’t marry and I can’t emigrate and the dust will eventually kill me. I have nothing to offer.” This is a perfect description of a chickenhead.

Another reason Ms. Hen did not thoroughly like this novel is the women characters. All the women seem to be either nagging housewives or sexpots. There are no complicated, strong women is this 2019, and Ms. Hen was annoyed by it. Ms. Hen understands that this was written by a man in 1967, but Ms. Hen thinks that was not that long ago, and Ms. Hen thinks writers should be ahead of the times with their predictions of the future. But this is not always the case, as she has learned.

After she read the novel, Ms. Hen watched the film BLADERUNNER, which is based on the book. The film is starkly different than the book, but it is a decent film and well made. In the film, Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, does not have a wife. Also, Ms. Hen was shocked by the amount of smoking in the film. She thinks that people in the future shouldn’t smoke so much, and is disturbed that the filmmakers thought that the culture of the future would be the same as when the film was made, in the Eighties. And Ms. Hen kept looking for cell phones or computers, which of course do not exist in this 2019 the way they do now. The film is a stripped down version of the novel.

Ms. Hen liked this novel, but she didn’t like it too much. She was not completely invested in the characters. She thinks the future is something that nobody can predict, but the writers and visionaries should have more advanced ideas of what will come.  This novel was written fifty years ago. If someone were to write something that takes places fifty years from now, it’s difficult to say what will be. The world could be a better or worse version of what it is now, or it could be a starkly different place, or it could be gone.

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