Okay, so. Trying to write about Dr Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb without spoiling the shit out of it for people who haven’t read it is NIGH ON IMPOSSIBLE but I’m going to give it my best shot (especially since I know of at least one person reading this that was considering it for their next PKD read).
It’s made especially difficult because I have so many highlighted passages that I want to talk about, but without the context of the book, or sufficient explanation, there’s really no point. I realized as I highlighted the 30th thing last night when I was finishing the book that I was doing it for NO REASON…unless some of you decide to read it, and then I share them with you later.
Annoying rambliness aside, listen. This is my third or fourth read of Dr Bloodmoney and I liked it even more than the first few times. I think that’s the case with most of Dick’s work. You read it once, and you like it just fine (or hate it) and it kind of blows your mind a little; you read it a second time and notice many of the things you missed the first time, your mind is further blown; but then the third time, there’s that Dick Click I talked about and you’re just “HOLY SHIT, WHAT DID I JUST READ? MY MIND IS WELL AND TRULY BLOWN!” and then everything else you read after it kind of suffers in comparison.
[Queue the mind-blowing-Dick jokes]
When I talked about Counter-Clock World (click that link up there), I mentioned that it could be considered weird in that…it wasn’t all that weird. It was a fairly straightforward sf story, that didn’t bend your mind all that much. The same can’t really be said about Dr Bloodmoney. Is it what has become known as standard post-apocalyptic fare, or is it all just some really fucked up fever dreams from the mind of a madman? It’s hard to tell, and I flip back and forth on what I think each time I read (and sometimes several times during each reading).
Don’t let that terrify you, or put you off reading it, though. It’s still a great story, even if you read it as just straight sf. There are battles between mutants, mistaken/hidden identities, dogs that talk, rats that can dismantle traps on their own and one of the trampiest female characters I’ve come to…well, not exactly love, but appreciate.
AND! She still has all of her teeth.
So, really, it’s all a bit of a downer, I mean – we had one nuclear incident in the 70s, then a few years later…something happens and the bombs drop AGAIN, leaving everyone worse off than they’d thought – but we’re humans so we try to build shit back up again. We come up with wood burning cars, or just have horses pull the old cars around. We can’t have real cigarettes cos THIS IS CALIFORNIA, but we CAN have a reasonable facsimile…and ooooh, will they cost you. Booze is hard to come by, but the same guy that makes the cigarettes has a reasonable approximation of brandy.
Unfortunately there’s an Ayn Rand loving, telekineses having phocomelus who thinks he knows what’s better for us than we do ourselves.
WHATEVER WILL WE DO?!
Sorry, I’m not telling you.