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Deus Irae

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In the years following World War III, a new and powerful faith has arisen from a scorched and poisoned Earth, a faith that embraces the architect of world wide devastation. The Servants of Wrath have deified Carlton Lufteufel and re-christened him the Deus Irae. In the small community of Charlottesville, Utah, Tibor McMasters, born without arms or legs, has, through an array of prostheses, established a far-reaching reputation as an inspired painter. When the new church commissions a grand mural depicting the Deus Irae, it falls upon Tibor to make a treacherous journey to find the man, to find the god, and capture his terrible visage for posterity.

192 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 1976

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About the author

Philip K. Dick

1,660 books19.6k followers
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Dick died on March 2, 1982, in Santa Ana, California, of heart failure following a stroke.

In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 214 reviews
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
February 6, 2017
Most authors would never dream of casting a limbless man, no arms and no legs, as a central character in his work – Philip K. Dick has done this at least twice.

Joining Hoppy Harrington from Dr. Bloodmoney as a protagonist is Tibor McMasters, the unlikely hero of Deus Irae, a collaborative effort between Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazney. An odd mix of A Canticle for Leibowitz, A Scanner Darkly and Dr. Bloodmoney, Deus Irae is a more serious work than many of PKD’s wild fiction. What does it mean that PKD has cast another character without arms or legs? In both cases, PKD has given the otherwise disabled hero extraordinary powers to compensate, or even over compensate for the loss of limbs.

PKD has explored the concept of a post apocalyptic counter or competing religion in other works - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The World Jones Made, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Here, Tibor is set on a quest, almost fable-like in a PKD absurdist sci-fi kind of way, to find the God of Wrath, a man somehow responsible for the destruction of the last war (another similarity with Dr. Bloodmoney) and create a portrait of him, the man with no hands being a great and well respected artist. Along the way also is an acolyte Christian priest.

Dick and Zelazney use this quest as a vehicle to explore the meanings, contradictions, and ultimately the great ironies of religion.

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Profile Image for Kristijan.
216 reviews66 followers
August 19, 2016
"Deus Irae" je postapokaliptična vizija dva vrsna SF pisca - Zelaznija i Dika. Obojicu sam upoznao preko malo drugačijih romana - Zelaznija preko njegovog Ambera, a Dika čitajući "Čoveka u visokom dvorcu", "Minority Report" i slična dela. Jedini Dikov roman koji se podosta razlikovao od ostalih koje sam pročitao - "Tamno skeniranje" mi je pokazao kako Dik može da bude veoma uvrnut... Međutim, ovakvo nešto nisam mogao ni da zamislim...

Na prvih nekoliko strana romana sam doživeo WTF trenutak. Zamislite roman u kome je glavni lik slikar koji nema nijedan svoj ud (poseduje mehanička pomagala) i on se vozi u kolicima koja vuče jedna krava. Ne možete? E pa ovo je baš taj roman! Taj nesrećni slikar dobija zadatak - da oslika svod crkve posvećene Bogu Gneva - onome koji je izazvao apokalipsu i zbrisao većinu ljudske populacije. Slikar kreće na hodočašće koje za svoj cilj ima vizuelno upoznavanje samoga Boga Gneva - jer on ne može da naslika realnu sliku Gnevnog ukoliko ga ne vidi svojim očima. Vođen svojom kravicom, on kreće na put kroz postapokaliptičnu zemlju, usput srećući raznorazne životinjske mutante, ali i predstavnike "stare" vere - hrišćanstva, čiji Bog Milosrđa je ipak uspeo da "preživi" kataklizmu i da opstane među šačicom vernika.

Zelazni i Dik u ovom romanu "pretresaju" religiju (i mitologiju), sagledavajući je na momente kao "sveti dim" (oblak koji ima svoju gustinu ali se lako može raspršiti ukoliko se vatra koja ga proizvodi ne održava) ili kao halucinaciju . Autori se kroz ceo roman pitaju da li bog može biti dobar (tj. milosrdan) zbog svega onog lošeg što se događa u ljudskim životima. Na kraju, autori ostavljaju čitaocima Gordijev čvor, nerešivu dilemu - da li čovek može spoznati Boga ili on ostaje sakriven, noseći vazda nečije tuđe lice...
Profile Image for Karl.
3,258 reviews277 followers
December 7, 2015
Written by Roger Zelazny and Philip K. Dick. Dick began the book but realized he did not know enough about Christianity to finish it. He asked Ted White to collaborate on it with him, but after reviewing the manuscript White never got started. Zelazny discovered the manuscript in White's home in early 1968, read it, then contacted Dick and agreed to work on it with him. Work proceeded sporadically over several years as each author forgot about it in turn (and Zelazny's cat took the opportunity to urinate on the original manuscript). But they finished it quickly in the spring of 1975 when the publisher demanded the manuscript or repayment of the advance paid to Dick.
Profile Image for Велислав Върбанов.
447 reviews45 followers
March 23, 2023
„Свобода на съвестта означава също така свободата да не приемеш дадена догма, разбираш ли?“


Гневът е същинската характерна черта на организираните религии, макар и привидно да призовават към смирение и любов... Дори и в руините на света след ядрена война, оцелелите хора отново биха залитнали към зловещите църковни догми (водещи неизменно до насилие в даден момент), вместо да си подредят живота по друг начин. Такава песимистична, но и логична картина рисуват Филип Дик и Роджър Зелазни в съвместния си роман „Бог на гнева“... Двамата автори задълбочено разсъждават върху теми, свързани с християнството и религиите като цяло, на фона на много интересна постапокалиптична история!





