Talk:The Unteleported Man

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Berkley edition = Lies, Inc?[edit]

I can't tell from this article if the 1983 Berkley edition is exactly the same as Lies, Inc or if Lies, Inc might contain additional material? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

How to discuss? Maddeningly confusing (intentionally?)[edit]

I didn't want to post this on the main page, so I'm putting it here. The most recent edition involved the rediscovery of the missing sections and the place where Dick wanted the new material placed. There is also a new intro section. If Dick planned any other revisions to the original "Unteleported Man" novella, which sandwiches the insert, he never got around to it. The result is an intriguing but maddeningly fragmented novel, especially since the sections are jarringly different in tone and character development and apparently contradictory in plot detail. Or are they? Research into online reviews shows many readers of the Lies, Inc. version of this novel with the same reaction. Is the plot of the new new novel incoherently contradictory or not? There are several ways to read this and I want to point those out. This could guide someone in eventually addressing the issue on the Wikipedia entry.

By necessity, plot spoilers ahead.

Here is the most important of the plot contradictions. Rachmael ben Applebaum is supposed to be aboard his spaceship speeding toward Whale's Mouth but instead enters the Trails of Hoffman telpor facility as it is about to close, using the name Trent, which was the identity previously planned for Matson, owner of Lies, Inc. Rachmael teleports to Whales Mouth, encounters a battle-scarred police state and glimpes soldiers putting together a major weapon in the distance. He is then accosted by a Trails of Hoffman rep who gets him with an LSD dart. Applebaum believes initially that he has assaulted his attacker and exposed him as an alien creature, but that is unclear. He then awakens in a surreal "class" where those experiencing disorientation after teleporting are screened and potentially euthanized if they are seen as threats to stability of the new colony. He fades in and out of reality, encountering other apparent aliens and possibly Maston. Eventually he triggers his weapon, which is a time-warp device. The narrative leaves Rachmael for many chapters. Toward the end, Lies pilot Dosker contacts Applebaum, who is board the spaceship after all. After both he and Dosker are apprehended by the United Nations, Applebaum agrees to teleport to Whales Mouth armed with a time warp weapon developed by the UN in an effort to aid Freya.

A second, less signficant but possibly related, seeming contradiction is that Freya Holm seems to have been captured on Whales Mouth and experienced the "Clock" paraworld. But then she later seems to have died in a nerve gas attack shortly after reaching Whales Mouth and never was captured.


  • TWEEN SPACE INSANITY: Applebaum was warned that he would go insane during the 18-year voyage and was given a journal by Dosker. Everything after the launch of his ship could be his insane journal entries.
  • TIME WARP: When Applebaum fires the time warp weapon, he ends up resetting events so that Freya has not been captured and she can get off the alert that eventually resulted in him being sent to Whales Mouth armed by the UN with the time warp weapon. This is why several chapters focus on the significance of the developers of the time warp device and an effort to prevent them from reaching their goal. In this understanding, the LSD trip is not so much a plot device as a part of the horrors of a police state that is using LSD and other brainwashing techniques to enslave the population of the new colony.
  • LSD and PARAWORLDS: Everything from the LSD trip on is incoherent nonsense, the result of a destroyed mind that pitifully imagines success against the machine. However, it's possible that some of the perceived "paraworlds" are instigated by the brainwashing experts on the colony planet. The sequences in which Rachmael is back on earth or in his space ship are simply more paraworlds. It's also possible that framing story involving Lies Inc.'s broken computers and Rachmael's rat dreams are a signal that even the basic real world is a Paraworld, though how that relates to the main story is unclear.

EDITING NEEDED: Dick may have intended to smooth out some areas of the text so that the contradictions would resolve or be more clearly presented as mere paradoxes. Given his death, he didn't get around to it.

These are not mutually exclusive. Ftjrwrites (talk) 16:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Ftjrwrites, I hope I'm not being cheeky and revert if you prefer, but I put in some breaks and a list formatting to make it clearer what was being said. Alastairward (talk) 20:10, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Very well explained, I will just add a few information about the structure of this novel. From the very beginning of the story, Rachmael faces the problem of establishing if the world he's perceiving is real or not, if it is the "real" world or a "paraworld": the rat dreams, Abba visions talking to him and telling it's all lies, and then a gradual but relentless crumbling of any certainties about reality....that's a continuous and intentional challenge to a clear definition of reality, similarly to other Dick novels and, to a certain extent, also to some recent movies like Inception and Edge of Tomorrow. I recently came across a PKD book, The Dark Haired Girl, that features some of Dick's essays from the Seventies (the same period when he developed the plot of The Unteleported Man) and there is this one essay which is entitled Man, Android and Machine: if you read through it, you will find a good and exhaustive explanation about Dick's vision of reality or, at least, about a possible approach to reality he was experiencing at the time, following the theories of some more or less contemporary academics like Robert E. Ornstein, Charles Tart, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Jung, Henri Bergson, etc. I'm not going to explore that topic right here, it would be way too long and demanding, but I suggest you guys to read that essay because it shares so many things in common with the underlying structure of The Unteleported Man, which I personally interpret as a novelization of these theories according to Dick's artistic and intellectual sensitivity.--Teno85 (talk) 01:16, 20 April 2016 (UTC)