• Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (939 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Dick skillfully explores the psychological ramifications of this nightmare." - The New York Times Review of Books

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said grapples with many of the themes Philip K. Dick is best known for - identity, altered reality, drug use, and dystopia - in a rollicking chase story that earned the novel the John W. Campbell Award and nominations for the Hugo and Nebula.

Jason Taverner - world-famous talk show host and man-about-town - wakes up one day to find that no one knows who he is - including the vast databases of the totalitarian government. And in a society where lack of identification is a crime, Taverner has no choice but to go on the run with a host of shady characters, including crooked cops and dealers of alien drugs. But do they know more than they are letting on? And just how can a person's identity be erased overnight?

©1974 Philip K. Dick (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

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An excellent reading of an amazing book

'Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said' may go down as one my favorite books. The story is packed so densely with metaphor that it probably warrants multiple readings. The only other Phillip K. Dick books that I've read are 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' and 'The Man in the High Castle', both of which I enjoyed I lot. I found the story of this book both more creative and more compelling.

I have heard people say that they shy away from PKD because his writing is sexist. Some of the stuff in this book can also be interpreted as racist. The only thing I can say is that you must stick it through to the end. Sexism, racism, and bigotry exist in this book the same way they exist in real life: as elements of the world surrounding and permeating the characters. By the end of the story, some of the characters identify these negative traits in themselves and thereby push through them, others don't. Interpret the treatment of these social issues however you would like, but I believe that Dick puts them in the story to call them out, not to support them.

I listened to the audio version of this story, read by Phil Gigante. Gigante did an excellent job with the wide range of characters and I never found myself getting distracted by his voice and tone choices. Overall production quality of the audio tracks was also superb. If you have an 8+ hour drive, get this audio book.

32 people found this helpful

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Choose wisely

I didnt feel any connection to any characters and at no point was in awe of the setting/society created by PKD. I listened to Ubik and A Scanner Darkly so I was very excited by this book, but that ended quickly as I struggled to get bu this story. I think I’m in the minority, but I would not recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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PKD Comes Alive!

This is a fantastic performance of PKD's 'Flow My Tears.' The narrator provides an excellent diversity of voices and dramatizes the whole story with an engaging rhythm. I loved it!

As a PKD book, it's slightly different than most I've read as the protagonist is an alpha male with a cocky swagger, a famous TV personality and singer with plenty of mistresses. Early in the novel he finds that his identity has been erased and nobody knows who he is. He goes from famous to a nobody, struggling to survive in totalitarian state.

The novel has some similarities to 'Do Androids Dream' in that the protagonist questions his own existence, and seems to bounce around between two worlds. There is also the policeman who is trying to figure out who he is and track him down.

It's a fun and engaging performance that keeps you questioning what's really going on. Classic Philip K Dick. You'll enjoy!

7 people found this helpful

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Mixed feelings

I have mixed feelings about this book. This is probably my third time through it.

The first time I read it It reminded me a lot of the movie Dark City. There were things about the novel that bothered me but I thought I had discovered a new favorite PKD novel.

The first time I listed to it from Audible I returned it because of the incest and the F-bomb is dropped a lot.

I'm reading and listening to a lot of PKD and so I got and listened to it again. It is a really good book. But be warned about the elements I described above.

1 person found this helpful

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Love dick

Dick does it again this time with more drugs and more cops and incest too

1 person found this helpful

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Classic PKD

An interesting thought experiment, based on a simple principle, although I'm afraid Dick's explanation of a possible mechanism for it struck me as obfuscation through complication.

The narrator was a joy for me to discover, especially his capability for female voices. The various females did end up sounding a little too similar, and his implementation of them was perhaps too sultry, but I was impressed nonetheless.

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very good and deep.

I can see why the book is so famous and well known. it's very unique.

1 person found this helpful

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A thinker and a thriller (with reservations)

Philip K. Dick can astound with his mastery of words and his imaginative worlds. Few others can draw you into a sci-fi world and keep you there consistently.

The performance was wonderful too. The voices perfectly matched. And heck, I even cried at certain parts due to the great emotion placed upon the more famous quotes of the book. However, there are reservations.

The plot is, in a sense, very strange and not terribly well explained or justified in the end. The strange creature shown in act I isn’t explained and the beginning is mostly irrelevant. Also, Jason Taverner doesn’t REALLY learn any true lessons in the end. He’s just another rich person with an unhealthy sex life.

But definitely give this book a try. It’s great.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow, aged beautifully, loved every moment of this

I usually am hesitant on old school sci fi, worried how they might age or if the concepts might come off as cheesy.

This did not at all, it felt so stylized by its age actually and beautiful writing. If it was written today it probably would be considered a reimagining if what the future would be like through an alternative history.

The story is absolutely a fever dream of wild situations happening and bizarre characters. The plot also, wasn't very complicated in its concept but felt complicated in how it was executed. It felt like a real imagining of what this situation would be like in this future world. The world building was really well done and did a good job at supporting the tension behind the plot.

