In 2203 anyone can become the ruler of the solar system. There are no elections, no interviews, no prerequisites whatsoever – it all comes down to the random turns of a giant wheel. But when a new Quizmaster takes over, the old one still keeps some rights, namely the right to hire an unending stream of assassins to attempt to kill the new leader.
In the wake of the most recent change in leadership, employees of the former ruler scurry to find an assassin who can get past telepathic guards. But when one employee switches sides, troubling facts about the lottery system come to light, and it just might not be possible for anyone to win.
Dick’s first published novel shows many of the hallmarks that would later be staples of his most highly regarded works. Solar Lottery starts off raw, ripping through plot and introducing characters at a pace. Although early set pieces are confusing, the world created and first half of the novel are brilliantly rich with PKD sci-fi charm that steadily make sense as the book concludes.
The use of the societal divides of classified and unclassified is undoubtedly Orwellian, but the 50s nature of the writing – burgeoning on racist & sexist – sets it firmly within its own world (or should that be solar system).
The rewarding slow release of information makes it a tough read if your not familiar with the trappings of PKD. But well worth the effort and easy to see, in retrospect, how this became Dick’s first novel to get publisher approval.
Narrated by: David de Vries
Brilliantly narrated and easily available.
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Release Date: 19/09/2012
First Edition: First published as a novel by Ace Books as one half of Ace Double D-103 in May 1955, it was bound dos-à-dos with The Big Jumpby Leigh Brackett.
Most Recent Edition: Published August 14th 2012 by Mariner Books
Personal Favourite: Published April 1st 1990 by Collier Books