Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rare PKD Photo of the Day

Photo by Anne Dick

Here's another rare shot of PKD. This one was taken in the backyard of the Point Reyes house near the end of his marriage to Anne Dick. Like this other picture I posted earlier, Anne says that this photo was taken around the time that PKD was writing The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

Actually, you can see this picture featured in the short PKD documentary packaged with the five DVD box set of Blade Runner. While light on details, the documentary does a pretty good job of painting a basic picture of PKD's life. There's nothing new in it for us initiates. Rumor is there's a much longer and more detailed Argentinian documentary about PKD in existence somewhere. Don't even get me started on The Gospel According to Philip K Dick - too much typing!

I always suspected PKD wore combat boots.

Here's Anne's backyard a few months ago:

6 comments:

Pete said...

You said it! "The Gospel According to PKD" is interesting for sure simply due to the lengthy interviews, but I don't know what they were thinking with that drudgerous typing motif. The "Day in the Afterlife of PKD" is very cool though I think, and that's also on You Tube. In addition to a lot of nice interviews and nifty little po-mo flourishes, it features a dozen or so excerpts from his "irv" (as it were) and since I watched it before having read a word of him, it was cool to go back and watch it again the other day and recognize at least half of them. Looking forward (warily) to these new movies...

pete said...

Come to think of it, I would like to pose a question to the Total Dickhead. Being as you are a PKD scholar and esteemed Harvard lecturer, what other 'science fiction' authors, say post WWII, would you suggest as also being worthy of genuine scholarly focus and attention? Who are PKD's true brethren in the genre? The only sci-fi book I've personally ever read that comes close is "Solaris," but there's bound to be others.

Ragle Gumm said...

Pete, I hope this doesn't disappoint you, but I'm really not that big of a Science Fiction fan. I grew up reading Asimov's Foundation Series, Benford's Galactic Center Series, the usual stuff.

PKD helped me transition into modern literature and I've seldom looked back.

But here are a few recommendations.

Alfred Bester is probably the closest to PKD when it comes to writing about fractured identity and artificial intelligence. I know PKD was influenced by him. Check out Bester's short story "Fondly Fahrenheit" it's fantastic!

I really like Lucius Shepard, the british horror/sf guy. I read a short story collection called (I think) Beasts From the Heartland and it was great.

Otherwise I'm much more up on TS Eliot, F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, etc.

But here's my ultimate tip: PKD loved Nathanael West and, even though it's not science fiction, it's the closest thing I have found to PKD's surreal imagery and bleak sense of humor. As PKD told just about everybody who asked him who they should read, "Read everything Nathanael West ever wrote, which is easy; he only wrote four books and they're short.

pete said...

Thanks a lot for the advice. I'll follow up on all three. I read "Miss Lonelyhearts" in high school and think I was just too young for it, I've been meaning to give it another shot and your encouragement has perhaps tipped the balance. I don't read much Sc-Fi either, but PKD has fired me up as per the potential of the genre. Yet I often find even things regarded as Sci-Fi 'classics' to be too poorly written for me to read (Benford, Bear, Card, ect...) I certainly don't begrudge them to the folks that love them though.

Balaoo said...

Hi!! I'm from Argentina -excuse my bad english- and I really fan of PKD. It's true, the Argentinian documentary will be on TV the next month, 3 and 10th Abril at 09:00 pm in Infinito channel.

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