Martian Time-Slip

Martian Time-Slip MasterworkFrom the depths of phenobarbital slumber, Silvia Bohlen heard something that called. Sharp, it broke the layers into which she had sunk, damaging her perfect state of nonself.
—–“Mom,” her son called again, from outdoors.
—–Sitting up, she took a swallow of water from the glass by the bed; she put her bare feet on the floor and rose with difficulty. Time by the clock: nine-thirty. She found her robe, walked to the window.
—–I must not take any more of that, she thought. Better to succumb to the schizophrenic process, join the rest of the world. She raised the window shade; the sunlight, with its familiar reddish, dusty tinge, filled her sight and made it impossible to see. She put up her hand, calling, “What is it, David?”
—–“Mom, the ditch rider’s here!”
—–Then this must be Wednesday. She nodded, turned and walked unsteadily from the bedroom to the kitchen, where she managed to put on the good, solid, Earth-made coffeepot.
—–What must I do? she asked herself. All’s ready for him. David will see, anyhow. She turned on the water at the sink and splashed her face. The water, unpleasant and tainted, made her cough. We should drain the tank, she thought. Scour it, adjust the chlorine flow and see how many of the filters are plugged; perhaps all. Couldn’t the ditch rider do that? No, not the UN’s business.
—–“Do you need me?” she asked, opening the back door. The air swirled at her, cold and choked with the fine sand; she averted her head and listened for David’s answer. He was trained to say no.
—–“I guess not,” the boy grumbled.
—–Later, as she sat in her robe at the kitchen table drinking coffee, her plate of toast and applesauce before her, she looked out on the sight of the ditch rider arriving in his little flat-bottom boat which put-putted up the canal in its official way, never hurrying and yet always arriving on schedule. This was 1994, the second week in August. They had waited eleven days, and now they would receive their share of water from the great ditch which passed by their line of houses a mile to the Martian north.

—— Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip (1964)

Martian Time-Slip (1964)

The novel features a number of different neurotypes including a schizophrenic and a boy, Manfred Steiner, with classic autism.

  • Dick, Philip K (1964) Martian Time-Slip

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