THE SECRET ASCENSION by Michael Bishop

THE SECRET ASCENSION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unabashed homage to the late Philip K. Dick (but where does homage end and imitation begin?) from the author of No Enemy but Time (1982) and Ancient of Days (1985). In alternate 1983, Nixon (""King Richard""), having won the Vietnam War, is well into his fourth term as president; the US has a base on the Moon, dÉtente with the Russians, and a good business climate, but the Constitution is in ruins, personal liberty is nonexistent, and secret police swarm everywhere. Into psychiatrist Lie Pickford's Georgia office walks an amnesiac who subsequently vanishes into thin air; Lie's husband Cal identifies him as Philip K. Dick, a modestly well-regarded mainstream writer (his science fiction novels never published in this fantasy, circulate as samizdat) who has just died in California! Dick's ghost, it seems, has determined to change reality for the better, and he needs the Pickfords' help. The plot thickens as Cal and Lia willy-nilly become involved in Nixonian politics via the ambitions of an aging movie star. Added complications are the affairs of an ""Americulturated"" Vietnamese immigrant and an old, crippled black groom who astro-travels to the Moon. Matters culminate inside the US Moonbase as Cal, Dick, and their allies struggle to exorcise a demon-possessed Nixon and thus alter reality (even here, though, things aren't quite what they seem). Quintessential Dick--most of the ideas and literary devices here are recognizably his, enhanced by some biting satire of Bishop's. They are set forth, however, with most un-Dick-like perfection. Hopefully, readers will scurry to reexamine Dick's own novels.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1987
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's