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Clans Of The Alphane Moon (2002)

Clans of the Alphane Moon (2002)
3.74 of 5 Votes: 4
0375719288 (ISBN13: 9780375719288)
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Clans Of The Alphane Moon (2002)
Clans Of The Alphane Moon (2002)

About book: At a large corner table in a bar in San Francisco in 1962, Philip K. Dick, Poul Anderson, Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon and Kurt Vonnegut sit having lunch and discussing novels. Phil: Guys, listen to this, I have an idea for a story. In the near future, a planet is populated from groups of mental health patients. Each category of mental health will have its own area and settlement, each representing a different “clan”. There will be a clan of schizophrenics, a clan of manics, a clan of depressions, patients, etc.Bob: What is it with you and mental illness?Phil: We are all mentally unstable; it is only a matter of degree, tangent paths along our own journey towards the Godhead. Also, the concept of mental instability, or a distinction with the “norm” tracks with an idea about a difference with the normal state of perception, opening the consciousness to psychic abilities and maybe even telekinesis and / or pre-cognition.Theodore: I like it, but also, you simply MUST have a telepathic slime mold.Phil: A telepathic slime mold, sounds fun, but why?Theodore: belch! Why not?!Kurt: Ted, what is that plastic ooze on your legs?Theodore: Last night while I was walking to the science fiction convention, I thought I could take a short cut across a creak and so I did, and while padding across the stream, this pearl colored gel affixed to my legs, it kind of burns.Kurt: Hmmm, gives me an idea.Bob: Where’s that good-looking waitress?Poul: Sounds good, but I think I like your fantasy more than your science fiction?Phil: When do I ever write fantasy, except for a very non-profitable venture into mainstream, I stick with science fiction? You’re the one who forays into fantasy.Poul: Forays?? Some of my best work is in fantasy.Theodore: Yeah, I liked that one where the elf lord has sex with the captive troll and gives birth to the changeling, but wait, wasn’t that Tolkien?Poul: NO! Damn it, it is NOT Tolkien, that was my 1954 novel The Broken Sword, so it’s not a Christian allegory, so what? Kurt: Who said anything about a Christian allegory? What about that one Arthur C. Clarke did about the aliens who tried to invade medieval Europe and then the old knights turned the tide on them? That’s kind of a cool mix of sci-fi and fantasy.Poul: That’s mine again, The High Crusade, published in 1960, waitress, can I get my check?Bob: Oh, Poul, don’t be so defensive, we all know you are a great talent (finishing his last oyster) Now where is that delightful little serving wench?Phil: So, Bob, what do you think about my idea?Bob: Sounds good, I like it, you just need to spice things up a bit. Take that attractive young woman in the next aisle (Good afternoon, fraulein! purr!) What she needs are bigger breasts, you could incorporate into your sci-fi mental health colony a segment about fake breasts.Kurt: What is it with you and breasts?Phil: Fake breasts? Like robot breasts? I don’t understand.Bob: Excuse me, you nubile little minx, can I get some more oysters, or do I need to come back to the kitchen and spank you?Kurt: Again with the spanking, Heinlein, what is going on with you? And that was your third plate of oysters; I think you’re scaring our waitress.Bob: I’m just saying, in the future, technology should be able to … shall we say, augment a young woman’s gifts from nature?Phil: I see, so she could take some drugs and gain larger, more robust breasts?Theodore: What is it with you and drugs?Bob: Not necessarily drugs, Phil, maybe an implant, surgical, that could make a woman’s mammary glands more firm and youthful. Also, I think it would be a great idea to put in a scene with a dangerously strong aphrodisiac where a woman goes wild and damn near kills a man during sex.Pause, all stare at himPoul: I don’t think Boy’s Life will pick that up, Bob, and I’m starting to worry about you.Phil: He scared my cat last time he came over to my apartment, and the birds stopped singing.Kurt: Poul, you have put together some damn fine time travel stories, maybe Phil could come up with a time travel twist, instead of just straight future science.Phil: I actually do have an idea like that! An alternate history, like in the war, what if the Nazi’s had won, and the Japanese, what would America look like?Poul: I explored that concept in Three Hearts and Three Lions, does anyone read my work?Kurt: We all do, Poul, you have great peer recognition, no doubt. I like that idea too, Phil, what kind of changes would take place in an America where the Axis had won? I mean, that opens up all kinds of imaginative concepts, how would we dress, what kind of books would we read, or NOT read? What kind of cars would we drive?Bob: Great point, Kurt, by the way, what the hell kind of car is that anyway? The one you drove here in today? Some kind of Nazi buggy?Kurt: It’s a Saab, its Swedish; it is NOT a Nazi buggy! You stay pretty straight with science fiction, Bob.Bob: Oh, I’m straight! (leering)Kurt: (taking a drag on his cigarette) Oh for God’s sake, Bob, does Virginia let you out of the house? What do you think about Phil doing a time travel book?Poul: I have written a number of time travel books.Bob: I like it! He could write a sexy, racy story about sexual freedom, even from the restraints of time and morals. Hell, Phil could even write a story where the protagonist goes back in time and has sex with his mother, like there is something wrong with that.Table stares at himBob: I’m just saying, if you wrote a time travel novel, that could be a situation that could be explored.Silence.Phil: Anyway. I’m writing my next story about clans of mentally ill people who colonize an alien moon, I’m thinking of calling it Clans of the Alphane Moon.Theodore: Would you have androids, or simulacrum in this novel?Phil: Yes, but … I don’t understand … why would I write a story without an android?

