The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No More Dick-ing Around

by Steve Gajadhar

It’s time for me to give Dick his due. He’s been getting it from others for a long time now, yet for some reason I could never bring myself to read much Philip K. Dick. In fact, until recently I had only one short story collection out of which I’d read 10 or so, including Minority Report, the short story that the movie of the same name was loosely based on. I wasn’t impressed or even intrigued enough to bother getting into his novels. Sure his ideas were countless and creative, but most SF writers are creative and there’s countless SF writers to read. Dick hadn’t hooked me.

Boy has that changed.

I’m a Lost fan. Lost junkie really. One of my favorite aspects of the show is how the writers and producers like to do book cameos in some episodes. The books relate to the episode they appear in, or to the philosophy, ideas, and themes of the series as a whole. I’m always pleasantly surprised whenever a book pops up that I've read, let’s me give myself a mental pat on the back so to speak. This was not the case when VALIS by Philp K. Dick popped up this season. What!? Dick? Hmmm, maybe I need to give him another shot, I thought. I picked up VALIS on my next trip to Borders in Kona.

VALIS is unlike anything I have ever read and after a life spent reading, it’s rare to be able to say that. Rare and exciting. I’m not quite through it yet, and I know I don’t understand what’s going on - and there’s 2 more books in Dick’s semi-autobiographical final trilogy, and it looks like Dick might have gone totally off the deep end before he died in 1982, and Hollywood seems to love him, and he was the first SF writer to get a Library of America series - but I think I’m going to review VALIS once I’m done reading it (and maybe reading it one more time for good measure), and the review is going to appear in the CWC 2 weeks from today.

So stay tuned to the CWC for my upcoming review of VALIS and its impact on my own mental health. Maybe VALIS will even help me figure out what is going on in Lost?

Yah, right.


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Wow, I'm "Lost." Philip Dick? A TV show I've never watched. VALIS? Thanks for enticing me out of my cave at little bit, Steve. Wikipedia says "VALIS is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, Dick's gnostic vision of one aspect of God." This sounds like something I'd like to read. I look forward to your review.

Wed Apr 16, 01:29:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I've enjoyed all the adaptions of his novels that I've seen and yet I, too, have avoided his actual writing. There was a pretty great article I read recently. Was it in the New Yorker? I'll try to find it and post a link.

Thu Apr 17, 12:00:00 pm GMT-4  

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