Recently Published Reference Work By David Hyde

An Index to the Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 1974David Hyde has written/compiled a Philip K. Dick reference that astounded me. An Index to the Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 1974 was recently published and the book doesn’t only contain an index of topics and what letters they appear in. The reference work also includes a summary and discussion of the content of the letters written by David Hyde so if you don’t own a copy of the 1974 letters, you can still understand what Philip K. Dick wrote about and experienced in 1974, a pivotal year for Dick and for scholars.

The book is available now as a trade paperback or in Kindle format.

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Review: Pink Beams of Light from the God in the Gutter: The Science-Fictional Religion of Philip K. Dick by Gabriel McKee (2003)

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This book is an excellent academic study of the theme of religion in the works of Philip K. Dick. The book is a slim volume and could have been much longer but you still get your money’s worth from the amount of analysis and information crammed into those pages.

The book is divided into three sections which consist of Dick’s writings view from a religious point of the view in three areas of his career. His early writing is covered along with his middle and later (VALIS) years are extensively reviewed and analyzed. I felt that the work covered the topic extremely well and I learned not only about Dick’s work but about religion.

The text was published several years ago so it might be a little difficult to get a hold of but the price might turn some readers off. If you are interested in a religious analysis of the works of Philip K. Dick, I believe this one is the only one out there and it is very well written.

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Review: A Kindred Spirit by ej Morgan (2011)

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My favorite Philip K. Dick book is Valis and when I began reading this novel I used that book like a guide post in following along with the path of the main character who has an apt surname of Perceval. There were other narrative stylings like using the names of Philip K. Dick stories in the text and a code on the back of the book which I have little idea how to solve. But the further I read into the novel, the less I noticed these because I became involved in the plot.

The novel follows the physical and spiritual journey of Nikki who guided by the sprit of Philip K. Dick goes to New Mexico and California to find the missing manuscript that was in Dick’s safe when his house was broken into. I loved the meshing of fact and fiction in this book and the scenes of Philip K. Dick’s death and the break-in of his house are written beautifully.

The level of detail in the book makes it seem very dense and also gave me the sense that this is an autobiographical novel or at least one which describes parts of the author’s life which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The elements used from the author’s life make the book seem very realistic when the strange events are happening to the main character but also box the writer into getting on the page exactly what happened to them which I think bogged down the novel.

The novel was a slow start for me and then picked up when Nikki was deciding to start her journey and then bogged down again until she was in New Mexico and picked up more and more coinciding with her revelations. I also think the first part of the novel concerning Dr. Gribbin didn’t need to be included. I believe the need to get everything down like it happened caused these areas of slow narrative where there are many questions, few answers for the reader and fewer for Nikki.

Overall, the book is well worth the purchase and the time that it takes to read it. I recommend this but more so only after reading Valis especially because it takes on much more meaning connected to that work and Dick’s later two novels. There was real depth in the end of the novel and not a cop out or sleight of hand that I was afraid may occur. I didn’t feel cheated by the ending.

I want to love this book but I only really like it a lot and I’m very glad that I read it. My preference on the length of books is about 200 pages and this one (over 300 pages) had some parts that I think could have been cut to streamline the narrative. I’m glad that she wrote it even though it is geared in some ways at a specialized audience and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it.

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Dickhead: Local writer summons Philip K. Dick in novel

PKD Otaku 21

PKD Otaku 22

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Review: Philip K. Dick and Philosophy: Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits? Edited by D.E. Wittkower (2011)

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I spent more time Reading “Philip K. Dick and Philosophy: Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits?” than I expected to and it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the book. I spent time understanding the different philosophers and philosophies, and essentially re-adapting/reorganizing what I know about Philip K. Dick to the idea of the philosophizing storyteller (which is referred to several times in the book). I think looking at Dick’s work from the eye of a philosopher in addition to the eye of a literary critic brings much value to his works that I never imagined before.

The book consists of a series of topics each containing about three to four essays on that topic. Each of the essays is written by different academics so there is variety in the work that you wouldn’t have in a book written by one person. There were some essays that I didn’t like as much as others but overall I enjoyed the writing and I learned about many different philosophers, some I’d heard of or knew about and some I hadn’t. My background is in literature so I am accustomed to approaching writing from the literary critic or the English major/academic and this is the first philosophy of… book I’ve read so this shift of focus was new to me but I welcomed it.

