this year i am going to read the entire works of philip k dick

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yes i am.

tom west (thomp), Monday, 2 January 2006 22:51 (fifteen years ago) link

jan 1st: galactic pot-healer. i've noticed i now start expecting the ex-wife character to pop up about four chapters in, and was not disapppointed. in some ways (maybe half-remembering this from that jameson book? enh) sort of quintessentially philip k dickish, that title: a mundane craft or talent apotheosised via sciffy mechanism. is that a verb, "apotheosised"? anyway. craftsmen from various planets including Earth are approached by an entity called the Glimmung, who wants them to help him restore a cathedral. the site on the planet where the cathedral has sunk is notable in that time does not work correctly in a number of odd ways, and so raising this cathedral is to be a gesture against the void, against entropy.

"do you like Kipling?" "i don't know, i've never kippled."

probably my favorite of the last few i've read, disregarding rereadings. notable high points regarding both the bizarre humour and mundane terror type stuff.

tom west (thomp), Monday, 2 January 2006 23:02 (fifteen years ago) link

this thread exists partly so when i get confused i can look back and go "ah, that was the one with the cathedral!"

i am unsure whether i have to reread all the ones i've already read as part of this. i plan on rereading some, at least.

next up: there's three out in gollancz's sci fi masterworks series the bookshop in town has: a maze of death, the simulacra, time out of joint. after that, i think valis plus the divine invasion and the transmigration of timothy archer.

tom west (thomp), Monday, 2 January 2006 23:08 (fifteen years ago) link

anyone got any secondary texts to recommend? i very much like the cover of this, which is apparently a sort of biographical novel:

one of my favorite novels of the 90s is michael bishop's remarkable dick pastiche philip k dick is dead, alas, in which the spirit of massively successful mainstream novelist philip k dick starts appearing to his fans after his death to warn them that something has gone wrong with their world.

tom west (thomp), Monday, 2 January 2006 23:10 (fifteen years ago) link

dunno how complete this might be:

Solar Lottery [vt World of Chance (1956 UK)](1955)
The World Jones Made (1956)
The Man Who Japed (1956)
The Cosmic Puppets (1957)
Eye in the Sky (1957)
Time Out of Joint (1959)
Dr. Futurity (1960)
Vulcan's Hammer (1960)
The Man in the High Castle (1962)
The Game Players of Titan (1963)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964)
Martian Time-Slip (1964)
Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964)
The Simulacra (1964)
The Penultimate Truth (1964)
Dr. Bloodmoney [vt Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb](1965)
Now Wait for Last Year (1966)
The Crack in Space (1966)
Counter Clock World (1967)
The Ganymede Takeover (1967) with Ray Nelson
The Zap Gun (1967)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [vt Blade Runner](1968)
Ubik (1969)
Galactic Pot Healer (1969)
A Maze of Death (1970)
Our Friends from Frolix 8 (1970)
We Can Build You (1972)
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974)
Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975)
Deus Irae (1976) with Roger Zelazny
A Scanner Darkly (1977)
VALIS (1981)
The Divine Invasion (1981)
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982)
Lies, Inc. [vt The Unteleported Man](1983)
The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike (1984)
Radio Free Albemuth (1985)
Puttering About in a Small Land (1985)
In Milton Lumky Territory (1985)
Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (1986)
Mary and the Giant (1987)
Nick and the Glimmung (1988)
The Broken Bubble (1988)

ones i've read in italics. recommendations welcomed.

also, a question: does anyone have any idea as to whether the more hokily skiffy of his titles were editorial edicts? because it seems very odd that the same person would want to have titles like "the three stigmata of palmer eldritch" and also "martian time-slip".

tom west (thomp), Monday, 2 January 2006 23:43 (fifteen years ago) link

If I remember correctly from Lawrence Sutin's biography of Dick, Martian Time-Slip was originally intended to be called "Goodmember Arnie Kott of Mars". It looks like you've read all the best PKD books already-- I'm not sure what I could still recommend to you! I sort of like Our Friends from Frolix 8, especially because of the ending and because I own an original of it in all its gaudy paperback sci-fi glory: "What had answered mankind's call for help? And at what price?" Are you reading his short stories too? You might as well, given as it would only add five more volumes to your list.

