Clans of the Alphane Moon

by Philip K. Dick

Review by Bob Wright

Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964) is one of Dick's best novels. It is set mainly on Earth and a moon "colonized" by various clans- the Manses (manic-depressives, stress on manic), the Heebs (hebephrenics), and Skitzs (schizophrenics). It is not only a world where the patients are running the asylum, but where the asylum is the world.

One of the powerful things about Dick's novels, and this one in particular, is that they deal with the human situation before (and yes, quite often to the detriment of) the science. Clans of the Alphane Moon is about marriage and divorce, sex and impotence, blackmail, guilt, and self-loathing. It also is about interstellar politics. The important issues deal with the former, but there is a solid and interesting sf plot in which they are posited.

Dick, in his work, typically presents a juxtaposition of daily life and the bizarre. He once explained the tone of his work thus: "Your wife might leave you and take the children and then the Martians would come into your living room."

Clans is essential Philip K. Dick, and ranks among his best novels. This novel, along with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, is required reading for all lovers of great sf.

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