Dr. Bloodmoney Critical Essays

Philip K. Dick


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Dr. Bloodmoney was one of four novels Dick completed in 1963 and one of twelve completed be-tween 1962 and 1964, a period of prodigious output. He was, at this time, writing some of his finest science fiction. He recently had won the Hugo Award in 1963 for best science-fiction novel of the year for his alternate history story, The Man in the High Castle (1962), the book for which he is perhaps best known.

The post-nuclear holocaust novel had emerged clearly as an important subgenre of science fiction by the time Dick’s novel was published by Ace Books in 1965. The title itself is the result of a marketing ploy by Ace, a not very subtle allusion to Stanley Kubrick’s highly successful 1964 film about nuclear war, Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Dick’s original title for the novel was In Earth’s Diurnal Course, but the novel does have a character named Dr. Bluthgeld, translatable as “Bloodmoney.”

The late 1950’s and early 1960’s had seen many fine post-holocaust novels published, among the most notable of which are Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (1957), Mordecai Roshwald’s Level 7 (1959), Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon (1959), Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960), and Robert A. Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold (1964). Dr. Bloodmoney shares at least a superficial similarity with...

(The entire section is 405 words.)