Friday, December 14, 2007

I've Got Nothing To Prove Here

When I discovered a few months ago that Grouchogandhi had started a 'Show Us Your Dick' contest, in which he asked to see readers' Dick collections, I decided that I was too mature to indulge in the juvenile competition. I've got nothing to prove (although I did drive a Porsche for a couple of years).

Grouchogandhi got things started with 30 inches of PKD (click to enlarge):

(I love how he files his hand-bound edition of Saucers of the Illuminati behind his PKD collection and as long as it isn't interfering with measuring the length the inclusion is acceptable)

Adam Gorightly soon upped the ante with a 46 inches of PKD material:

No tape measure, no bragging rights. But this appears to be legit (notice though, he's interfiled his Sutin bio and other secondary sources right in there with his PKD).

While surfing the other day I noticed a new claim: Discordian Dr Jon claimed his collection of Dick was 70 INCHES long! (That's almost 6 feet of Dick!). Although fearful, I had to see what it looked like. Picture below (click to enlarge - if you dare)

I have to admit it's pretty impressive - at first.

But then I noticed that he's filing K.W. Jeter's novels in his Dick section! And he's got CDs in there - in cases, and notebooks, who knows what else!

Note to Kevin Jeter: you now have an even greater grievance to present to your maker than your old, dead, stiff cat. Here you are, a talented writer, with perhaps more than just an idle claim as one of the forefathers of cyberpunk, and yet your novels are fluffing some guy's Dick collection. Surely this can't be a moral universe.

We've seen your kind before Dr Jon:

Well my moral outrage (and a quick guestimation which led me to believe I might not embarrass myself by posting my own collection) has led me to this. Here it is, my 46 1/2":

OK, I realize you can't actually read the tape measure from this angle (I just noticed that in fact) but surely you cannot doubt this Dick-head's honesty and integrity. Besides, I've got nothing to prove here.

Now of course I could easily get a few more inches out of this if I really worked on it. I could have included my giant Norton Anthology of Science Fiction just because it contains "Frozen Journey"; I could have put some DVDs in there (The Gospel According to Philip K Dick, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, etc). I could bring home all of the PKD books from my office, make a tour of various friends' houses, collecting loaned editions; I could've included my complete set of newsletters. Why not include all of my Italo Calvino books because I bought them because they compare PKD to him on the back covers of the Vintage editions? But I keep telling you, I don't have anything to prove here! After all it's not how much Dick you have; it's what you do with it that matters.

Here's a tour of my Dick:

I was also careful to sort my collection out. I have about 36 inches of pure PKD (pictured below, PKD collection ends between Voices From the Street and my Russian Edition of Lies Inc):

The remaining 10" consists of secondary sources: Sutin's bio, Carrere's book, Bishop's Philip K Dick is Dead, Alas, Welcome to Reality, Williams' Book etc. In the interest of full disclosure, there are a couple of books that belong to the library at San Francisco State University:

The two copies of my master's thesis put me over the line, eclipsing Adam Gorightly's 46 inches - finally I've answered the age old question: what do you do with your masters thesis?!

I'm willing to bet they are even bigger Dick collections out there. I think I remember Jonathan Lethem telling me he had a whole bookshelf (perhaps he writes that in "You Don't Know Dick"). But now that I've shown you mine, I want to see your collection of Dick books. I'm not going to turn this into a contest because that would be immature and juvenile and I want it merely to be voyeuristic. Send in pics of your Dick collections and I will post them (oh the Google hits I'm going to suffer for writing that sentence!). But if you want bragging rights (which I am willing to bestow) you need to be realistic about how much PKD you actually have. Total Dick-Head readers will accept nothing less than full disclosure.

Update: The Philip K Dick Bookshelf is aptly named. Webmaster Henri assembled a shot of his shelves, 16 FEET 10 INCHES of PKD!!


Grouchogandhi said...

Wonderful submission.

Perhaps if we get a few more entries, we can produce a PKD Collection pin-up calendar!

Palmer Eldritch said...

Thanks for giving me a good giggle of a freezing Monday morning. I will photograph and measure my Dick, as requested.

Anonymous said...

here is mine, 16 ft long

drjon said...


Palmer Eldritch said...

Well I photographed mine yesterday and was going to post it but...after Henri's behemoth I now feel a bit...inadequate. :)

( It's about four feet long, btw. )

Gabriel Mckee said...

My PKD shelf is currently about 55", plus 4" on my "to read" shelf (including the new edition of Humpty Dumpty in Oakland, plus a few others). And it doesn't include 36-odd SF magazines, which aren't accessible for measuring at the moment, but I'm guessing they'd be about 8". It *does* include "Dr. Adder" (for the PKD afterword) and, less convincingly, James Pike's "The Other Side," which plays an important role in "The Transmigration of Timothy Archer" and in which Phil is thanked.

Anonymous said...

I calculated that someone who has all the english language editions of PKD's books (the novels, collections and non fiction texts but excluding anthologies, magazines and books about him) would have about 27 ft of books. I know there are many collectors out there who are closer to that number than me.

Palmer Eldritch said...

OK, here's the Eldritch shelf. Now the world knows I own The Hilarity Report and Paycrap on DVD ^_^

Anonymous said...

I just measured my 'Dick' and it comes in at 41 inches. You can see it at my new wordpress blog:

Incidentally, this photo is a little out of date now. I've just bought Carerre's bio, and my 41 inches does include bios and books of interviews.

But I've got the first English edition of Ubik...

Anonymous said...

You crack me up Mr. G!

Pantomime Horse said...

I have multiple copies of many of his books and often the thickness varies depending on the publisher or even the printing. Think I've had copies of the Del Rey paperback Martian Time-Slip that were of three visibly different thicknesses. Weren't all the Bluejay paperbacks unusually fat?

Hardcovers tend to be thicker than paperbacks or trade paperbacks. To not count stories, novelas, etc. because they are in anthologies or even the original magazine publications makes no sense to me. Especially the original publications which seem special to me and probably include some items that have never been reprinted. Has A. Lincoln, Simulacrum ever been published except in the orignal magazine appearance?

Standard book sizes and dimensions can vary by country as well as time.

Ace Doubles may be solid Dick or half someone else.

My suggestion is to take less of a "How long is it?" standard and use more of a "It ain't the meat. It's the motion." standard. -- You might want to rephrase that for your blog publication. It's not a very good way to express the idea. I just couldn't resist joining the humorous double entendre tone of this entry and some of the other comments.

ZenWoman said...

Okay, if I were to put all my actual PKD, plus commentary/analysis books, bios, and pulps together, it measures nearly 12 feet. Not a bad Dick measurement, considering I'm a chick ;)