Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Reading... Milky Way Street Professor of Treatment of Container


As summer heats up, it's time to pick a PKD novel to read and discuss this year. In the spirit of our times, this year the selection will be made by me, as opposed to some pseudo-democratic 'voting.' I'll bet you're dying to know which novel we're going to read. (Oh right, I gave that away in the title of the post). The answer is (drum roll please) Galactic Pot-Healer.

About 50 pages into Pot-Healer, I'm discovering this may be one of Dick's most underrated novels. It's got all the important elements: the importance of craftsmanship, the personal search for meaning, the societal trend towards mass production and mindless consumerism, and a huge, submerged, Cathedral on a distant planet!

Much like our discussion of Maze of Death, our examination of GPH will not be an exhaustive annotation of the text, but rather an exploration of its themes, plot, characters, and maybe even 'meaning.' Additionally, I will be trying to locate anything academic that may have been written about this book.

The comments section here on Blogger has worked pretty well for our discussions in the past, but I'm wondering if we should give some thought to creating a Facebook page where we could discuss the book in a slightly more open forum. Please share your thoughts about this and anything else you can think of in the comments.

I think I will write three posts as I go through the novel, one on roughly each third of the plot, summarizing the material and offering my commentary. Additionally, I am preparing a pre-reading post that covers the details of the book's writing and publishing. Please feel free to email me or contact me through the comments section if you would like to contribute to our discussion in any other way.

13 comments:

Pantomime Horse said...

I never use Facebook. But I'm not going to have any time this month to contribute so that's only mentioned because some other people also avoid it entirely.

I do wish to say that Galactic Pot-Healer has been one of my favorite PKD books since it was published.

Wilson said...

I just finished my way through his two first volumes of collected short stories. I'll make Galactic Pot-Healer my next read so I can tag along in the discussions.

WS said...

I just purchased Man in High Castle to read on a flight to Italy this summer, but maybe I should switch and read this. Great great idea! Reminisent of the SFSU Eng 214 days reading Three Stigmata, amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

id love to see a TDH Facebook page!!

politeruin said...

Noooo don't go facebook! I never got a profile and with all the foofah over privacy i'm glad i bloody didn't. I don't wish to be part of the Cult Of Zuckerberg thank you very much. http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/06/bizarre_facebook_insignia_reve.php?page=1

Great choice of reading though. I just read it recently and was expecting one of his lesser books, how wrong i was. Classic Dick ending.

robin said...

I will now re-read this, one of my favourite Dick books. Hilariously funny, cosmic and -- yes -- the best ending ever.

Keith Giles said...

I don't have this book, nor have I read it, but I would gladly pick one up and particpate in a FB discussion of this one in a heartbeat.

If we want to host it here, that's fine, too.

It's just great to have a resource for talking to other people about PKD's work.

goodbyeghostship said...

I have ordered the book from Amazon marketplace and will join in where ever the discussion is held!

1wayknowsr said...

I listened to the recorded version of GPH last summer. There is a TON of classic PKD themes packed into this relatively short novel. So much so that it was a bit overwhelming for me. In the first part of the novel I especially enjoyed Dick's vision of future Earth. I loved the 'Game'. Very clever...sometimes I think websites like Facebook are our version of the 'Game'. Something that keeps us occupied for hours on end...at work...

Jon Gilchrist said...

It is easy too post this blog on FB. You just copy your address to your wall and the whole blog will get posted. FB is good for this kind of literary medium . 500 million members. PDK would be amazed.

goodbyeghostship said...

On further reflection, a Facebook group/page would probably be a good idea since it'll inform us about new posts and comments and things. Has it been decided how the discussion should proceed?

I just got my copy the other day and have read a few chapters, I'm finding it entertaining and amusing already. :)

PAK said...

So are we writing in the comments or on facebook?

In any case I've nearly finished the book and I wanted to ask if anyone knew where I could find information on the timeline of PKD's readings in psychology and psychoanalysis. The description of a managerial-society on Terra, especially the apparent merging of the US and USSR into one bleak, super-bureaucratic edifice, is especially reminiscent of Erich Fromm's description of mass-neurosis in The Sane Society. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPw5prYLc5w pretty much summarises the book). I'd be very interested to find out if this was an actual reference to Fromm by PKD, or if they had both independently come to the same conclusions by observing America in the light of their common background in German psychoanalysis.

Leroy Grinchy said...

I love this blog!

I didn't like this book when I first read it, but I'll try to reread it when I get a chance.

You make a good case for it.

I'd join a FB group, but I only do FB at home which is rarely.