Philip K. Dick is one of the world’s weirder authors. He’s waaaaayyyyy out there; pretty much a world apart from everyone else. Here’s how I describe his writing:
Remember that one night you drank too much tequila and were absolutely certain that it made perfect sense to drunk dial your ex and then set your pants on fire? Philip K. Dick understands that moment. His moment is the time when it all fits together and it’s logical and right to do precisely this thing to which you’ve set your mind, and all the people telling you to put down the matches, they’re the fools! If only they would just listen to you it they’d understand too and then you’d all set your pants on fire together and it would fix everything. That’s Philip K. Dick’s natural state.
Philip K. Dick is going on the trip with or without you. In his best works the reader gets to come along. In his lesser works you’re halfway through the book and still haven’t figured out whether the main character is or is not dead (see Ubik).
Is he that good? Yes, excellent! Is he that bad? Absolutely, terribly bad! Is he confusing? Usually, in fact when it makes sense is when you’ve really lost it.
Lucky for us, Philip K. Dick was a prolific author. Even so I try to pace my reading of his stuff because the dude’s dead and when I’ve read the last Philip K. Dick book… then what? Also, if you binge read too much Philip K. Dick you’ll wind up spaced out and floating.
My favorite Philip K. Dick book is The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Yes, it is a snappy title. I read that a zillion years ago and loved it.
I held out forever to “save it” but last year I finally read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It was pretty good. It was also entirely unlike it’s derivative movie, The Blade Runner. This doesn’t detract from either the book or the movie. With a guy like Philip K Dick you just accept that the movie and the book live on different dimensions. Also the movie had an unfair advantages. Daryl Hanna tried to kill a guy with her thighs (which might be worth it) and Rutger Hauer, a murderous inhuman creation, has the world’s greatest death scene.
Last month I bought Ubik to celebrate the resurrection of my kindle. It was pretty good but not his best. I got overly distracted by the whole “is this guy dead or not” question. I know; I’m such a square.
The same time I was puzzling out Ubik, Roberta X recommended a TV show called The Man in the High Castle. This is a Philip K. Dick book made into a TV Series. I intended to ignore it because TV pisses me off but Tam seconded the recommendation. You can’t ignore two such recommendations!
Holy shit! It wasn’t good it was goddamn awesome! The production quality was great. The acting was seamless. The plot was… Oh my God if I don’t get the plot figured out I’m gonna’ die! Don’t take my word for it, there are 6,400 reviews and the average is 4.8 out of 5 stars. In a perfect world any review below five would result in execution.
The Man in the High Castle is a Philip K. Dick book that I haven’t yet read. Those monsters at Amazon made one and only one episode and so now I’ve got to read the book immediately. I’m freaking out! Will the Nazis nuke San Fransisco? Will the Japanese invade Canon City, Colorado? Where the hell was Churchill and how did he get on the ilicit movie reel?
I recommend the following:
- Watch The Man in the High Castle. Do it now (it’s free on Amazon Prime).
- Comment on Amazon and tell them to get their ass in gear and film the rest of the series!
- Buy The Book and read it.
So there you have it. I’m already on step 3.
P.S.#1: The links to Amazon are sponsored. If you use them I get a haypenny and six farthings or some shit. Feel free to click a link and buy any darned thing you want on Amazon. It won’t cost you a penny and commercialism didn’t bias my recommendations. I always recommend Philip K. Dick without reservation. Well there is one reservation, if weird turns you off, click on the link and buy something else because P. K. Dick will totally melt your head.
P.S.#2: I do not want any spoilers in the comments. I just bought the book and I don’t want some tool hosing it up. If you’ve got a spoiler comment, please clamp it until I give the go ahead.
P.S.#3: There is a pricey Blade Runner (30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) on Blu-ray. If you think you need it go ahead and buy it from the link so I can be rolling in that sweet sweet Amazon kickback dough. Think about it first. A book written in 1968 was turned into a movie in 1982 and it’s supposedly an even more super extra awesome experience because it’s on a form of media invented in 2006? Really? If you think this makes sense then Philip K. Dick is perfect for you.