Chris F. (servoret), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 00:34 (fifteen years ago) link

"i am unsure whether i have to reread all the ones i've already read as part of this. i plan on rereading some, at least."

um, if you are gonna read everything he wrote this year, then yeah, you have to re-read stuff. otherwise, your thread title should read: this year i am going to read the entire works of philip k dick (except for the stuff i have already read).

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 00:37 (fifteen years ago) link

I did this in 1992 or so. I wish I had taken notes. The Zap Gun is enjoyable because it feels like it was written very fast indeed and with no backward glances.

Paul Eater (eater), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 00:43 (fifteen years ago) link

I knew this would be your thread, Tom.

I think I will read more PKD this year too! I've only read, um, High Castle, Scanner Darkly, Electric Sheep, and part of Valis.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 18:32 (fifteen years ago) link

I'd go for 'Radio Free albemuth' and 'The Divine Invasion' next.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:10 (fifteen years ago) link

So how did the ppl who read it find that Biog on him? Does it give a good overview on his ideas as well as biographical detail? Not really chased up much info on the man himself, the arena documentary from a few years ago was a very entertaining profile.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:18 (fifteen years ago) link

the only biog i remember was from the late 80's/early 90's? very interesting and informative. i'll have to search for the title. there are more than one, no?

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:37 (fifteen years ago) link

Jordan, I'd advise reading The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Ubik next. Read them and you've already read the best of PKD.

x-xpost

I thought the biog from the late '80s was Sutin's Divine Invasions? It was biographically comprehensive, but maybe not that literary.

Chris F. (servoret), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:45 (fifteen years ago) link

yes, that's the one. i see you mentioned it up top. i was blanking on the title/author.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:47 (fifteen years ago) link

The Emmanuel Carrère biography is very enjoyable and mentioned a bit here. Less detaily, more narrativey than the Sutin.

Paul Eater (eater), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:48 (fifteen years ago) link

The "official site" is pretty comprehensive http://www.philipkdick.com/

That Sutin biography is okay. If you read the books, some of the interviews, and listen to the Hour 25 interview, you'd probably be just as well served. There was a halfway decent BBC doc floating around at one point too...

Jeff LeVine (Jeff LeVine), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link

(Yeah I meant the biog that ws published this year, just couldn't remember what it ws called.)

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 3 January 2006 21:10 (fifteen years ago) link

i second 'radio free albemuth'-- love that one. some of the valis content revisited, but in a wonderfully culminating dicky way. can i say that?

dja, Wednesday, 4 January 2006 22:27 (fifteen years ago) link

if i'm being really completist i guess i need to read his theological text also

update: read time out of joint on the 3rd, halfway through the simulacra.

tom west (thomp), Thursday, 5 January 2006 20:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Isn't his "theological text", like, 7000 pages long? There's a little bit of it reprinted on the "official" site. It mostly reads like schizophrenic witterings to me.

Chris F. (servoret), Friday, 6 January 2006 00:25 (fifteen years ago) link

that biography cover posted upthread is the best book jacket i've seen for a very very long time.

jed_ (jed), Friday, 6 January 2006 02:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm a big fan of both Confessions of a Crap Artist and The Cosmic Puppets. The former is nauseating fucked-up rich person satire, and by fucked-up I mean high doses of mental illness. The latter is a very engaging, Twilight Zone-y piece. Really tense and psychedelic.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Friday, 6 January 2006 06:05 (fifteen years ago) link

time out of joint is super awesome creepy conceptwise. that's one that rilly stuck with me.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 6 January 2006 18:50 (fifteen years ago) link

Divine Invasion and Timothy Archer are also must-reads for the VALIS content and Deus Irae is wild coz the Zelazny element rilly kicks up the wacky mytho-poetic factor, as I vaguely recall.

