So this happened at the bookstore yesterday. I wasn’t even aware it was Philip K. Dick’s birthday, but sitting on the shelf (mind you, Housingworks receives their books through donation only) was this compact beauty. While I’ve read VALIS, there’s a good deal in here like The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch that I haven’t had a chance to dig into yet. Little coincidences continue to surrounding the reading of P.K.D. But should I be surprised?
Related note: check out LA Times article for P.K.D, who would’ve been 86 as of yesterday:
Dick’s work is full of androids, simulacra, existential questions, alternate realities, characters who cannot know themselves. “The Man in the High Castle,” which takes place in an America divided between Germany and Japan after the Axis Powers won World War II, revolves in part around a character who has written a novel imagining an Allied victory; his 1977 novel “A Scanner Darkly” involves an undercover cop whose consciousness has been so severed by a psychotropic drug called Substance D that he has begun spying on himself.
The point, of course, is that reality is nothing but a construct, a mass hallucination, consensual or otherwise. If that no longer seems a particularly radical notion, we have Dick to thank for that — “our own homegrown Borges,” in Ursula K. Le Guin’s phrase, for whom existence remains elusive, if apprehensible at all.