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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A typical Philip K. Dick story - and one of his best
I regard "The game-players of Titan" as one of Philip Dick's top... say 5 books. It is certainly hard to discriminate, especially with so many criteria on which to judge such an author's work, but this book contains everything, in good quantities and excellent quality.
Seasoned readers will feel immediately familiar with the story's opening with the hero 'going down'...
Published on 15 Jan 2003 by Symeon Charalabides

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea but a flawed execution.
This starts of with a decent main character, not especially likeable but interesting, and a reasonable set of supporting characters and the idea of the war and its fallout is interesting.

Unfortunately it gradually goes downhill, the interaction with the family of psychics gets more and more surreal and the gradual introduction of more and more vugs makes no...
Published 17 months ago by plot hound


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A typical Philip K. Dick story - and one of his best, 15 Jan 2003
By 
Symeon Charalabides (Galway, Galway Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Game-Players of Titan (Voyager Classics) (Paperback)
I regard "The game-players of Titan" as one of Philip Dick's top... say 5 books. It is certainly hard to discriminate, especially with so many criteria on which to judge such an author's work, but this book contains everything, in good quantities and excellent quality.
Seasoned readers will feel immediately familiar with the story's opening with the hero 'going down' already. All the landmarks of the author's style are there: the suicidal hero, his equally problematic close circle, the vague overwhelming threat, the public figure who steps in, precogs, telekinetics, aliens, a novel social structure, various states of mind (drug-induced and otherwise) and the strange sense of satisfaction that comes at the end of the book when nothing seems to have been resolved proper.
It is quite a strange world in which Pete Garden lives: he wins and loses land titles on, and has his marital life directed by, a board game much like monopoly, but with the element of bluff added in. This game has been introduced or, rather, enforced by the Titanians although they apparently lost the war with the Earth. Moreover, they seem to be taking over again, but by much more subtle means this time. But does this make the game, which all Terran landowners are obliged to play, more or less important?
The plot twists, which mean you can never know for sure what has really happened or who is telling the truth, start very early in this novel and continue throughout. There is subtle humour/irony as well as outright hillarious scenes (Pete Garden fighting with his drug cabinet in order to get enough pills off it to commit suicide without it calling for help being a handy example), and one of the most ingenious solutions to a seemingly insurmountable problem, which is most notable about the book. The scenery is a rapidly degrading world, more suggested than described, which is usually what books win over films about.
Overall, and this is the part the non-Philip-Dick-fan will find less unfamiliar, it could be adequately described as a 'fast-paced thriller' (probably by some Hollywood nut) with various strange, sometimes unforeseen and a few bewildering elements interacting in a way as to have the reader constantly guessing, sometimes as often as about a new thing in each paragraph, in order to bring the plot to a conclusion of revelation in a rather anti-climactic way. If this last is contradictory, it's a credit to the literary and imaginative genius of the author that it is, also, precisely so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucky 13, 29 Mar 2009
By 
C. johnstone "Chris Johnstone" (Paisley Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Game-Players of Titan (Voyager Classics) (Paperback)
This is PKD's 13th science fiction novel and he had produced Man in a High Castle a couple of years earlier and it is 10 years since he published his first novel. It is very typical PKD, it has a variety of scifi ideas rather than one of two, some bad jokes, lots of of psychiatry/psychology, drugs and a good plot. It also has a lot of one of PKD's trademarks about identity and false identity and can you trust who you are talking to. It is based around a small group of long lived, almost sterile humans who have lost the war to game playing Titans and have to play an odd form of Monopoly crossed with poker to win huge tracts of land. They are mainly infertile, humans are slowly dying out and they swap partners regularly in the hope of getting pregnant. The game involves a lot of bluffing and the Titans are telepathic, as are a small group of humans. Two plot lines are how can you get away with murder when the Titan police can read your mind to find your guilt and how can you bluff in a game where the opponents are telepathic. You will have to read it to find the answers.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea but a flawed execution., 10 Feb 2013
By 
plot hound (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This starts of with a decent main character, not especially likeable but interesting, and a reasonable set of supporting characters and the idea of the war and its fallout is interesting.

Unfortunately it gradually goes downhill, the interaction with the family of psychics gets more and more surreal and the gradual introduction of more and more vugs makes no sense.

