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The Penultimate Truth (S.F. Masterworks) de…
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The Penultimate Truth (S.F. Masterworks) (edició 2005)

de Philip K. Dick (Autor)

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1,617298,306 (3.54)9
"At a time when most 20th-century science fiction writers seem hopelessly dated, Dick gives us a vision of the future that captures the feel of our time."--"Wired" In the future, most of humanity lives in massive underground bunkers, producing weapons for the nuclear war they've fled. Constantly bombarded by patriotic propaganda, the citizens of these industrial anthills believe they are waiting for the day when the war will be over and they can return aboveground. But when Nick St. James, president of one anthill, makes an unauthorized trip to the surface, what he finds is more shocking than anything he could imagine.… (més)
Membre:KatrineDS
Títol:The Penultimate Truth (S.F. Masterworks)
Autors:Philip K. Dick (Autor)
Informació:Gollancz (2005), Edition: 2nd Ed Thus, 208 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Penultimate Truth de Philip K. Dick

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This was my first PKD. Perhaps not the best novel to begin with, but as the blurb looked similar to [a:Hugh Howey|3064305|Hugh Howey|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/authors/1327581631p2/3064305.jpg]'s Silo Trilogy (which I liked a lot, as you can read in my reviews: here [Wool], here [Shift], and here [Dust]) - and yes, I know PKD's book was written many tens of years earlier -, I thought it would be a relatively "safe" way to get acquainted with Dick's works.

It's a thin book, compared to Howey's trilogy, hence Dick not explaining everything. At first, it's as if I was thrown into the story, without proper background info. It gets a little better around halfway, but regardless of that, it's not as detailed or as vivid as e.g. Howey's stories. In my opinion.

The underground life in the tanks is mentioned a few times, especially since the elected President of tank Tom Mix, Nicholas St. James, is sort of forced by fellow tankers to go to the surface and et an artiforg for their chief technician, who badly needed a new pancreas. As he was the most knowledgeable, everything had to be done to save his life.

Most of the story deals with the political side of the situation, about how the people underground are kept at bay, are still fed a lie, despite the war having ended at least a decade ago. Several tankers (as those people are called) managed to escape to the surface and hide in Cheyenne, now and then supplied with food and other things by one of the guys behind the setup, David Lantano. He happens to be quite an old man, but thanks to some time-travel device, which wasn't properly hidden, he could travel from the 16th or 17th century to the 21st, and prepare his rise to the throne of political power, which is currently occupied by Stanton Brose, a very old man, who survives thanks to artiforgs.).

Not only the people in the tanks are fed a lie, several of the Yance-people who help maintain the lie through articles, speeches, decisions, ... are also to fear for their lives, once they've fulfilled each of their big tasks. Only, everything leads the same guy (Stanton Brose, whose health is everything but good; only his brain is still natural, everything else is manufactured), while it's in fact Lantano, who has a big hand in everything.

The "gang" behind the whole scam are called Yancy-people, named after Tablot Yancy, the simulacrum that addresses the people in the tanks via a big TV-screen. They all have leadies, a kind of robot that comes in various versions and are made in the shops in... the underground tanks. But the people making and repairing them don't know that they're used as bodyguards and assistants. People still are led to believe that they're for the war between West and East. Of course, they were used in the war, and most survivors are thus war veterans with a new career.

There are documentaries about the World War: Version A and Version B, both containing fake scenes, as the documentaries were made by the German Gottlieb Fischer, who hired talented actors to play the roles of e.g. Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, ... But you'll only see through it all, if/when you properly study them and pay attention to specific details (like Hitler landing in the US with a Boeing 707, or Staling speaking English with leaders of the West). I found this part interesting, as even and especially nowadays it's easy to make a film, add real footage and make it fit like it was done with actors. Or perhaps the other way, like in this novel: Use actors to forge historical accounts and present it as real, authentic.

