The Game-Players of Titan

The Game-Players of Titan

infobox Book |
name = The Game-Players of Titan
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of first edition (paperback)
author = Philip K. Dick
illustrator =
cover_artist = Jack Gaughan
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Science fiction novel
publisher = Ace Books
release_date = 1963
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
pages = 191 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Game-Players of Titan" is a 1963 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick.

Plot summary

Pete Garden is the central character of this work. Pete is one of several Californian residents in a depopulated, post-apocalyptic future world who own large swathes of property. These citizens are syndicates of regular competitors who play a board game ("Bluff"). These contestants (or "Bindmen") stake their property, marriages, and future status as eligible game players on its outcomes. Pete also experiences bipolar disorder, which may adversely affect his competence as a Game participant.

The Game is administered by amorphous, silicon-based aliens from Titan, Saturn's largest satellite. These creatures, known as the vugs, are obsessed with gambling. In addition, the Game's exogamy helps to promote human fertility after the devastation of global warfare, after satellite-born East German "Henkel Radiation" weaponry sterilised much of the Earths population. The vug exert hegemony over Earth, but do not occupy it as such. Instead, it is visualised as a paternalistic relationship. Moreover, while the vugs are telepaths, they do not permit human telepathy or precognition within that arena of the Game. It is also the case that the vugs are involved within human syndicates, using induced hallucination to maintain the semblance of human form.

At the beginning, Pete has lost his favourite property, Berkeley, and his wife, Freya. Moreover, Berkeley's new owner has sold it to a notoriously corrupt Bindman from the East Coast. Pete misses Freya, and worries about the compatibility of his new wife. He is also attracted to Pat McClain, a mysteriously fertile woman living within his remaining property, as well as Mary Anne, her eighteen year-old daughter. Pat is a telepath, while her husband Allen is precognitive, and their daughter manifests telekinesis. In this novel, telepaths display the full gamut of psionic abilities, as telepathy, precognition, and telekinesis figure prominently. These telepaths resent the fact that they are not allowed to participate in the Game, due to possible abuse of their abilities during the contest. Pete breaks off his tentative relationship with Pat when he discovers that his new wife, Carol, is pregnant- a rare occurrence in this largely infertile, depopulated world.

Jerome Luckman, a leading New York syndicate player and the new owner of Berkeley, is murdered, and Pete is implicated, along with six other members of his syndicate, Pretty Blue Fox. However, Pete and the other syndicate members are suffering from induced amnesia, which leads to further vug/human police suspicions.. Pete discovers that vugs are abusing their own psionic abilities to appear human. However, the vugs also have their own political factions, which further complicates matters. "Extremists" do favour subversion and conquest of Earth, while "moderates" favour the status quo of paternalistic collaboration. Pretty Blue Fox syndicate members are teleported to Titan, and play a decisive Game with Titanian vug counterparts for the future of their two worlds.


*"Game-Players of Titan" displays characteristics of two earlier PKD novels. His first, "Solar Lottery", also dealt with global games of chance, while "The Ganymede Takeover" dealt with human/alien relationships after alien invasion from nonhuman inhabitants of outer planets within Earth's solar system.

External links

* [ Official PKDick website review]

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