I've been blogging for a few years now, and over that time I've linked to Philip K. Dick related material a whole lot of times. Here, in honor of reading Dr. Bloodmoney this week, are just a few PKD highlights, all to the glory of the man Fredric Jameson once called "the Shakespeare of science fiction":
* "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later." In some ways this is the definitive PKD essay, and it's the one referenced somewhat famously at the end of Waking Life.
It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question "What is reality?", to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." That's all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven't been able to define reality any more lucidly.* Another great essay at Grey Lodge Occult Review: "If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others."
We are accustomed to supposing that all change takes place along the linear time axis: from past to present to future. The present is an accrual of the past and is different from it. The future will accrue from the present on and be different yet. That an orthogonal or right-angle time axis could exist, a lateral domain in which change takes place -- processes occuring sideways in reality, so to speak -- this is almost impossible to imagine. How would we perceive such lateral changes? What would we experience? What clues -- if we are trying to test out this bizarre theory -- should we be on the alert for? In other words, how can change take place outside of linear time at all, in any sense, to any degree?* R. Crumb's comic, "The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick."
* The first law of kipple is that kipple drives out nonkipple.
* Philip K. Dick and drugs.
* Philip K. Dick on Kurt Vonnegut.
Interviewer: What did you think of Vonnegut’s attitude towards his characters (in Breakfast of Champions)?* Philip K. Dick and the Kennedy Assassination. (Warning: spoilers for the last book we're going to read this semester, also a Dick novel, Dr. Futurity.)
PKD: Disgusting and an abomination. I think that that book is an incredible drying up of the liquid sap of life in the veins of a person like a dead tree…that’s what I think. I also love Kurt Vonnegut.
* Profiles of Philip K. Dick from The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and the Times. Interviews with Philip K. Dick. Lethem on Philip K. Dick. Again. Stanislaw Lem on PKD.
* Jameson on Dr. Bloodmoney.