„Омразата, помисли си отец Хенди, може да възприема всевъзможни завоалирани форми на проявление. Самият той предпочиташе преките и открити демонстрации. А не това спотаено отсъствие на съчувствие, това педантично безразличие…“


„Слънчевите лъчи проблясваха като дребни рибки сред метален прибой в приливите и отливите на реалността.“


„Ако извърша престъпление или сторя грях, доктор Абернати би могъл да се отрече от него. Просто няма да знае, както са постъпвали едновремешните гангстери по повод на някое убийство. Църквите и коза ностра имат нещо общо: фалшивата порядъчност на най-висшите нива. Всички мръсни престъпления се стоварваха върху дребните риби на дъното.“


„— Пит — каза той, — съществуват неограничен брой начини да покажеш как изглеждат нещата в действителност. Всеки един от тях е правилен, защото ги показва. Но всеки художник го прави по различен начин. Зависи какво искаш да подчертаеш и как да го постигнеш.“
Profile Image for Nikola Pavlovic.
284 reviews42 followers
February 7, 2017
Jako zanimljiva knjiga koja govori o postapokalipticnom svetu u kome pored hriscanske crkve koja je na margini postoji i crkva Boga Gneava. Posto je gnev sve sto su ljudi i osetili na svojoj kozi vecina prezivelih se odlucuje da pristupi religiji koja slavi Karla Luftojfela kao boga gneva. Knjiga govori o hodocascu, zovotu na postapokalipticnoj zemlji, verbalnom sukobu dveju religija. Malo filozofije i religije u SF maniru, uzivacete.
Profile Image for Sandy.
490 reviews88 followers
May 2, 2012
Of the 36 sci-fi novels, nine mainstream novels, one children's book and over 120 short stories that cult author Philip K. Dick produced before his premature death at age 53, in 1982, only two creations were done in collaboration with another author. The first was 1966's "The Ganymede Takeover," which Dick cowrote with budding writer Ray Nelson. An alien invasion novel that deals with the snakelike, telepathic inhabitants of the Jovian moon as well as the Terran rebels who resist them, the novel was marginally successful and remains one of the oddballs of Dick's oeuvre. In 1976, following Dick's Campbell Award-winning "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said" and the release of his mainstream novel "Confessions of a Crap Artist," "Deus Irae" finally saw the light of day. This was a stalled novel of Phil's that had been started a good nine years before and finished with the assistance of acclaimed sci-fi/fantasy author Roger Zelazny. It is a more serious effort than Dick's first collaboration, less "pulpy" but just as psychedelic, and raises some interesting subject matter for the reader's theological bull sessions. And as in "The Ganymede Takeover," part of the fun in reading the novel is trying to discern where Dick's input leaves off and his cowriter's begins!

The book takes place in yet another of Dick's postapocalyptic wastelands. Here, following a world war in 1982 that had left all but a few million folks dead, the remainder of humanity scratches out a subsistence living. Mutations (or "evolutionary entelechies," as they are called somewhere in the book) are widespread, and a new religion has arisen that rivals Christianity for dominance. The new religion worships the Deus Irae, the God of Wrath, as well as his Earth-walking incarnation Carleton Lufteufel (that's German for "air devil"), the Christ-like personage who created the bombs that destroyed mankind. Tibor McMasters--a "phocomelus" with no arms or legs, but who is a master painter, nonetheless, by dint of his mechanical limbs, and who gets around via a cow-powered cart--is tasked by the SOWs (Servants of Wrath) to go on a Pilg (pilgrimage), locate the deity Lufteufel, wherever he may be, and snap his picture, so that Tibor might then create a "murch" (church mural) of the living divinity. And so, off goes Tibor into the mutant-inhabited wilderness, closely followed by Pete Sands, a devout Christian who is seeking to find God through drug experimentation, and who has decided to somehow sabotage Tibor's mission....

As you can tell, this is a pretty way-out scenario, and Dick and Zelazny throw all sorts of crazy mishegas into their novel to keep things decidedly strange. Besides the loquacious mutant lizards and bugs that Tibor encounters, the authors give us a giant talking worm, a talking bluejay, the humanoid, ambulatory extension of a dying computer, AND a semicomical, rundown autofac (a wisecracking, underground factory). Adding to the strangeness quotient: TWO characters named Earl (one a mutant lizard, the other a mutated kangaroolike creature) and the fact that Tibor walks around 30 miles from his hometown in Utah to get to...Oregon! The book also features much in the way of humor, and is never funnier than when Tibor encounters some mutant insects rolling a large brown mass down a dusty lane, and one of the insects says, "What do you expect to find a dung beetle pushing along the road--sour lemon balls?" Potential readers of "Deus Irae" might be well advised to brush up on their Christian lore before venturing in, or at least to have their Interwebs handy; they might need it to fully understand the Mani, Albigensian Heresy and Catharists references, in addition to many others! It was Zelazny, supposedly, who supplied the novel with all these intriguing theological/historical tidbits. As to the rest of the puzzle game of who wrote what, I suspect that it is safe to say that the basic story line is Dick's, as well as the hallucinogenic drug references (Pete has a drug experience in which he sees a semidivine talking ceramic pot; ceramics had also figured prominently in earlier Dick novels such as "Galactic Pot-Healer" and "Flow My Tears..."), the fixation on German expressions and literary references (Dick had studied German at UC Berkeley in 1949), and all the humorous lines. But sentences such as "Into the world, the day: spilling: here: the queries of birds, tentative, then self-assured: here: dew like breath on glass, retreating, gone: here: bands of color that flee the east..." are all Zelazny. Dick might have written some way-out novels with mind-zapping plot twists and stunning abnegations of reality, but his sentence structure was usually straightforward and lucid.

