The Man Who Japed
By Philip K. Dick
In honor of April Fool's Day I thought I'd present a work by a master of science fiction that uses a prank as its main plot point.
In the year 2114 Allen Purcell is an upstanding citizen of a totalitarian society that strictly enforces a moral code using spying robots called "juveniles." He has a wife and a good job in the entertainment industry and he's worked hard to get where he is. But something isn't quite right in the world, and he just can't figure it out. One morning he wakes up to discover that someone has vandalized a statue of their government's founder. Everyone is shocked, but no one more so than Allen who finds red paint on his shoes. He's pretty sure he's the one who played the little prank, but he can't remember doing it. And he's worried that he might do it again.
What does it take to crumble a totalitarian government? Maybe it just takes a sense of humor.
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Review by Danny Hanbery