Does anyone know anything about any of his books after "Radio Free..." coz I have no idea?

Also this is obv. just listing novels -- what about the short stories?

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 6 January 2006 18:53 (fifteen years ago) link

time out of joint is one i realised a little bit in that i'd read about it in another fredric jameson book, the postmodernism; or, one. the concept is pretty neat, yeah; there's an afterword in the edition i have about it being dick's first attempt at trying to do his literary thing, i guess, in the context of the pulps: the guy who'd published his first five books wanted him to get rid of all the first two thirds of the book and make it about the earth-luna war, which seems amazing, kinda.

the simulacra has done the least for me of this batch, partly bcz of three-book fatigue, partly bcz i was tired, partly bcz it is the most flawed - large parts of the plot really don't make any sense, and there are more characters than could actually work even for someone who could really write characters.

have ordered solar lottery, divine invasion. found as-yet unread copies of the crack in space, the unteleported man.

the zelazny one - did dick abandon it and give it to zelazny? or am i confusing it with the bester/zelazny novel? & i believe the novels post albemuth are exhumed manuscripts including some of his 'realist' novels, sterling - he died in '82, after all...

the thing with dick is that he seems good at some things we might acclaim a novelist for (like - doing good work with a set of themes, and having them intersect in characters and narratives in interesting ways) whilst being rather bad at the business of, well, writing novel - by which i guess i mean, having a less clunky prose style (although i kind of like dick's prose - it seems like the worst bits are usually the least characteristically dickish), or being able to convince in terms of character, or plot evenly. ...

... i also think he's fairly un-"postmodern" as a novelist, although i've heard the word connected to him. probably bcz i) it provides some kind of grounds for alleviating the stuff he's bad at and ii) lots of his themes (or obsessions, really) were with fairly 'postmodern' notions - the obsession with, uh, simulacra. the fact that these are worked through in a not-really-postmodern way* is part of what makes him so oddly reassuring as an author (well, i find him that way); so's his sort of general faith in human endeavour, i guess.

(*except maybe in the third-person/first-person authorial slippage in VALIS, maybe, and not even particularly that)

the only one of the short stories i can remember is 'second variety', which i read and did not remember who it was by several years prior to reading any other philip k dick, which when i did i was seeking him out deliberately, i think, and this story which i read at seven or eight in some anthology of stories about robots, not knowing who philip k dick was but knowing i liked stories about robots, this story scared the fucking shit out of me.

tom west (thomp), Friday, 6 January 2006 21:34 (fifteen years ago) link

I tracked down all the post-Albemuth ones except, I think, Nick and the Glimmung (is it a children's book?). They are his attempts at mainstream fiction. Puttering About is good; Milton Lumky is enjoyable, with some familiar themes of the working man's dream and paranoia; The Broken Bubble is disturbing.

Paul Eater (eater), Friday, 6 January 2006 21:42 (fifteen years ago) link

'nick and the glimmung' isn't in the bibliography common to all the gollancz ones - i think it might be a variant title for 'galactic pot-healer', maybe

tom west (thomp), Friday, 6 January 2006 21:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I seem to remember a story called "Foster, You're Dead."

Redd Harvest (Ken L), Friday, 6 January 2006 22:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Nick and the Glimmung is a children's book, yeah -- i remember reading it when little, thinking 'ooh i like pkd!' and promptly starting on Eye In The Sky or something. It all made much more sense when I was younger. :(

baby i'm waiting (cis), Friday, 6 January 2006 22:47 (fifteen years ago) link

update: i finished a maze of death and it has made me gloomy, and now i am going to take a break and do something else

tom west (thomp), Friday, 6 January 2006 23:57 (fifteen years ago) link

all the post-Albemuth ones except, I think, Nick and the Glimmung (is it a children's book?). They are his attempts at mainstream fiction.

Sterling's ref to "post-Albemuth" initially confused me, because Albemuth was the original version of what became VALIS. Yeah, all that posthumous stuff was his rejected mainstream novels from when he was trying to make it as a "serious" writer in the late '50s.

the zelazny one - did dick abandon it and give it to zelazny?

