Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sci-Fi Viral Infection

A few days after Christmas I came down with a "non-specific viral infection" very much resembling chicken-pox. Low on money already, I still had to take five days off from work. At the same time my roommate of six months moved back to Boston and a total stranger has taken his place.
Feeling totally disjointed, listening to BBC and NPR propaganda, I went to the library to find some fiction to take my mind off of the stick in the mud feeling slowly enveloping my being. Quickly passing the stacks before my energy could fall away, I had in mind some Isaac Asimov, some science fiction, but before I could get to the A Section I ran into my old friend Philip K. Dick. None of the his short-story collections or even his sci-fi novels were on the shelf. Only three novels, none of which I had read, were there.
Humpty Dumpty In Oakland, Voices From The Street, and The Broken Bubble. The first two I just finished and I am now starting up on the third. Though not "uplifting" the world of everyday people and the reality they occupy is satisfying to enter into. T.V. salesmen, used-car lot owners and mechanics swirl about in 1950's west coast America, all trying to move foreward yet meeting challenges both mundane and cosmic, challenges seemingly impossible to overcome.
Philip K. Dick is aware, often humorously, of the gap between the material focus of modern life and the spiritual, cosmic yeanings which, in his characters, break through the facade of televisions and car engines and jump into their lives as unstoppable forces from another dimension.
I have had a long relatioship with Philip K. Dick beginning with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A.K.A. "Bladerunner", starting back in 1982. I went to see the movie with my father, and fifteen minutes into the best film I had ever seen, my dad pulled me out of the theater because Harrison Ford shot a woman in the back. Aaargh! I now appreciate my father's action but at the time boy was I pissed ! From that moment on however I was a dedicated fan of P.K.Dick.
At another soul-killing time, the five months I lived in D.C., I immersed myself in the works of Dick due to the fact that the D.C. public library downtown had pretty much the entire ouvre of his science-fiction works. I lived on 13th street S.E. where I learned first-hand that the people who run our government, elected or not, DO NOT CARE. Stepping on used needles and crack vials and looking up to see the Capitol building only a few blocks away did it for me. Crunch! DO.Crunch!NOT.Crunch!CARE.
There was more to that place which I experienced but the resonance between the sci-fi reality of Philip K. Dick and the "real" world of D.C. in 1992-3 was completely in sync for me.
I do not know where Dick received his occult/cosmic knowledge (previous to his VALIS experinces) but in this current world his visions ring true.

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