Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Analysis

Philip K. Dick

The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The plot of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is an interesting variation of Philip K. Dick’s characteristic multifocused plot style, which consists of many characters whose lives slowly become intertwined. In this novel, Dick focuses on only two characters, but they are highly original, and their personal lives mirror each others, in ways that often are quite subtle.

The novel begins by introducing world-famous television personality Jason Taverner. The self-centered, egotistical Taverner answers an earnest summons from a former protégée of his, Marilyn Mason. He unknowingly walks into a trap arranged by her and is set upon by a Callisto cuddle sponge, a gelatinous creature that plunges its many feeding tubes deep into Taverner’s body. He loses consciousness, only to awake in a seedy hotel in a poverty-ridden part of town.

Taverner quickly discovers that he is unknown in the world in which he has awakened. Because he has no identification papers, he does not exist officially in this world. Moreover, the world into which Taverner has been thrown is a police state, ruled by the bureaucratic police chief, Felix Buckman, the other major protagonist in the novel. Buckman seems to be the sort of bureaucrat one could easily detest; it is a testament to Dick’s skill that he is capable of eliciting the readers deepest sympathies.

It is revealed that Buckman lives in an incestuous relationship with his sister Alys and has...

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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Bibliography

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Apel, D. Scott, ed. Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection. San Diego: Permanent Press, 1987.

Carrere, Emmanuel. I Am Alive and You Are Dead: The Strange Life and Times of Philip K. Dick. Translated by Timothy Bent. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003.

Lem, Stanislaw. Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984.

Mackey, Douglas A. Philip K. Dick. Boston: Twayne, 1988.

Mason, Daryl. The Biography of Philip K. Dick. London: Gollancz, 2006.

Olander, Joseph, and Martin Harry Greenberg, eds. Philip K. Dick. New York: Taplinger, 1983.

Palmer, Christopher. Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

Sutin, Lawrence. Divine Invasion: A Life of Philip K. Dick. New York: Harmony Books, 1987.

Umland, Samuel J., ed. Philip K. Dick Contemporary Critical Interpretations (Contributions to the Study of Science Fantasy). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Warrick, Patricia. Mind in Motion: The Fiction of Philip K. Dick. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.

Williams, Paul. Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick. New York: Arbor House, 1986.