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Now Wait for Last Year (1966)

av Philip K. Dick

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,422129,535 (3.7)18
Earth is in the crossfire of a war between two alien civilizations. Dr. Eric Sweetscent has seen Earth's harrowing future and now questions whether to attempt to change it.
Senast inlagd avprivat bibliotek, wpate, crimsonraider, rolfmblindgren, DavidCraddock, randystg
Efterlämnade bibliotekTerence Kemp McKenna
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» Se även 18 omnämnanden

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Time-altering drugs
unjust way to fight a war
or your weak husband. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
I treated myself to a rather more obscure PKD book to end out the year. I've always loved just how wonky his works can get, but here's the really interesting aspect of Horselover Fat's writing: it's never really wonky.

In fact, it has heart. Especially when that heart is breaking, the story is still devoted to some of those most human questions: how to go on when life is hard.

The old saying, "All's fair in love and war" holds doubly true here. Earth is caught in a conflict between two factions of aliens and we've sided with the humanoid types and have been stuck in a tug of war for an awfully long time. The main character, a doctor named Sweetscent, is caught in a difficult marriage, a conflict between duty and hate and tons of difficult questions. He's at war with himself just as much as the human race can't seem to find a way out of the interstellar war.

Enter the drug JJ-180, highly addictive and damaging, but happens to have some serious temporal properties. Namely, it allows you to jump years ahead in time to see the world as it will be. Unfortunately, it's much worse than crack, too, and withdrawal is terminal in days without another dose.

It turns out that it is not only a manufactured drug designed to decimate a populace, but it has the added ability to spawn one's consciousness and self in alternate realities. Add the conflicts of the war efforts and some sneaky back-and-forths with world-lines, and we've got a dual story of the Earth President's life and Earth's flailing status in the war and Sweetscent's attempts to make his own life better as alternate versions of the drug sends him both forward and back in time, spawning alternate versions of everything, as he tries to fix or break his marriage.

The novel is actually fun as hell and thought-provoking and it holds up really damn well. It comes out of Phil's heavily productive mid-sixties SF adventure period, riding close on the heels of his Hugo for Man in the High Castle. It's polished, full of great ideas, action, and best of all, the kinds of hard questions about living through bad relationships that he has a lot of experience with.

Suicide is a big one. So is weakness and sliding and emotional abuse and power dominance games in relationships. I remember his take on all that across so many of his novels. It's hard and it's honest and it is also beautiful even if it's difficult. It's messy. Like war.

But it also feels genuine.

I won't say this is my favorite PKD novel, by a long shot, but it's definitely worth the read and it's still a sight better than most SF out there. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |


Welcome to the science fiction world of Philip K. Dick’s 1966 novel Now Wait for Last Year. We are plunged into the teeth of a mid-twenty-first century interplanetary war: Lillistar, (human-like beings with superhuman strength) vs reggs (human-size semi-mechanical bugs). Just so happens Terra (Planet Earth) is also a potential big player in the outer space battles.

The husband and wife team of Kathy and Eric Sweetscent are the novel's main characters. Kathy occupies a key upper-echelon post at TF&D, a San Diego based company manufacturing wiring for interplanetary spacecraft with subsidiaries in cities like Detroit, a company that also develops powerful drugs (ah, still so much money to be made from drugs by companies in the US!). Dr. Eric Sweetscent, a surgeon performing futuristic implants, also occupies a top slot at TF&D.

Additionally, the novel contains three highlights worthy of a special call-out: 1) robots engaged in various activities and occupations, including cab drivers who zip around in flying cabs; 2) political intrigue with a particular focus on Gino Molinari, supreme leader of Terra, a man who makes a habit of failing health just at the right moment; and, most dramatically, 3) JJ-180, a powerful, instantly addictive, toxic drug with very strange properties.

One user tells Kathy that JJ - 180 alters one’s sense of time so that it should be called a tempogogic drug instead of a hallucinogenic drug, however, as we find out after Kath and later Eric take the drug, JJ – 180 does much more: the pill popper is propelled into the future or into the past.

Ah, JJ- 180, bender of time. It is this drug-induced time-travel that is the most fascinating aspect of the novel. For example, here is Eric under the influence of the drug: “Eric confronted a face which he had seen many times and yet it was distorted now, witnessed from a weird angle, as if inside out, pulled through infinity. The man’s hair was parted on the wrong side so that his head seemed lopsided, wrong in all its lines. What amazed him was the physical unattractiveness of the man. He was too fat and a little too old. Unpleasantly gray. It was a shock to see himself like this, without preparation; do I really look like that? He asked himself morosely.” I suspect most of us would have a similar reaction if we encountered our twenty year older self on the street.

