Monday, May 14, 2007

Rudy Rucker Saw PKD at a Party in 1983

Author Rudy Rucker, who won the first Philip K Dick Award in 1983 for his novel 'Software,' wrote a great essay in 'Transreal' called 'Haunted By Phil Dick.' Rucker explains that he saw PKD (or remarkable facsimiles thereof) at parties in the 80s including this rather intense-sounding encounter:

"When it was time to go, I opened the wrong door, a door which led down into the basement. Standing there on the basement stairs was a punk in painter’s clothes and just below him, staring up at me like out of a cover of the PKDS news-letter, was the real Phil Dick, not too tall, balding with a beard with a white stripe in it, and with the unmistakable aura of a hologram from Hell. He and the punk painter were snorting lines of meth off a pocket mirror."

Rucker offers yet another elegant explanation for Dick's enduring presence:

"If I say that Phil Dick is not really dead, then this is what I mean:
He was such a powerful writer that his works exercise a sort of hypnotic
force. Many of us have been Phil Dick for brief flashes, and these flashes will continue as long as there are readers."

This explanation credits the power of Dick's writing, making it one of my favorites. Dick was so intensely present in his work that readers get a sense of him when reading his books. And not a general sense for what kind of guy he was, but something much deeper. I remember when a friend and I rolled over in an SUV on the freeway. We walked away from it fine but we were really scared together in that car and we knew one another differently after that. I feel the same way after a good PKD novel: like there was a friendly presence with me while the world spun into dangerous and violent chaos.

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