I remember hearing something about this on a radio interview with Dick and basically I think it happened something like that-- Dick got stuck on a project in the first couple of chapters, then did it as a "collaboration" with Zelazny completing it.

the thing with dick is that he seems good at some things we might acclaim a novelist for

I thought I read a rumor somewhere that Dick's writing was the actual impetus for Vonnegut's creation of Kilgore Trout? Apparently, Vonnegut was a fan. (Although Trout's example applies to 99.9% of all "classic" SF writers, and the actual character name is a riff on Theodore Sturgeon's name.)

... i also think he's fairly un-"postmodern" as a novelist

Yeah, I don't think Dick was as playfully self-reflective a purveyor of junk culture as the critics who hyped up Ubik wanted him to be. My impression of him was that his standards of taste were very middlebrow-- he was pretty uneducated and was very defensive about it, always trying to rope in references to "highbrow"/"improving" stuff in his work that would prove his depth of knowledge, which he seemed to value in a sort of totemic way as a marker of status. It's endearingly human of him but doesn't make me think of him as possessing any sort of a great intellect-- his attempts at being "serious" in general strike me as being unaware and laughably crude.

this story scared the fucking shit out of me

I had a similar experience with an anthologized version of the Perky Pat short story he did (which was an alternate version of the settler material from Palmer Eldritch). "The Electric Ant" is another good one, and "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" gets pretty crazy by the end.

Chris F. (servoret), Saturday, 7 January 2006 13:30 (fifteen years ago) link

the middlebrowness is something i'd like to pick up on, actually, but maybe later, when i'm not taking a break.

"as possessing any sort of a great intellect" - well, i guess not - but also i think he must have been pretty smart - a similar sort of thinker to Orwell maybe? maybe not - i just feel mean, saying "not any sort of great intellect" really means getting into all sorts of territory about i) his career and ii) his illness - tho i start to feel this looks a bit like eli cash, at some point.

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 7 January 2006 15:46 (fifteen years ago) link

a maze of death made me gloomy because it seems to be more devoid of optimism than most, but also because it really shows what he couldn't do - the middle three-fifths of it are written following the narrative of a certain sort of agatha christieish murder mystery, and really don't work - the clues are dropped all over the place, in the wrong places.

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 7 January 2006 15:48 (fifteen years ago) link

For a while I was trying to remember if "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" was by Philip K. Dick or Robert Sheckley who, as I pointed out on an unanswered thread on ILE, just passed away. I guess it would have been easier if I remembered the plot a little better.

Redd Harvest (Ken L), Sunday, 8 January 2006 00:07 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.eonline.com/Features/Features/Schwarzenegger/Links/Images/links.main.jpg
GIVE THEM BACK THE AIR!

Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 8 January 2006 05:34 (fifteen years ago) link

reading solar lottery.

jameson in particular thinks his early stuff is "van vogtish" - anyone ever read much van vogt care to elaborate?

the lottery determines randomly who in the solar system gets to be dictator of the nine planets. this is kind of "weird", although it's a weirdness i find i end up reminding myself is 50s SF weirdness, not particularly dickian weirdness.

i'm enjoying it, mind. but apart from recognising the prose style on the kind of level of recognising prose style one can hardly point out particular features of, i'm not sure what's in it, or in my enjoying it.

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 18:40 (fifteen years ago) link

I've never read any Dick (though I've seen a few movies based on his work (but who hasn't?)) before, but I'm embarking on Man in the High Castle currently. I recently finished Roth's Plot Against America, and I thought it might be interesting to mentally compare/contrast the ways the two authors handle the theme of alternative history, esp. wrt the Third Reich.

o. nate (onate), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 19:07 (fifteen years ago) link

My two fav. Dick short stories -- "Beyond Lies The Wub" and especially completely especially "The Exit Door Leads In" which puzzled me for a long time and is still probably the creepiest in a totally psychological way with no gross-out involved at all.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 20:22 (fifteen years ago) link

I was going to pick up some Dick at the bookstore last week, but the only one they had that I hadn't read was Three Stigmata, and for some reason I'm not as interested that one as some of the other recommendations on this thread.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 22:22 (fifteen years ago) link

Dude! Three Stigmata is his best book! (Or at least his most crazy fun book-- maybe not the "deepest". It's the one book of his they *should* have made into a movie-- not that there's any point now that Cronenberg did Videodrome and eXistenZ.)

