Book info

The Man Who Japed (2002)

The Man Who Japed (2002)
Rating
3.57 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0375719350 (ISBN13: 9780375719356)
languge
English
publisher
vintage
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The Man Who Japed (2002)
The Man Who Japed (2002)

About book: Третья Мировая Война заставила человечество радикально изменить свое отношение к окружающему миру. Всего за считанные десятилетия Майор Штрайтер и его последователи смогли создать цивилизацию нового образца – Общество Морального Обновления, где интересы коллектива всегда доминируют над интересами индивида, а протестантская этика полностью заменила человеку римское право и уголовный кодекс. Подобный подход к жизни помог человечеству не только возродится, но и ударными темпами выйти в космоc. Понятно, что при таком раскладе такие понятия как “свобода слова” и “право выбора” стали дремучими анахронизмами.Алан Парсел возглавляет одну из крупнейших рекламных компаний столицы. Однажды утром он находит в собственной памяти серьезные пробелы, а в своем шкафу – отпиленную голову статуи Майора Штрайтера. Спустя всего лишь пять минут после этого телевидение сообщает о беспрецедентном акте вандализма, приключившемся на центральной площади города. Парсел не успевает придти в себя от этого происшествия, как на его голову обрушивается новое испытание. Ему предлагают возглавить крупнейший концерн страны, отвечающий за идеологию, пропаганду и масс-медиа. Будучи не уверен в собственной вменяемости, Парсел решает обратится за помощью к психоаналитикам, но это становится его самой большой ошибкой…Принято считать, что именно этот роман является первым “по-настоящему диковским” произведением писателя. Понятно, что именно в нем присутствуют все свойственные автору сюжетные мотивы и действующие персонажи, хотя все они были представлены уже в “Солнечной лотерее”, предыдущей и при этом самой первой сайфай-книге писателя. “Диковское” здесь нечто другое, а именно острый социальный подтекст, который большими красными буквами диктуется с первых страниц этого произведения. Подтекст, при этом стоит заметить, очень правильный и удачный. История про “активную ассимиляцию” – лучший наезд на консерваторов, который можно было придумать. Американская политическая сатира высшей пробы, также подходящая для истории России XX и теперь уже XXI столетия. При этом главная ее сила заключается в том, что Дик не занимается тупым бичеванием своих врагов. Свобода выбора для него – это всего лишь свобода выбора. Тебе не хочется ради вкусной хавки жертвовать своей независимостью? Что ты сделаешь? Возьмешь в руки оружие и уподобишься своему врагу? Или же просто плюнешь и уйдешь осваивать бесплодные, но ничьи пустоши? Уйдешь красиво, по-американски. В этом смысле Дик уверен на все сто: Дикий Запад вечен, а с Дона выдачи нет. (2006.02.18)