As for the take-away messages that "Deus Irae" offers, one must read in between the lines a bit. Adherents of a literal interpretation of the Bible (such as a Seventh Day Adventist buddy of mine) might come away a bit miffed, but others shouldn't be too offended by the novel's thoughts on God and modern-day religion. If I am reading the authors correctly, they are implying that the God of the Bible does indeed exist, as well as His representative here on Earth, but that our own images of God and his offspring have been garbled, telephonewise, over the centuries. God, it seems, might not even want His actual form to be known! Reincarnation and miracles can indeed happen, although drugs are an unreliable means, at best, toward attaining spiritual enlightenment. And as for the sanctification of historical individuals...well, it seems that many of them have been made saints for no good reason, despite their good intentions. These questions regarding God and religion, especially following his so-called "pink light" incident of February '74, were to plague Dick for the rest of his life, getting an especial workover in his later Valis trilogy, but "Deus Irae" provides the reader with some valuable insight into the author's thoughts at this time. The book is extremely readable, the writing styles meshing comfortably together, the characters are interesting and unique, the plot twists are surprising and the resolution is a fascinating one. Thus, I can heartily recommend the book to all fans of either of these great writing talents, both of whom are sorely missed....
Profile Image for Derek.
1,259 reviews8 followers
May 31, 2015
It falls into the large category of "probably good if I understood all of it". It's dense with philosophy, with characters prone to internal discussion and digression, and each one seems versed in details of Catharism and other variations of Christian theology. As such its larger themes are buried in the details of all these characters instead of the great sweep of the book.

If I'm understanding the whole of it--probably not--it is that a mortal sees the Divine through the lens of his/her/its own existence, whether a Christian, a limbless phocomelus, or a mutant talking dung beetle.
Profile Image for Denis.
Author 1 book22 followers
April 25, 2016
The style was more like that of a fantasy novel rather than scifi: A long journey or a pilgrimage. One can't help but try and distinguish what parts are PKD and which are Zelazney's but, overall, it flowed seamlessly enough, and though some of the narrative got a bit disjointed at times, and it's not the best to start with, it was still definitely a good read.
Profile Image for Иван Величков.
955 reviews61 followers
March 12, 2022
Почитателите на Зелазни казват, че това е най-слабата му книга, почитателите на Дик твърдят същото за него. Аз, като фен и на двамата казвам, че имат и доста по-сериозни издънки.
Бог на гнева има интересна история. Дик я е започнал, но не е бил сигурен в познанията си за християнството, за това я е препратил към Тед Уайт за евентуална колаборация. Там ръкописът остава забравен, докато Зелазни не го намира и не предлага на Дик да го работят заедно. От там няколко пъти е забравян и от двамата за по година, докато на края, издателят на Дик не го натиска да му върне аванса или да му даде роман. Самият ръкопис е имал нещастието да бъде ползван от котката на Зелазни вместо тоалетна, което води до доста интересен спор, понеже издателят не приема фототипно копие, а иска оригинала, според някакво там споразумение от пред компютърната ера.
Както и да е, да се върна в началото. Този роман е 100% Филип К. Дик, дори доста от идеите вътре са използвани в други негови произведения, но това е нормално, като знаем с каква производителност е писал. Зелазни леко е смекчил стила на писане и е вкарал доста интересни референции към класически и апокрифни християнски текстове. Резултатът е откачена история в стила на Филип Дик написана с поетичния език на Роджър Зелазни, не съм на ясно какво точно не допада на читателите на двамата.
В една пост атомоизбомбена Америка се заражда нова религия. Хората се кланят на бога на гнева, който е и действителен човек – Карл Луфттойфел, отговорен за натискането на червеното копче. Човечеството е върнато някъде около тъмните векове, като изключим някоя друга останка от цивилизацията, които не работят както трябва (имаше откачен компютър, който като бъгнат Свинкс задава загадки, но дърпа хората в киселинните си вани, за да ги разложи за енергия. Имаше побъркан съветски автоматизиран машинен комбинат, който объркваше поръчките). Отделно радиацията е докарала редица израждания и мутанти, ,а самият Луфттойфел е… няма да разбърквам религиозната яхния, която двамата са сготвили, но образът му беше превъзходно изографисан в някакъв надрусан вариант на християнската митология.
Главният герой е художник без крайници, който получава задача от църквата на гнева да издири божеството им, за да му нарисува фреска в новият им храм. Това го отправя на пътешествие с каручката му, теглена от крава, из опустошените пейзажи на Америка. Един млад свещеник (християнски – който се ��русаше експериментално, за да открие бог, поредното сравнение между религиозния и наркотичния екстаз в произведенията на Дик, този път доста по-директен) решава да го спре, защото усеща заплаха за клатещата се вече негова религия, но от друга страна е морално обременен да не го прави. А резултатът е… Филип К. Дик
Заслужава си.
Profile Image for Silver Keeper.
116 reviews
July 6, 2022
Può uno dei libri "minori" di Dick, scritto anche a quattro mani con Zelazny, colpirmi così tanto?
A quanto pare sì.