Chris F. (servoret), Wednesday, 11 January 2006 23:58 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Anyone care to comment on the ending of Man in the High Castle? In the final scene, Juliana Frink goes to meet Abendsen, the author of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (an alternative-history fiction in which the Allies win WWII) and asks him about how he wrote the book. It is revealed that Abendsen resorted to the I Ching to determine the plot of his book. Then Juliana asks him if he ever asked the oracle why it wrote the book (through him)? He admits that he hasn't, so she proceeds to ask the oracle that question. The answer is the hexagram for "Inner Truth". Juliana interprets this to mean that the oracle wrote the book because it's true. Abendsen scoffs at this, since obviously the book isn't true - ie., the Allies lost WWII. Then Juliana leaves and that's the end. I've read elsewhere that Dick himself used the I Ching to determine crucial plot points of The Man in the High Castle, so to some extent Abendsen seems to be a stand-in for Dick. So what is the significance of this ending? If we read Abendsen as a Dick surrogate, then one interpretation would be that the ending is Dick's own answer to those who would ask him why he wrote his book. And that answer seems to be: I didn't write it, the I Ching did, so ask it. The I Ching may claim that the book is true in some sense, though Dick as the author disavows any such claim.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 15:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Does Abendsen scoff? I thought the answer made him uncomfortable; which it would do if it were true, since it would prove that he (and everything else) didn't exist, and were perhaps only characters in another novel. Which of course is in fact the case (or is it... cue twilight zone music).

ledge (ledge), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 16:39 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, I didn't even consider the mind-bending scenario that Juliana and Abendsen are realizing that they are only characters in a book, and that that explains their reactions. It seems like once one grants that they are only characters in a book, then there's no reason why they should react in any particular way at all - since they will react however the author wishes them to react. In other words, it seems like that explanation explains too much.

The part where I think Abendsen scoffs is when he angrily retorts, "Germany and Japan lost the war." It seems like Juliana is saying that the book is true in a non-literal sense (since it is clearly not true in a literal sense within the universe of the book), but he is mockingly resisting any non-literal interpretation. Then he reconsiders, but in the end, he says, "I'm not sure of anything." I don't think this means he is questioning the very fabric of his reality, but rather that he is admitting that perhaps there is an inner truth to his fiction, but he isn't sure what it could be.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:02 (fifteen years ago) link

if yr gonna talk about the i ching reading then yr gonna have to talk about the whole interpretation, not just the hexagram: inner truth.

Josh (Josh), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Now he sobs, now he sings

Whoa - the Chick Corea album title! I didn't know this came from the I Ching.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:19 (fifteen years ago) link

if yr gonna talk about the i ching reading then yr gonna have to talk about the whole interpretation, not just the hexagram

Well, Abendsen himself provides the concise interpretation of the hexagram and Juliana agrees with him. So while it might be interesting to explore the history of interpretation of that hexagram in general, it seems that Dick himself is telegraphing his interpretation as it applies to his story:

"It means, does it, that my book is true?"

