There’s something fun about reading classic sci-fi, and by classic I mean anything written before the era of the Internet or wi-fi or smartphones or digital this and that. Published in 1974 and set in 1988, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick definitely falls within this category. It’s sci-fi without the aliens or killer robots, but that doesn’t make it any less so.
Jason Taverner is a global superstar who wakes up one day to find he has no identity. Oh, he knows who he is, but nobody else does, and no record of him seems to exist. This is not a good thing, as zero identification can land him in a forced labour camp. But he’s a six, and he has smarts (as well as a wad of cash on his person), and the first thing he needs to do is get some forged ID.
It took me about 10 pages to get really into this story, and despite it being 45 years old, Flow My Tears did not flow through a familiar narrative. I could not see or predict where the story was going and that made it more exciting. It I hadn’t been sleep-deprived from the fasting month, I probably would have read it in less than the week it took me. And while I’d like to make a more in-depth review, there’s just so much that happens that can give the story away, and I definitely do not want to deprive you of that experience.
But here’s what I’ll tell you though – especially of the 1988 depicted in the book versus the 2019 we’re living in now and the 1988 we lived in then:
- We still don’t have flying cars
- No one has colonised other planets
- Students are not enslaved
- Drugs are still not legal (in most places!)
- And while they don’t have the internet, they do have a phone grid sex network which sounds a lot like Tinder/Grindr haha!
Another thing I liked about this book was the inclusion of an epilogue. For closure fanatics, this will help bring things full circle. I rarely come across books with epilogues, so this was definitely a treat. And it was one done well.
I haven’t read a lot of Philip K Dick’s works, but those I have have been quite different from one another. I definitely need to get my hands on more.