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'If there's such a thing as a 'black science fiction,' Philip K. Dick is its Pirandello, its Beckett and its Pinter' Harlan Ellison
Objective, unbiased and hyperrational, the Vulcan 3 should have been the perfect ruler. The omnipotent computer dictates policy that is in the best interests of all citizens - or at least, that is the idea. But when the machine, whose rule evolved out of chaos and war, begins to lose control of the 'Healer' movement of religious fanatics and the mysterious force behing their rebellion, all Hell breaks loose.
Written in 1960, Philip K. Dick's paranoid novel imagines a totalitarian state in which hammer-headed robots terrorize citizens and freedom is an absurd joke. William Barrios, the morally conflicted hero, may be the only person who can prevent the battle for control from destroying the world - if, that is, he can decide which side he's on.
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was born in Chicago but lived in California for most of his life. He went to college at Berkeley for a year, ran a record store and had his own classical-music show on a local radio station. He published his first short story, 'Beyond Lies the Wub' in 1952. Among his many fine novels are The Man in the High Castle, Time Out of Joint, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.