"Yes," she said.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 18:10 (fifteen years ago) link

But lots of Dick's fiction is about questioning reality isn't it? My thought isn't so much that the characters begin to realise their fictionality, but we realise it for them. "The universe of the book" dissolves, for us at least - and maybe then we begin to question our own universe. (And that way madness lies of course, and Dick himself probably went schizo - I haven't read this yet http://www.geocities.com/pkdlw/howtobuild.html but apparently it includes his belief that the Roman Empire never actually ended.)

ledge (ledge), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 19:51 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't see how questioning the universe of the book could lead us to question our own universe. I've never once wondered if I might actually be a character in a fictional book - the thought is pretty much illogical. Maybe I could entertain the thought that waking life is really itself a dream - that at least makes a little sense - but to think that I'm a fictional character - I just don't get it.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 22:07 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

Bob Six (bobbysix), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 22:37 (fifteen years ago) link

i have a few more to go before this

i think their realisation that their universe is fictional does not necessarilly entail "i am a character in someone's novel", or, rather, that the apparatus of the author of the grasshopper lies heavy is a way of having the realisation have a meaning beyond that

tom west (thomp), Tuesday, 31 January 2006 23:30 (fifteen years ago) link

i really didn't like game players of titan which i read last year. read like maybe he wrote it in 10 hours instead of his usual 20 hours.

scott seward, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:02 (five years ago) link

I don't remember liking DADOES quite as much as bloodmoney or alphane but I do remember it being deeply intriguingly strange and I should really revisit it too-- I read all three of those almost 30 years ago :/

major tom's cabin (Jon not Jon), Monday, 25 January 2016 19:06 (five years ago) link

Oh yeah,Shakey, I was thinking endorsing that last one on the list too. In part (?) based on his friendship with mavericky Episcopal Bishop Jim Pike, whose son went even further, disappearing in the backside of Israel. Not really science fiction, but pretty involving.
Re the good discussion of High Castle upthread (not for spoiler-wusses), the point of the ending as I saw it (while reading a long time ago): of course the novelist-within-the-novel rejects the suggestion that he and the others might just be characters in a novel, because who could really believe that, for long, anyway, without going insaaane---although apparently there is a neurlogical condition, in which some people do live, do endure, with such a perception, I've since read.
And, a number of years after writing TMITHC, PKD had a revelation/confirmation---at least in part via the pizza deliverance of the Dark-Haired Girl (delivery person with an xtian fish symbol necklace), that we are really living just a few years AD, that *this* "universe" is a faulty, ongoing copy, which began to jam up and tear open during Watergate.

dow, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:21 (five years ago) link

lol @ Pizza Deliverance

Οὖτις, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:23 (five years ago) link

I just remembered reading one of the early non-SF ones long long ago and really digging its antic quality that sort of anticipates James P. Blaylock and Tim Powers(later to be dick's young pals in the 70s) - The Broken Bubble, I think?

major tom's cabin (Jon not Jon), Monday, 25 January 2016 19:26 (five years ago) link

wd v much like to read the malzberg essay to Clans.

Fizzles, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:40 (five years ago) link

I really liked The Broken Bubble! Among other matters, it busts exploitation of the young by neurotic middle-aged Bay Area losers (sort of a follow-up to the excellent Mary And The Giant). Young PKD could be a pretty acerbic (to cranky) social observer, though his characters are always unmistakably his own, not types.
xpost "Pizza deliverance" stolen from the title of a Drive-By Truckers album, but it seemed to fit emissary namesake of The Dark-Haired Girl (which I have as a stand-alone published by Makr Ziesing; prob in Lethem's edition of The Exegesis).

dow, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:47 (five years ago) link

*Mark* Ziesing, that is (sorry Marky!)

dow, Monday, 25 January 2016 19:48 (five years ago) link

Mark Ziesing! Names to conjure with. I was ordering lots of obscure Lafferty chapbooks from him circa 1990. Awesome catalog.

major tom's cabin (Jon not Jon), Monday, 25 January 2016 21:05 (five years ago) link

flappy u should read 'galactic pot-healer'

carly rae jetson (thomp), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 12:08 (five years ago) link

Great:
Dr. Bloodmoney (1965)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
A Maze of Death (1970)
The Divine Invasion (1981)

Good:
Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964)
We Can Build You (1972)
Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975)
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982)

OK:
The Game Players of Titan (1963)
The Simulacra (1964)
The Penultimate Truth (1964)
The Zap Gun (1967)
Our Friends from Frolix 8 (1970)

Not that great:
Solar Lottery (1955)
The Man Who Japed (1956)

Don't remember:
Radio Free Albemuth (1985)

I wonder sometimes if Gather Yourselves Together and Voices From The Street are worth the bother?