This book had some good ideas, but PKD asks the reader to make too many leaps of logic to be able to give this book a decent score.CIA agent Chuck Rittersdorf splits from his psychiatrist wife, Mary, who's a marriage counselor. She prompts this and she's really portrayed as an evil bitch, so I have no idea why he was so intent to get back together with her later in the book. Meanwhile, Chuck picks up a writing gig with famous TV comedian Bunny Hentman, and starts taking uppers to hold both jobs down at the same time. These drugs are supplied by an alien slime mold who has telepathic powers and apparently wants to help Chuck as he orients himself to a new lifestyle in a downgraded conapt (apartment). He even sets Chuck up with a love interest, of sorts. Well, Mary is hired by the feds to go to Alpha III M2, a moon of some type, to start therapy on groups of former psychiatric patients who were abandoned many years ago by Terra (Earth) during their war with Alphane, now over. These former patients have set up clans on the moon, made up of various psychiatric types -- ie, Deps (depressives), Mans (manics), Paras (paranoid schizophrenics), etc. However, the CIA is interested in this venture, so they create a simulcra to go to the moon with Mary and others on this mission, and Chuck will be controlling it from Terra. So he decides to kill his ex-wife through this android-type being.Crazy, yes? Well, that's standard PKD fare. It starts getting out of control when Benny, his new employer, has a brainstorming session with the writers -- and Chuck -- during which time they decide to write a new act about a CIA agent who is going to kill his ex-wife through a simulcra on another planet. Just like Chuck has planned. Bizarre coincidence, or is it?The CIA finds out about Chuck's drugs and fires him. As soon as he's fired, so does Benny, presumably because he no longer has Chuck as a CIA insider to work with. However, the CIA goes after Benny for his doings with Alphanes, and he escapes on his own rocket. Chuck finds himself on the moon, where Mary is. Coincidence? Easily done? Yes. Here's one area that was really too hard to buy -- the Para leader is given an ultimatum by Mary (with all of the clan leaders) to return to their former lives or face military action by Terra within four hours. So of all of the alternatives they come up with, the ONLY one is for him to *obviously* go to Mary's spaceship and seduce her and talk her out of it. Huh? Excuse me? WTF??? What kind of warped idea is that? But that's the obvious choice, and I'll be damned if he doesn't go and seduce her on her ship. But she turns out to be more than he bargained for and turns into a sexual beast who nearly kills him in her passion. Only Dick can write this stuff. When he wakes up from his sex-induced coma, she's gone and Terra is on the attack.I'm not going to give away the ending, but it's surprisingly upbeat. Maybe that's because Dick was probably struggling with all of these issues in his own life -- his marriage woes, job and finance woes, his worries of mental illness -- so he wrote a good ending so he could expect one in his own life. That's my two cents, anyway. It's not a bad book, but it just leaps to conclusions that no rational person would draw too many times and I just can't eagerly recommend it. If you're a fan, you'll probably like it. If you're new to the author, I wouldn't start with this one.
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Dick is unique in the field of SF as far as I can tell. Nobody else I've read or even heard of would have thought up the premise for this book, which I'm not going to give away. Yes, it's about a CIA propagandist caught up in an interstellar web of conspiracy, largely through his own foolishness, but no, it's not really about that, at all. It's difficult to talk about the true theme without spoiling the effect, so I will save that for the bit hidden behind spoiler tags.THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here:
Of all The PKD novels I've read so far, this is the most fun. Is it a masterpiece like High Castle? It would be difficult to argue, but it is an original and intelligent tale wriitten during his most prolific period ('63 to '66). It is PKD addressing mental illness (a subject he, no doubt has a unique perspective on) in the SF genre. Think "One Flew Over a Cookoo's Nest" done by Dick: Humour and utter weirdness. It has some of the best and most interesting characters of any of his previous and later novels: Lord Running Clam: a telepathic slime-mold from Ganymede, for example.A truly unforgettable read.Note: By the way, I always read the excellent Goodread's reviewer "Sandy" after I read any novel by PKD.
Nate Hanson
As much as I love PKD's writing, I suffered through this one. It has all the deficits I've come to expect: •Misogyny•Antiquated psychiatry•Poorly realized protagonists•1-dimensional supporting characters•Stiff, pulpy dialogue•Poorly paced conclusion•Loose ends tied up hastily at bestBut this one didn't redeem itself with any of the solipsistic puzzles or mind-twisting plot tinkering that makes it all well worth enduring. The plot skeleton held promise, but I couldn't sustain my optimism past halfway through, where many of the best parts were ditched in favor of trivial conventions.Oh, well. I'll still keep reading his stuff. And at worst, I can always come back to stories like The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, or Martian Time Slip, or Now Wait for Last Year, or Ubik, or...
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