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Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 8 Nov 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (8 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857983416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857983418
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Philip K Dick notoriously charted SF's most dangerous, booby-trapped realities. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974) is a relatively straightforward tale of paranoid unease at finding the world isn't what it should be.

Jason Taverner is world-famous for his songs and regular TV show. "Thirty million people saw you zip up your fly tonight." "... It's my trademark." Although this future US is a grim police state with labour camps in Alaska and Canada, jetsetting Taverner enjoys being one of the winners.

Then he wakes up in a sleazy hotel room, still well-dressed and flush with money, but no longer the famous Jason Taverner. No ID--that's a forced-labour offence. His agent doesn't know him. Nor do his closest friends. He's even vanished from police databanks.

Forged documents are needed, hand-drawn by teenaged expert Kathy--one of Dick's most alarming women, a neurotic petty criminal who's also a police informer, who entraps and manipulates Taverner until he's terrified of her. He may deserve it: this self-obsessed megastar inflicts small, unthinking cruelties on virtually every woman he meets.

The title's policeman is another interesting character: Police General Felix Buckman, a mostly good man (and fan of Elizabethan songs: "Flow, my teares...") trapped in a horrible system. Is Taverner, the man with no past, a threat? Less so, maybe, than Buckman's amoral sister Alys, who takes special interest in Taverner and seems to have the world's only copies of his music albums...

Paranoid wrongness is expertly conveyed, and resolved with a typically offbeat SF notion. A sunny finale concludes one of Dick's most approachable novels.--David Langford

Book Description

Another classic novel from the world¿s greatest writer of science fiction

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Symeon Charalabides on 21 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
"Flow my tears..." is a book that exhibits Dick's (heretofore PKD) usual thematic obsessions in an expert literary way, having been written during the last decade of his life, in between theological treatises and attempts to explain his personal epiphany. It actually reads like he is showing off that he can write good old SF to his publisher who's asked him to clean up his act before an audience that's not interested in religious revelations. The fourth part of the book, telling what happened to the heroes and institutions involved in the far future, is reminiscent of a B movie ending, and probably reflects the author's overindulgence in the commercial nature of this work.
The book is very reminiscent of Ubik, centered on a man's struggle to make sense of his reality that has suddenly changed (to a very unpleasant one), and it could have been written in one - extended - sitting, PKD driving his points home from page 1. It can certainly be read in one sitting, and its frantic pace will compel most people to do so.
As per usual, the environment only serves as a context for PKD to bring his social commentary home. This shouldn't detract, however, from the fact that the particular world, a heavily policed fascist state where universities and their students (presumably standing for free thought) are offenders by default, is one of his most successful predictions, as we can already see it happening. PKD seems to be aware of it as well, for he describes its functions and mechanisms in unusual detail.
That said, the novel is an exploration of human behaviours and emotions, how they interact and which bring which about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 20 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
Philip K Dick was an unusual science fiction writer in that, while he tended to write in (usually dystopian) alternative universes, the "space opera" aspect - the act of universe creation (which so obsessed Tolkien, for example) isn't what interests him. If Star Wars was the ultimate piece of fantasy escapism, with a ludicrous morality play veneer thrown in for an emotional punch at the end, then Dick's works tend to exist at the other end of the spectrum: the world is described incidentally, the ingenious devices and drugs means of locomoting and teasing out the existential questions they pose the characters. There is always little bit of scientific hocus pocus thrown in, but never for the sake of it: it is always a means to crystallising Dick's theme.

So Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? isn't, really, a futuristic gumshoe PI noir about killing replicants (though it functions pretty well on that level) but an examination of what really makes us human: what *is* empathy, and what consequences would there be for the way we relate to each other if we could achieve it artificially? And here, in Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Dick ruminates on identity: what am *I*, if not a collection of relationships, impulses and memories in other people's minds? - and reality - what, when it comes to it, is the world itself, if not a collection of relations, impulses and memories in *my* brain?

What if we really could alter brains to change these things - how would that alter the way we see ourselves and the world? How, given the limitations of the above view, do we know we cannot?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Sturrock on 8 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point for anybody new to this writer's output, but for any fan of Dick's work who is not familiar with it, I'd advise them to check it out. An intriguing mix of paranoid nightmare and black, black comedy it explores what happens when a celebrity well established within his profession appears to lose his identity and his grip on reality. He becomes a fugitive, and the women he meets while on the run just seem to make his predicament even worse. When the police come for him they knock on the door of the woman sheltering him. "It's probably the man from upstairs," she says,
"He borrows things. Weird things. Like two-fifths of an onion." Unexpected comments like this make the book a joy to read, the constant surprises in the way that the characters respond to each other is refreshing. On the surface the story appears to be relentlessly grim, but in the fine details there is plenty to amuse, like the juke-box in the bar playing Louis Panda's 'The Memory of Your Nose'.
The epilogue doesn't really work for me but I suspect that it was put there as a joke. Overall well worthy of inclusion amongst Dick's best work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Morley on 16 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is a perfect example of Philip K. Dick’s ingenuity that mixes paranoia and suspense into a nice little novel full of twists and surprises.
It tells the story of famous TV show host Jason Taverner who wakes up to find he doesn’t exist. Set against a backdrop of an oppressive government the story revolves around Taverner’s attempts to discover what happened to him and how he came to this. The other major character in the book is police inspector McNulty who is also trying to discover who Taverner is and determine why he doesn’t appear in their computer databases.
At its heart is a mystery thriller where the science part of this SF book is sidelined yet serves to build an impressive backdrop through which Taverner wanders. The back of this edition states that Taverner is a ‘six’ – a genetically engineered human being born bright and beautiful. That isn’t really part of the story but like I said it flavours it nicely.
It won the 1975 John W. Campbell Award, was nominated for the 1975 Hugo Award and nominated for the 1974 Nebula award.
Well worth a look!
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