• Now Wait for Last Year

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (211 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Earth is trapped in the crossfire of an unwinnable war between two alien civilizations. Its leader is perpetually on the verge of death. And on top of that, a new drug has just entered circulation - a drug that haphazardly sends its users traveling through time. In an attempt to escape his doomed marriage, Dr. Eric Sweetscent becomes caught up in all of it. But he has questions: Is Earth on the right side of the war? Is he supposed to heal Earth’s leader or keep him sick? And can he change the harrowing future that the drug has shown him?

©1966 Philip K. Dick (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Now Wait for Last Year

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Can you make the world right?

Philip K. Dick has become well known for his books and short stories that have been turned into sci-fi movie blockbusters such as Minority Report, Total Recall, and maybe most famously Blade Runner. However this novel with its intragalactic war, time travel, and aliens will probably never be turned into a huge moneymaking movie. It’s because despite all the outward plot devices that seem ripe for action movie plunder, this book is about an internal war – a war about the depths of love and what is required of that love. PKD takes the reader to a place they may not want to go in a pulp SF novel, but for those who cross through time, you need to get there.

The book follows the story of Dr. Eric Sweetscent – a organ transplant specialist that is hired to keep the very rich alive. His wife is an antiquities merchant with a specialization in the mid 1900’s. She loathes him and he is tired of her, but the lasting afterimage of their love for each other keeps them tenuously bound together. They live during a war between two developed interstellar species the Starmen who are allied with Earth and the insect-like Reegs. Eric is drawn into the thick of the political intrigue behind the war when he is assigned to keep the leader of Earth alive.

While Eric is gone, his wife experiments with a new drug JJ-180 that has the side effect of sending the user through time. Unfortunately it is lethal and completely addictive. Eventually most of the main characters are using the drug to try to find something in the past or the present to help them overcome their situations – whether it’s winning the war, becoming wealthy, or healing relationships. PKD drives the story with action and quick pace while jumping in and out of time. The battlefield is always shifting, but can Eric find a reality that is the one he wants?

Was there a golden time in your past? Do you think the future must be better? If you could have everything just as you want, would it really make your life better. Phillip K. Dick wrestles with what it means to be happy and what the nature of true relationships are. Unlike any book that I have read – with outlandish backdrops and political intrigue – Now Wait For Last Year sticks the point to the reader: do you need everything perfect to determine your happiness. Life will never be perfect. Enjoy what you have and forget about the what-might-have-beens or the what-could-bes. Find the way to make this life enjoyable.

Again, this may be more than you’re looking for in a science fiction novel. There’s many things going on in this book that make it very entertaining reading, but you’re going to be left with a question in your heart about your enjoyment of life. Make the answer “Yes.”

Audible Listeners: Luke Daniels does a decent job. He's not my favorite narrator, but he does a good enough job not to lost the impact of the story.


6.5 stars out of 10

7 people found this helpful

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Last/Best Self-help Book for Couples and Suicides

"Life is composed of reality configurations so constituted. To abandon her would be to say, I can't endure reality as such. I have to have uniquely special easier conditions."

- Philip K. Dick, Now Wait for Last Year

This is a book for married couples (having difficulties), suicides, drug addicts, politicians, and time travelers -- and it just happens to be one of my favorite PKD novels ever (although ever with Philip Kindred Dick is always a fluid thing).

'Now Wait for Last Year' is something rare: a selcouth piece of pulp that if judged by its cover or sales (I'm guessing here), could easily be discarded. It is always a joy to find a book that resonates with you in a visceral way in a place you weren't expecting. This book really is the last/best self-help book for couples and suicides.

I thought this was just going to be another middle-of-the-road, funky, throwaway PKD from the mid-60s (1966 to be exact). Look, there are definitely better written Dick novels, but for even mild fans of this amazing author, I would definitely check this one out. There is a unpretentious sophistication and depth to it that some of his messier, early novels lack, but there is also a helluva lot of heart. It really is something haunting to finish a novel where you can almost smell and taste the chemical density of the blood the author pumped into the ink on every page.

21 people found this helpful

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Freewheeling

written at the peak of his powers... Incorporates most of the facets that make his other fiction so enjoyable

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Become a Dick Head

For me this book is different than anything I normally read.

I really enjoyed the story and the narrator.

Not sure which of his 34 novels I will read next but Philip K Dick is certainly on my radar now…

2 people found this helpful

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As an admirer of P.K. Dick

I am listening a second time.
more closely this time.
I love the story line, yet I seem to get a bit fuzzy in trying to make the links. OK so whats new about this, and PKD?
Usually I can follow the involutions and almost dreamlike shifts of PKD and I am curious as to why I seem to miss some linking threads in this story. Hence my second listen, so soon after the first.
For newcomers to Dick, I would suggest either 'Flow my tears the Policeman Said' or 'Dr Bloodmoney'.
So this is about much more than 'Alien' invaders who have become the masters, highly addictive drug induced time travel, coexisting alternate realities, high tech body repair and replacements and even well developed AI robots. There are well disposed other Aliens and a man separated from his wife travelling on a quest. There are ethical and fellow AI concerns for so called defective pupose designed AI and delightful responses that a human could call humane.
If you know PK Dick, and really like his work you will not be disappointed.
PK Dick was an extraordinary writer.

4 people found this helpful

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The End

The Ending made me smile. One of those ah ha moments you get when a great writer gives you a tidbit about life

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still waiting for something to happen

I kept listening, hoping it would get better. It never did. It wasn't bad, just not engrossing or terribly thought provoking.

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A story that stays with you.

Modern, and as the story goes, it plays without being redundant on the subject theme. Even though it's not long, it knows when to end – but the ending has a deep & insightful insight – that is good to remember. PKD delivers.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mo
  • 03-16-22

One of PKD's better books

I originally read this in 1993 (it was my first PKD book) and loved it because it was so very different than other science fiction I had read.

Listening to it in 2022, I still see why I was so taken by it (even if I now find fault here and there). It feels so compelling & real that in the midst of an existential crisis for the earth, the protagonist also struggles to figure out what to do with his marriage.

I recommend it.



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Aliens and a time traveling drug

Philip K Dick's Now Wait for Last Year offers another tale focused on Dick's recurrent theme of reality. The future world at the start has the world at war with an alien race and allied with another, although the Earth seems to be the junior partner in that relationship. The main character is a physician specializing in a pluripotent type of transplant. Initially he works for a company that is crucial to the war effort, but becomes the physician to the Earth leader, a sort of UN secretary. At this point, things go off in multiple directions. A hallucinogenic drug enters the picture with variable provenance. Highly addictive, it can also move an individual through time. The doctor is exposed by his addicted wife, and experiences multiple futures with allies and enemies as well as the war outcomes changing. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary keeps multiple versions of himself and employs illness as a negotiating tactic.

Dick mixes multiple concepts, including alien races, both humanoid and not, as well as time travel, limitless organ transplant and psychoactive drugs designed as a warfare weapon. The tale moves along briskly, but careful attention is needed to keep up with various time swaps. Both the story and the structure of the story play with reality.

The narration is well done with very good character distinction and smooth pacing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-31-16

Earth, death, time travel, and scorn

I greatly enjoyed the changes of pace and tension throughout the story. The bitterness is saddening and lends tragedy