Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Number one Classic Bizarro Science Fiction novel according to me!

Over the summer I did a ten week countdown of my favorite horror novels of all time. I had fun doing it and it seems based on the numbers that a lot of people were reading them. I enjoyed the discussions and so I decided to do another top down. So here are some rules, one book by each author because in this list it runs the risk of becoming the Philip K.Dick list. The second rule is nothing published in the 21st century. There are great gonzo sci-fi novels released in the last thirteen years for sure, The Skinner by Neal Asher and Dr. Identity by D.Harlan Wilson are great examples. They are great but we are talking old school now. The more weird the better, they can be serious or totally funny, the most important thing is that they are bizarro and awesome.

10.Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

9. Transmaniacon By John Shirley

8.Void Captain’s Tale By Norman Spinrad

7. Beyond Apollo by Barry Malzberg

6. Software by Rudy Rucker

5. Always Coming Home by Ursala K.Leguin

4. Two Hawks from Earth By Philip Jose Farmer

3. City by Clifford Simak

2. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

And the Number one classic bizarro Science Fiction novel of all in my opinion is:
Released: 1965 (Nominated for the nebula award)

The plot:

Taking place in overcrowded mid 21st century space colonies where a drug induced virtual reality is super popular. The drug that makes this mind bending experience possible is called Can-D. People take it to escape from the harsh realities of this future. Things can when a new drug of choice shows up. Chew –Z is so intense that the line between illusion, hallucination and religious experience becomes blurred.

The Weirdest Aspect:

Everything about this novel is bizarro. The method of Virtual reality is weird as hell involving people being doll-like avatars and such. That is weird, but the plot itself goes into a direction which is Dick at reality questioning best. Remember this was written in the sixties while drugs causing a spiritual awakening was probably popular in some circles but it was pretty revolutionary in the Sci-fi pulp circles Dick was trying to rise above.

What does it say about our world?

A lot, way ahead of it’s time this novel has a lot to say about the multi-media addiction of our modern age. Sometimes people focus more on the drugs in this novel and less on the artificial Reality aspect. Could Dick have foreseen the social media addiction of our age and how people create a second virtual life? What would PKD say about our world filled with internet and smart phones. I think This novel tells us a little bit about his feelings.

Bottom line is it good?

Well it’s number one so yes it is a worthy classic. I don’t personally think it is PKD’s best novel, but it is certainly his most bizarro novel. That is saying something as he has two dozen weird as all get out novels. You get the feeling reading it that PKD just said ‘Screw it,” and just went as weird as he could. There are so many layers to this novel. It is not for everyone, that weird. If you make it fifty pages in and still feel like reading on, then you have the right mind set. Congrats! The Author:

If there was a saint of weird science fiction it would be Phil K.Dick who lived as interesting a life that was as filled with as much drugs, paranoia and quasi- hallucinating spiritual experiences. He is most remembered for the movies based on his work. Blade Runner, Minority Report, Scanner Darkly and Total Recall to name my four favorites. Scanner Darkly is the most faithful translation of Dick’s anti-drug masterpiece. While the quality level of Dick’s novel vary as he sometimes he wrote in drug fueled blasts, they are always at the very least entertaining. His Masterpieces in this fan/critic’s opinion are Man in the High Castle, Scanner Darkley, Three Stigmata and Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep. That said I am also A huge fan of Martian Time Slip and the semi-autobiographical Valis.

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World." His next novel Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich is due to be released soon by Deadite press.

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