This is one of PKD's lesser-known novels. But it was a welcome surprise, nevertheless. It is full of humour and clever goings-on. And there was quite the creative writing in this novel as well. One example is the opening of chapter eleven. PKD wrote; "The dream, large and gray, hanging like the tatters of a web, gathered itself around him and hugged him greedily. He screamed, but instead of sounds there drifted out of him stars. The stars rose until they reached the panoply of web, and there they struck fast, and were extinguished." Plot Summary: The Man Who Japed is Dick's mesmerizing and terrifying tale of a society so eager for order that it will sacrifice anything, including its freedom. Newer York is a post-holocaust city governed by the laws of an oppressively rigid morality. Highly mobile and miniature robots monitor the behavior of every citizen, and the s lightest transgression can spell personal doom. Allen Purcell is one of the few people who has the capacity to literally change the way of the world, and once he's offered a high-profile job that acts as guardian of public ethics, he sets out to do precisely that. But first he must deal with the head in his closet. ( Source: http://www.philipkdick.com/works_nove... ) In my mind's eye, I envisioned Roddy McDowall playing the role of the lead character, Allen Purcell.This book is now among my top ten favourites of PKD, (others include, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", "Nick and the Glimmung", and "The Cosmic Puppets")
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Reviews
Kat Hooper
Originally posted at www.fantasyliterature.comIn 2114, Allen and Janet Purcell live in Newer York, a post-apocalyptic city that strictly regulates morality so that all citizens understand exactly how to fit in. Robotic spies film suspect behavior and turn it in to the committee members who are in charge of renting out apartments to law-abiding citizens. Citizens who get drunk, curse, or engage in sexual or other misconduct are brought to trial by the peers who live in their apartment complexes. A guilty verdict usually means losing your lease and having to move to one of the faraway planets that supplies Earth with food.Allen Purcell has just been offered the top position in the government’s ad agency which produces propaganda meant to maintain public ethics. The job is very prestigious, but there’s only one problem: The night before, in his sleep, he japed (made a joke of) the statue of General Streiter, the man who started the current governmental regime. Allen wasn’t conscious of his activity, and he doesn’t think there’s any evidence that he’s the culprit, but he needs to find out why he did it before he takes a job that puts him in charge of promoting the government’s agenda. But when he decides to visit a psychoanalyst, things just go from bad to worse.The Man Who Japed (1956) is Philip K. Dick’s third published novel, and it contains many of the same themes and types of characters seen in most of his works — a bewildered male protagonist with a neurotic wife, a society obsessed with the morality of its neighbors, bad psychoanalysis, fascism, paranoia, fear of nuclear war, media propaganda, McCarthy-like witch hunts, synthetic food, and drug trips. Unusually, women are in positions of power in The Man Who Japed, and the Purcells actually seem to love each other (bad marriages are the norm for this author).Perhaps I’ve read too much PKD, or perhaps it’s because I had just finished another of his novels, but I was not truly entertained by The Man Who Japed until the last 20% of the story. The final jape and its aftermath was hilarious and completely satisfactory, but much of the story up until that point lacked the constant humor and bizarreness that I love about Philip K. Dick. There were certainly some funny moments (such as the joke with the statue and Allen’s visit to a black market dealer in banned 20th century novels), but most of the novel is obvious hit-‘em-over-the-head social commentary, and none of it is anything I haven’t previously seen many times from Dick.Compared to his other works, The Man Who Japed is short, linearly-plotted, and not at all confusing (if you’re a fan, you know what I mean). I listened to Brilliance Audio’s recent production which is 5½ hours long. Luke Daniels, who I’ve come to love, reads the story and does a great job highlighting Dick’s weird sense of humor. The Man Who Japed isn’t one of Philip K. Dick’s best novels, but it’s one of his first, so just for that reason, it’s worth reading.
Owen
This is an early PKD book and feels as if he was experimenting with various ideas, some of which he would return to again in later work and others that he wouldn't. For example, he has the characters use revised grammar, such as might occur in the future. I can't recall him trying this later (he often makes up words but uses them in familiar syntax). He also disorients the reader a few times by starting chapters without telling them who they are with and where they are. Disorientation is of course one of his major themes, but he usually has us follow a disoriented character and piece together what is going on as they do. Strangely, the blackouts that the main character has are never really explained which is very unusual for the author. tPKD also often uses the characters of the benevolent boss and the beautiful but bitter wife/ex-wife in many of his other books. The benevolent character is actually the person who loses his job to the main character and his wife is extremely loyal, sympathetic and quite brave when called upon. Despite these points, the book still reads very much as a classic PKD novel and is quite enjoyable.tThe plot is unusually political, with unsubtle commentary on the enforced morality of groups on individuals and corrupt authoritarian governments following and controlling citizens' every move. These constructs are well described and contain some strong supporting characters and dialogue. There's an off-world alternative to Earth and an underground rebellion that fit well into the plot and will be familiar concepts to fans of his work.tPerhaps the biggest problem is the length. This is a very short book, even by Phil's standards, yet contains as much plot as his other works. Perhaps the problems with the book would have been ironed out if he had a hundred more pages but the work is still far from terrible. A minor but certainly still enjoyable novel by one of our best SF authors.
Matteo Pellegrini
"Redenzione immorale" è uno dei libri meno noti di Philip K. Dick, eppure vi si trovano temi e idee che ricorreranno nella sua produzione successiva. Siamo nel 2114, e il mondo è profondamente segnato dalla guerra nucleare e dalle regole del regime totalitario instaurato nel 1985 dal maggiore Streiter. Alien Purcell, il protagonista del romanzo, visita l'isola giapponese di Hokkaido, simbolo eloquente delle devastazioni causate dalla guerra, e qui tocca con mano le assurde imposizioni sociali dettate dal potere politico e mediático di un regime che, tra le altre cose, vieta il sesso extra-coniugale e l'uso di alcolici in pubblico. Su un'isola desolata e ancora radioattiva, gii amici di Alien dissotterrano i libri del passato per salvaguardare la libertà di espressione individuale dalle velleità censorie dell'oligarchia neopuritana, intenzionata a eliminare qualsiasi trasgressione. E mentre un fiorente mercato nero offre preziose copie di testi ormai irreperibili - su tutti l'"Ulisse" di Joyce -, Alien Purcell sembra essere uno dei pochi ancora in grado di cambiare il mondo e salvaguardare l'autonomia di pensiero degli esseri umani. Ed è pienamente intenzionato a farlo.
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