#10982 Counter-Clock World. Philip K. Dick.
Philip K. Dick

Counter-Clock World

Counter-Clock World is a 1967 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick with one of the author's more bizarre plot lines. It imagines a future where time runs backwards. The dead are revived from the grave and then live their lives in reverse, growing younger, and eventually returning to the womb where they will split into an egg and sperm. Inventions are forgotten and books become unwritten, and a struggle wages over the body and soul of one recently revived Anarch Peak, the former and future leader of a powerful socio-religious group. This novel is an expansion of the short story "Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday", originally published in the August 1966 edition of Amazing Stories. The book was first published as a paperback original, this being the second UK paperback edition.

Softcover. Second UK Paperback Edition. Coronet, 21830 (70p). London: Coronet, 1977. Levack 7. Wintz & Hyde SF4.8. ISBN: 0340218304. #10982.

Additional Details
Philip K. Dick's Counter-Clock World is a 1967 science fiction novel with one of the prolific author's strangest and most mind-bending plots. Set in the not-so-distant future of 1998, this dystopian narrative unveils a world where the flow of time has dramatically reversed. In this peculiar reality, the deceased awaken in their graves ('old-birth'), living their lives in reverse chronological order, eventually returning to the womb as an egg and sperm. 

The story revolves around Anarch Peak, a black religious leader who perished in 1971 and is poised to rise from the dead once more, and Sebastian Hermes, the owner of a small Vitarium, a business specializing in reviving the deceased and preparing them for reintegration into society. When Hermes stumbles upon the impending resurrection of Anarch Peak, he embarks on an unlawful mission to unearth Peak's body before the inevitable awakening.

Various groups vie for control over the 'old-born,' including the Vitaria, responsible for the care of resurrected individuals, and the enigmatic Library, dedicated to erasing books that have exceeded their original publication date. Religious institutions also play a significant role in this bizarre reality, with the Udites, an African-American religion, and The Rome Syndicate, the highest authority in Caucasian matters, competing for control over Anarch Peak after his resurrection. The conflict escalates when the Library abducts Peak, compelling both factions to send Sebastian Hermes on a mission to recover him.

The novel introduces readers to the 'Hobart Phase,' a peculiar new order of life characterized by resurrection and rejuvenation. This phase has not only reversed the aging process but also transformed fundamental aspects of human existence, including nutrition, excretion, and social norms. People no longer eat conventionally but instead ingest 'Sogum' anally through a pipe and subsequently expel food orally in private, deeming the process 'shameful.' Smoking has also taken an unusual turn, with cigarettes regenerating when smoke is blown back into them, cleansing the air in the process. Everyday greetings, such as 'goodbye' and 'hello,' have swapped their order, and the term 'food' has replaced the expletive 'shit.' Remarkably, the Hobart Phase appears limited to Earth and its lunar colonies, with Mars colonists excluded from this peculiar temporal shift.

Additionally, Counter-Clock World paints a vivid picture of a divided United States. The nation has split into eastern and western segments, with Hawaii and Alaska seceding from the Western United States (WUS) and the Free Negro Municipality (FNM), respectively. The predominantly white WUS views the Uditi religion practiced in the FNM with suspicion, and tensions run high, with hints of media demonization and Library-sanctioned acts of violence.

Counter-Clock World presents one the more peculiar dystopian universe where the reversal of time transforms not only the order of events but also the very essence of existence itself. Philip K. Dick's narratives tend to challenge our understanding of reality, mortality, and the boundaries of human experience, and undoubtedly this is one of his most bizarre works.