If there ever was a depressing, bleak world that Dick created then it is The World That Jones Made. Set in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere of hopelessness and spiritual despair, TWJM chronicles the events surrounding the rise and fall of psychic revolutionary Floyd Jones. Jones’ character becomes bigger than life and comes to represent the unity and single vision of the people.
Under Fedgov, the big brother-like government that is Jones’ predecessor, the citizens of America are guided by a theology/philosophy entitled Hoff’s Relativism. Similar in it’s role to Specktowskism (A Maze of Death) and Mercerism (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) Hoff’s Relativism is a Dickian thought pattern that encompasses the essence of human existence. It exists in a world where people have nothing in common and each individual is always alone. From this lack of unity Fedgov maintains its power structure and people live their lives devoid of emotion and connectedness. Jones popularity stems from his campaign against a mysterious interstellar plasma that offers a focus for their hatred and collective energy. Jones and his swarms of passionate followers take over the Fedgov system with many profound consequences.
With its bizarre futuristic characters and situations, The World Jones Made is clearly one of Dick’s earlier novels. Scientifically altered mutants and hermaphroditic sex performers all fit into The World Jones Made. Written in 1956, TWJM takes a cynical view of revolutionary idealism that may have been a product (or a preview) of the times. This is a very political book for Dick which suggests that power is corrupting and questions the nature of human existence.
While this book may not be as refined as Dick’s later work, The World That Jones Made sets the mood for much of what was to follow.