Five Sentence Abstract:
At its core, there are several intertwined stories that barely mingle, teasing for a moment when everything will come together, but it never comes. There are plenty of seemingly random going-ons each of the characters engages in, giving hope that the character building will lead to some ah-ha moment, some revelation, some climax that never comes, despite lots of set up. The world is built in the vaguest of terms; the science fiction aspect is never fleshed out, left as barely described background that the reader is free to project onto. The wholly unexplored time travel and relpol (religious politics) were little more than parlor tricks, seemingly to squeeze ill-conceived Nazi references in as frequently as possible while supposing to build, but failing, a world of authoritarian overtones. The saving grace is found in its mildly predictive power from 50 odd years ago, mindless entertainment, politically powerful women, massive regulation and favoritism by government, underground markets, and even a touch of mind control - apropos if it ever was.
The vocabulary seemed monotonous and the prose short. I felt no connection to
any of the characters, though they were well constructed, seemed to have no
Each chapter is generally split into two unrelated parts. While I have no
disagreement from a technical standpoint, the fact that there was no
delineating mark, the text simply continued, made for a jarring transition. It
made you think you missed a paragraph; a simple line would have sufficed. Was
this done for some effect? If so, I didn't get it.
Too much Hitler, Jews, Hitler, Jews! I can't get away... The time travel almost
felt like an excuse to shoe horn Nazis in and fill any plot gaps with "he knows
because, time travel!"
That said, the time travel is never really explored, it is simply there. Again,
felt like a crutch for the plot.
It follows several circles of characters, most of which never interact with
other circles. The stories feel intertwined, they feel like they are all
leading to some explosive conclusion, but it never got there. The end, while it
did come out of left field, was anti-climactic. I finished thinking "that's
It was all hat and no cattle. Even then, it was a worn out hat. It felt like
the characters are simply going about their business. In fact, most of them
were literally going about their business.
While there was a lot of stereotypical science fiction, psy, flying cars,
migrate to mars, the robots, the papoola, none of these were really developed.
It was all regulated to the background, understated, left to the imagination,
which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but, for example, the jalopy lots, they
are supposed to be... big, and they can fly. The jalopies themselves? More
than mysterious, non-existent.
The story itself starts nowhere special and ends, somewhere else, but that
somewhere else didn't feel like it was coming, nor did it hit me as a surprise.
It wasn't neatly packaged, leading you to a conclusion, nor was it noir enough
to keep you guessing, it just... was. Not that a story has to be either of those,
but I personally couldn't identify with any of the characters, I didn't care
what they were doing, and I found no closure, or even a feeling of "I wonder what
happens next?" at the end.
Table of Contents
- The powerful German cartel had sold the world on the
notion of drug-therapy for mental illness; there was a fortune to be made,
there. And by corollary, psychoanalysts were quacks, on a par with
orgone box and health food healers. It was not like the old days, the previous
century, when psychoanalysts had had stature. Dr. Superb sighed.
- When did the position of First Lady begin to assume
stature greater than that of President? the text inquired. In other
words, when did our society become matriarchal,
- It was a shock, because this particular marriage had
endured for six entire months and he had become thoroughly used to
seeing her in the mornings. She knew just how he liked his eggs (cooked with a
small amount of mild Munster cheese). Damn the new permissive divorce
legislation that old President Kalbfleisch had ushered in!
Days of Barbarism—that was the sweet-talk for the Nazi Period of the middle part of the previous century, now
gone nearly a century but still vividly, if distortedly, recalled.
So der Alte had taken to the airwaves to denounce the Sons of Job, the latest nut organization of a
quasi-religious nature flapping about in the streets, proclaiming a
purification of national ethnic life, etc. or whatever it was theyproclaimed.
In other words, stiff legislation to bar persons from public life who were odd
- Molly said. And returned to reading her book. It was, Nat saw, a banned text
by the twentieth century sociologist C. Wright
- she was an exceptionally harsh and aggressive, almost masculine woman
- In his own individual car he felt as if he were participating in a
black-magic ritual—as if he, and the other commuters, had put their lives into
the hands of a force better left undiscussed. Actually it was a simple
homeostatic beam which justified its position by making ceaseless references to
all other vehicles and the guide-walls of the road itself
I think that von Lessinger was right in his final summation: no one should
go near the Third Reich. When you deal with
psychotics you’re drawn in; you become mentally ill yourself.”
Stark said quietly, “There are six million
Jewish lives to be saved, Mrs. Thibodeaux.
- As a matter of fact, there is some possibility that
Hitler deliberately led his people to defeat.
“I mean, how are you going to work an event like that into your Weltanschauung? It’s just too damn dreadful. It
unhinges you. And the worst part is that it’s so dreadful it’s almost funny.”
- I’m as mentally ill as it’s humanly possible to be! It’s incredible that I
can communicate with you at all. It’s a credit to my ego-strength that I’m not
at this point totally autistic
- “One papoola here and there, and that planet wide instrument of persuasion
that Nicole has made out of TV—there you have the real danger, Ian. The papoola
is crude; you know you’re being worked on. Not so when you listen to Nicole.
The pressure is so subtle and so complete—”
- It must be terrific to be an artist, Stone thought with bitterness. You’re
exempt from all the rules and responsibilities; you can do just as you like.
- “Remember, the objective in the war for the Nazis was the extermination of
World Jewry; it was not merely a byproduct.”
- couldn’t just eradicate a portion of the memory-cells
of their brains and then let them go. Why wouldn’t that do?” Slezak
glanced at Janet Raimer, then shrugged. “If you want it that way.” “Yes,”
Nicole said. “I’d prefer that. It would make my job easier. Take them to the
Medical Center at Bethesda and after that
- “Mama’s psychologists did a good job of working you
over,” the elderly man panted. “That
Bethesda—it must be quite a place.”
- Somehow this man is getting the upper hand over me. Constantly. He’s a master psychologist... or is it that, by his definition, he’s
a master political strategist?
- To stay in power she would have to rule a nation of
the mentally ill.