There is never a dull moment. The novel’s action is fast-paced and told in crisp, staccato, hard-boiled language similar to James M. Cain, Charles Bukowski or Jim Thompson. And all the science fiction elements are combined in crazy combinations.

Time travel has been around for decades – H.G. Well’s The Time Machine published in 1895 and the first novel of alien abduction was Jean de La Hire’s 1908 novel, The Fiery Wheel. But with PKD the science fiction imagination kicked into overdrive. Perhaps the place and time (the US in the 1960s); perhaps common use of new drugs (speed, meth, LSD), perhaps the political climate (Gotta revolution!), but whatever the reason, reading this PKD novel is nothing less than a literary acid trip.

Also, there is a good bit of social commentary. For example, Eric makes many social and cultural observations as explores the streets and peoples of Tijuana, Mexico. “A girl during daylight hours on the streets of Tijuana dressed with incomprehensible smartness: high heels, angora sweater, shiny purse, gloves, coat over her shoulders, preceded, as she hurried, by high, sharp-as-tacks breasts, the smartness carrying even to the detail of her modern bra. What did these girls do for a living? Where had they learned to dress so well, not to mention the problem of financing such a wardrobe?”

Through the effects of JJ – 180, knowing what the future holds for him personally and what will happen to his wife Kathy, Eric faces hard ethical choices. Why continue living when there will be so much pain? How much do all his future selves depend on the decisions he makes in the present? What is his ultimate responsibility to Kathy and to himself?

By way of this time-bending drug, PKD explores the moral dimensions of our all-too-human existence. Now Wait for Last Year isn’t as well-known as some of his other novels but perhaps it should be.

( )
1 rösta Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |

Welcome to the science fiction world of Philip K. Dick’s 1966 novel, Now Wait for Last Year. We are plunged into the teeth of a mid-21st century interplanetary war: Lillistar, (human-like beings with superhuman strength) vs reggs (human-size semi-mechanical bugs) and Terra (Planet Earth) as a potential big player in the outer space battles. Main characters feature Kathy Sweetscent, who occupies a key upper-echelon post at TF&D, a San Diego based company manufacturing wiring for interplanetary spacecraft with subsidiaries in cities like Detroit developing powerful drugs and her husband, Dr. Eric Sweetscent, a surgeon performing futuristic implants and who also occupies a top slot at TF&D.

Additionally, the novel features robots engaged in various activities and occupations, including cab drivers who zip around in flying cabs; a large dose of political intrigue with a particular focus on Gino Molinari, supreme leader of Terra, a man who makes a habit of failing health just at the right moment; and, most dramatically, JJ-180, a powerful, instantly addictive, toxic drug with very strange properties. One user tells Kathy that JJ - 180 alters one’s sense of time so that it should be called a tempogogic drug instead of a hallucinogenic drug, however, as we find out after Kath and later Eric take the drug, JJ – 180 does much more: the pill popper is propelled into the future or into the past.

Ah, JJ- 180, bender of time. It is this drug-induced time-travel that is the most fascinating aspect of the novel. For example, here is Eric under the influence of the drug: “Eric confronted a face which he had seen many times and yet it was distorted now, witnessed from a weird angle, as if inside out, pulled through infinity. The man’s hair was parted on the wrong side so that his head seemed lopsided, wrong in all its lines. What amazed him was the physical unattractiveness of the man. He was too fat and a little too old. Unpleasantly gray. It was a shock to see himself like this, without preparation; do I really look like that? He asked himself morosely.” I suspect most of us would have a similar reaction if we encountered our 20 year older self on the street.

There is never a dull moment. The novel’s action is fast-paced and told in crisp, staccato, hard-boiled language similar to James M. Cain, Charles Bukowski or Jim Thompson. And all the science fiction elements are combined in crazy combinations. Time travel has been around for decades – H.G. Well’s The Time Machine published in 1895 – and the first novel of alien abduction was Jean de La Hire’s 1908 novel, The Fiery Wheel, but with PKD the science fiction imagination kicked into overdrive. Perhaps the place and time (the US in the 1960s); perhaps common use of new drugs (speed, meth, LSD), perhaps the political climate (Gotta revolution!), but whatever the reason, reading a PKD novel is a kind of literary acid trip.

Also, there is a good bit of social commentary. In this novel, for example, Eric makes many social and cultural observations as he makes his way through Tijuana, Mexico. “A girl during daylight hours on the streets of Tijuana dressed with incomprehensible smartness: high heels, angora sweater, shiny purse, gloves, coat over her shoulders, preceded, as she hurried, by high, sharp-as-tacks breasts, the smartness carrying even to the detail of her modern bra. What did these girls do for a living? Where had they learned to dress so well, not to mention the problem of financing such a wardrobe?”

