Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Volume Three From the Library of America Reviewed
The Philip K Dick juggernaut continues its long slog towards literary respectability whether or not I can pull myself away from papers to grade long enough to document it. Case in point, the Library of America's third volume of PKD was released a few days ago. The deafening cacophony of mainstream media outlets falling over each other to chronicle the countless tragedies of PKD's life has quieted a bit, leaving only a few reviews to contextualize the efforts of our favorite ultra-prolific social misfit. David Hellman, a librarian at San Francisco State Unversity (where I am currently working as well) offers a lengthy and interesting review of the new volume for the San Francisco Chronicle. While the review offers little new information (seems like these articles all chronicle some guy who's never heard of Philip K Dick struggling to wrap his mind around what all the fuss is about), Hellman does zero in on the value of Dick's writing:
"What this volume ultimately tells us is that Dick was not a science fiction writer, but instead he was our writer. Some science fiction readers have chided him for valuing the fiction over the science, and he certainly did not write your typical space operas. But that seems to be the point here, and why in fact he transcends in so many ways, and to use his own concept, the "Black Iron Prison" of the genre. Dick was our writer because he was deeply concerned about human matters and about spiritual survival in an ever more materialistic and media-driven world. That should be good enough reason alone to be in anyone's canon."
Read the whole article here.
And buy the latest volume from the Library of America here: