Posts Tagged ‘The Unteleported Man’

Lies, Inc. Blah.

May 5, 2011

I tried to read Lies, Inc. by Phil Dick last weekend. In the past, I’ve had fairly good luck with Phil Dick novels. They aren’t always the best written things, but they’re comprehensible and interesting.  This…isn’t. At least it isn’t comprehensible.

The first third or so is solid. You learn that someone has basically monopolized travel to the only distant Earth like planet with use of a teleporter that only works one way. Their monopolization has forced the protagonist into ruin and he is scrambling to get help so that he can steal his own ship away from creditors (who are essentially controlled by the company/government that owns the teleporter) so that he can spend the next 18 years of his life flying through space to check out this distant planet on his own terms and, if necessary, pick up people who want to come back and let everyone know what the place is really like. Helping him is a rival company called Lies, Incorporated. They come off as a sort of very serious, and moderately powerful future form of The Onion or Daily Show.

Alright, so that’s awesome. We can get behind all of this.

Except then the book goes batshit crazy. And by batshit crazy I mean wholly incomprehensible. From looking around the web, this bit that is incomprehensible is apparently the result of being shot with an LSD dart. Now, who has shot him, why, etc. I have no idea. I have no idea because one moment the protagonist, Rachmael ben Applebaum, is taking over his ship from a pilot of Lies, Inc. and the next moment he is going through one of those teleporters because “they would never suspect that!”

Well, no, but neither was I. Especially with nothing between him taking control of his ship and him stepping through the teleporter. He goes through to the other side, sees some truly bizarre stuff, gets shot, sees SOME MORE truly bizarre stuff, and then finds himself in a room with people who have also (supposedly) went through the teleporter only to come out the other side seeing crazy/frightening/bizarre stuff.

Now, I still have eighty or so pages to go. I started reading this when I was visiting family a couple of weekends ago and just couldn’t make myself plough through the last bit of it. And at least one review I’ve read refers to an AHA! moment at the end, though it’s going to have to be quite the moment.