We Can Build You
By Philip K. Dick
Originally published in 1972
Trade paperback published by Vintage
Louis Rosen and his partners sell people--ingeniously
designed, historically authentic simulacra of
personages such as Edwin M. Stanton and Abraham
Lincoln. The problem is that the only prospective
buyer is a rapacious billionaire whose plans for the
simulacra could land Louis in jail. Then there's the
added complication that someone--or something--like
Abraham Lincoln may not want to be sold.
Is an electronic Lincoln any less alive than his
creators? Is a machine that cares and suffers inferior
to the woman Louis loves--a borderline psychopath who
does neither? With irresistible momentum,
intelligence, and wit, Philip K. Dick creates an
arresting techno-thriller that suggests a marriage of Bladerunner and Barbarians at the Gate.
"...We Can Build You is not one of Dick's greatest books (ie.not on a par with those mentioned above) but the themes are characteristically Dicksian
and it is far from being a pot-boiler written with only the bank balance in mind. We Can Build You is a sombre and highly depressing
novel in which Dick manages both to attain and to sustain a frighteningly realistic tone, despite some over-exaggeration in
stressing the misery and frailty of human existence. ...Conspicious by its absence is the touch of Dick's superb inventiveness;
there are no talking taxis to lighten the atmosphere. Incidentally, and unusually for Dick, the story is told entirely in the first person,
lending even more weight to the didactic nature of the book."
Review by Any Muir, 1978.
The "We Can Build You" Cover Art Gallery