His multiple personalities now integrated, Jefferson Caird is still on the run from the authorities of Dayworld. His attempts to stay free bring him into contact with a colorful array of figures.
This second volume follows closely on the model of its predecessor, but with more assurance. It’s less concerned with laying out the structure of the world than in sending its protagonist through a series of adventures. It’s smoother but less interesting reading.
While Farmer clearly put some thought into how Dayworld works (stoning, shared spaces, different styles), a good deal is left to implication – and it’s not always credible. That’s true for its lead characters, as well. Caird (let’s call him) has a fixation on Panthea Snick that’s simply not explained. It cropped up in the first volume, and it’s not explained here. Instead, she and another larger-than-life character traipse around in Caird’s wake for no good reason. The action moves Caird from place to seemingly at random, and the two follow along as good sidekicks do.
We do get a few revelations here (about immers and rebels), but they’re more muted than they might be. Caird & Co decide to bring things to a head with a series of irrational actions, and just barely get out of more scrapes than a comic-book hero, based only on .. nothing in particular, in fact. But get out they do.
Dayworld Rebel aimed to be the centerpiece of a clever, insightful series examining human nature and an instinct for freedom. Instead, it’s an adequate, largely forgettable chase novel that neither provokes thought nor offers an exciting escape.
20 May 2018 Science fiction | Philip Jose Farmer | Dayworld |