Deus Irae narra le allucinate vicende di un inc (incompleto, un uomo con protesi meccaniche al posto di braccia e gambe) che, su un carretto guidato da una mucca, intraprende un viaggio senza una meta geografica precisa in cerca dell'incarnazione mortale del Dio dell'Ira, figura folle e ambigua che, da possibile maniaco che ha scatenato l'olocausto nucleare, è diventato nel nuovo mondo il simbolo in carne e ossa del volere divino. Tutto questo per immortalarlo in una foto e poi raffigurarlo in un dipinto, per consegnare il suo vero aspetto ai fedeli di questa nuova, e forse incoerente, Chiesa.
Il romanzo è confuso, con incontri stralunati (uccelli parlanti, ur-vermi, robot impazziti, ecc), popolato da uomini che cercano la verità (e quindi il proprio scopo) attraverso la droga, l'arte o la morte.
Un romanzo che affronta diversi temi, dal se possa esistere un dio punitivo come quello del Vecchio Testamento al ruolo delle arti figurative nella religione, passando per disquisizioni interiori sul quando sia giusto peccare.

Non so dire cosa mi abbia colpito di più di questo romanzo, se il finale ironicamente beffardo, il sense of wonder degli incontri nella landa post-apocalittica o i tanti temi filosofici che in circa 200 pagine son riusciti a toccare i due autori, senza dare ovviamente risposte, ma riempendomi di domande.
Sicuramente mi ha fatto un'ottima impressione, e son contento di averlo recuperato a scatola chiusa.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,632 reviews434 followers
May 13, 2015
-Con sangre de horchata.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. La religión de los Siervos de la Ira, basada en la existencia de un dios feroz, colérico y furioso, se ha impuesto en una Norteamérica devastada por la Tercera Guerra Mundial mientras que la de los cristianos se va diluyendo. La nueva religión adora al Dios de la Ira, Carleton Lufteufel, secretario de la Administración de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Energía de los USA en los años ochenta y responsable de la destrucción casi completa de la civilización. Tibor McMasters es un inc (en su caso un focomélico con implantes cibernéticos) que tiene un don para la pintura y al que se le encarga un mural con la cara del Dios de la Ira, pero una fotografía no es suficiente para su art, por lo que deberá emprender una pere (viaje) para encontrar al Deus Irae y poder ofrecer una verdadera muestra de su habilidad pictórica.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

http://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com/...
Profile Image for Steve Cooper.
90 reviews12 followers
March 12, 2015
Critics of Dick often cite paper-thin characters and weak plot to justify their criticism, but if you focus on these things you miss the attraction of his books. For me, the real payoff is that they open possibilities we never suspected: possibilities that are purposefully designed to engage and often undermine our core beliefs. Yes, seemingly obscure bits of exegesis sound strange coming from his characters mouths, and they may not always help move the plot along, but it's a train of thought that Dick is developing - one he's launched to make sense of the ideas and experiences he's had.

As such, Deus Irae fits comfortably with the rest of the PKD canon, and Zelazny's contribution smooths some of Dick's rough edges. Even so, the decision to insert Dick's palm tree garden vision must have stood out as a non sequitor to anyone unfamiliar with his personal life and obsessions. I guess it's things lile this that explain the low score this book has received.
Profile Image for Teck Wu.
327 reviews14 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 18, 2021
I had high hopes based on the synopsis, but seriously it was unnecessarily complicated: at times trying to be too intellectual it read like vomit, at times using really odd grammar (not wrong, just odd e.g. sudden adverbs)
Profile Image for Oriente.
334 reviews39 followers
October 3, 2023
Azt hiszem, már említettem a ganümédeszi kötetnél, hogy Dicknek nagyon jól áll a társszerzős írás. Ez a történet elképesztően vicces, egy posztapokaliptikus szatíra, amit különösen tudok értékelni a műfaj felfutásának fényében. Nem tudom, hogy jött ki ez a 70-es években, most zseniálisnak hat. Ragacsos vallásfilozófiai felhő burkolja be a szereplőket, bár nevezhetnénk sűrű ködnek inkább, amiben egy tehénke vontatta kocsi bukdácsol egyik kopár dombról a másikig, a nagy világégető, a Harag Istene nyomában. A kocsi utasának, egy kéz- és lábnélküli festőnek pedig különös mutánsok és kiszuperált robotok keresztezik az útját, akik hol elragadnák hősünket sötét odújukba, hol jóindulatukkal kényeztetik ��s segédkezet nyújtanak - mint egy klasszikus népmesében. Igen, ez egy posztapokaliptikus meseparódia. Nagyon élveztem.
Profile Image for Tomislav.
1,002 reviews68 followers
November 30, 2020
Philip K. Dick worked on this, on and off, without finishing. Then Roger Zelazny offered to help. The result was one of PKD's few collaborations, with basically a PKD plot. I read it in the fall of 1977, and I remember thinking it was a little weird. I was reminded, because my son is now reading it.
Profile Image for Nick.
691 reviews179 followers
July 14, 2016
One of the more mystical or theological books of Phillip K. Dick that I've read. Don't know if thats Zelazny's influence or not, but I enjoyed it. Strays mostly away from PDK concepts like questioning identity, parallel universes, etc. Theres some drugs and hallucinatory episodes though. Theologically, it is a conflict between the God of Light of Christianity, and the Demiurge/God of Evil/Deus Irae/Carlton Lufteufel of Gnosticism/Cathatism/The Servants of Wrath. I mean, after a nuclear holocaust is a pretty good time to start worshipping an evil god amirite?

The portrayal of post-apocolyptia was pretty great with the mutants and cults, and malfunctioning machines, and sparse, disconnected population centers. I also loved that he included The Big C (a malevolent supercomputer which is breaking down and needs organic nutrients IE flesh to survive) from his earlier short story, that is a great element. The whole thing basically has the aire of a bronze age pilgrim's tale AKA a wandering religious nut is encountering supernatural forces and monsters and God. But its all scifi. Well, maybe not *all* since some of the divine elements in the story seem to have real world consequences.

