- The Game-Players of Titan
infobox Book |
name = The Game-Players of Titan
image_caption = Cover of first edition (paperback)
Philip K. Dick
language = English
Science fiction novel
release_date = 1963
media_type = Print (
pages = 191 pp
isbn = NA
"The Game-Players of Titan" is a
1963 science fictionnovel by Philip K. Dick.
Pete Garden is the central character of this work. Pete is one of several Californian residents in a depopulated,
post-apocalypticfuture world who own large swathes of property. These citizens are syndicates of regular competitors who play a board game ("Bluff"). These contestants (or "Bindmen") stake their property, marriages, and future status as eligible game players on its outcomes. Pete also experiences bipolar disorder, which may adversely affect his competence as a Game participant.
The Game is administered by amorphous, silicon-based aliens from
Titan, Saturn's largest satellite. These creatures, known as the vugs, are obsessed with gambling. In addition, the Game's exogamyhelps to promote human fertility after the devastation of global warfare, after satellite-born East German "Henkel Radiation" weaponry sterilised much of the Earths population. The vug exert hegemony over Earth, but do not occupy it as such. Instead, it is visualised as a paternalistic relationship. Moreover, while the vugs are telepaths, they do not permit human telepathyor precognitionwithin that arena of the Game. It is also the case that the vugs are involved within human syndicates, using induced hallucinationto maintain the semblance of human form.
At the beginning, Pete has lost his favourite property, Berkeley, and his wife, Freya. Moreover, Berkeley's new owner has sold it to a notoriously corrupt Bindman from the East Coast. Pete misses Freya, and worries about the compatibility of his new wife. He is also attracted to Pat McClain, a mysteriously fertile woman living within his remaining property, as well as Mary Anne, her eighteen year-old daughter. Pat is a telepath, while her husband Allen is precognitive, and their daughter manifests
telekinesis. In this novel, telepathsdisplay the full gamut of psionicabilities, as telepathy, precognition, and telekinesis figure prominently. These telepaths resent the fact that they are not allowed to participate in the Game, due to possible abuse of their abilities during the contest. Pete breaks off his tentative relationship with Pat when he discovers that his new wife, Carol, is pregnant- a rare occurrence in this largely infertile, depopulated world.
Jerome Luckman, a leading New York syndicate player and the new owner of Berkeley, is murdered, and Pete is implicated, along with six other members of his syndicate, Pretty Blue Fox. However, Pete and the other syndicate members are suffering from induced amnesia, which leads to further vug/human police suspicions.. Pete discovers that vugs are abusing their own psionic abilities to appear human. However, the vugs also have their own political factions, which further complicates matters. "Extremists" do favour subversion and conquest of Earth, while "moderates" favour the status quo of paternalistic collaboration. Pretty Blue Fox syndicate members are teleported to Titan, and play a decisive Game with Titanian vug counterparts for the future of their two worlds.
*"Game-Players of Titan" displays characteristics of two earlier PKD novels. His first, "
Solar Lottery", also dealt with global games of chance, while " The Ganymede Takeover" dealt with human/alien relationships after alien invasion from nonhuman inhabitants of outer planetswithin Earth's solar system.
* [http://www.philipkdick.com/works_novels_titan.html Official PKDick website review]
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