Some of my criticisms of the book center around the essays that discussed the movies to explain philosophies (with exception of the section on Hollywood) but aren’t clear that the movies may be more or less faithful to the original story. The most guilty of these movies and the most often discussed are Adjustment Bureau, Minority Report, and Total Recall. I also have a background in Film Studies and I generally to believe that the director is the “author” of the movie so the implication that the ideas are Dick’s didn’t work for me. Some essays pointed out both the movie and the story, and compared the two which I appreciated. But this is not an issue with a majority of the book only part of it.

Many sources discuss how much of a visionary Philip K. Dick was and sources discuss his storytelling themes and ideas but to my knowledge, until this book, his work was not explored using different philosophies which makes this an essential book for any student or fan of Philip K. Dick.

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Review: Eye In The Sky (1957)

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Eye In The Sky issue of For Dickheads Only (This issue has a special place in my heart because it has an article by me in it. The first of what I intended to be many in FDO but it folded unfortunately.)

Amazon.com Reviews

Eye In The Sky entry in PKDweb

Review by Jason Koornick

Digressions on Eye In The Sky by Frank C. Bertrand

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Lord Running Clams’s PKDweb Lives (Again)!

PKDweb 2003I have been waiting to get my hands on the newer version of Dave Hyde’s PKDweb site for a little while now before I put up a version of that site within a site essentially (or his own site if he wanted it that way). The version that was on the on philipkdickfans.com was from 1999 which I never realized until Dave himself told me. And then he said he had a revision from 2003 that was updated. I pestered him for it and patiently waited and worked out a way for Dave to send it to me. I had the site in my hands just over a week ago and I have been using that time to upload test and make some fixes to it. As a proof of concept I put the old one up on the site first and configured the site to host this type of site within a site. Then I archived the old 1999 one here: http://1999pkdweb.philipkdickfans.com and put the new code in place on the server the other night at http://www.philipkdickfans.com/pkdweb/

Immediately, I realized that we had an issue that Dave developed the site on a PC which is case insensitive and the site is going to live on a case sensitive server. Several of the site links were broken that I fixed and let Dave look at it before going live. Obviously, he gave is okay! So the site is live with some deployment issues. I will be working to fix what I know about in the week or so ahead but if you see a broken link or any other issues, feel free to report it to philipkdickfans[at]gmail[dot]com

PKDweb 1999Another thing that I recently noticed is that there are many links to Dave’s pages on Wikipedia.org in the Philip K. Dick Bibliography area. I think that says much about Dave’s work on this content. When I asked him about it, he claimed that he didn’t know about it… A project I put on my list is to increase the number of links to philipkdickfans.com and Dave’s content from Wikipedia.org to help interested fans find the site and to help the site’s rankings in search engines. And fix any broken links to his content with the new site change.

I really appreciate all that Dave contributes to the community and I’m very impressed with this site he did by himself without knowing html. Maybe in a few years, we can squeeze a 2010 version out of Dave!?!?

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Review: Next (2007)

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I just watched Next and while it wasn’t one of my favorite films or a film of outstanding value over time; it was a typical Hollywood Thriller action picture with all the typical elements of the chased, the chaser, the love interest and another chaser who is much more ruthless than the first. It held my attention and I liked the movie but this one will be forgotten about in a way that Blade Runner will not be. It doesn’t stand out in direction or story in any way. It was as Hollywood bland as Paycheck at taking a Philip K. Dick idea and then throwing all the action tropes onto it to make a movie. Other than a few exceptions the movies adapted from Philip K. Dick stories weren’t crafted to retain his vision in the original work or his overall vision from entire library of writings.

Next isn’t a bad movie in of itself but as a Philip K. Dick movie I think I was not very enjoyable. I believe for a Philip K. Dick to be successful especially in the long run, the movie needs to respect Dick’s point of view and treat the film as if that point of view was being communicated to the audience, as if Philip K. Dick wrote and directed it himself.

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Review: The Gospel of Philip K. Dick (2001)

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I recently rewatched The Gospel of Philip K. Dick after first seeing it about ten years ago and honestly it was a little worse than I remembered. The animation went on and was more difficult to watch than I remembered and when the animated Philip K. Dick spoke, it was really uncomfortable to watch. I’m not sure why because I usually don’t have that reaction to animated content. The credits at the beginning and the animated typed pages that gave written information instead of narration both seemed like padding to the film to meet some specific number of minutes. The lack of a narrator may have been a cost issue or thinking the animated PKD could compensate may have thought to have been a excellent idea but it wasn’t. Those parts plodded along.