By the end the plot has completely unravelled leaving a silly climax and nothing of any real interest.
One of the worst books by Dick I have read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars P.K.Dick at his best!, 19 April 1999
By A Customer
World sterility keeps Earth underpopulated. Aliens from Titan control the world. People frantically play a game called "Bluff" to maximise the probability of having children. P.K.Dick explores the implications of psychic powers applied to bluffing and game strategy. One of the best books I've ever read written by Mr. Dick.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A typical Philip K. Dick story - and one of his best, 19 Dec 2002
By 
Symeon Charalabides (Galway, Galway Ireland) - See all my reviews
In contrast to the previous review, I'd like to state right away that I regard "The game-players of Titan" as one of Philip Dick's top... say 5 books. It is certainly hard to discriminate, especially with so many criteria on which to judge such an author's work, but this book contains everything, in good quantities and excellent quality.
Seasoned readers will feel immediately familiar with the story's opening with the hero 'going down' already. All the landmarks of the author's style are there: the suicidal hero, his equally problematic close circle, the vague overwhelming threat, the public figure who steps in, precogs, telekinetics, aliens, a novel social structure, various states of mind (drug-induced and otherwise) and the strange sense of satisfaction that comes at the end of the book when nothing seems to have been resolved proper.
It is quite a strange world in which Pete Garden lives: he wins and loses land titles on, and has his marital life directed by, a board game much like monopoly, but with the element of bluff added in. This game has been introduced or, rather, enforced by the Titanians although they apparently lost the war with the Earth. Moreover, they seem to be taking over again, but by much more subtle means this time. But does this make the game, which all Terran landowners are obliged to play, more or less important?
The plot twists, which mean you can never know for sure what has really happened or who is telling the truth, start very early in this novel and continue throughout. There is subtle humour/irony as well as outright hillarious scenes (Pete Garden fighting with his drug cabinet in order to get enough pills off it to commit suicide without it calling for help being a handy example), and one of the most ingenious solutions to a seemingly insurmountable problem, which is most notable about the book. The scenery is a rapidly degrading world, more suggested than described, which is usually what books win over films about.
Overall, and this is the part the non-Philip-Dick-fan will find less unfamiliar, it could be adequately described as a 'fast-paced thriller' (probably by some Hollywood nut) with various strange, sometimes unforeseen and a few bewildering elements interacting in a way as to have the reader constantly guessing, sometimes as often as about a new thing in each paragraph, in order to bring the plot to a conclusion of revelation in a rather anti-climactic way. If this last is contradictory, it's a credit to the literary and imaginative genius of the author that it is, also, precisely so.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potential cleverness, 1 April 2006
Potentially excellent in effect - but only relatively engaging. Characterisation too based on dialogue perhaps. It's quite confusing to follow, although this is the great Dickian style and intelligence. The scenarios unfold and possibilities multiply; reality and belief becomes blurred until a crucial point is reached. Themes are conveyed in the process - the fragility of existence dependent on something, the mass of complexities and beliefs interconnecting, fluctuating, yet nothing isn't wired up simply.
Outcomes in one's life seem reliant on chance; motivations powering a game between two sides/races. Everything has a perspective. The Game itself is a phoney mechanism for determining the indeterminable. Chaos and variables lie beneath the surface.
A haze of typical Dick ideas and very specific realities. Beneath our 'sophistication' we cannot escape what governs us.... Subtle, unsettling stuff.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars particularly horrid, 17 Aug 2001
By A Customer
The Chinese used chemical arms in the last war and presently foreign creatures called Vugs now run the planet. Earthlings now are living but very weak. To enlarge the opportunities of this sterile population children that have card games for people of Earth to rotate to its sexual associates. This it will produce optimal chance to make the child.
The protagonist is Pete Garden. The story begins-- Pete is absorbed in his mind, reminiscing of his lost crib in Berkeley. This launches an entire series of the events to illuminate what should be diabolical: a conspiracy by the Vugs to assume control over the humans' birth rate. Pete himself gets down with a precog called Patricia McLain and also her fine daughter Mary Anne. A precog is a person who can see the future. Would you believe such a thing?
These precogs can read the future in your glimpse, but this ability tends to limit a persons chances for liberation. With Garden's help, Mary Anne and her comrades defeat the Vugs in serious battle, but the end the book stinks and in the final analysis my brother it is true the Vugs seem to poise themselves for a sluggish return.
A good racing read, but not best from Mr. Dick. A flawed but ultimately amiable lead man is Pete Garden. A serious freedom fighter, he is not for the bling bling but a warrior for our liberty and all of Earth. There are many interesting concepts in the book, for example all over there exist intelligent machines (example is cars and a pharmacy that argue and nitpick with people) This provides some laughs in the belly, you believe that if you read it.
This is worth time for the many fans of Philip Dick but there exist far better books by him.
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The Game-Players of Titan (Voyager Classics)
The Game-Players of Titan (Voyager Classics) by Philip K. Dick (Paperback - 2 Jun 2008)
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