Friday, March 2, 2012

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Pictured: reader Jonathan Yates' Palmer Eldritch tattoo. Cool, huh?

The Intertubez are abuzz with the 30th anniversary of PKD's death, which is today, March 2. NPR's show To the Best of Our Knowledge has produced an absolutely spectacular hour-long show about PKD, featuring Umberto Rossi, Anne Dick, Jonathan Lethem, and your humble blogger (I talk about PKD and Hollywood at about the 31:00 mark).

Make sure to listen to the show here.

PhilipKDickFans is running a cool story about the anniversary and many are sharing their own whereabouts 30 years ago (me, I was ten, and I had just determined that my "We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll" t-shirt with skeletons playing a concert in a graveyard was not appropriate to wear to church functions, and I was still at least 9 years away from reading my first Philip K Dick book). Share your 1982 circumstances in the comments section!

14 comments:

Erica S. said...

When PKD died, I barely left my bed, ate the same thing every day, and was pooping my pants on an almost daily basis. That sure was a crazy time in my life! :)

Robert Cook said...

I think I've posted this here before, but I was 26 years old and had been reading PKD since 1975. (I had been a reader of sf and fantasy, so Dick's name was familiar to me, but it was Paul Williams' notable article in Rolling Stone in the fall of 1975 that prompted me to read him for the first time.)

In March 1982 I had been living in New York City for 10 months, having moved here from northeast Florida in May, 1981. Although I lived in Manhattan, (where I still reside), I was working at the time at a hotel in East Elmhurst, Queens, across the Grand Central Parkway from LaGuardia Airport. My commute required two trains and a bus--each way...usually a 90 minute trip.

One night, I had got off my evening shift (4 to midnight) and had jumped on the hotel shuttle bus and had ridden across the street to he airport to pick up the bus there. (Most often I would simply stand out on the corner and wait for the bus as it exited LaGuardia.)

I sat myself on the bus and picked up a section of the New York Times that had been left on a seat by a previous commuter. I perused the section of newspaper in a desultory manner, until I turned a page and found myself with the obituary page, at the top of which, in larger type, I was stunned to find a headline that said "Philip K. Dick, Won Awards For Science Fiction Works." (I didn't remember the exact wording, but I have found the actual obituary online, here:
http://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/03/obituaries/philip-k-dick-won-awards-for-science-fiction-works.html)

I was shocked and saddened to learn my favorite writer had died, and the means and circumstances by which I learned of it made the news that much more vivid: unexpected, on a bus in the middle of Queens, at half past midnight, in a stray section of the NY Times I had found by chance.

I can't believe that's already been 30 years ago. I no longer work at that hotel or in Queens, but I live in the same apartment I had then, and I'm still interested in Dick's work and life. I'm older now than Dick was when he died, and I realize now how very young he was when he died, and how much younger when he produced his astonishing body of work.

junglife said...

R.I.P, P.K.D. May your parts be whole, and your creator, benign.

Mr. Hand said...

Great radio show. Umberto Rossi on PKD blows Zizek on Children of Men out of the water.

And you haven't dropped the ball Dave. Every mountain climber is allowed to rest on the high ledge. Not to mention that writing fiction is just as valid a Dickian activity as doing scholarship or blogging.

Joshua Lind said...

Great job with the interview. A very lucid and even-handed evaluation of the films. I like the little dig at Fox News and MSNBC, too.

Unknown said...

I must say, hearing Jim Fleming of TTBOOK say (in his lofty, calculated voice) "Total Dick-head" was probably the funniest thing I've heard all month. I'm pumped to have found this site, although I'm still laughing at the sound of Fleming's voice in my head.

yobar said...

March '82 I was in my last year of high school, looking forward to attending the Defense Language Institute for Russian. By then I had already read VALIS and many of PKD's short stories. Now I have a nice library of his works, my favorite being the Vantage Press editions. Love that cover art.

yobar said...

March '82 I was in my last year of high school, looking forward to attending the Defense Language Institute for Russian. By then I had already read VALIS and many of PKD's short stories. Now I have a nice library of his works, my favorite being the Vantage Press editions. Love that cover art.

Diggler said...

1982. I was 10 years old and had to go on a grand journey from Inner Sydney Australia to this hell hole known as Mt. Isa in upper north western Queensland. It was a grand experience, and one I wish I could forget! :)

Peacedream said...

Synchronicity ... At the time i had one of the oddest dreams. Ever. Then decided to opt out of the mainstream world. For good, as it turned out. Could it have been an encounter with PKD's spirit? :) Cheers! And thanks for this excellent blog.

Anonymous said...

I was 25, sitting at a lunch counter around 19th and Chestnut in center-city Philly with a street-purchased New York Times, and saw the obit (and of course still have it) - I already owned Valis, The Golden Man (with circa-1978 foreword and story notes by the author), Ubik, Androids, and perhaps one or two others. No one I've met since then was a fan pre-'82.
- gottacook

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing! Hilarious.

junglife said...

Hey gottacook, I'm a fellow Philly PKD fan. Incidentally, I think I was given my first PKD book at the Snow White lunch counter at 19th and chestnut, about 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I haven't lived in Phila. since September 1982. The lunch counter you name is the same one I used to patronize, I'm sure of it - on the northwest corner. In recent years when I visit center city, I tend to go to the tiny 24-hour diner Little Pete's, a few blocks east and south.

I wasn't clear earlier that after 1982 I continued to collect his books - unfortunately my Ballantine Best of (with the funny afterword and story notes by PKD and intro by John Brunner, circa 1977) has not been returned after several years, but I do have first editions of five of the 1960s paperback originals (being sold cheap in a non-bookstore on Lake Street in Minneapolis circa 1990) as well as the first hardcover edition of In Milton Lumky Territory, my favorite of the non-SF books. Also have the first two Library of America volumes, which I recommend.
- gottacook