Saturday, June 19, 2010
Philip K. Dick - I Salute You!
I have to write this, I've been putting it off for over six months and I really have to write this. I've written about Philip K. Dick before in this blog but I've never really delved into how I really feel about his work. So here it is, Philip K. Dick - I salute you! I won't do him justice but I'll give it a go all the same.
Weapon of Choice: Some men fight with force, others are faster with their words but Philip has the ability to warp reality itself. The very fundamental rules of causality mean nothing to this man, parallel dimensions? No dimensions at all? Nothing is certain. Master of the feint Philip has you watching his left fist while his right obliterates your whole plane of existence.
Armour: How do you strike at something without form? Without rules there is no weakness, there is nothing to strike out at. Philip can reform at will because he taps into a deeper truth.
Special Move: Philip has pulled this one off against me a few times as I lay in bed at 5am finishing off one of his novels. There are few books that can make me interested in what's happening, fewer still that can invoke some kind of emotional response but there has only been one sort so far that can make my mind implode and lose a sense of reality, even for a few moments. Philip has been the only one to author this sort. There is craftsmanship in how he constructs his worlds, a terrible form of love that settles in every character. A cold displaced passion that echoes the real world while simultaneously mocking it. Worst of all it passes itself off as a possible legitimate interpretation. Philips special move is to inflict a literary hallucinogen on his readers and transcend the limits of the written word.
Weakness: Philip suffered a lot, and I'm not talking about his borderline poverty or constant stream of divorces. He suffered because he was trapped in sci fi and could never be taken seriously as a legitimate fiction writer. He was, in a way, a king trapped among fools. A heavy weight armor plated world champion class boxer stuck punching it out with feather-weights. Was this good for his work, probably not. In the long term the spark left his work and he never returned to golden age that brought us Do androids dream of electric sheep and Ubik.
It's an interesting one, in summation what does make Philip's work so great. I think it may have been an uncertainty that every lead character he had that the world they were in was really real. Like the author himself knew what it was like to be a character in a book and have a world written around him as he went.