Through the effects of JJ – 180, knowing what the future holds for him personally and what happens to his wife Kathy, Eric faces hard ethical choices. Why continue living when there will be so much pain? How much do his future selves depend on his decisions in the present? What is his ultimate responsibility to Kathy and to himself? By way of this time-bending drug, PKD explores the moral dimensions of our all-too-human existence. Now Wait for Last Year isn’t as well-known as some of his other novels but perhaps it should be.
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
I've spent a day, basically, trying to determine what I make of this one. I read a lot of Philip K. Dick when I was in my late teens, and I specifically remember trying to read this one twice - and giving up before I got very far in at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure video evidence exists of me reading this book at community college. This time, more than a decade later, I decided to try it again as one of Brilliance Audio's rapidly-expanding range of PKD audiobooks - and although I finished it, and I can only applaud the performance of Luke Daniels, it's pretty obvious to me why it was a bit of a slog.

Now Wait for Last Year was composed during PKD's incredibly prolific early '60s period, although it wasn't published until a little later. Strong books from the period include Martian Time-Slip, We Can Build You, and perhaps most especially, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Like most of his writing in the '60s, PKD is playing with fluid ideas of reality and time, the relationship between the hell of drug addiction and the excitement of an altered perception, the power of nostalgia, and of course, what it is to be human (and when it is that the humans, or good guys, are actually less human than the ones they abhor). They're big ideas, and that's what I always really enjoy about Philip K. Dick: this is not a man who kept his big ideas under wraps. He laid them out for everyone to see, even when they twitched and sputtered and were a little bit discomfiting.

And therefore I have to admit that I found this an uncomfortable book, for all its interesting qualities, and it's really down to one strand of the text. PKD is never somebody you can go to for totally fair depictions of relationships between men and women; women - especially wives - are often presented as shrews, as manipulators, or as enigmatic mystery desires. (I guess to his credit, PKD never pulled a Friday and tried to suggest he knew anything about a woman's mindset, so he was at least pretty honest in his misogyny.) Sometimes, these depictions are minor enough to fall away before the sheer grandiosity of his ideas; sometimes, they even benefit the plot, as with the cold and alien "andy," Pris, in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, or the mysterious guide figure of Ella Runciter in Ubik. Here, though - ho boy. The toxic relationship between the main character, Dr. Eric Sweetscent, and his wife, Kathy, is the focus of the novel, and (unsurprisingly) while neither of them is a saint Kathy is undeniably worse. She is the woman scorned of every man's nightmares, and she revenges herself in ways that don't even befit a teenager. Other women glide in and out of the narrative, most of them shown to be manipulative, self-centered, and unsympathetic, with the possible exception of an actual teenage girl, Mary, who functions as the lover of the aged leader of Earth and one of the few competent - even world-weary - characters in the novel. I found myself wishing she had a bigger role, for no other reason than that she actually felt grounded. I think another author might have tried to use her as a sort of idealized surrogate for Kathy, or even a potential mistress for Eric. Not PKD, though. He hovers over a similar possibility late in the novel, and ultimately rejects it. The result feels very one-sided; there's a lot of worrying about Kathy, there's a lot of venom toward Kathy, and there's ultimately some acceptance of Kathy - a lot of it achieved through encounters with secondary characters. Kathy, though, remains an alternately pathetic and vicious representation of everything wrong with Eric's life.

It's hard to guess what was going on with PKD when he was writing this one. He was in the middle of the third of his five marriages; perhaps there's a clue in that he didn't publish Now Wait for Last Year until that marriage ended in divorce. And for those who think I'm barking up the wrong tree, it's clear from the final pages that he intended the reader to see Kathy and Eric's relationship as central to the novel. It's hard, though - since he abandons Kathy as a functional character midway through the narrative - to see the end result as anything other than very, very bitter. And that's my summation, really: Now Wait for Last Year leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. I enjoyed a lot of the ideas at play here, but it's probably not one I will revisit again. There are other, less uncomfortable PKD novels to be enjoyed. ( )
  saroz | Dec 22, 2015 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Philip K. Dickprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Berni, OlivieroOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Foss, ChrisOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Mamczak, SaschaRedaktörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Mariano, MichaelOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Martin, AlexanderÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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To Don Wollheim --

Who has done more for science fiction

than any other single person.

Thank you, Don, for your faith in us over the years.

And God bless you.
To Nancy Hackett
... A way where you might tread the Sun, and be
More bright than he. -- Henry Vaughan
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The apteryx-shaped building, so familiar to him, gave off its usual smoky gray light as Eric Sweetscent collapsed his wheel and managed to park in the tiny stall allocated him.
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Earth is in the crossfire of a war between two alien civilizations. Dr. Eric Sweetscent has seen Earth's harrowing future and now questions whether to attempt to change it.

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