Eye in the Sky


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Author: Philip K. Dick

Title: Eye in the Sky

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages: 243

Geographical Setting: California, United States

Time Period: 1959

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

In the morning, John “Jack” Hamilton was let go from his position with the government because his wife Marsha was a suspected Communist, soon afterward he found himself, along with his wife and six others, in a terrible accident at the Bevatron laboratory.  A telescope’s particle-light beam dislodged and knocked the eight to the floor, badly injuring nearly all of them.  When Hamilton and his wife are released from the hospital, it is not until they return home that they realize they were only vaguely aware of how they got there and did not remember saying goodbye to the driver who dropped them off.  After Marsha and Bill Laws, another man injured in the accident, have a similar dream, they realize they are not in reality.  Physically, their bodies are still lying on the floor at the Bevatron, but mentally they were in some alternate reality.  In this dream world, they are able to pray to receive anything they need, and are punished with plagues if they blaspheme.  Hamilton and Laws eventually deduce that they are within the mind of one of the other accident victims.  After they figure out how to get out of that mind, they find themselves within another victims’ world.  Each fantasy world is essentially a political commentary of the tense Cold War era of 1959 when Communism was the biggest threat.

Subject Headings: Scientists, alternate reality, Communism, political commentary, mind control, nuclear science, government, paranoia, true colors, 1950s

Appeal: thought-provoking, eccentric characters, deliberately paced, bizarre, evocative, insightful, unhurried, mystical, exotic, political

3 terms that best describe this book: intriguing, engrossing, sophisticatedly metaphorical

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Cold War: A New History.  John Lewis Gaddis.  2005

Looks at the twentieth century in two parts: before the Cold War, and after, examining the role of Communism and nuclear arms.

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon.  Neil Sheehan.  2009

An in-depth account of the Cold War and the efforts of Bernard Schriever, Dwight Eisenhower and Joseph Stalin in the nuclear arms race.

The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War.  James Mann.  2009

The Cold War raged for decades, Ronald is said to have put an end to it, this report analyzes his role and reveals lesser-known information about his work as well as that of Nixon, Kissinger and Gorbachev.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Sub Zero.  John Campbell.  1996.

North Korea sends a heavily armed team to take the United States’ military secrets, a ragtag group of servicemen, scientists and civilians are the only hope to defeat them.

The Eagle’s Throne.  Carlos Fuentes.  2006.

Mexico in the not-too distant future where chaos and anarchy are about to be unleashed, the outside world is no longer in communication, and the president, his unsavory secretary and a sexual diva compete for power.

The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil.  Nikolai Gogol.  1957.

Short stories that explore the ulterior motives that can drive man.

Name: Kali Buseth


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