Its true that the plot and pacing was strained a bit at times, but with such awesome foundational ideas and interesting writing I didn't really care.
Profile Image for Gregg Wingo.
161 reviews21 followers
June 8, 2017
"Deus Irae" is in many ways a revisitation of Dick's earlier novel "Dr. Bloodmoney" with the addition of the societal control themes of religion favored by Roger Zelazny. It is not the best work of either gentlemen but it is a good read. Philip K. Dick illustrates his use of post-apocalyptic settings as social criticism to good effect here along with his ever questing questions of "What is real?" and "What is human?" while Zelazny ponders the role of myth and religion in society building. The collaboration works very successfully, but each writer is better on their own - the possibility of a creative synthesis fails to deliver a grandeur product.

What it does deliver is a massive level of philosophical thought in only 182 entertaining pages something few writers - much less two - are normally capable of achieving. They cover the nature of art, the relationship of God and Man, the psychology of artificial intelligence, and the wisdom of the mutual assured destruction doctrine. They also look at the meaning of friendship and truth in individuals and society at large. And in a world recovering from a nuclear holocaust the meaning of death and survival.

If you have exhausted the supply of PKD and/or Roger Zelazny you definitely want to read this novel. If you find either of them alone tedious this book may be your access point for their creativity.
Profile Image for Sara Elice.
64 reviews8 followers
December 2, 2009
I'm honestly not sure why I keep reading Philip K. Dick. I think it's because so many ideas of his became kernels for good, or at least entertaining, movies. But I would highly doubt that this one will ever spurn off an inspired work. Conceptually it's interesting - the town we begin in is split between Christians and those who follow the man who essentially caused armageddon during the last war. A painter is sent to find this man, the Deus Irae, to paint his true likeness. But the painter has no limbs because of the war or a birth defect due to the fallout (not sure) and so the journey is going to be perilous. What happens along the way is Dick's brand of weirdness, and some of it is understood and makes its point, but some of it is just too out there and is distracting because you don't understand what it is he's really trying to create with these chapters.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Zach.
285 reviews297 followers
May 19, 2009
I think I would give this one 4.5 stars if I could. It's a great vision of a post-apocalyptic future with mutants (the encounters with which are set forth in a very fairy-tale-esque manner) and a man-god who set off the bomb and what have you, but it was kind of disjointed (clearly the result of a collaboration) and could have used some more thorough editing. I swear at one point they said the bomb was 16 years ago and at another that it was 90+... neither of which would really fit with the story. ha.
Profile Image for Josh.
192 reviews35 followers
November 9, 2011
A 4-star book with one star extra for sympathy. Seriously, 3.37!?

This is pretty much Dr. Bloodmoney + the theology of the VALIS trilogy. AND THERE IS NOTHING NOT-AMAZING ABOUT THAT. It's still funny and quirky, too.

I'm sure this is thanks to Zelazny, but this is one of the better written PKD books too (well, I'm sure any PKD book would feel that way after reading Clans of the Alphane Moon, but hey), and I actually would recommend this book to someone who just started reading PKD.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
138 reviews9 followers
October 16, 2021
TLDR Review: 2.5 out of 5 Stars. Worth reading if you are a fan of either author for academic reasons and some lovely prose here and there, but quite a mess as a whole.

I stumbled on "Deus Irae" (Latin for "God of Wrath") for the first time a few months ago, and it kind of shocked me that I hadn't heard of it until then. First because it's from one of my favorite science fiction authors, Philip K. Dick, *AND* from probably my MOST LOVED sci-fi & fantasy author, Roger Zelazny. Apparently this book was one of only two times PKD collaborated with another author on a novel. Probably part of the reason it is so little-known is the book is a rather strangely conceived, forgotten, remembered, stalled, shared, peed-on, forgotten, and finally completed quickly in a cool & funny "behind the scenes" back story that is nearly as strange as its narrative. Note that I snagged this "back story" from wikipedia, (& that they got from the editor of a collection of Zelazny's stories):

"Dick started the novel in 1967, then realized he did not know enough about Christianity to finish it. He asked science fiction editor and author Ted White to collaborate on the manuscript with him, but after reviewing the manuscript, White never began the work.

Zelazny found the manuscript in White's home in early 1968, read it, then contacted Dick about working on the project. Work proceeded sporadically over several years as each author, in turn, forgot about the book. At one stage, Zelazny's cat took the opportunity to urinate on the original manuscript. The novel was completed quickly, though, in the spring of 1975 after the publisher, Doubleday, demanded either the manuscript or a repayment of the advance paid to Dick. The editor discovered that Zelazny had sent photocopies of a number of the manuscript pages and demanded the originals as per Doubleday's policy; much to Zelazny's chagrin, he had to send in pages stained with cat urine. Zelazny said later that he always wondered what the editor made of them."


Discovering this, I quickly found a copy of the book and started to read this strange post-apocalyptic tale set in the western United States something like 15-20 years after all out nuclear war has devastated the world. The land is full of craters, rusting and rotting ruins, radiation, and mutant humans, animals & plants. A new religious faith has risen from the ashes, The Servants of Wrath (SOWs), whose new Messiah is kind of the antithesis of the Christian "god of love". They believe that the War proved that the God of Wrath is the only true faith and that Man's lot is to suffer until He brings them peace in Death. The SOW church has modeled their Messiah after an actual man Carleton Lufteufel (from the German words "Luft," meaning "air," and "Teufel," meaning "Devil"), who decades ago created and launched the ultimate doomsday weapon that ended the war by wiping out nearly all mankind worldwide, instantly (Dick's version of Doctor Strangelove?), leaving mere millions alive on the planet. The rulers of the Church of SOW in Charlottesville, Utah have commissioned the area's best artist to paint a "murch" (church mural) of their Savior as the living deliverer and sufferer of Wrath truly looks now. There are some old pre-war photos, but they want to be as true to what he looks after he ascended as an Avatar of Wrath. Only no one really knows if Lufteufel is still alive or what he looks like, just that he was known to live in Los Angeles before he pushed the button that destroyed the world.

