Saturday, July 01, 2006


I'm reading this biography of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrère, as recommended to me by a pseudonymous individual on a chat forum far, far away. It is fabulous. Funniest bit so far (with apologies to anyone who knows this joke already):

Terry Carr, the Ace paperback editor, used to joke that if the Bible had been published as science fiction, it would have had to be cut down to two volumes of twenty thousand words each; the Old Testament would have been retitled Master of Chaos, and the New Testament The Thing with Three Souls.

I'm quite scared to keep reading this book, as I just know that poor old Phil is going to go increasingly nuts, and I can't bear stuff like that, especially as I find PKD's thought processes and neuroses uncomfortably familiar. But it's so well written and funny and engaging and a great* insight into McCarthy-era America that so far, it's just great.

In other news, apparently some football is on soon. Better go.

* Where by 'great', I mean 'disturbing and eerily reminiscent of the pseudo-paranoia of terrorism that our government is trying to instil in us today'.

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Billy said...

I do like the Bible joke!

DavetheF said...

I recommend also the novel Philip K Dick Is Dead, Alas, a brilliant Dickian riff by Michael Bishop -- both a homage to and satire of PKD.

patroclus said...

Thanks Dave, I'll check that out. I only know PKD from having seen Blade Runner and Minority Report; I've never read any of his books. Where should I start, do you think? Oh, and the Truman Show, did that have anything to do with him? Because it seems entirely like his kind of premise.

belladona said...

Ooh, just looked at this book yesterday. I may purchase as you recommend. I would recommend 'The man at the High Castle'. Great fun, lots to think about AND it does the tricky thing of making you wonder for a moment 'am I real or just in the imagination of someone else?' You've got to love that.

patroclus said...

It's ace, bella - well worth purchasing. FOPP were selling it for a fiver, as well.

I've just read the section all about how he came to write 'The Man In The High Castle', so yes, I really should read the book itself.

I've always been haunted by that 'what if I'm unconscious and just dreaming all this?' feeling, which is very phildickian, as I believe they say.

Heather said...

Total Recall was based on the short story 'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale' by Dick.

A Scanner Darkly is another Philip K Dick story.

I haven't read enough of his work to really start recommending things but 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' was very good.

I preferred the movie but that has more to do with my love of Harrison Ford than anything else.