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Re: OT- literature

At 8:59 AM -0700 9/24/08, Kevin Cheli-Colando wrote:
>And as someone pointed out Ubik by Philip K. Dick, I would also add 
>Valis and the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch as crucial though 
>you could do worse than reading all his novels.  PKD has the 
>capacity to cause a major shift in your persepctives if you're not 

No f*cking sh*t: I'll give a big +1000 to that last sentence!  I was 
already a pretty big fan of Dick's and had read quite a bit of his 

And then I hit "Valis".

I know I've a talent for hyperbole, but that book got my head messed 
up for the best part of a year -- like a bad case of carsickness or a 
mild hangover that just won't go away.  And it got worse as I worked 
through the rest of the trilogy ("Valis", "Divine Invasion", and "The 
Transmigration of Timothy Archer").  It wasn't until I finally 
followed those three with "Radio Free Albemuth" that I started to 
pull it back together again.  For some reason, that last book 
(although it was the first written of the four, but published 
posthumously) acted as a benediction, a coffin nail on that whole 

PKD is fascinating, but he occasionally also offers glimpses of raw 
entropy -- the effects of the universe and everything connected to it 
gradually rotting to pieces before your eyes.  You can see it near 
the end of the story in "Ubik", in the true nature of "Palmer 
Eldritch", in the shared hallucinations of the autistic child in 
"Martian Time Slip", and even in the various forms of 'kipple' (both 
inanimate and animate) strewn throughout "Electric Sheep".

And the "Valis Trilogy" [sic] is one of Dick's most personalized 
visions of this.  At that point in his life, Phil Dick was 
legitimately concerned that he was becoming unhinged, and, being a 
writer, tried to deal with some very strange occurrences in the only 
manner he really knew how: to write his way through making sense of 
it.  Fortunately/unfortunately, he's very good at putting the reader 
inside his head, which is sometimes not the most pleasant or healthy 
place to be, especially in the case of possible mental illness.

Everyone's different, but I would NOT start a tour through the works 
of PKD with "Valis"; rather, I'd work up to that.  "Man In The High 
Castle", "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", "Flow My Tears, The 
Policeman Said" and even "A Scanner Darkly", are all excellent novels 
without having to worry about a great deal of excess baggage slipping 
in.  I'd ramp up to the heavier 'reality twisting' novels, like 
"Three Stigmata", "Ubik", or, of course, the "Valis" series.  But, as 
I said, everybody's different, and I'm sure there's somebody out 
there for whom even a Dick novel like "Deus Irae" has been a 
life-changing experience.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent and, as always, YMMV.

"we're no longer sure where home is; homesickness is our only guide"