The great artist in question is Tibor McMasters, a twisted dwarf of a man, an “inc” (incomplete), the world's term for a human who is handicapped by his mutations. Tibor has no arms or legs, having been born as a phocomelus with vestigial hands at his shoulders, and feet at his hips. He controls crude robotic arm implants to paint, and gets around riding in a jury-rigged cart pulled by a cow. It is this sad yet talented artist who is given the "Pilg" (Pilgrimage) to find Lufteufel, take a photo of him as he is now, and use that to inform his painting of the SOW Messiah.

Meanwhile, Pete Sands, a member of the town's somewhat failing old Christian church, has been experimenting with mixtures of drugs and narcotics to have visions and better commune with God (yes, this IS clearly a PKD story), despite his Priest berating him that drugs are not the Way. Sands, his girlfriend and the Pastor are visited by the inc McMasters before he leaves on his pilgrimage, and debate religion over a game of poker. McMasters admits his quest terrifies him and wonders if he ought to convert to Christianity. Strangely the pastor convinces him he must carry on as being afraid of his task isn't a valid conversion. The priest later sends Sands after McMasters to keep an eye (spy) on him. Sands is given a radio so he can keep in contact with his priest, and Sands believes (accurately or not) that the Priest's plan is for him to somehow sabotage McMasters quest so that the Christian church can reclaim some of the ground they've lost to the Church of SOW.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, we meet who we quickly realize is Carleton Lufteufel who is living as a very down and out Rat Catcher in some ruins and suffering from shrapnel wounds in his head and side (not unlike those of the crucified Christ) and seems to be quite mad. An adult mentally handicapped woman with the mind of child follows him around calling him Daddy because Lufteufel was once kind to her and gave her a doll. Passing out after an attempt to remove some of the shrapnel from his head, Alice tries to clean his face of blood with a shirt and captures a near perfect image of his face on the cloth. She stores it with her keepsakes as a relic (Shroud of Turin anyone?).

And so after the several scenes setting all this up, the quests begin, drawing these characters towards each other. And it is here where the story quickly becomes almost maddening. Maddening because it keeps heading off into what would be great post-apocalyptic road trip material but continuously derails itself. Many of the things described don't make a ton of sense. Sentient animal creatures have evolved in a mere 15 years for example?! A number of encounters seem to serve no purpose other than possibly a symbolic one I failed to catch despite some attempt to decode them. Every character seems to have PKD's obscure fascination with German poetry.

There *ARE* some good bits, however briefly and bizarrely touched on:

* The "Great C": the ruins of an underground pre-war facility run by old artificial intelligence computer that now sends out mechanical minions to ask passer-by questions like some kind of Sphynx. Only the Great C has gone mad as the world around it and often doesn't really know the answers to its own questions and tries to drag those it questions into it lair to feed its power cells with their body's constituents.

* An "autofac": the ruins a prewar automated-factory that made or repaired items and made me think a little of mad AI run Amazon.com warehouse. It steals Sands perfectly good bicycle to "repair" it at one point, and then instead of returning a repaired bicycle, regurgitates a geyser of pogo sticks.

But just when each one of these scenes begin to really engage you and go somewhere narratively, it's derailed again. The story keeps repeating itself (McMasters & then Sands following him meet the same conflicts along the road), everyone makes obvious repetitive comments, or goes off into philosophical & religious debates, or a scene will abruptly end to suddenly go off into another scene that seems to add little to the narrative.

I got so frustrated with this at around half way through I had to put the book down for awhile and move onto something else. I will say that things get a LITTLE better in that last part, at least for me, especially in the climatic scene which I found quite moving. But even that I felt had a LOT of *potential* but was somewhat fumbled and not set up to its full advantage (details on this bit in the spoiler below.



I quite liked the intention of, and some of the prose of the climax, and enjoyed the ending that implied as screwed up and skewed the facts of some of our religions and myths have become in their history, that there was still a kind of power behind it all. And the beautiful ending scene with Alice I thought was perfect. I wonder if that bit was Zelazny (which is my guess) or Dick.

Still the more narratively clean climax and ending doesn't do much to save this novel, as I barely made it there after that muddled and frustrating middle. Let's say the ending pushed this from a 1.5 or 2 to a 2.5 out of 5 stars. I do wonder if the two authors hadn't been so rushed to finally finish something they had each played with so rarely over a long delayed period of time, what MIGHT have been, as the story really does have a TON of potential it never delivered on. Or if they had shortened it into more of a short story parable or myth told by (or framed by) someone many more years after the apocalypse going back and recounting the tale of the rise of the SOW church who knew the details (maybe being told by Sand or the Christian Priest) how a lot of the frustrating issues I have with the novel could have been pared away, or become part of the distortions of myth over time instead of glaring issues that broke your ability to suspend belief.
Profile Image for ALbi.
91 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2021
Che scoperta incredibile questo racconto!

Il mio consiglio è di non leggere la descrizione del libro in quanto è pieno di spoiler e iniziare la lettura senza sapere nulla e senza indugio.
Non capisco come sia possibile che non ci sia una trasposizione cinematografica di questo libro, un film d'animazione con disegni fatti a mano da una mano giapponese sarebbe perfetto!

