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Monday, April 21, 2008

Our Friends From Frolix 8

Author: Philip K. Dick
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: Withdrawal from the Sci-Fi Experience, need to read besides challenge books

In Our Friends From Frolix 8, the world is ruled by braniacs with giant heads. And telepaths. They form the elitist ranks of a future tyrannical government which manages to keep all those of normal intelligence and a lack of telepathic power from ever obtaining more than menial success in life. Nick Appleton is one such menial laborer. His life is changed forever when he finds himself inexplicably caught up in the Underman movement against the government, and falls in love with a feisty teenage girl in the smuggling business.

You see, it's the end of the world as everyone knows it. Thors Provoni, the exiled leader of the Undermen is returning to earth with a ninety-ton blob from Frolix 8 that will restore the balance of power. The only thing standing in his way is Willis Gram, the hopelessly corrupt leader of the planet.

While I enjoyed this book in a sense, it is a very cerebral, idea-based book. The plot and characters are simply a canvass to express some of Dick's political ideas. The book starts by introducing us to Nick Appleton, who is described as an unintelligent menial worker, but we quickly start to realize he is smarter than he lets on. Eventually the book pans out to Thors Provoni and Willis Gram, who are the other two main characters of the book. Basically the rest of the novel is following each one as they all react to Thors Provoni's stunning return to earth and try to deal with the consequences. The ending doesn't necessarily wrap things up neatly. But if you like science fiction, this is one of those great books that will mess with your head. I'm having the worst time writing this review, because I keep turning it over in mind and seeing it in a slightly different light.

If you like your classic science fiction with weird protoplasmic space creatures possibly invading the earth, flying cars, despotic planetary leaders, large-brained intellectuals, and interesting ideas then try Our Friends From Frolix 8.

4 comments:

Chris said...

This one sounds interesting and you did a great job of reviewing it, but for some reason I've never been able to get into Philip K. Dick. I've read a few of his short stories but I've never actually finished one of his books though I've started a few. I just don't seem to get along with him very well...oh well :(

Debi said...

Definitely sounds interesting!

Nymeth said...

I've never read any Philip K. Dick, but I'd like to. This one sounds very interesting indeed.

Kim L said...

chris-I have read other Philip K Dick that I've liked better. I'd recommend Ubik, it is a really interesting, creepy thriller-type book. I haven't read his short stories, but my husband just finished a collection of short stories by him and he's been telling me to read it.

debi-yes it definitely is! Worth reading? That's a little more questionable.

nymeth-like I mentioned to Chris, I'd recommend starting with Ubik, it has a more logical beginning, middle and ending, unlike this book.