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4.0 out of 5 stars
7
The World Jones Made
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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2013
This is a short book running in at only 200 pages, but one of his most entertaining and well-plotted novels full of interesting invention and ideas. Floyd Jones is a man who can see a year into the future which he uses in a quest for power as a quasi-religious figure in a post-apocalyptic world where religion is outlawed as having no base in reality...

The secret service of the incumbent government try all sorts to stop Jones's rise to power, but because he has seen every twist and turn of a year ahead he thwarts all attempts at stopping him, at one point literally dodging a bullet. However, as usual with PKD, there's more than this story going on. We also have the appearance of massive single-celled blobs from outer space causing much disconcertion. Could it be an invasion? What do the blobs want? The population turns to Jones for answers and his call for a crusade could ultimately be his undoing. There are also a group of genetic mutants housed inside a sealed refuge in a mysterious lab with an artificial climate, and a secret service policeman called Cussick whose marriage is on the rocks (PKD writes about broken marital relationships and divorce quite often - a reflection on his own repeatedly troubled home life no doubt) especially when his wife joins Jones's burgeoning cult.

Each element on its own would make an interesting tale (indeed Jones reminds me of Nicholas Cage's character in the film Next) and it is to PKD's credit that he ties all these elements together to deliver a greater whole. At times I thought that perhaps he is telling an allegorical tale, perhaps about communism, but PKD would probably just write about communism up front if he wanted to, not dick (`scuse the pun!) about with metaphors. That said there are elements of this book that mirror the post-911 environment of government propaganda in the US and the willingness of a desperate administration and their followers latching on to the idea of a perhaps misguided crusade. There is also a palpable feeling of despair shared across all the main characters including Jones himself who has foreseen his own death.
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on 18 March 2011
"Floyd Jones is a sullen malcontent, ungainly and quite possibly mad. But he can see exactly one year into the future. And this extraordinary ability ensures his spectacular rise from disgruntled carnival fortune-teller to charismatic demagogue, whipping up a population starved of ideals into a frenzy against the threat of the 'drifters', enormous single-cell protoplasms that may be landing on Earth soon.

But, in a world of engineered mutants and hermaphrodite sex performers in drug-fuelled nightclubs, Jones is a tragic leader. His limited precognition ultimately renders him helpless to fight against what he knows will happen.

Prophetic and unsettling, the chronicle of the rise and fall of a post-nuclear messiah is one of the very best of Philip K Dick's early novels."
- from back cover.

Written in 1954 and published in 1956, The World Jones Made (Dick's second published novel) explores a number of themes Dick had an abiding interest in (psychic abilities, paranoia, post apocalyptic dystopia etc..) As with all PKD's works this novel makes you marvel at his imagination but also (if you are of a philosophical turn of mind) brings you to question and consider the themes he raises for yourself.

[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
--Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

"The most consistently brilliant SF writer in the world,"
--John Brunner

"Dick quietly produced serious fiction in a popular form and there can be no greater praise"
--Michael Moorcock

"One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction, Philip K. Dick made most of the European avant-guarde seem navel-gazers in a cul-de-sac"
--Sunday Times

In August 2009, Terry Gilliam confirmed that he is planning to direct a film adaptation of the novel.

If you are new to Philip K Dick's work I would also recommend the following novels (which generally seem to be regarded as among his best):

The Man In The High Castle (S.F. Masterworks)
Ubik (S.F. Masterworks)
A Scanner Darkly (S.F. Masterworks)
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (S.F. Masterworks)

That said, though some of PKD's works are better than others, to my mind they are all well worth reading. I would also recommend his short story collections:

Beyond Lies The Wub: Volume One Of The Collected Short Stories
Second Variety: Volume Two Of The Collected Short Stories
The Father-Thing: Volume Three Of The Collected Short Stories
Minority Report: Volume Four Of The Collected Short Stories
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale: Volume Five of The Collected Short Stories

Also of interest may be the fine biography of Philip K Dick by Lawrence Sutin Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (Gollancz S.F.)
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on 11 February 2015
Strange - in ways outdated and in other ways prescient
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on 17 August 2005
This novel is set in an America where voicing any subjective opinion is a crime. "Fed-Gov" agents enforce the law by arresting people who make comments that cannot possibly be true, such as "a dog is a man's best fried". Perpetrators are quickly sent to forced labour camps. We learn that this repressive and draconian society has developed in the wake of a cataclysmic war. Its citizens have quietly accepted it as the price of peace. Enter Floyd Jones, a circus freak who has the ability to see events happening one year in the future. He sees the extra-terrestrial problems that the Earth will encounter as it sends ships to other solar systems and he also knows how to deal with the strange creatures that are beginning to land on the Earth's surface. He knows that repression will not solve the Earth's problems and that consequently its people can be free again. He knows how and when he will die and even what happens for the 365 days after his death.
This book tells the story of how Jones rises from circus fortune-teller to absolute dictator. To a people overburdened by repression and beset by an unknown menace from another planet, the all-knowing Jones is feted as a saviour. Eventually the cult of his own personality risks destroying the lives of the people he governs. Dick wrote this story in 1956 and did not look far for inspiration; he does not attempt to hide the echoes of Hitler and Stalin. But this early novel shows Dick's trademark skill at characterisation (Jones' descent into his own paranoia and psychosis is well drawn) and his fascination with illogical, quirky situations (how do you assassinate someone who knows you are coming?).
As is common with many of Dick's post-apocalyptic societies, we never really discover what happened to create the police-state in which the book's action happens. Neither does Dick really explain why Jones receives such popular support, but that seems to emphasise Dick's point that demagogues can gain power simply by feeding off and manipulating subconscious anxieties. Some plot strands feel disjointed. For example, one such element concerns a potential next leap in mankind's evolution; one senses Dick could have (or may have wanted to) make more out of that particular sub-plot. Some of Dick's very early novels were altered by his publisher to make them more commercial, often without Dicks consent, and this book is probably a victim of that: some plot strands are neatly tidied up, others just fall away. But this is still an entertaining read, if not as complex or rich in ideas as his best work, and well worth looking at.
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on 2 October 2004
This is one of PKD's earlier works and lacks some of the mad unsettling reality trip down satan's brain cell kind of approaches. It centres on Floyd Jones, a "precog" with a limited talent enabling him to see exactly one year into the future. The description and zeal of this talent is amazing, it's not visionary as such but Floyd Jones lives two lives simultaneously, one in the here and and now and the other exactly a year in the future. All the character traits of Floyd Jones, being egotistical, anti-authoritarian and visualizing himself as as the people's choice can only lead to one dramatic conclusion to this story - this is a book you won't be able to put down.
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on 6 March 2006
In this early SF-novel we get to follow a crippled psychic, mr Jones, with the power (and curse) of predicting the future. Jones organises a mass-movement against some harmless race of alien amoebas, partly serving as a pretext to seize power from the government, partly because of misguided paranoia and partly as a biologistic way to define himself as more "human" than he really is. The novel deals with the psychological aspect between this Jones fellow and his main counterpart, a government official. The novel is quite linear, though, without PKD's usual multifocal perspectives, parallell stories, time paradoxes, breakdown of illusory realities and artificial sentients who challenge our view of what constitutes humanity. If you're not a fan, choose some other novel.
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on 17 February 2015
great
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