Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reviews of the Review Are In... And They Aren't Good

There's a scathing review of Gopnik's PKD piece in The New Yorker posted on Edward Champion's Return of the Reluctant blog: On Adam Gopnik's Ridiculous Philip K Dick Essay. What say you Ed?:

"But Gopnik, who seems to think he’s being a contrarian here with this essay, is doing no such damage. The Dick legacy will live on and perhaps infuriate Gopnik further. The New Yorker readers bobbing their heads up and down over this malarkey probably weren’t going to sample Dick anyway. And in the end, Gopnik has given the New Yorker as predictable a take as they likely expected. It’s decidedly unsophisticated for a magazine that claims to be sophisticated."

Damn Straight!

Update: Reviews are pouring in from all over!

Over at Ecstatic Days Jeff Vandermeet writes in "The Case For and Against Dick":

Clearly, Dick’s canonization by the Library of America means a lot to the genre community, and Gopnik’s assessment, by not always being a “rave review,” seems to challenge “a win for one of us” (as Darrell Schweitzer recently typified some mainstream award being won by Ray Bradbury). But considering how often the genre field rejects and resents intrusions by the mainstream into its “business”, it seems a bit hypocritical to get so steamed over the mainstream’s caution over Dick. Especially considering he’s not exactly genre’s best Ambassador For a Perfect Prose Style.

Check out "Phil Dick Redux" over at The Inferior 4 + 1:

"Is anybody else getting a little tired of mainstream critics who suddenly discover PKD, or even more annoyingly, profess a long-standing familiarity with his work which for some reason has never been reflected in their writings until this coincidentally trendy moment?

Adam Gopnik is the latest to jump onboard the now-overflowing bandwagon, with a piece in the current New Yorker. At least he doesn't call Electric Sheep a masterpiece: he reserves that praise for Ubik. Which is, I suppose, defensible. My pick would be A Scanner Darkly."


"Dickering Over Philip K Dick" over at

"Gopnik does a good job of looking at Dick’s body of work, correcting some strongly held bad judgments or misperceptions by Dick’s ardent admirers, and placing him where he more aptly belongs."

and finally, "Philip K Dick in the New Yorker" at Gabriel McKee's SFGospel:

"It's a banner year for mainstream coverage of Philip K. Dick. The latest article, Adam Gopnik's "Blows Against the Empire: The Return of Philip K. Dick" in the current issue of the New Yorker, ranks among the best. Gopnik understands Dick much better than the authors of similar pieces in, for instance, Newsweek. I do have some minor quibbles regarding the details Dick's religious experiences and their interpretation, but in the end the article gets the big picture of what the "2-3-74" experiences meant"


FCBertrandJr said...

And, for comparison and contrast, you should also check out:

"Phil Dick Redux"

"Dickering Over Philip K. Dick"

"The Case For And Against Dick"

"Philip K. Dick In The New Yorker"

And these are just the more "thoughtful" ones...

FCBertrandJr said...

Thanks, Ragle for expanding upon what I had posted...Wonder if Mr. Gopnik has seen any of these, and if he has, does he care one way or the other??

Ubikcan said...

Not to pile on, but I also had some comments over at ubikcan.

Ubikcan said...

Sorry, meant to add this in the previous comment:

Since Gopnik comments repeatedly about the "crazy" explanation, I also reproduce PKD's famous "Tagore letter" (often taken as a sign of his mental decline) which was sent to me by Dick's therapist. This letter is really of an ilk with the Exegesis, and perhaps represents another spin of the wheel in an attempt to explain things. For all we know, had he lived, he would have dropped it.