The Broken Bubble


The Broken Bubble

infobox Book |
name = The Broken Bubble
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover)
author = Philip K. Dick
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Arbor House
release_date = 1988
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
pages = 246 pp
isbn = ISBN 1-557-10012-8
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Broken Bubble" is an early mainstream novel by noted science fiction author Philip K. Dick. It was written somewhere around 1956 under the longer title "The Broken Bubble of Thisbe Holt", and was rejected for publication in the 1950s, as were all of Dick's "straight" (non-SF) novels at the time. It was published posthumously with a shortened title in 1988.

Plot summary

The lives of two couples intertwine in mid-50s California, and all learn important lessons about life. Jim Briskin is a classical music DJ. He and his ex-wife Pat Briskin are still very much in love, but have divorced because he is sterile. The two divorcees meet a teenaged married couple named Art and Rachel, and essentially swap partners.

Pat passionately loves Art, almost as though he were her child, and the two of them have an abusive relationship in which he beats her on at least one occasion. Meanwhile, Jim and Rachel hook up and Rachel offers to ditch Art and move to Mexico with Jim, where Jim will adopt her baby and raise it as his own. In the end, life continues to not work out the way all the players wish it would, and they all end up swapping back to their original partners.

The titular Miss Holt is actually a fairly minor character in the book. She is a large-breasted stripper who performs at optometrists conventions.

Her act consists of getting naked and climbing into a large clear plastic ball (The "Broken Bubble" of the title, resembling a hamster ball) which the optometrists then roll around the hotel room. Eventually, the ball gets broken when it's thrown off the hotel roof by the optometrists.

Recurring character

* As with many of the principle characters in Dick's unpublished non-SF novels, Jim Briskin shows up again in several later novels and stories, such as "The Crack in Space". For the most part, these are not actual sequels, but rather are an example of Dick re-using a carefully-crafted character from a book that was unlikely ever to be published.

This is more of a "same character, different lives" kind of thing than a true sequel, although Briskin (now inexplicably black) turns up as a central character - now a news anchor - in two related short stories. These stories are not related to either "The Broken Bubble" or "The Crack in Space", however.

ee also

*Bibliography of Philip K. Dick


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