Questo libro scritto in dieci anni da due dei miei autori sci-fi preferiti è un opera filosofica, un discorso sulla religione cristiana, un libro sul valore della "missione" della propria esistenza, un viaggio fantastico pieno di creature inaspettate, un viaggio in un mondo post-apocalittico dal forte sapore sci-fi/steampunk, contiene un messaggio di grande valore per l'uomo e l'umanità.

Da leggere assolutamente!
Profile Image for Gio Albutashvili.
29 reviews6 followers
April 2, 2020
ფილოსოფიური და რელიგიური ლაითმოტივით გაჟღენთილი პოსტაპოკალიპტიკა, სტალკეროვშინის და რეიდერების გარეშე. სამი ვარსკვლავი ამ ხალხთან ცოტა უხერხულია. დიდი არაფერი ფანტასტიკის ორი მეტრისგან.
Profile Image for Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho.
1,176 reviews62 followers
February 15, 2015
It was an intriguing reading but not all that good. What did I like? The general rambling about Christianity and the new church dedicated of the God of Wrath. It was interesting to see the character development but the plot itself was not that good. The chapters in the middle were boring and in my opinion didn't brought anything new besides the physical and psycological trials.

And the story? The story begins some time after the fallout of a nuclear war. There were outspreaded mutations both to animals and humans. This incident led to new messianic religion (Servants of Wrath) who worship the creator of the war's ultimate weapon. This man was called Carleton Lufteufel. In a town, charlotteville, the servants enlisted Tibor McMasters to paint a mural of the god of wrath. (this town is the example of others towns where the God of Wrath is surpassing the Christians survivors. (In my opinion this reference to the God of Wrath makes me thing of the early mentions of God, where he would punish the unbelivers. An anger-driven religion. As Tibor is going to search for Carleton he has some doubts and recured to the christians but after some arguing he makes himself do what he has being paint to do. Did I mention tibor war an armless, legless cyborg phocomelus artist? Then he went about and meet some meaningless beings like lizards, birds, insencts (all sentient beings) and even some artificial inteligence. Meanwhile we get in two or three chapters another point of view of Alice, the intellectually challenged adopted daughter. Alice as she is trying to help Lufteufel to remove a shrapnel (akin to the crown of spines of christ) she gets blood on her shirt. Alice keeps the shirt as it is because it is the only likeness of her father face (akin to Shroud of Turin and Saint Veronica). Alice in the end is visited by Lufteufel spirit after his death but she things he is at peace. In return he removes her disability. Before helping her the "God of Wrath" also helps two persons. First Tibor giving him arms and legs and after removing them and another survivor the palm tree garden (akin to the Garden of Eden). In this we learn that he was an evil earthbound deity. Meanwhile McMasters is not aware of "His" death and is tricked by Pete Sands (a christian) to take a picture of a dying alcholic homeless person. He then draws the picture and it's in many murals on the Wrath of God churches. The end was quite fine with a christian priest thinking of that major event and with a critic image about the religious belief is ofted based on mythological accretions, which may not be valid interpretations of decisive events in the history of faith.

There are some interesting moments with characters thinking what this pilg means to each one. First to the servants of Wrath, then to the catholic priest, to the painter and the one who tricked the painter. This was pretty good. There are some good sentences in the book. I transcribed some of the later ones. A good novel and to anyone who loves a religion/character centerbased novel it should look this way and pick this book. Excelent.

"I wanted to depict that which may not be shown, that which cannot be understood. It is an impossible job. Pride. There is nothing else to me other than my skill. I know that I am good. It is all that I have, though, and I have made too much of it. I had felt, somehow, that it was more that sufficient, not just to make me the equal of a whole man, but to surpass other men, to surpass even the human. I wanted all the future generations of worshippers to look at that work and to see this. It was not the God of Wrath I wanted to look upon with awe, but the skil of Tibor McMasters. I wanted that awe, their wonder, their admiration - their worship. I wanted deification through my art, I see that now." (Tibor McMasters)

"As Milton wrote once, "out of evil comes good". Notice, he said to himself, the relative disparity of the two terms; evil is the most powerful term for what is bad, and good - it barely surpasses the opposite. The Fall of Satan, The fall of Man, the cruxifixion of Christ... out of those dreadful, evil acts came good; out of the Fall of Man and the expulsion from the Garden; man learned love. From a trinity of Evil emerged at last Trinity of Good! It is a balanced thing. (The Catholic Priest)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for paper0r0ss0.
648 reviews50 followers
August 6, 2021
Ecco un altro libro per dickiani convinti, solo loro, noi, forse possiamo trovare e apprezzare il grano tra il molto loglio disseminato. Un romanzo di una imperfezione assoluta e deliziosa. Discontinuo, non particolarmente avvincente ma che, non si capisce bene il perche', ti rimane appiccicato addosso. La terza guerra mondiale ha lasciato il pianeta in rovina e l'umanita' ridotta al lumicino, poche persone e in gran parte ammalate o terribilmente mutate. La penosa lotta per la sopravvivenza e', se possibile, complicata dalla sovrastruttura religioso-superstiziosa. E' uno dei temi piu' amati da Dick: la divinita', il soprannaturale, la giustificazione della presenza del male sulla terra. Parrebbe che piu' le sofferenze aumentano e piu' l'umanita' sia disposta a farsi schiava di dei esosi, crudeli e capricciosi, per cercare di farsene una ragione.
Profile Image for Giuseppe.
208 reviews
July 7, 2013
I due più grandi misteri dell'Universo sono il Big Bang, al quale, per quanto gli scienziati possano sbatterci la testa, è impossibile dare una risposta esaustiva ed un altro ben più misterioso e inestricabile. Ovvero: cosa vi era nella scatola cranica di Dick? Questa volta gli scienziati della parola (critici, lettarati e chi più ne ha, più ne metta) sono quelli che brancolano un po' nel buio.

