the Little Red Reviewer

So many cool ideas! and then it got boring. #Spoilers.

Posted on: February 25, 2018

So, I finished We Can Build You, by Philip K Dick.


There are spoilers ahead. #SorryNotSorry.


This book started out so interesting!!  Lots of cool ideas,  simulacrum robots who can pass for human (oh, hai cylons!), there was so much potential for conversations about what makes us alive and how would you know you were a simulacrum, and if you were a simulacrum how would it change you life and maybe it wouldn’t change your life at all. Could you convince yourself you were a robot? Could a robot convince themselves they were a human? My brain was overflowing with hope for interesting ideas.   There is an Edward Stanton simulacrum, and then they make an Abraham Lincoln. Even more possibility for cool things to happen!


And then Louis had to decide he was in love with Pris.


Louis’s business partner is Maury, and Pris is Maury’s brilliantly creative but mentally unstable 18 year old daughter.  She’s cold towards Louis (because why would an 18 year old be interested in her dad’s buddy? oh, that’s right, she isn’t), and the colder she is towards him, the more he becomes obsessed with her.


All those cool ideas? All those cool possibilities? The idea of Abraham Lincoln having to navigate the modern world?  All out the window because Louis chases Pris all over the place, even though she is in a relationship with someone else, even though Maury forbids Louis from being in a relationship with his daughter.    Really, the second half of this book was so fucking boring.  I’d read like 5 pages and then fall asleep.


I guess if I read between the lines as far as possible, I could pull something out of this near-future society’s obsession with right thinking and skewed mental health,  that we are being programmed to think and act a certain way, the way a robot is programmed, and when we aren’t acting correctly, when something is wrong with our mental health, we have to be institutionalized to be “reprogrammed”.   Maybe that is what this novel is about?  I had to get through what felt like 500 pages of Louis chasing and threatening people for Pris’s attentions, to get to that?


I was really hoping that at the end there would be some big reveal that Louis was a simulacrum, or maybe that Pris was.  Spoiler! that doesn’t happen.


I got a few more Philip K Dick books floating around, I hope they are better.


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7 Responses to "So many cool ideas! and then it got boring. #Spoilers."

Sounds awful – and after so much promise. What a missed opportunity.
Lynn 😀


Aw, shucks. I hate the waste of a good premise.


right? i’m ticked i wasted so many days on this book. could have been reading somethign GOOD.


Not one of his better books. In fact it’s one of his worst.


which of his are your favorites, and which should I avoid at all costs?


I love PKD books


which are your favorites? any you suggest I avoid, as a PKD newbie?


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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