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 13:30 (five years ago) link

flappy u should read 'galactic pot-healer'

― carly are jetson (thomp), Tuesday, January 26, 2016 7:08 AM (5 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i already did! loved it. really weird. the coolest bit was the coin-op bed, and how everyone dreams the same dreams, written by contest winners.

these are the ones i've read, in order-

VALIS
A Scanner Darkly
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
Martian Time-Slip
Now Wait for Last Year
Ubik
Eye in the Sky
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Galactic Pot-Healer
The Cosmic Puppets
The Man in the High Castle
Time Out of Joint

flappy bird, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:20 (five years ago) link

I read Eye In The Sky and Time Out of Joint in the same long ago jag as bloodmoney and alphane and loved both of them a lot, especially TOOJ.

scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:23 (five years ago) link

Ubik I never read til last year and it fucking ruled

scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:23 (five years ago) link

UBIK is top 5, easily

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:24 (five years ago) link

i read Ubik in two sittings, the second one going from the first bomb blast to the very end. i was vibrating when it was over. ridiculously brilliant book. that's my second favorite after flow my tears

flappy bird, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:27 (five years ago) link

The most widely-renowned ones which I still haven't read are, I guess:

Flow My Tears
Palmer Eldritch
Valis

But it's been so long since I've read the other biggies that I really ought to go back to them

scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:27 (five years ago) link

I feel like PKD has been a similar figure to Bowie for me the last couple of decades of my reading life: with Bowie I would just never play the records because I had this feeling like "Oh Bowie, sure, that stuff's in the water at this point, there's more important stuff for me to spend my time listening to." After he died, though, and I went on a still ongoing giant bowie jag I was like "damn why have I been minimizing the power/uniqueness of these records in my mind for so long? There's still so much food for me in these!"

And in the last couple of days reading this PKD thread it has occurred to me that I have been kind of sweeping him under the carpet too for a long time, in some kind of subconscious prickly-ego reaction against the ubiquity (lol) he has now attained as an influence. That's dumb. Honestly the idea of reading and rereading PKD sounds incredibly exciting to me rn. He conquered all of hipsterdom for a very good reason.

scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:35 (five years ago) link

you should read all three of those, they're great

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:35 (five years ago) link

i tried getting into him four years ago, borrowed my friend's copy of The Man in the High Castle, and was totally thrown by the workmanlike prose and the relatively simple conceit. gave up 30 pages in. i read VALIS a year later and was hooked for life. Strange that so many people say VALIS is an awful place to start.

flappy bird, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 17:40 (five years ago) link

Ubik is great, really prime PKD. Obvious choices, I guess,but that and High Castle would be my favourites from his novels

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Tuesday, 26 January 2016 21:17 (five years ago) link

flappy you are living the lyfe

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 22:07 (five years ago) link

I read about one or two a year, Our Friends from Frolix-8 most recently. Good, but not top tier imo

woof, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 22:20 (five years ago) link

This was pretty good light zany reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zap_Gun

dow, Wednesday, 27 January 2016 03:38 (five years ago) link

Think the copy my local library used to have sported a better cover.

dow, Wednesday, 27 January 2016 03:39 (five years ago) link

Clans is so much fun

flappy bird, Thursday, 28 January 2016 17:19 (five years ago) link

it's funny how much of Dick's b-grade material just runs together for me, given that he recycled so many tropes and types and scenarios I always have a hard time remembering which one is about the people living underground in a post-nuclear drug-induced haze as opposed to which one is about the people living in a drug-induced haze and being controlled by telepathic aliens and Richard Nixon automatons or time-traveling idiot savants

