Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started this book knowing nothing only to realize I had just fallen into the deep end of nutsville.
Literally. The inhabitants of Alphane Moon are full of crazies. Certified mental hospital escapees. Of course, that hasn't stopped them from building a skewy-functional society over 20 years full of overreactions but relatively peaceful cooperation among all the bickering.
Move on to a few "normal" Earthlings, a bitter struggle between an idiot CIA man, his idiot psychologist wife, and an idiot popular comic and we get paranoid intrigue, suicidal depression, telepathic slime molds, buxom women, and an interplanetary war.
I kept suspecting that this whole novel was a fever dream of a man in a psychotic break, but no, no cheap tricks here. :) It's a bona fide SF full of aliens and a message that no one is normal. :)
In other words, it's PKD to the core. Most of PKD's old standard questions are externalized in this early novel, but they're all clearly the same questions he revolves around later in his more intellectual and introspective later novels. Insanity is a big one, of course, but drug use, the nature of creativity and the holy spirit and the fluidity of human nature and perception is all bigger than life. :)
This is darkly funny and NUTS. If I had to compare it to anything, I'd rank it along the same line as the original Total Recall with Arnie. Full of cool crap, snappy dialogue, wild situations, and totally dysfunctional families.
It's a fun roll. :)
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