Dick also used some specific language: aud(io), vid(eo), sim(ulacrum), Wes-Dem, Pac-Peop, demesne, pol-com, artiforg (artificial organs), Recon Dis-In Council, ... In other words, it's not always easy, depending on the abbreviation, to find out what they refer to.

To cut things short: All's well that ends well. Or sort of, because Lantano still has some tricks up his sleeve, despite the good news he said he was going to present. There was, thus, room for a follow-up novel.

I found it, all in all, a relatively fine story. But again, a bit more filling, more background information would have been nice. But with barely 200 pages, it's obvious you can't cover everything and thus have to make a choice about where to put the main focus. Probably then not the best PKD novel to start with, but I will (try to) read - at some point in the future - some of his other books. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
I love PKD novels, but this one makes a good argument for "less is more" -- it was on track to be great foreshadowing of current reality, but by getting slightly too specific on certain aspects of the plot, rather than leaving ambiguity, it was pigeonholed in one specific case. Still great, but not one of his best books. The end does help recover things, but it easily could have been great.

Essentially the world has a world nuclear war and many people are stuck living in underground cities in horrible conditions providing labor to continue the world, fed information by only a narrow media channel. Things progress from there...

( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Feels too moralistic but otherwise can't fault it. Or maybe I just don't want to because I like the author. I'm surprised they haven't turned this into a film yet seeing the plot is simple enough to be carried over. Truly horrifying future run by the PR department. Hard to treat seriously. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
I was really hoping I could find somebody online who had read this and wanted to talk about the ending which seemed quite ambiguous to me. Maybe that was the intention or maybe I just don’t get it, but the title itself implies an unclear ending.

It’s another of PK Dick’s works that really suffers from lack of an editor to clean up the many issues. What one admires about it is the foresight in the picture he has of the world in 2025. How close is it to how we will actually be in six years’ time?

The gist of the story is that WWIII leads to the vast majority of humans living underground with scarce resources, due to the war making earth uninhabitable. These people are not told when the war ends. Instead they are fed a constant stream of fake news which keeps them underground working for the rulers above them, in a state of permanent fear and servility. The idea of the ongoing war is carefully orchestrated in film studios and fed via video links to those below ground.

Sound familiar? Given that we live in a world of ‘fake news’ where it is becoming next to impossible to separate real from fake, we may see that Dick is pretty close to the mark. Slightly different, more sophisticated technology now, but the same idea.

rest is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/the-penultimate-truth-by-... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I was really hoping I could find somebody online who had read this and wanted to talk about the ending which seemed quite ambiguous to me. Maybe that was the intention or maybe I just don’t get it, but the title itself implies an unclear ending.

It’s another of PK Dick’s works that really suffers from lack of an editor to clean up the many issues. What one admires about it is the foresight in the picture he has of the world in 2025. How close is it to how we will actually be in six years’ time?

The gist of the story is that WWIII leads to the vast majority of humans living underground with scarce resources, due to the war making earth uninhabitable. These people are not told when the war ends. Instead they are fed a constant stream of fake news which keeps them underground working for the rulers above them, in a state of permanent fear and servility. The idea of the ongoing war is carefully orchestrated in film studios and fed via video links to those below ground.

Sound familiar? Given that we live in a world of ‘fake news’ where it is becoming next to impossible to separate real from fake, we may see that Dick is pretty close to the mark. Slightly different, more sophisticated technology now, but the same idea.

rest is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/the-penultimate-truth-by-... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Philip K. Dickautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Disch, Thomas M.Epílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Goodfellow, PeterAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moisan, ChristopherDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moore, ChrisAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Podehl, NickNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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"At a time when most 20th-century science fiction writers seem hopelessly dated, Dick gives us a vision of the future that captures the feel of our time."--"Wired" In the future, most of humanity lives in massive underground bunkers, producing weapons for the nuclear war they've fled. Constantly bombarded by patriotic propaganda, the citizens of these industrial anthills believe they are waiting for the day when the war will be over and they can return aboveground. But when Nick St. James, president of one anthill, makes an unauthorized trip to the surface, what he finds is more shocking than anything he could imagine.

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