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With its combination of romance, espionage, and alien invasion, The Zap Gun skewers the military-industrial complex in a way that’s as relevant today as it was at the height of the Cold War.
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By Darwin8u on 01-29-15
Project Plowshare, or don't touch my Love Gun
I ended up liking this one way more than I thought I might. I started reading thinking 'Zap Gun' was going to simply be one of PKD's early, pulpy sic-fi novels. Look. The guy wrote over 44 novels (and hundreds of short-stories). Not every book is going to be Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or Ubik, but I had a copy, so...
Yes. I read it because it was there. Was it pulpy? Hell yes, even pulpier than I could have imagined. I'm not sure everything was fully realized in this novel. I'm sure he padded this novel with some unnecessary words simply because he was being paid by the word. It may have been written fast and lose, but there is clean, mad logic to it all. The book feels like a strange combination of Orwell's 1984 mixed with Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle but finished with a bit of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. For me, thus far, it is the funniest of Dick's novels. And no, it wasn't as good as '1984' or 'Cat's Cradle'.
The book also seems to have early seeds of Dick's later religious explorations. It isn't as heavy as his Valis (or Gnosis) trilogy, but it is hard to escape the feeling that already in the early 60s Dick's mind is working over some of his God/gnosis/divinity ideas. Looking at a timeline for Dick, I notice this novel was written right after The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. This makes sense, because they seem very similar (not identical twins, but Irish twins at least). Anyway, if you are a PKD fan, this one should definitely be on your list.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Niels J. Rasmussen on 04-30-14
An Interesting Cold-War Type Sci-Fi Premise
Any additional comments?
Although this isn't one of PKD's most well known works, it's still worth checking out if you're a fan.
The premise for the story is both humorous AND addictive. Had it been a paper book, I probably would classify it as a page-turner.
My only critique would have to be that, although the narration was great, all of the reader's Soviet accents sounded too similar (even the female ones).
Still definitely worth checking out. And you can't go wrong with the price.
8.3 / 10
5 of 6 people found this review helpful