Dick wrote the novel in 1963 with working titles In Earth's Diurnal Course and A Terran Odyssey. Ace editor Donald Wollheim however suggested the final title which references the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
|Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb|
Cover of first edition (paperback)
|Author||Philip K. Dick|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
Dr. Bloodmoney is set in a post-apocalyptic future. In 1972, before the start of the narrative, Dr. Bruno Bluthgeld (German for "Blood-Money") had led a project testing nuclear weapons as a protectionary measure against Communist China and the Soviet Union. However, a miscalculation caused an atmospheric nuclear accident leading to widespread fallout and mutations. More recently the United States has been involved in a prolonged period of hostilities with China and the Soviet Union erupting in a war in Cuba.
In 1981, the now universally hated Bluthgeld seeks psychotherapy with Dr. Stockstill for his paranoia and guilt. Meanwhile, Stuart McConchie, Hoppy Harrington and Jim Fergesson, employees at Modern TV Sales and Service in Berkeley, California, go through a fairly typical day, pausing to watch Walt and Lydia Dangerfield being launched into orbit in the first stage of a colonization mission to Mars. This ordinary day, however, is disrupted by a massive nuclear strike. Orbiting overhead, Walt Dangerfield witnesses the tragic events as they unfold, while other characters are reduced to desperate measures in their struggle for survival. Fergesson is killed as his shop collapses. Meanwhile, Bluthgeld is convinced that he caused the strike in response to a universal conspiracy against him. Believing that he has shown the world his power, he sets out to heal and restore order through his imagined magical powers.
The narrative jumps to 1988, when many communities have begun to rebuild a sort of order. A military government has arisen in Cheyenne, Wyoming, while in California government is by local community councils that view one another with varying degrees of hostility. Most pre-war technologies and amenities have been lost. Oil shortages result in disabled cars being pulled by horses or fitted with wood-burning (steam) engines. Former California ranch territory has been converted into agricultural land for corn and other crops. Human mutants have become more common, such as phocomeli, as well as conjoined symbiotes. At the same time, former domestic animals like dogs and cats have undergone mutations that have greatly enhanced their intelligence. Many of these former pets and zoo specimens have allied themselves into ferocious tribal units of their own. Bruno Bluthgeld's dog Terry is capable of imitating simple human speech, while some species of felines may have developed their own evolved languages.
Walt Dangerfield, supplied with enough rations to last him for at least several more years, as well as a vast treasury of books and musical recordings, has become a disc jockey in orbit. His broadcasts help provide some sense of continuity with pre-war civilization in the isolated settlements that comprise the postwar world. His wife Lydia committed suicide at some point during the intervening period. Dangerfield has begun to experience symptoms of an unknown medical condition, causing some of his listeners to worry.
In Marin County survivors including Bonny Keller, Dr. Stockstill, June Raub and Hoppy Harrington have organized into a self-governing community. Harrington, a Thalidomide baby missing all four of his limbs, harbors a quietly smoldering resentment of the patronizing and condescending attitudes he endured before the war. He has now become a successful mechanic thanks to electronic servo-mechanism technology as well as his gradually increasing abilities of psychokinesis or mind-over-matter. As such, he becomes a genuinely respected and absolutely indispensable member of the community. His ultimate goal, however, is to dominate and humiliate the people within his community through intimidation via his increasingly capricious and violent misuse of his ever-strengthening powers. He's been using his talents to gradually weaken Walt Dangerfield in order to take over Dangerfield's much-beloved satellite transmissions. Meanwhile, Bluthgeld, under the assumed name of Jack Tree, lives as a sheep farmer outside the community. One outsider searching for the infamous Bluthgeld was exposed by Bonny Keller and summarily executed for his troubles.
Stuart McConchie has become a travelling entrepreneur in the post-apocalyptic world, selling "smart" robotic rat traps for a company based in post-war Berkeley. Still holding onto his ambitious pre-war salesman's mentality, McConchie travels to Marin County to meet Andrew Gill, a cigarette and alcohol entrepreneur, to discuss the re-introduction of automation within his factory as an agent of Berkeley-based business interests. His appearance in West Marin startles Hoppy Harrington and Bruno Bluthgeld, both of whom had last seen McConchie on the day of the "Emergency".
Bluthgeld's increasing psychosis eventually leads to the discovery of his identity. His magical powers, however, do not appear to be entirely imaginary. In his ardent desire to silence the talking satellite he seems to initiate another series of atmospheric explosions merely by willing them to occur. Hoppy, viewing him as a potential rival as well as a direct threat to the community and the planet itself, kills him from several miles away. Harrington employs his own psychokinetic powers in flinging the mad scientist high into the air and then simply letting him fall back to the ground. The Marin County council decides to thank Hoppy by presenting him with gifts of Gill's tobacco, alcohol and a monument in Harrington's honor, but Hoppy scorns these gifts as being much less than he deserves. Bonny Keller begins to worry that Hoppy will set himself up as a vindictive little tin god, and so she flees the county with Gill and McConchie in hopes of eventually settling beyond the reach of his powers.