The ending was just great too. Subtle, but felt conclusive in a way that satisfied the curiosities of what was going on. I was definitely happy with where it wrapped up.

Overall, this is definitely something I'd be recommending

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One of PKD's best despite some weirdness

I love most books I read by PKD. I haven't been able to finish a book in a while and this one grabbed my attention all the way through. As a reader, I wanted to understand why the main character was suddenly forgotten. How does one go from total fame to total nonexistence? The almost noir quality of the story premise really helped pull me into the story early on.

Modern readers may be turned off in a couple passages by what some would call "problematic" parts of the story regarding women, people of color, and lesbianism but I think if you take this all in with a grain of salt and the knowledge of it being written in 1974 with PKD's concerns about a police state clamping down on human life, then the tone almost kind of works. The plot device about a racist politician being able to greenlight some eugenics in 1970's American is super shocking and unsettling but I think that's the point. I think you as a reader are supposed to feel sort of uneasy about the "run of the mill" way some of the most shocking things about the society presented this novel are described. The fact that Universities are so heavily guarded by police and that forced labor camps in the USA are just part of their reality and just sort of part of the background is absurd and terrifying... which, absurdly terrifying is a tone that PKD does extremely well.

This one isn't as depressing as some other PKD I've read.

The main antagonist character, the police marshal, becomes such an important character in the final chapters and PKD uses this character to deliver the meat of his message and give voice to the moral implications of the story. Using this character to do this is a little strange because the character himself is so deplorable. An interesting literary device to use the most easy to hate character to deliver the main message of empathy and sorrow in the face of totalitarianism toward the end.

I'll probably read this one again.

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  • r m allan
  • 01-02-17

Classic PKD

It's PKD so won't be bad...a little dated now but aren't we all...good narration and enjoyed the whole thing

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-03-20

great story if you like PKD

if you enjoy pkd story's I would recommend. if you are new to this type of story try ubik or do androids dream of electric sheep. then come back to this. I enjoyed very much. narrator was good.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicholas O'Brien
  • 02-20-18

A great example of why Philip K Dick is as interesting as Orwell.

The use of a future setting allows the author to explore human behaviour and itge way patterns endure in different times. Beautifully read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kreezer
  • 03-05-20

Eternal Masterpiece

A beautifully read, exploration of people just trying to get through life when reality is subtly altered which has unforeseen ripple effects.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MARCUS
  • 01-30-18

Not quite his best

Still good and I will listen to it again. But Eldritch, Android, Ubiq, Scanner are some of the most thought provoking novels ever. This guy was a genius! Oh and don't forget VALIS. But don't read that as your first novel of his.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • T. Crittenden
  • 08-22-16

enjoyed, but weird book

this was a weird book, I kind of enjoyed it but i wouldn't say it's Philip K Dick's best book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-19

Classic Dick though not my favourite

Well read and well wrapped up but a little... pointless feeling. Sounded like PKD was reading a lot of Kafka. Theres that cyclic beaurocratic vibe to it. Didnt live it. Didnt hate it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ray Hecht
  • 10-26-21

Definitely pertinent as ever

Of all the classic science fiction authors: Nobody but nobody predicted our surreal 21st century like P.K. Dick! It can't be said enough.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is a dystopian novel, which is a worn genre at this point. Yet what sets it apart is the way it intersects a deeply paranoid police state... with shallow celebrity pop culture. Feeling familiar yet?

The main character is a very unlikable talk show host, who finds himself an "unperson" one morning: nobody remembers who he is and he doesn't have any papers in order. The way he maneuvers this society makes him an interesting point-of-view character. There is horrifying racism, disturbing sexual deviancy, and very messed up drug trips. 1970s-era Philip K. Dick really lets loose.

Another interesting aspect is giving the readers a perspective of a police general within this setting. Because there are no good guys, or at least we just aren't focusing on the good guys. While the young students in internment camps are only talked about as background, the main guy running for his life couldn't be less worthy of rooting for. This is no Winston Smith. The police figure on the other hand is trying to uncover the mystery, while somewhat doing the best they can in this horror of a world.

A criticism of the novel is the way it resolves in the end. Not to spoil, but the ambiguity is more or less explained by the end. Perhaps this is what makes Dick a science fiction writer, and not a magical realist, because the literary characterization still needs a somewhat pseudoscientific explanation.

When analyzing Flow My Tears, looking through the lens of pulp fiction and 70s counterculture is the point, and I certainly think it's still valid as we are two decades in to the next century. Sure it would be written a different way today, but this shouldn't take away the impact of the text. While less essential than other works by the author, it still holds up well and is an excellent read for completists and casual readers alike.

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  • Martin Van Rooy
  • 12-11-17

PKD review

Absolutely loved this audio book, the narrator is very apt at story telling and had me engrossed in moments. Highly recommend this audio book for all!!