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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said | [Philip K. Dick]

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Pop star Jason Taverner is the product of a top-secret government experiment that produced a selection of genetically enhanced people 40 years ago. Unusually bright and beautiful, he's a television idol beloved by millions - until one day, all records of his identity inexplicably disappear. Overnight, he has gone from being a celebrity to a being a man no one seems to recognize. And in a police state, having no proof of his existence is enough to put his life in danger.
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Publisher's Summary

Pop star Jason Taverner is the product of a top-secret government experiment that produced a selection of genetically enhanced people 40 years ago. Unusually bright and beautiful, he's a television idol beloved by millions - until one day, all records of his identity inexplicably disappear. Overnight, he has gone from being a celebrity to a being a man no one seems to recognize. And in a police state, having no proof of his existence is enough to put his life in danger.

As Jason races to solve the riddle of his disappearance, Philip K. Dick immerses us in an Orwellian atmosphere of betrayal, secrecy, and conspiracy. Painting a horribly plausible portrait of a neo-fascist America, he explores the meaning of identity and reality in a world skewed by drugs, genetic enhancement, and a culture of celebrity.

©1974 Philip K. Dick; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Dick [was] many authors: a poor man's Pynchon, an oracular postmodern, a rich product of the changing counterculture." (Village Voice)
"One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction, Philip K. Dick made most of the European avant-garde seem navel-gazers in a cul-de-sac." (Sunday Times, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (219 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (70)
3 star
 (60)
2 star
 (17)
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3.7 (92 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (89 )
5 star
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4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Shawn Fairfax, VA, United States 05-17-08
    Shawn Fairfax, VA, United States 05-17-08 Member Since 2006
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    "One of Philip K. Dick's Best"

    Philip K. Dick had a way of writing moralist science fiction without the moralist, science, or fiction getting in the way of a good story. I believe that is why so many of his stories did well as movies (unlike other more popular authors like Stephen King). This book is one of this best. The book paces well. You meet many characters along the way and one of Dick's strengths is to make you feel involved and care for each one of the characters. Few authors make so many characters meaningful and real. You can enjoy this book from many levels and many points of view, it is not a book simply about the main character, which was something I really liked about the book. Even Charles Dickens would use vanilla characters to tell the tale of more interesting blokes (like Oliver Twist). Not so with Dick in this book. You find yourself deeply involved with each one and cheering for them in their struggle to deal with life.

    Scott Brick in one of my favorite readers. His delivery is clear and keeps you interested.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 12-02-13
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 12-02-13 Member Since 2011

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Nowhere Nuthin' Flow-up"

    Probably 3.5 stars, but I tend towards grade-inflation with authors I admire, so -- just to be safe -- I'm rounding down on this one. I liked the first 4/5, but the last quintile bugged a little. It started brilliantly, but ended with a J. Leno (long explanation of the joke just told). It was like towards the end PKD discounted his readers would get it, so he left simple instructions (remove plastic before eating) and tied the whole thing off neat (with complementary happy ending). Other than the explanatory ending and the relative happy ending for the narrator, the book was fascinating and at times brilliant.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Knoxville, TN, USA 05-11-12
    Angela Knoxville, TN, USA 05-11-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not Scott Brick's Best Performance"

    The novel covers themes that Dick often explored in his writing - the nature of reality and how well we can trust our own interpretations of it, as well as the effect of drugs on our perceptions.

    In this story of Jason Tavener, a celebrity who wakes up in a fleabag motel to find himself an overnight unknown, there are a lot of possible explanations for what happened, and the listener is kept guessing while Dick takes us through all the various characters who might help Jason figure out how to get back to his real life. I wouldn't like to give away too much of the ending, but I'll just say there was a similar denouement in the short story "The Electric Ant," which I personally liked better.

    I think part of the problem for me was that Scott Brick simply wasn't the right narrator for this story. I have enjoyed his narrations in the past, and I bought this story mostly because I am a big fan of Philip K. Dick's, but partly due to the fact that Scott Brick was reading it. Unfortunately, his style just doesn't seem suited to Dick's dark humor. And there is definitely humor in Dick's stories, even though he is usually writing about such topics as drug abuse, police brutality and alienation from society.

