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Pinback's Journal
Pinback's Journal
January 29, 2012

I recommend "Eye in the Sky"

It happens to be the first P.K. Dick novel I read, but that's not the reason I recommend you also read it first. It's a really interesting read -- the story of a round-robin series of extremely subjective worldviews shared in succession by a group of characters, and is orderly in structure. This one is an excellent introduction to Dick's fascinating kind of psychological surrealism.

Another one I'd recommend highly as an introductory Phil Dick novel is "Time Out of Joint." The delirious disorientation I felt as Ragle Gumm saw a lemonade stand shimmer and disappear before his eyes, and found himself standing with a scrap of paper in his hand reading "lemonade stand" was a hint of the delights to come in this strange story.

"Man in the High Castle" is also a great story, one in which the U.S. has lost World War II and the country is divided between Japanese (west of the Mississippi) and Nazi (east) occupations. The character of Mr. Tagomi is one of the most interesting and complex in Dick's writing. It's also fascinating to know that Dick consulted the I Ching (completing with tosses of the yarrow sticks) for guidance as he began each chapter. Dick once wrote that as he was working on this novel, he was so immersed in his own fictional creation that he took a break and walked out on his driveway one evening, and had a conversation with what seemed to be a very real Mr. Tagomi.

"Ubik" would also be a good first choice -- the humorous "ads" at the beginning of each chapter are a nice treat. (Dick had a sardonic wit, something that's not often as appreciated as it should be.) And in "Ubik" you have a story that's simultaneously a mystery, a wild surrealistic ride, and a heroic struggle.

I've read a lot of his stuff, so I could give you more, but these are excellent first choices.

I envy you as you embark on the many fantastic discoveries that await you in the worlds of Philip K. Dick!

January 27, 2012

To further poison the national discourse

The more debates they have, the more they can talk up privatizing everything, sucking the life out of every government function except the military, putting foxes in charge of every henhouse, turning back the clock on every good thing the Democrats have done, removing any and all environmental protections, throwing everybody but privileged white males under the bus, etc. etc.

Then these destructive talking points and lunatic ideas get discussed with gravitas on "news" programs and written about on editorial pages and web sites, and they gradually become part of the landscape of what is possible.

The idea is to make their sick "ideology" seem normal to Americans, so that even as the most extreme candidates slough off one by one like so much worm flesh, their toxic ideas burrow further into the national cranium.

So, for example, maybe abolishing the Department of Education doesn't happen, but diverting more public funds to private institutions does.

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Hometown: GA
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Member since: 2002
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