Disturbing Scifi from the 1960s #sciencefiction #mentalhealthcare #scifi

I recently read a story by Philip K. Dick, a scifi author from the Golden Age. Buck Rogers it ain’t!

Science ficiton book cover - Martian Time SlipDick explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. wikipedia

I read every word, all the way through, but “fun” is not the right description.  Mild spoilers follow.

The book comes from 1964. I think the right approach today is to view the story as the alternative history of a Mars colony in 1950s. Mars is barely habitable in shirt sleeves, with sparse plants and animals and a nearly-extinct race of Martians. Colonists use mimeograph machines and secretaries take dictation with a pad and pencil. Fascinating robotic teachers indoctrinate children in proper earthly culture.

Less adorably, one of the main characters makes remarks that are homophobic, misogynistic, and racist. He’s the villain, and casually cruel to everyone, but this can be off-putting. He uses the n-word to describe Martians who apparently look very much like African Saan people (another term for these people, Bushmen, is sometimes considered derogatory, depending on the usage.) There’s a brief suggestion that Martians and Humans were both seeded by some alien intelligence and so are related.

Despite the Martian setting, the story is about schizophrenia, which has become much more common on Mars than it is in real-life today. That term and “autism” are both used, and Dick presents his scifi interpretation of them – those effected experience multiple times in the past and future, which prevents them from relating to “normal” people. The visions these people experience (and we get to see through their eyes) are gruesome and apocalyptic, even for people with mundane lives. Dick gives a striking feel for such disconnects with repeated scenes, sometimes out of sequence, from different characters in the scene. The story shows sympathy for it’s characters, even the unsavory ones.

While it’s not an action-packed tale, terrible things happen in this story. There is guilt and shame from the father of an autistic boy. There is infidelity. There is suicide, and given Dick’s own dark life experiences, I wonder if this comes from something more real than imagination. That will keep me thinking about the book for a long time.

Cover of scifi magazine Galaxy

Dick wrote the cover story for this edition

I know a lot has changed in American culture since Dick wrote his story. I suspect a lot has changed in our understanding of schizophrenia and autism too, but I have no idea how readers familiar with these conditions will feel about the story. Please leave a comment and let me know.

The book, republished in 2012, is popular on Amazon and has 4 stars, where several reviewers find it’s look at mental illness to be kindly and sympathetic.

BTW, you know Dick’s work. The movies Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report are based on his writings.

It’s Not Too Late to Own a Piece of Classic of Scifi History #scifi #movies #history

Wonders of the Galaxy! May 14, 2019, starting 1:00 pm PDT. Robby the Movie poster for scifi classic Forbidden PlanetRobot was sold in 2017, but there’s more memorabilia up for auction from the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, from the estate of collector Wes Shank.

Props, costumes, blueprints – all sorts of things from a classic movie. Some of the first ray gun props that actually lit up, long before CGI. Costumes from the spaceship’s crew, though no longer the original gray. Some thrifty producer dyed them brown for a later movie (I wonder which one?)

I won’t be bidding, but maybe I can dig up a copy of Forbidden Planet.  It’s still enjoyable, with an  extinct alien race that reaches across eons to threaten  an obsessive scientist, his beautiful daughter, and intrepid spacemen. Yes, spaceMEN, because this was 1956, but the woman isn’t as badly cliched as you might fear (despite the poster), and the secret of the alien’s extinction is chilling. And, of course, there’s Robby the Robot, a character with personality and not simply a tin can on legs. You can’t beat a real classic.

Thanks to newatlas.com

What Books to Add on that New Kindle? Or on any eReader? #giftideas #amreading #books #scifi

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

Titan, a #1 New Release on Amazon 😉

Reindeer over 5 Colony on Mars book covers

Christmas isn’t over yet – not till New Years 🙂 Click the image to start with Book 1. Here’s a tip: get all five Mars stories at one bargain price.

The perfect last minute gifts – ebooks. Colonize Saturn’s moon Titan from Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited. Or take a one-way journey to Mars from Amazon and all your favorite stores, in all your favorite formats.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Best Wishes.

Never Turn Down a Holiday that Brings Gifts and Parties #happy #holiday #holidayseason #gift #scienceficiton

Happy Saturnalia with Colony on Mars book coversGifts and parties, and role-reversals. Welcome to the Roman week of Saturnalia. If you throw a Saturnalian party, gambling should be included. But I was never much interested in gambling.

I recall, as a kid, going to my father’s volunteer fire department’s fund-raising carnival where there was an oversized version of roulette. I put my penny on a number, the ball rolled down, and the man took my penny away. Why would I do that again?

Kate Rauner with her Colony on Mars books

Me at a recent book signing for my Colony on Mars series.

Instead, how about little white elephant gifts, wrapped and numbered. Pick a number from a hat.

As to gifts, well, you know I recommend books. At Amazon and all the favorite stores. And this year you can read my new book about a cult colonizing Saturn’s moon Titan. #1 New Release in it’s Amazon category!

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

#1 New Release on Amazon

Okay, just between you and me, Amazon categories are weird and sometimes inexplicable. Amazon keeps their algorithms a deep dark secret and rankings don’t last long. But “#1 New Release” is fun to say! And true! Besides, readers have said such nice things. You should read the book. On Kindle Unlimited too.

What Happens When a Cult Colonizes Saturn’s Moon? Looks Like a Crazy Plan #scifi #sciencefiction #solarsystem #Saturn #giftidea

It’s here at last! A year in the writing and editing. I’m going to curl up in a corner with a mug of eggnog, but please… Join other fans today!

Titan opened as a #1 New Release on Amazon! A fleeting honor since there are so many new books on Amazon, but I’m still thrilled.

Fynn learns his father’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod. He’s not going back to college, he’s joining his family’s cult to colonize Saturn’s moon. Get the book on Amazon, Kindle or paperback, or read on Kindle Unlimited and KOLL.

Real readers love it:

This is an amazing sci-fi that I could not put down. Read it all up in one sitting over a weekend – lost a lot of sleep but worth it. Patricia Eroh

I devoured this book in less than two days. cany58

Feel like you were there experiencing some of the accomplishments, frustrations and trials of building their first colony. There is mystery, secrets, and murder; there are characters you will wonder about their agenda. There is a major tragedy. PC

Happy Saint Nicholas Day #holiday #holidayseason #StNicholasDay

St Nicholas with 5 scifi Mars colony covers

Read for Free – great ebook deals here #reading #scifi #books #GiveawayAlert #stories

woman readingLooking for something to read? Tired of the same old authors? Then snap up a freebie and find a new favorite. You’ll find links to current and upcoming giveaways on my Read For Free page.

Better yet, subscribe to my Readers’ Club and receive an occasional email, sent right to your inbox, and never miss out.

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