Meanwhile, Edie Keller's conjoined twin brother Bill, a sentient fetus within her body, has been yearning for an independent existence. Bill Keller is able to communicate telepathically with the dead, and they warn him how dangerous Hoppy is becoming. When Edie approaches Hoppy's house, Harrington uses his powers to draw Bill outside of her in hopes of causing him to perish. Little Bill has a near-lethal adventure inside of an owl before finally engineering a body-swap with Hoppy which quickly proves fatal to Harrington. The idol with feet of clay has finally been toppled.
At the conclusion of the book, Dr. Stockstill begins a course of psychotherapy, broadcast over the radio, with Walt Dangerfield, who seems to be slowly recovering from his illness in the absence of a jealous Hoppy Harrington's debilitating mental emanations.
Hoppy Harrington A phocomelus with psychokinetic powers and the ability to perfectly imitate voices. Having faced discrimination before the war, Hoppy seeks power and respect through his work as a mechanic and his plot to replace Walt Dangerfield. In an afterword to the 1980 Dell paperback edition, Dick noted, "It is not so much that Hoppy is evil but that his power is evil... [he] epitomizes the monster in us: the person who is hungry... for coercive control over others... It is compensation for what he lacked from birth. Hoppy is incomplete, and he will complete himself at the expense of the entire world."
Bruno Bluthgeld aka Jack Tree, aka Dr. Bloodmoney. An atomic physicist, Bluthgeld's miscalculations caused the pre-war Emergency and made him the object of worldwide hatred. He goes into hiding as sheep farmer Jack Tree. Bluthgeld is subject to paranoia, magical thinking, and megalomania; he may or may not actually have magical powers. Dick said of the character, "I have to confess to an overly simple view of Doctor Bluthgeld: I hate him and I hate everything he stands for... I cannot fathom his mind; I cannot understand his hates. It is not the Russians I hear; it is the Doctor Bluthgelds, the Doctor Bloodmoneys, in our own society, that terrify me... [He] is sick, and sick in a way that is dangerous to the rest of us."
Walter Dangerfield Slated to be the first colonist of Mars, Dangerfield was orbiting the earth in a satellite waiting for his final rocket firing when the nuclear war occurred. Stuck in orbit, Dangerfield becomes a popular disc jockey. His wife Lydia had committed suicide shortly after the outbreak of war. Dick said of the character, "[he] is transformed from a man assisting the fragmented postwar society, giving it unity and strength, raising its morale, to a man desperate for help from it... He signifies isolation, which is the horror of the many down below: isolation and a loss of the objects and values that comprised their original world."
Bonny Keller A friend and former colleague of Bluthgeld, Bonny attempts to protect him when he goes into hiding. She has affairs with numerous men including Hal Barnes and Andrew Gill.
Stuart McConchie An African-American salesman, Stuart moves from selling television sets before the war to selling automated traps to kill mutant animals after the war. He expresses disgust for Hoppy Harrington and all "unnatural" results of the Emergency's nuclear fallout. His optimistic personality and salesmanship remain largely unchanged by the post-apocalyptic environment. Dick stated Stuart was his favorite character in the novel and the one whom he most identified with, and whose immediate perception of Bluthgeld as insane is more insightful than Bonny's view of the man, despite the latter's being formed from extensive personal knowledge.
Andrew Gill A tobacco and alcohol merchant, he has a chance sexual encounter with Bonny Keller immediately after the nuclear strike, during which Edie Keller is conceived. In love with Bonny, Gill chooses to remain in West Marin, manufacturing ersatz tobacco and liquor.
Eldon Blaine An eyeglasses salesman who attempts first to kidnap Hoppy Harrington, and later to steal Hoppy's radio, for his own community. He is murdered by Hoppy.
Mr. Austurias The West Marin school teacher, and an avid mushroom collector. He is killed for prying into Jack Tree's identity.
Jim Fergesson Owner of Modern TV Sales and Service, Fergesson is committed to non-discriminatory hiring practices, and consequently hires Stuart McConchie and Hoppy Harrington. He dies instantly during the nuclear strike.
June Raub A community leader of West Marin, who relishes the opportunity the war provides her for proving her worth.
Hal Barnes Mr. Austurias' replacement as West Marin schoolteacher, Barnes has an affair with Bonny Keller, who comes to view him as a coward.
