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The Zap Gun | [Philip K. Dick]

The Zap Gun

In this biting satire, the Cold War may have ended, but the eastern and western governments never told their citizens. Instead they created an elaborate ruse wherein each side comes up with increasingly outlandish doomsday weapons - weapons that don’t work. But when aliens invade, the top designers of both sides have to come together to make a real doomsday device - if they don’t kill each other first. 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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Publisher's Summary

In this biting satire, the Cold War may have ended, but the eastern and western governments never told their citizens. Instead they created an elaborate ruse wherein each side comes up with increasingly outlandish doomsday weapons - weapons that don’t work. But when aliens invade, the top designers of both sides have to come together to make a real doomsday device - if they don’t kill each other first.

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.

©1967 Philip K Dick (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 01-29-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 01-29-15

    But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niels J. Rasmussen 04-30-14 Member Since 2015

    Dr. Nils Rasmussen

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    "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
  •  
    David Tunbridge Wells 12-28-12
    David Tunbridge Wells 12-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Weird."

    Okay, I accept that everything PKD is supposed to be weird. But I didn't find it particularly though-provoking, or illustrative of some greater theme of mankind, sentience, or humanity. I just found it to be odd.

    I actually stop-started this one, something I rarely do, and even more rarely with something this short. I just lost interest not all that far in and wandered off to another book. Several books, I think. I finished this one during a brief credit drought when I was craving something 'new'. It wasn't bad, it was just average. Boiler plate. A shift worth of filler, but something I'm unlikely to ever actually download a second time for another listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Kalamazoo, MI, United States 07-27-12
    Jonathan Kalamazoo, MI, United States 07-27-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Messy. Fun. Brilliant!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I read it 10 years ago... one of my least favorite Dick books at the time, but the Audio version by Brilliance Audio is brilliant, like all their newest Dick titles,


    What other book might you compare The Zap Gun to and why?

    While there is a common thread with all of Dick's book's, but this one is particularly enigmatic... I know of no other book where there are fashion designers churning out bogus weapons in a bogus arms race, although there are "pre-fash" designers in The 3 Stigmata, not for weapons but for layouts, and there is the very common Dickian theme of a bogus arms race to dupe the populace... But this is a brilliantly conceived work... takes a while to unwind, but if you like dick, you'll love this book.


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

    Captures the various characters with a great range of Sellers-like tricks. Fantastic.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Impotent Weapons.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy it's a bargain, so you don"t have to use your credits!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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