Archive for:July, 2014

Philip K. Dick: ‘The Man in the High Castle’ (1962)

July 25th, 2014

 
 
 
 
PK Dick 
 
 
 
 
    I recently finished reading The Library of America’s collection of four of Philip K. Dick’s novels from the 60s: The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which was later adapted to make the film Blade Runner) and Ubik. It’s been many years since I last read P.K. Dick, & I slipped back into his prescient, idea-crammed, black-humored & metaphysical prose with much, much delight & warm sense of homecoming. It was all there just as I’d left it, all those hallmark Dickian elements: Breakneck chapters bursting with remarkably imaginative visions of earths to come. A proper amount of mundane (as described, not relative to our experience) day-to-day detail that helps stabilize those imagined future earths and render them believable. Characters who are all a bit too hysterical & over-emoted, but whose very ‘loudness’ emotionally helps ground the narrative when the metaphysical & ontological conundrums that arise become a challenge to untie. A fascination with the idea of spirit-fusion to create intersubjective unity; a fascination with the theme of the real/authentic vs. the facsimile. Dystopia and how humankind adjusts to cataclysm. A zest for depicting how marketing and commodification affect what we know to be intangibly human (memory, a felt sense of spiritual oneness, various emotional responses) & thereby render these things purchasable, customizable products. A recurring focus on telepathy, predictive talents & general psionic powers. And most importantly, a passion for the classical philosophical (and science fiction) questions of the nature of underlying objective “reality” (to the extent we can say it exists) vs. all the ways that objective reality can be mimicked: drug trips, subjective simulations, memory, technological constructs, dissociative/mystical experiences, etc.  (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 11:04 AM]

[file under: Literary Arts]
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