cover image Radio Free Albemuth

Radio Free Albemuth

Philip K. Dick. Arbor House Publishing, $14.95 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-87795-762-1

Here is another of the unpublished novels science-fiction writer Dick left when he died in 1982. It recounts the friendship of two California men, Nicholas Brady, a record store clerk and later a record company executive, and Philip K. Dick, a writer. During the several decades spanned by the novel, America slides into fascism, particularly under the presidency of Ferris F. Fremont, who comes into office in 1969. Once entrenched, Fremont begins tossing dissidents into camps and in some cases executing them. Brady, meanwhile, has been receiving communications from a Godlike intelligence which he dubs Valis (an idea the author utilized previously in Valis). Valis guides Brady in the secrets of the universe, in the conduct of his life, and in a plot to bring down the monstrous Fremont, a cause to which Brady is finally martyred. This bleak political vision is given extra force by its autobiogrphical tone. Though not one of Dick's best novels, it is an engrossing, non-stop excursion into a believable vision of Hell. Foreign rights: Scott Meredith. January 8