Dick's story, published in 1956, bears an uncomfortable resemblance to present-day circumstances. In World of Chance, a few corporate powers control the world.
When the Bottle twitches an unknown into the number one position, ironically restoring the original intent of the designers of the system, a team from the Directorate arrive. They expect that Cartwright will, like almost everyone else, have sworn fealty to one of the 'Hills' (multinational corporates) or perhaps sold his PowerCard on the black market. But Cartwright still has his Power-Card.
Dick's hero, Cartwright, is the leader of the Prestonites, a society which reveres a dead writer who claimed that a tenth planet existed. When Cartwright takes power, the few members of the society take off in an ancient ore freighter, trying to find the planet. The planet, described in Preston's novel 'The Flame Disc', represents the last chance for men to establish a world free of corrupt corporate bosses.
The ex-Quizmaster, Verrick, is determined to seize control again. To circumvent the telepathic Corps of anti-assassins, he has his Hill, the Chemie corporate, fabricate an android, Keith Pellig, that can be motivated by any one of a team of different operators, whose minds are switched into Pellig's body at random.
Dick's story, which comes from the golden age of pulp SF, stands way above its contemporaries. The story still holds its own compared with any current offerings, and offers disturbing, prophetic, parallels with trends we see around us today.
This report prepared by Clive Warner