Οὖτις, Thursday, 28 January 2016 17:37 (five years ago) link

so many homeopapes and conapts and wubfurs

Οὖτις, Thursday, 28 January 2016 17:38 (five years ago) link

and battleaxe ex-wives

flappy bird, Thursday, 28 January 2016 18:54 (five years ago) link

and mysteriously alluring innocent ingenues

Οὖτις, Thursday, 28 January 2016 18:55 (five years ago) link

slime molds

carly rae jetson (thomp), Friday, 29 January 2016 11:23 (five years ago) link

flapples

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Friday, 29 January 2016 17:16 (five years ago) link

rubbish

flappy bird, Friday, 29 January 2016 18:15 (five years ago) link

GUBBISH

flappy bird, Monday, 1 February 2016 01:36 (five years ago) link

it would be kind of interesting to run data on his themes and motifs, intentional or un-.

slender dark-haired woman?
character named 'pat'
pottery?
black iron prisons?
WASPy guy with two-syllable name who works in HVAC or equivalent? Jim Gunt? Hank Zip? Gord Hapfh?
gormless alien schmo?

remy bean, Monday, 1 February 2016 02:36 (five years ago) link

WASPy guy with two-syllable name who works in HVAC or equivalent? Jim Gunt? Hank Zip? Gord Hapfh?

oh man i never even noticed this one!

carly rae jetson (thomp), Monday, 1 February 2016 11:58 (five years ago) link

i thought and still think a good critical study could be written of dick that focuses on the themes/motifs/obsessions, not as psychologically revealing or whatever (blah) but as a kind of key to the processes of a certain kind of paraliterary reading, idk

carly rae jetson (thomp), Monday, 1 February 2016 11:59 (five years ago) link

character named 'pat'
pottery?
black iron prisons?

tbf these are only in a couple.

I would swap in "powerful male businessman w/fluid ethics and/or bitchy ex-wife"

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 February 2016 16:12 (five years ago) link

that pynchon thread revive makes me think that PKD is my TP. only PKD's shaggy hepcat hijinx easier for me to read and more entertaining and i get more WOW factor than i ever did from TP. PKD slays all beatniks too. in my book. no need to try to endure burroughs with him around.

(i never tried very hard with pynchon though. would get frustrated and bored and give up...)

scott seward, Monday, 1 February 2016 16:20 (five years ago) link

this is neat, i had no idea The Owl in Daylight was basically the premise of TRON, which came out seven months after PKD died http://www.avclub.com/article/read-philip-k-dicks-unfinished-final-novel-might-h-231491

flappy bird, Monday, 1 February 2016 20:41 (five years ago) link

huh. never heard that before.

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 February 2016 20:44 (five years ago) link

four years pass...

I have put holds on three P.K. Dick books at the library and plan to read one of them as my next book. Among these three titles, which should I read first:

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
A Scanner Darkly
Valis

Respectfully Yours, (Aimless), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 20:55 (four months ago) link

scanner darkly is my favorite of those three

the late great, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 21:22 (four months ago) link

Mine too

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 21:24 (four months ago) link

Scanner is the most powerful of these three, but it's depressing

I like Flow My Tears, it's sort of a throwback (from 1974) to his classic style of the 1960s

Valis is theological metafiction, not my favorite of his modes but biographically important

Brad C., Tuesday, 8 December 2020 21:38 (four months ago) link

scanner fucked me up, but is prob the best.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 21:43 (four months ago) link

Valis def for last, though I like them all, it's just a particular thing that is probably best coming at after you've read a few.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 22:17 (four months ago) link

yeah i think i've said it before on another thread (maybe the one about the film adaptation) but the end of scanner destroyed me

a more astute reader might see what's coming, but i didn't :(

the late great, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 22:48 (four months ago) link

Scanner was the first thing by PKD I read, and though nothing else I've read by him has quite measured up to it, it wasn't a bad place to start. I actually think it gave me a lot more patience with his less coherent books than I would have had otherwise.

So I'd say Scanner, then Flow My Tears, then Valis.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 23:34 (four months ago) link

Had totally forgotten about this thread (incl. my posts), thanks! On ILE, also worth keeping up with: philip k dick C/D, S+D

dow, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 00:53 (four months ago) link


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