The Zap Gun Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Zap Gun

Lars Powderdry is part of a fake arms race that falls apart when aliens invade. Lars Powderdry runs a fake weapons company in an alternate future 2004 where the cold war is faked so that governments can make money. Lars is unhappy with the fact that his company makes weapons that don't work. Workers are kept in a drugged state as they work and are shown comic book images so that they think the are really building weapons instead of furniture and toys. He tries to make secret contact with his counterpart in the Soviet controlled zone. She hires agents from the Western Bloc to kill Lars for trying to mess up the wealth from the fake weapons industry. The plot fails, but Lars's mistress is killed in the attempt.
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A real alien invasion begins, but there are no real weapons. The government puts out fake war footage as Lars tries to figure out how to make real weapons with the woman that tried to kill him. A new President is elected that has suspected what was going on all along. He reveals it to the people, but they don't believe him.

Lars uses the drugs from the workers to travel back in time in a trance multiple times to figure out how to build war robots from the past. During one of his trips, he leaves a mark on one of the factories and finds that mark when he returns. Once he knows he can change the past, he goes back again and plants devices in toys which drug future leaders while they are children. He then manipulates the past to install himself as President, his mistress is back to life and now his wife, eliminates the fake Cold War, and brokers a peaceful settlement deal with the aliens who mostly live in New Orleans in the new version of 2004.
Best part of story, including ending: It is telling of the view of the future from the midst of the Cold War and it is a campy pulp sci fi story.

Best scene in story: The description of the story within the story with the moving comic book reads very much like an Ipad. The adventure story on Titan from the comic is fascinating and weird in itself.

Opinion about the main character: Lars is a bit difficult to follow once he starts tripping at the end of the novel.

The review of this Book prepared by Jay Wilburn a Level 2 American Robin scholar

In 1992, the two power blocs on Earth, West-Bloc and Peep-East, achieved an uneasy balance in which they spent most of their time fooling their own citizens into thinking they were constantly developing new weapons of war and defense, while actually converting all their weapons stocks into useful consumer goods and technology (a process known as "plowsharing"). Now it is 2004, and Lars Powderdry is a mental adept who envisions these new peaceful uses for weapons while going along with the public fiction that they are new weapons. Suddenly, satellites unknown to either bloc begin to circle the planet, and whole urban populations start disappearing due to an alien invasion. Powderdry teams up with his counterpart from Peep-East, a young woman named Lilo Topchev, to see if they can come up with a real weapon to defeat the invaders. Part of the answer lies with an aged veteran who mumbles about his participation in the great battle that took place "63 years ago, in 2005"; somehow, he's traveled back in time from 2067, and they must find out what he knows about how to defeat the aliens. This 1965 novel offers a great critique of Cold War politics but peters out in the last third.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

This sci-fi novel was written in 1965 by american sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick.

In 2004, the East is still communist but lives in peace with the Western part of the world lead by the former U.S.A. Suddenly strange satellites appear in the sky and begin to "suck" entire cities from the planet Earth. Lars Powderdry and Lilo Toptchev, two mediums with stunning mental abilities, must find a way to discover THE gun that may break the alien attack.

An over-average novel of Philip K. Dick .

The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of The Zap Gun

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 13.3%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 46.7%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 16.7%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 23.3% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Time Travel:    -   largely backwards/past Political power play    -   Yes Political plotlets    -   preventing/managing clash/war between govts/kingdoms Tech./$$$/Info hunt    -   Yes Stealing/recovering/destroying    -   weapon If an invasion, from Earth/human POV:    -   fighting overt invasion (attacking aliens) War or Invasion    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Time Travel story?    -   Yes Inventing-of-item story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


Terrain    -   Domed/Underground City Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century)    -   current (early 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Philip K. Dick Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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