Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Deus Irae by Phillip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny

Now THAT is a cover

“Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny take you on a dangerous journey across a devastated landscape in search of the great God of Wrath.

What chance has Tibor McMasters—one limbless heretic—against the awesome powers of the Dues Irae, entity behind World War III? Commissioned to paint his likeness, Tibor must first find him—travel through the frightening mutations of the holocaust... While his Christian companion acts on orders to sabotage his mission. 

A desperate plot... a perilous pilgrimage... the violent clash of good and evil, echoing in an alien terrain... Who will survive the scornful power of.. Dues Irae.”

 --The Back Cover

1976 Publication, 182 pages, $1.75. I bought a mint copy at Bucket O' Blood for $8.

'Deus Irae by Philip K Dick and Roger Zelazney- like Canticle for Leibowitz if you tore out every page and smoked a PCP laced joint with it' -@msears

The first few pages of Deus Irae made me groan—the meandering prose felt more like a writing experiment than an actual story—but luckily the book tightened up after the first few short chapters.

The Servants of Wrath, to whom the limbless artist (he has an apparatus) Tibor McMasters devotes his paintings, worship Carleton Lufteufel, ex-chairman of the Energy Research and Development Agency of the United States of America. Lufteufel is also the man responsible for reducing the world to ash and fallout in 1982.

In the 20 or so years since the nuclear holocaust, the Servants of Wrath have overtaken Christianity, the most prominent faith in the United States, especially in Charlotteville, where Tibor is slaving away on a mural of their God of Wrath. When Tibor has completed all of his mural except for the face of Carleton Lufteufel, it is decided that he will have to journey into the wastes and find the man himself, as none of the photographs the Servants of Wrath have are satisfactory.

After a brief loss of faith, in which Tibor expresses interest in joining the handful of Christians on the outskirts of town, the “inc” (short for incomplete human) gets on his cow-driven cart, and slowly begins his quest to find the God of Wrath himself. From this point on the religious musings, previously the driving force of the story, take a backseat to a twisted Wizard of Oz-style journey—plenty of chatty encounters with giant mutated insects, an automated repair facility with a haywire AI, giant mutated lizards, a telepathic packs of rats, another AI that feeds off the acid dissolved flesh of wanderers, and a crazy old drunk guy in a barn.

If that sounds entertaining whatsoever, then I recommend you pick up this bizarre little novel and get ready for a post apocalyptic romp through the paranoid and drugged out wasteland of Dues Irae

I am rather surprised that Deus Irae isn't touted as highly as some of Dick's other later works, and it made me interested in reading more Zelazny, an author I have yet to delve into. 

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