Appartenente alla tarda produzione di Dick, quella più metafisica/religiosa, quando l'autore aveva cominciato a sentire le voci ed avere esperienze mistiche (credeva di essere l'alter ego di un cristiano perseguitato dai romani nel I sec. d.c.), Deus Irae è la storia di un personaggio metà uomo, metà carretto, eccezionale pittore che deve fare il ritratto del Dio dell'Ira, nuovo culto (praticamente una chiesa gnostica) che va per la maggiore dopo che il mondo è stato un po' ripulito dall'ennesima caterva di bombe e che si contrappone alla ormai priva di fascino Chiesa cristiana. Il nostro cyborg si sottoporrà ad un pellegrinaggio, incontrando le creature più strane (mutanti, robot mangia-uomini) e così via, per ritrarre la personificazione in terra del Dio dell'Ira (il tale che ha dato l'ordine di lanciare le bombe). Ci riuscirà? Chi lo sa? Io non ve lo dico, leggetevelo.

Certo è che rispetto ai libri precedenti, il finale è più netto e meno aperto. Rimane però, nel lettore, come nelle precedenti produzioni quella sensazione di avere una nebulosa di pensieri inestricabili, costellati da una serie di grandi interrogativi, il più grande di tutti "Come ha fatto l'autore a farne un sistema coerente (cioè un romanzo)?". Il fine o il messaggio possono essere chiari (Dick prende di mira la religione, il suo essere falso e vero allo stesso tempo e la sua relazione/contrapposizione con la tecnologia), quello che rimane poco chiaro è il "salto" dai singoli concetti alla concatenazione ed alla sublimazione narrativa degli stessi. Non per niente, qualsiasi analisi (usate la postfazione presente nel libro o anche quelle ottime di Pagetti, sparse in rete) riuscirà, per quanto brillante, incompleta, lasciandovi sempre un angolo scoperto dello scritto. E sicuramente ciò non si può imputare alla collaborazione con Zelazny, che invece sembra aver suggerito alla sciatta scrittura di Dick dove mettere correttamente le virgole.

Quindi un Dick più chiaro nella scrittura, ma sempre acuto e cervellotico. Non vi preoccupate, il piacevole mal di testa post-lettura fa sempre parte del pacchetto.
Profile Image for Jan vanTilburg.
257 reviews1 follower
November 10, 2021
With Philip K. Dick and to a lesser extend with Zelazny, it’s never only about the story. There is always more to it and that’s why I like especially PKD.
This one is full of political satire and religious sarcasm. Dialogs are witty. Will definitely be more fun for readers with some christian (bible) background.

It starts with Tibor (the limbless man) and Father Handy, bantering. Full of religious references. It’s then that Tibor is send on a quest, a ‘pilg’, to find the Deus Irae, the God of Wrath, who is held responsible for the all destructive war. So he can ‘faithfully’ use his image for a mural in the church.

The story is set in a postapocalyptic landscape. It is populated with strange creatures, supposedly caused by the fallout of radiation during the all devastating war. All this gives it a surreal feeling. Almost fantasy like.

With very interesting characters:
Main characters:
Tibor McMasters, painter (moves around in a bicycle cart, propelled by a cow), a servant of Wrath: “the limbless trunk with knobbed head lolling as if in trip-fantastic to a slow jig as the Holstein cow wallowed forward.”
Pete Sands: Acolyte of Jim Abernathy, the local Christian priest. “The bald young man with acne.” Experiments with hallucinogens because he “wants to go as far toward Him, to meet Him, as I can.”

Supporting characters:
Father Handy - priest of the Servants of Wrath. Followers of the Deus Irea.
Ely, the priests wife - “dry, dutiful, small and withered, as if wetless personally”
Dominus McComas, superior of Father Handy: “large and tepid, with strangely cruel teeth, as if he tore things, not necessarily living, in fact much harder - as if he did a job, a profession, teethwise.”
Lurine Rae (lover of Pete Sands): “red-haired and so small-boned that he always imagined that she could fly...” and “slight freckled, pale, red-haired, horse-riding girl of twenty.”
Dr. Abernathy - “...short, roosterlike, red-faced, round little old (christian) priest..” Superior of Pete Sands.
Profile Image for Erik.
322 reviews17 followers
August 3, 2017
Deus Irae is the second PKD book i read featuring a main character with no arms and no legs. This is probably the least strange aspect of this novel. This book combines Dr. Bloodmoney with the religious stuff of the valis trilogy, but sharpened into a more cohesive novel. A very christian novel i might say.

A bit like a canticle for leibowitz but with some hallucinogenic experiences, talking bugs, talking worms, talking factories but with more religion. I never fault i needed some religious background to read canticle, with Deus Irae i did in parts.. But that heavy religious stuff is counterbalanced with a lot of humor and fantastic situations. Its a really fun read, most of the time.

I usually cringe at the thought of dual authors, but this book mostly works out well. Dick is prevented from going to overboard on his religious theories.

I liked how the ending wrapped up all the bits, but i wasnt a huge fan of super super strong christian tones - this is basically CS Lewis meets trippedout canticle for leibowitz. But again, it works very well. The book's plot was structured very well, particularly for its scope.
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