by Philip K. Dick
Jack is a repairman who fled Earth to join the colony on Mars and hopefully has cured himself of his schizophrenia. There are many local businessmen that want to claim parts of Mars for themselves before the UN shows up to claim it, making the value of the land skyrocket. Arnie is one such businessman who thinks he is going to be able to get the best piece of land with the help of an autistic boy who he thinks can see the future. He needs Jack’s help in communicating with the boy because he viewed autism and schizophrenia has pretty much the same. Somehow through all of this, no one knows if they are really seeing into the actual future or into the distorted worldview of this little boy.
As I read the book, I wondered did everyone get diagnosed as schizophrenic in the ’60s? Everyone seemed to be one or knew someone that was in the book so that was odd while reading it. Also, did people think they could see the future? Or was that just PKD way of describing how a schizophrenic’s mind worked?
My favorite part of the book was the section where it replayed the same scene many times over but from different viewpoints and it just kept breaking down into nonsense towards the end.
Throughout most of the story, I was thinking Jack was the main character, but then it switched over to Arnie. I didn’t care about him as much so I really had no invested interest in what happened to him at the end. The story seemed to end suddenly. I was hoping for more wackiness like the replayed scene in the middle of the book. I am also sensing a theme where Philip K. Dick has most of a story fleshed out, but seems to struggle on how to end it so they all seem to end suddenly.