Tuesday, January 7, 2014

how I fell in love with Dick.

I have always been extremely curious about modern astronomy, planetary travel, time travel and black holes-- and the suspension of time between two points light years away from one another, that one point could be dead and gone from this world as the next, has always held my greatest fascination. I've read a decent amount of books on time travel, space and planetary compositions, and I think I have a solid understand of alephs, which was solely explored because of Jorge Luis Borges' short story "The Aleph". however, none of these things lead me to Philip K. Dick. 

the only thing that sort of put me on the path was rewatching Groundhog's Day over Thanksgiving break, and my husband and I having a long conversation about how many years Bill Murray had to repeat. over 100. then there were the Buddhist principals that distinguish the separate life paths, one per life time, that one must achieve to reach enlightenment.

but even all that wasn't a clear cut path to Dick. I was interested in time loops, mostly, so I researched the best writers that have explored time loops, and Dick wasn't on that list either. 

I took that list to the library, and after searching for 60 books, I found two, and both seemed dull as ever. I scanned the fiction section for 2 hours, and I finally found what I was looking for. I found Dick.

everything I've ever loved about Murakami, Dick had already written. though he has been marginalized as a science fiction writer (a moniker that he despised), he is really a paranoid fiction or post modern writer. critics praise him for writing about humanity's greatest fears, but he's so far past that. he treats all worlds as unstable mirrors, as realities that have no truth, as the most unreliable thing in the world, and yes, that's terrifying, but he always finds a character that has spirit and will and despite the inevitable endings, even after they know they're already dead, as is the case in Ubik, they still keep fighting.

there's work to do in every world. there is always some greater power to fight against, and that's why I am so in love with Philip K. Dick's work right now. 

and despite these surreal and beautiful worlds, he never gives up the ghost; he never cheats an ending. he follows through, he connects the separate parts that a reader and the characters could never sort out, but by the end, it's there, it's perfect, and only parts were always there, piecemeal, most he painstakingly created with the most diligence and patience. 

and lastly, I love Dick because he can write a beautiful sentence; in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? he writes, "The door, meagerly, opened and he saw within the apartment a fragmented and misaligned shrinking figure, a girl who cringed and slunk away and yet held onto the door, as if for physical support. Fear made her seem ill; it distorted her body lines, made her appear as if someone had broken her and then, with malice, patched her together badly."

1 comment:

From the Woods to the Wild Unknown said...

"unstable mirrors"...very cool description of a Dick story