This one was pretty rough going and it took me a bit of time to figure out why it was. Some chunk of my listening was spent going, wait, why don’t I like this very much. I was compelling to complete it by my completionist tendencies (a theme today, by the way) because it had been sitting in my Audible library for like six years after I bought it for $2 years ago.
So the novel is about a future in which corporations control space travel and have been sending people to far-flung colonies by way of 18 year space journeys. But recently they’ve developed the technology to instantly zap people to those colonies on a one way trip. So our story involves a man who purposely puts him on a space ship to take the 18 year journey to help uncover the unsavoryness of the process, which he likens to interstellar ghettoization of undesirables on Earth.
Cool. So far so good. What if I also told this book is about time travel and time looping? Oh, no! That sounds like a completely different book. It is!
What if I also told you this book is about how corporations also use drugs and mass hypnosis to make the colonies appear to be near-utopias while exploiting the colonists? Well, that sounds kind of neat and is an interesting idea.
Ok well what if I ALSO told you that about 1/3 of the book takes place within those alternate shared hallucinations……
So the book is an absolute mess full of brilliant ideas, nonsensical storytelling, and toooooooooo much different things going on. Every time I thought I had a handle on it, something would shift. So what could possibly explain this? Well it turns out that Dick submitted a 100 page version of this and them kept tinkering and tinkering, all of which was rejected, and later added back in once he was more established.