Thursday, April 10, 2008

PKD: The Penultimate Truth excerpts

World War III is raging - or so the millions of people crammed in their underground tanks believe. For fifteen years, subterranean humanity has been fed on daily broadcasts of a never-ending nuclear destruction, sustained by a belief in the all powerful Protector. But up on Earth's surface, a different kind of reality reigns. East and West are at peace. And across the planet, an elite corps of expert hoaxers preserve the lie.

Carol said, "I made an aud(io) tape of Yancy's (the supposed leader of the society) speech. The part I was there for, anyhow."
"Those other spools of aud tape in that cabinet?"
"All of Yancy. Former Speeches. Dating back over the past year."
"Is that legal to do?"
"As a matter of fact it is legal. I looked it up."
Relieved, he said, "Sometimes I think you're nuts." Her mind was always off in some odd direction, flashing and echoing in its fullness and baffling him eternally; he could never keep up with her, and so his awe of her continually grew. "Explain," he said.
"Have you noticed," Carol said, "that Yancy, in his speeches in late February, when he used the phrase coup de grâce, he pronounced it gras. And in March he pronounced it-" From the steel-doored cabinet she brought forth a chart with entries, which she now consulted. "March twelfth. Pronounced coo de grah. Then, in April, on the fifteenth, it was gras again." She glanced up alertly, eyed Nicholas.
"Then," Carol said, inflexibly, "on May third in a speech, he once more used the term. That memorable speech in which he informed us that our destruct of Leningrad completely-" She glanced up from her chart. "It could well be the coo de grah. No s.
Back to his earlier pronunciation." She restored the chart to the cabinet, then, and relocked the cabinet. He noted that it took not only a metal insert key but the pressure of her fingerprints; even with a duplicate key - or her key - the cabinet would remain closed. It would open only for her.
Carol said, "I don't know. But it means something. Who fights the surface war?"
"Leadies." (robots)
"And where are the humans?"
"What is this, Commissioner Nunes (Commissioners who control the ant tanks, the underground tanks) all over again, interrogating people at bedtime when they ought to be-"
"They're in ant tanks (underground tanks)," Carol said. "Below surface. Like us. Now, when you apply for an artiforg (artificial organs) you are told they're available only to military hospitals, presumably on the surface."
"I don't know," he said, "or care, where the military hospitals are. All I know is that they have the priority and we don't."
Carol said, "If Leadies are fighting the war, what are in the military hospitals? Leadies? No. Because they send damaged leadies down to shops, our shop for instance. And a leady is a metal construct and it has no pancreas. There are a few humans on the surface, of course; the Estes Park Government. And in Pac-Peop, the Soviet. Are the pancreases for them?
He was silent; she had him completely.
"Something," she said, "is wrong. there can't be military hospitals because there aren't civilians or soldiers who've been maimed in the fighting and who need artiforgs. Yet - they won't release the artiforgs to us. To me, for instance, for Souza; even though they know we can't survive without Souza. Think about it, Nick."
"Hmmm," he said.
Carold said quietly. "You're going to have to come up with something better than 'Hmmm,' Nick. And soon."

Ye shall know the truth, Adams thought, and by this thou shalt enslave. Or as Yancy would put it, "My fellow Americans. I have before me a document so sacred and momentous that I am going to ask you to-"

Time, Nicholas thought, It's as if a force that grips us all in a one-way path of power, a total power on its part, none on ours, has for him divided; he is moved by it and yet simultaniously, or perhaps alternately, he seizes it and grips it and he then moves on to suit his own needs.

"Gottlied Fischer," he said aloud. "The idea for Yancy originated with him; so the crisis is actually in the past." And he who possesses the ability to travel in time has accss to the past, he realized. There is a junction, a connection, Between David Lantano, who or whatever he is, and Gottlied Fischer, back in 1982 or '4 or right up to Fischer's death; but no later than his death... and probably slightly before Fischer began his work on the Yancy Prinzip, his variation on the Führer Prinzip: his new solution to the problem of who shall lead, since, if men are too blind to govern themselves, how can they be trusted to govern others? The answer is der Führer, as every German knows, and Gottlieb Fischer was a German. Brose then stole the idea from Fischer, as we all know, and turned that idea into an actuality, the dummy, one in Moscow and one in New York, bolted to the oak desk, programmed by the computer which in in turn is fed speeches by well trained elite idea men.

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