Dick assembled excerpts from Dr. Bloodmoney into a short story in 1964. This version, titled A Terran Odyssey, was first published in volume five of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick in 1987.
Amnesia Moon is a 1995 novel by Jonathan Lethem. Lethem adapted the novel from several unpublished short stories he had written, all about catastrophic, apocalyptic events. In finished form Amnesia Moon bears homage to Philip K. Dick. In fact, during a party scene, one guest describes a battle of wills in West Marin, clearly a reference to Dick's Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb. One character even cites a West Marin inhabitant named "Hoppington", evocative of the mutant telepath Hoppy Harrington in the latter book.Autofac
"Autofac" is a 1955 science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick that features one of the earliest treatments of self-replicating machines (and Dick's second, after his 1953 short story Second Variety). It appeared originally in Galaxy Science Fiction of November 1955, and was reprinted in several collections, including The Variable Man published in 1957, and Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities published in 1984.
The story was adapted by Travis Beacham for an episode of the 2017 TV series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams.Confessions d'un Barjo
Confessions d'un Barjo (known as Barjo for the English-language market) is a 1992 French film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's non-science fiction novel Confessions of a Crap Artist, originally written in 1959 and published in 1975, the only non-science fiction novel of Dick's to be published in his lifetime. The film was directed by Jérôme Boivin and written by Jacques Audiard and Jérôme Boivin, and stars Anne Brochet, Richard Bohringer and Hippolyte Girardot. "Barjo" translates as "nutcase" or "nut job".If There Were No Benny Cemoli
"If There Were No Benny Cemoli" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in the December, 1963 issue of Galaxy magazine with illustration by Lutjens."The Proxmen rebuilding war-torn Earth want to prosecute its leaders for war crimes. Benny Cemoli would be the biggest catch of all, if they could just find him. -- Steven Owen GoderskyMary and the Giant
Mary and the Giant is an early, non-science fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick in the years between 1953 and 1955, but not published until 1987.Nick and the Glimmung
Nick and the Glimmung is a children's science fiction novel originally written by American author Philip K. Dick in 1966. It was first published by Gollancz in 1988. It is set on "Plowman's Planet" (Sirius Five), in the same continuity as his adult science fiction novel Galactic Pot-Healer.Novelty Act
"Novelty Act" is a short story by Philip K. Dick. It involves a dystopian future in which the characters' lives are based on entertaining the First Lady of the United States with "novelty acts".Our Friends from Frolix 8
Our Friends From Frolix 8 is a 1970 science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick.Second Variety (1991 collection)
Second Variety is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Citadel Twilight in 1991 and reprints Volume III of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick with the addition of the story "Second Variety". Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines If, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, Future, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Satellite, Science Fiction Quarterly, Imaginative Tales and Space Science Fiction.Strange Eden
"Strange Eden" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Imagination magazine, December 1954.The Best of Philip K. Dick
The Best of Philip K. Dick is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Del Rey Books in 1977. Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Planet Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Space Science Fiction, Imagination, Astounding Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Stories and Startling Stories, as well as the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Star Science Fiction Stories No.3.The Days of Perky Pat
"The Days of Perky Pat" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1963 in Amazing magazine.The Days of Perky Pat (collection)
The Days of Perky Pat is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Gollancz in 1990 and reprints Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. It had not previously been published as a stand-alone volume. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.The Electric Ant
"The Electric Ant" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in October 1969.The Minority Report (1991 collection)
The Minority Report is a re-titled collection of science fiction stories by Philip K. Dick. It was published by Gollancz and Citadel Twilight in 1991, being a reprint of Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick: The Days of Perky Pat (1987). The collection The Days of Perky Pat (collection) was published in Britain in hardback by Golancz in 1990 and in paperback by Grafton in 1991. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.The Pre-persons
"The Pre-persons" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, October 1974.
The story was a pro-life response to Roe v. Wade. Dick imagines a future where the United States Congress has decided that abortion is legal until the soul enters the body. The specific instant is defined by the administration, at present the moment a person has the ability to perform simple algebraic calculations (around the age of 12).
The main protester — a former Stanford mathematics major — demands to be taken to the abortion center, since he claims to have forgotten all his algebra.The Variable Man (collection)
The Variable Man is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Ace Books in 1957. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Space Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe and Galaxy Science FictionVintage PKD
Vintage PKD is a collection of science fiction stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction by Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Vintage Books in 2006.Waterspider
"Waterspider" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in the January 1964 edition of If magazine.Dick's story "Waterspider" features Poul Anderson as one of the main characters. The author refers to himself and his stories "The Variable Man" and "The Defenders", and mentions several other science fiction writers of the period, including Murray Leinster, A. E. van Vogt, Margaret St. Clair, Jack Vance, and Isaac Asimov.