What I liked was seeing the interview sections which were fascinated and the film was broken up into a number of topic areas related to the gospel of Dick, like the visions and the Xerox missive but there were only a few viewpoints given in each section with the interviews for extremely complicated topics. I think an entire movie could be made exploring the 1971 break-in or pink beam visions and related events. What could have been an interesting view that many fans may not have the resources to see is the visit to the collection at Fullerton but the detail there goes overboard including a librarian running through the process to view the collection pieces. Overall I was disappointed in this documentary and hoped for more content and less filler.

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Review: Remembering Firebright By Tessa Dick (2009)

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It must be hard to write a memoir. I’ve never written one myself and what writing I’ve done has all been fiction. I repeatedly noticed that Ms. Dick would start down a narrative/memory path and then get far ahead of where she intends and then backtracks. This structure didn’t bother me because I have some familiarity with the events but someone who doesn’t might find it hard to follow.

In fiction you trust the reader to remember the details of the narrative later. It appears that Ms. Dick doesn’t trust the reader to recall and there are repetitions of events and explanations in this structure which leads to an absolutely clear discussion that can repeat itself. The memoir felt somewhat like you were having a conversation with Ms. Dick which suits the material that she covered in the book.

One of my favorite parts is the discussion of the infamous abscessed tooth/fish
necklace/pink beam experience at the beginning of Chapter Four which slightly changes the events as I knew them but they still retain the essence. That event has always fascinated me and to read a slightly different version makes me wonder what exactly happened. For example, Ms. Dick writes that the necklace didn’t cause the anamnesis but a piece of pink glass in their window with the sun shining through and the events remembered weren’t the events of Roman times but events that happened in Vancouver that I’d never read about.

The memoir has a structure more like put together a puzzle or creating a painting than a linear narrative and I think it suits the events that happened. Ms. Dick would describe an event fully chronologically even if it overlapped another event so that the reader has a better understanding of what happened and what she has put together in hindsight.

The book has parts which wander off the topic like the discussion of the movies made from Dick’s works but the discussion of the adaptation of A Scanner Darkly is fascinating because Ms. Dick helped work on the novel with him. Philip K. Dick would explain to her his intentions with that novel and all the novels after it so that she has an excellent understanding of Philip K. Dick’s purpose in writing the books.

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in this period in Philip K. Dick’s life. The memoir provides a second viewpoint on events that Philip K. Dick wrote about, a viewpoint of someone who was there to witness the events.

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Philip K. Dick’s Top Novels

The other day while I was answering another comment, I found a comment from James on November 8 which I had intended to address but it slipped my mind.  (James, I apologize)

He asked:

james Says:
November 8th, 2011 at 11:26 am e
Hello-
Quick question… his TOP 10 NOVELS, not novellas in your opinion ? I own & have read : Do Androids, Man in the High Castle, 3 Stigmata, & Ubik. What 6 should I add to my list ? Do you like any of the new, non fiction stuff being released ? i.e. His pre-sci-fi writing days ?
Lastly, whom do you think is his close second ? Asimov, William Gibson ?
Thanks for your time & knowledge… James

Here I need to admit to everyone that I have not read all of Philip K. Dick novels. So I can answer his question with the titles that I have read which one problem is that the only mainstream novels I have read are Confessions of a Crap Artist and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.

One answer to the question I found on this page which list the top three novels from the long running survey that was conducted here. I don’t know if that one is related to the survey run in For Dickheads Only which is very similar.

So at the risk of beating a dead and rotting horse, I will list my favorite novels in order [from what novels I’ve read] each a link to Amazon.com for purchase or more information:

  1. VALIS
  2. Radio Free Albemuth
  3. The Man in the High Castle
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  5. Ubik
  6. A Scanner Darkly
  7. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  8. Martian Time-Slip
  9. Galactic Pot-Healer
  10. Confessions of a Crap Artist

I love all the non fiction being released but I am behind on my reading. I haven’t been reading the Exegesis like everyone else even though I have a copy of it to read later.

I tend to like J.G. Ballard and Thomas Disch also for Science Fiction. I used to read more widely in Science Fiction and Fantasy but now I include a lot more contemporary writing and literature.

I think we all know that these types of lists can be controversial especially with my number one choice which is also my favorite book of all time. Feel free to add your own top ten list in the comments or discuss my selections.

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Review: Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964)

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Clans of the Alphane Moon issue of
For Dickheads Only

Summary and Review by Jason Koornick
Amazon.com Reviews

Links from reader comments:

Book reviews: Clans of the Alphane Moon, by Philip K. Dick
by Kenneth Andrews

Clans of the Alphane Moon
by D. Davis

How could mergers improve innovativeness: Clans of the Alphane Moon
by Juha Antti Lamberg

Clans of the Alphane Moon entry in PKDweb

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