Now Wait for Last Year classic cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Now Wait for Last Year suffers from those chronic problems that plagued many of Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novels: Dick’s obsession with drug-induced fantasies and his misogyny that begins to grate on modern readers after only a few of his novels, despite a clever idea that could net a solid read if only Dick wasn’t his own worst enemy.

Now Wait for Last Year follows a doctor on future Earth who specializes in organ transplants that allow people to live for decades past their historic life expectancy.  He hates his wife and she hates him.  She stumbles into taking a drug that prompts an incurable addiction and then slips the drug to her husband as revenge.  And then they discover that drug has a side-effect: the right dose will make you travel back or forward–or even sideways–through time.  A new spin on time travel is the classic Dick sci-fi hook for this story.  The trouble is that Dick mishandles it–too many deus ex machina rescues, including more than one by a talking cab familiar to fans of Total Recall, as well as too many references to then-recent history, an ugly future and no redeeming characters.  The writer of some of the best science fiction stories of all time produced far better novels than this entry.

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