PHILIP K. DICK – Martian Time-Slip. Ballantine U2191, paperback original; 1st printing, 1964. Cover art by Ralph Brillhart. Previously serialized in Worlds of Tomorrow, August/October/December 1963 as “All We Marsmen.” [See Comment #2.] Collected in Five Novels of the 1960s & 70s (The Library of America #183, 2008).

   Mars in the early 21st century is not really an emigrant’s paradise: water and supplies from Earth are severely limited. The colonies barely self-supporting. The suicide of a black marketeer is the focus of events overwhelming a tightly-knit cast of characters, beset by their own problem of existence. “Death .. Sets a radiating process of action and emotion going…” (page 101).

   Neurosis, and schizophrenia in particular, is the main theme, personified by technician Jack Bohlen, who find himself lost in an autistic boy’s time-warped world. Individual characters are developed individually, possible only in the closed world of Mars.

   A great deal could be done in further development; for example, the society of the native Blackmen is barely touched upon. But it would add nothing to the plot, fitted together well.

Rating: ****

–November 1967