Nick and the Glimmung by Philip K Dick
Philip K Dick never lived to see “Nick and the Glimmung” published; for this reviewer I can see why. It is an unpolished foray into the world of children’s literature and the prose struggles to rein in Dick’s natural tendency towards philosophy espousing some kind of transcendental exegesis.
Dick needed to write novels about adult themes, usually complicated, intelligent novels with a lurking socio-political commentary and a children’s novel doesn’t lend terribly well to that literary pursuit. As a result the novel is the muddled offspring of the greater book – ‘Galactic Pot-Healer’ – which lurches along on the curiously guileless shoulders of Nick Graham as he moves with a young boy’s sense of adventurous purpose to a new colony given his cat, Horace, has been discovered and will be removed.
“Since when has it become illegal to walk backwards into a kitchen?” “For cats, everything is illegal.”
This small episode prompts Nick’s family to move off to some utopian wilderness on Plowman’s planet where “a new law, the law of reality will protect Horace for years to come… Fruit, plucked by our own hands, will lie heavy in the woven baskets of our lives.”; coupled with “It’s a matter of principle. We feel there should room enough for the animals, no matter how crowded the planet gets.“
The adults in this novel are absent to the extent they must be in the consciousness of a child – which is cleverly done by Dick. Ever-present, yet transient, they flit in and out defined by what they do: father, mother, newspaperman, teacher, anti-pet man, water-driver. For Nick they are soundbites, compartmentalized, unable to enter the vast scope of his imagination, and largely unintelligible:
“They have what is called a high inertial quality, or rather an introversion of their psychic attitude.”
“What does that mean?” Nick asked.
His dad replied, “It means nothing at all. It was just a random thought that came to my mind.”
This void has to be filled with all kinds of creatures. New, alien, wonderful, scary. Direct two-dimensional expressions of a child’s fears and hopes. Wubs, trobes, nunks, spiddles, werj, klakes, Printers, the Nick-thing. These are all nightmarish creatures spun out of Alice’s Wonderland, yet ultimately all controllable by a boy when reality dares to intrude a bit too much. Inevitably, the book comes down to a “quest”, a “David and Goliath moment”, a “young boy saves the world” battle. Nick discovers only he has the nous to defeat the Glimmung, an ancient alien who has taken over the planet and seeks an endless war. There was “a scorched, dead star which had gone out, which no longer burned. There are very few stars as cold as it. The cold ate more and more of Glimmung and at last he left, bringing the cold with him.” It is up to Nick to save Plowman’s Planet and save it he does as he finds he is chosen to locate the Glimmung’s weakness in his prescient book – One Summer Day – duplicate it and finally banish the spectre of the Glimmung for all time.
The novel starts with Horace, the cat. A creature who is actually the author. He is writing a children’s novel. Like Horace, "he understood but did not comment; he was detached... he seemed to want to know something deeper, perhaps something philosophical. But, alas, no one would ever know"; I suspect this is because, Dick himself, didn’t really know what would come out when he started writing the novella and understood that to publish it would not truly reflect his own standards.
This Nick and the Glimmung book review was written by travelswithacanadian
Have you read Nick and the Glimmung?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Nick and the Glimmung reader reviews
6/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
On a dark, silvery moonlit night, Sophie is snatched from her bed by a giant. Luckily it is the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG, who only eats snozzcumbers and glugs frobscottl...
The Iron Man
Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction by the Iron Man and set a trap for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threa...
The Death Defying Pepper Roux
When Pepper Roux was born his aunt foretold that he would not live past 14 years of age. Throughout his childhood his parents haven't bothered with him much, knowing th...
The Edge Chronicles
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Fourteen-year-old Quint Verginix is the only remaining son of famous sky-pirate Wind Jackal. He and his father have journeyed to the city of Sanctaphrax – a great flo...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
For the first time in a decade, Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to the public--well, five members of the public, actually. Th...
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Charlie Bucket has won Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and is on his way to take possession of it - in none other than a great glass elevator! But when the elevator mak...
Through the Looking-Glass
Dangerous games in a topsy-turvy world. A winter’s day, and Alice is feeling thoughtful. Gazing into a huge mirror above the drawing room mantelpiece, she wonders wha...
The Twits are a couple that nobody would like to know. They are hairy, dirty, smelly and generally unpleasant. Roald Dahl's characters are possibly the most horrid peop...
The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43
For a millionth of a second the car grazed the drenched moorland. If it had come down on any other patch of ground Finn would simply have been another statistic. Death by d...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: