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Re: CAS and Philip K. Dick
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 April, 2017 08:42PM
I have not read anything yet by Philip K. Dick. When younger, the movie Blade Runner, which I din't like, put me off. And I was also repelled by his destructive drug abuse and seemingly liberal disorganized living. Total Recall however was a fantastic, haunting movie, and teased my curiosity about PKD.

BLADE RUNNER is not very faithful to DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP. It is a somewhat nihilistic film whose point of view (to the extent that it has one) is to deny the distinction between machines and authentic human beings. This is the opposite of the novel's intent.

TOTAL RECALL is a fun, lighthearted film compared to BLADE RUNNER; but like everything directed by Verhoeven, it is imbued with an ultracynicism that is not very faithful to the full spirit of PKD's writing. For instance, the short story on which it is based ("We Can Remember it For You Wholesale") is ultimately very different.

PKD was no nihilist. He was preoccupied, almost to a paranoid extent, with the difference between truth and illusion, but that is because he believed the difference really mattered.

Rumors of his indulgence in the 60's drug culture seem to be exaggerated. It is based on the fact that he was part of the culture, wrote about the culture, and his own mental health often seemed shaky. His novel A SCANNER DARKLY is reasonably understood to be an anti-drug novel.

His personal life was, admittedly, a mess. His relationships with women were unsuccessful, deeply painful, and often led to paranoid and obsessive preoccupations. Often this is reflected in his writings. At his best is able to step outside of himself and wink knowingly at his paranoia. At his worst he seems to dive deep into bitter misogyny.

I have not read too many of his novels (maybe 6 or 7). But I have read most of his short stories, and many of his short stories stand out in my mind. Some of these (the ones I can match with their titles from memory) include:

"The Alien Mind"
"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" (a/k/a "Frozen Journey")
"The Exit Door Leads In"
"Explorers We"
"The Days of Perky Pat"
"We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"
"Rautavara's Case"
"Out in the Garden"
"The Father-Thing"
"The Pre-Persons" (This one may piss you off).

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 26 Apr 17 | 08:54PM by Platypus.

Re: CAS and Philip K. Dick
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 4 June, 2017 07:44PM
PKD's later novels, which I feel less interested in because they seem to be not so much science fiction, but mainly focused on drug abuse and psychological breakdown, and very serious in tone, I still decided to check these out on audio to save my eyes (my eyes aren't very good anymore), since these books are so highly regarded. Same with Martian Time-Slip, which seems to be mainly about schizophrenia, and to be pessimistic and depressing.

I found these excellently read versions on youtube:

Martian Time-Slip


A Scanner Darkly

First version, with more introductory details:
Second version, different reading, easier to hear:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 4 Jun 17 | 07:50PM by Knygatin.

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