Sometimes even gods need help. In Galactic Pot-Healer that god is an alien creature known as the Glimmung, which looks alternately like a flaming wheel, a teenage girl, and a swirling mass of ocean life. In order to raise a sunken city, he summons beings from across the galaxy to Plowman's Planet. Joe Fernwright is one of those summoned, needed for his skills at pot-healing - repairing broken ceramics. But from the moment Joe arrives on Plowman's Planet, things start to go awry. Is the Glimmung good or evil? Are Joe and his friends helping to save Plowman's Planet or destroy it? Told as only Philip K. Dick can, Galactic Pot-Healer is a wildly funny tale of aliens, gods, and ceramics.
©1969 Philip K. Dick (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"If You Like your Pottery & Gods Fractured & Funky"
“No structure, even an artificial one, enjoys the process of entropy. It is the ultimate fate of everything, and everything resists it.”
― Philip K. Dick, Galactic Pot-Healer
The idea of this book at first reminded me of the concept of Kintsukuroi (金繕い or golden repair). Kintsukuroi, essentially, is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. I was first exposed to this idea and unique art form years ago when I was reading about Wabi-Sabi. I have since been over-exposed to photos of beautifully broken vases and bowls repaired and posted on Pinterest and Facebook. As a philosophy, or idea, Kintsukuroi is kinda amazing. At its core, breakage and repair are seen as just phases of the history of an pot/bowl/plate. So, insert transcendent metaphor here about broken things being healed, etc.
So, I started this book with that idea kinda sitting on the shelf behind me. But Dick isn't going to go at any idea directly. He is going to throw in weird gods, funky totalitarian states, unsatisfied relationships, reluctant heroes, aborted rescues, weird creatures.
This isn't Dick's best novel, but there is something redeeming about it. Something affirming and languid about it. He is dealing with issues of decay, death, loss, loneliness, dark doppelgängers, and dysfunctional teams. This is a funky, sad, but in the end redeeming novel. I give it 3 stars not because it doesn't deserve more, but because it isn't top-shelf PKD, but something for the serious Dick fan (or the curious Dick fan who likes pottery and gods fractured and funky).
I preferred Tom Parker/Grover Gardner's reading over Phil Gigante.
Best last line of any novel I've read.
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