    For listeners who want to give a Philip K Dick story a try, I would recommend Paul Giamatti narration of A Scanner Darkly instead. It's grim and tragic, but Giamatti will also make you laugh.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall Roseville, CA, United States 04-25-09
    Randall Roseville, CA, United States 04-25-09 Member Since 2003
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    "CLASSIC"

    This is my favorite Phillip K Dick book, it is well written and well read. Love those electric Sheep.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Clements Hillsboro, OR 04-25-14
    John Clements Hillsboro, OR 04-25-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Not Dick's Best, Narration is Kitschy"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    My time was well spent enough that I needed a book for a drive and I notched out another Dick book I hadn't read. A lot of the action is spent in rooms and dialogue, in monologue, and internal monologue. There's only a few characters of contrived relationship and not a satisfying exploration of the greater dystopian world and the possibilities of the revealed sf conceit or gimmick.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Philip K. Dick? Why or why not?

    Oh yes. I have always liked PKD and will always give a listen or read. I especially liked Giamatti's narration of A Scanner Darkly.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

    No. His narration was Captain Kirk-like and kitschy. Kind of like Troy McClure from the Simpsons, or Ken Nordine from Word Jazz (which I detest). All the female voices were quavery and sounded on the edge of breakdown. Voices were mostly overdramatic. It made it hard to sympathize with anyone, or take the story seriously, as it came across as pulpy. It would probably not be a bad read from a book, as I would be able to fit my own ideas of tone as I read the story.


    Could you see Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    What does this question have to do with a review of this audiobook? Sure, all his writings will probably be made into movies.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dubi New York, NY, United States 04-08-14
    Dubi New York, NY, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2011

    People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.

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    "Does Not Stand the Test of Time"
    What did you like best about Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said? What did you like least?

    PKD is a formidable writer -- I've read him in print and listened to him on audio. His style is one of the major redeeming qualities of Flow My Tears. So too is his examination of celebrity and what life in a police state does to both the policed and the police, although neither of those topics is exactly unexplored territory. The first half of the book was in fact quite absorbing, until it took off in different directions.

    One big problem with this book is that it is seriously dated. And you can't qualify for classic status if you're dated. In addition to the obvious -- dated language ("I just want to rap with you") and technology (the protagonist doesn't even know the right term for that newfangled phonograph needle) -- there is little that PKD says about celebrity and police states that is not already intrinsic to our society (although to be fair, I have to grant him the possibility that that was exactly his point).

    But worst of all, impossible to overlook, are the attitudes -- racism, sexism, homophobia, elitism -- that his characters carry with them that have radically changed in the 40 years since the book was written, even if they have not yet been solved. Not only are these attitudes outdated, they make the characters wholly unsympathetic -- again, that may be part of PKD's point, at least to start with, but he clearly wants his two main characters to be redeemed in the end, and they cannot be.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Philip K. Dick again?

    Right now, no. I've tried two, and they both suffer from the same problem of having grown out of date. They are so much a product of their era that I'm having a serious issue with getting past that. Maybe down the road I'll want to give him another try.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Scott Brick is a prolific reader of audiobooks. This is the third I've heard, and he always does a good solid job. It would be easy to criticize this reading as overly ponderous, but that is not on him, it's on the writer. He does far better with this book than the reader of the last PKD title I listened to.


    Was Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said worth the listening time?

    Despite my problems with it, yes -- for me, it was worth listening to more of the work of a writer that I wanted to delve into, even though this will be it for a while. For others, perhaps the problems I had were unique to me and will not affect anyone else.


    Any additional comments?

