Thursday, August 7, 2008

PKD Article Machine Strikes Again

There's an article in the Boston Phoenix about PKD's second volume from the LoA (which is out now - sorry I slept on that announcement) by Peter Keough that seems to focus a bit more on PKD's work than the other articles. But the final paragraph has a couple problems:

"Should conditions conducive to a Dick revival return — and they always do — plenty of material remains for movie adaptations and Library of America anthologies. He wrote 30 short stories in 1952 alone, and probably not even he could have said how many novels he wrote. (Thirty-six is a conservative estimate.) Yet even the relatively small (2000 pages) sampling Lethem has given us in these two volumes can get a little repetitious, though the writing remains fevered, startling, and hilarious. The same motifs keep popping up: drugs, psychiatrists, dead people, petty capitalism, orbiting disc jockeys, tacky artifacts. And, underlying it all, Dick’s trademark high concept: taking what it means to be human beyond what any human can understand."

I like the beautifully arbitrary number of novels: 36.

I'm really sorry that Keough can't understand Dick's notion of what it means to be human, but I wish he wouldn't suggest that I don't understand it (or imply that I'm not human).

Note to my readers: I am vacationing with my family on Kauai for the next couple of weeks so the posting will be a bit slower, but don't give up on me. I'll be back soon, tan, rested, and snarky.

7 comments:

Jerry J. Davis said...

It's almost like an editor loads a spool of PKD info into a computerized Newsmatic, it goes whir, and out pops a new and only partially informed article about Phil.

You know what I would so love to do? Go back in time, run into him at a SF convention, and hand him an iPod.

Imagine the stories that would have come from that.

Robert Cook said...

This would be like a critic of Thomas Bernhard's work saying, "Well, it's good, fierce stuff, but, you know...it gets kinda repetitive and all...every book features a monomaniacal narrator who excoriates the world and who repeats himself over and over...each time slightly varying the contruction of the phrases and thoughts he repeats...and what's with all the redundant references to classical music?"

Robert Cook said...

You know, I just started the article, and in the first paragraph I'm caught short by this: "Could renewed optimism and faith in the political system have dispelled the cynicism and the paranoia that draw readers to Dick?"

What fucking America is this man living in? Renewed optimism and faith in the political system?!!!

At a time when we're facing imminent collapse of the economy, ongoing evisceration of the Constitution, failure by the democrats to stop funding the war or to impeach Bush/Cheney or to pursue any meaningful attempts at reform as they capitulate completely to this deeply unpopular wretch in the White House, and Obama revealing himself more and more as being just another machine politician...I've never felt more despairing of our political system, and I don't know anyone who's paying attention who feels otherwise.

I don't mean to initiate a political discussion, but this simply casts into doubt the author's dubious thesis that Dick's vogue may be "cresting," as (he asserts), Dick does well only in times of political unease and right-wing dominance.

Sez who?!

palmer_eldritch said...

IMHO these articles are just like those 'Bluffer's Guide' books - only not as good.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be offline... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at totaldickhead.blogspot.com could post it.

Thanks,
Peter

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please reply to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at totaldickhead.blogspot.com could post it.

Thanks,
Charlie