    How to do this without spoilers? I was already turning off to the latter half of the book, so the ending didn't exactly ruin it for me, but not only did it fail to redeem the story, I was furious with the explanation for why the protagonist plunges into his Kafkaesque situation at the start. Even the reprehensible "It was all a dream" would have been better. It takes nearly a whole chapter to explain it, and it requires a previously unknown character to flat out explain it, rather than incorporating it into the story. That would be a minor art crime in and of itself, except that the actual explanation is just terrible -- nonsensical, gratuitous, and too late.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Lake Havasu City, AZ, United States 12-10-13
    Michael Lake Havasu City, AZ, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Not Mr. Dick’s best unreality"

    One thing that Philip K. Dick is known for is his ability to make the reader question reality. For example, what is the reality and what is stimulated imagination in “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale?” In “Impostor” who is human and who is not? Dick also presents us with conundrums in “Minority Report” and “The Adjustment Bureau.” But he usually leaves the issue unanswered, letting us postulate and debate what really happened. “Flow my Tears …” starts off with PKD’s usual ‘what’s going on’ approach but then tries to explain what happened in the end along with an epilogue?! Not classic PKD and not a classic story. Sorry.

    I usually enjoy Scott Brick, but I’ve gotten so used to him in the Clive Cussler novels that he just didn’t sound right in this story. Nothing against Scott, I just think this story would have benefitted from a different narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew Littleton, CO, United States 01-08-13
    Drew Littleton, CO, United States 01-08-13
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    "Classic, crazy Philip K Dick"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I don't know many friends I would recommend this too, although I got my book club to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and I was surprised to find they liked it fairly well.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Philip K. Dick? Why or why not?

    I have several Dick books on my wish list.


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm a Scott Brick fan, having heard several Nelson DeMille books read by him. He makes dialogue in this book come to life in a realistic way-- which plays against the dream-like feel of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I was a little surprised by some-- shall I say-- debased aspects of the story. I don't recall that element so much in other books by this author. It's a rambling tale, but that's its strength.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eddie Pearce 01-02-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Brilliant start disappointing ending"

    This Dick novel started sooo brilliantly but like several Dick books fell apart toward the end in my opinion. I was disappointed to say the least.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marti Pretoria, South Africa 02-10-10
    Marti Pretoria, South Africa 02-10-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Terrible!"

    I can't believe Scott Brick is the narrator as he is usually very good. This time however, he is so over the top and overly dramatic that I simply can't take it anymore. I think this is the first time I'm going to leave a audio book halfway.

    The story also doesn't seem to be going anywhere and quite frankly, I don't care what happens to the main character. What's his name again?

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Mr Gerard A Twomey
    4/1/08
    Overall
    "They're out to get you"

    Like most of PKD's books this one is a nifty slice of personal paranoia and oddly moving manic encounters with characters who all twist under scrutiny as the protagonist, Jason Taverner, discovers he is trapped in a police state without his ID. He is a celebrity who loses himself. I won't go on and spoil the story for those that haven't read it, but suffice it to say that this is an entertaining listen, well paced and full of PKD's usual inventiveness. It's surprisingly contemporary, and cracks along at a good pace. Try it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Alan
    Northwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    10/21/08
    Overall
    "Not sure!"

    Well, i'm not really sure if I got that. Maybe this is typical of PKD so apologies to his fans if you disagree with my comments. The story has several long monologues scattered throughout which don't seem to add to the plot itself. There's a lot of philosophising going on. I guess, without trying to give anything away, I was disappointed with the ending as it's not something 'real'. I'm pretty open minded but this one wasn't for me. Sorry for sounding so negative - hope you can prove me wrong!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Marc
    london, United Kingdom
    3/1/14
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    "really not very good"
    What was most disappointing about Philip K. Dick’s story?

    The characters were unlikeable and confusing, only got halfway through and nothing had really happened,really dull


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Putney, United Kingdom
    11/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic Dick"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said to be better than the print version?

    Not read the print version


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said?

    The incest


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Twerp fan adored by millions.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a decent Dick book. Good story, thought provoking. Like most Dick books though I wish this had just been a cut-down version and somewhere out there was a longer version, with greater detail an more going on. Guess I'm a fan of epics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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