Tag Archives: Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick Interview (1979)

Why Philip K. Dick Matters

Roberto Bolaño on Philip K. Dick


From Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolaño:

In my long conversations with Rodrido Fresán about Philip K. Dick in bars and restaurants around Barcelona or at each other’s houses we’ve never run out of things to say. These are some of the conclusions we’ve reached:

Dick was a schizophrenic.

Dick was a paranoiac.

Dick is one of the best ten American writers of the twentieth century, which is saying a lot.

Dick was a kind of Kafka steeped in LSD and rage.

Dick talks to us, in The Man in the High Castle, in what would become his trademark way, about how mutable reality can be.

Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream.

Dick writes, at times, like a prisoner, because ethically and aesthetically he really is a prisoner.

Dick is the one who, in Ubik, comes closest to capturing the human consciousness or fragments of consciousness in the context of their setting; the correspondence between the story he tells and its structure is more brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.

Dick is the first, literarily speaking, to write eloquently about virtual consciousness.

Dick is the first, or if not the first then the best, to write about the perception of speed, the perception of entropy, the perception of the clamor of the universe in Martian Time-Slip, in which an autistic boy, like a silent Jesus Christ of the future, devotes himself to feeling and suffering the paradox of time and space, the death toward which we’re all heading

Dick, despite everything, never loses his sense of humor, which means he owes more to Twain than to Melville, although Fresán, who knows more about Dick than me, raises some objections.

For Dick all art is political. Don’t forget that.

Dick is possibly one of the most plagiarized authors of the twentieth century. In Fresán’s opinion, Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis, is a shameless ripoff of Counter-Clock World. I prefer to believe that Amis is paying tribute to Dick or to some precursor of Dick (let’s not forget that Amis’s father, the poet Kingsley Amis, also championed science fiction and was a great reader of it).

Dick is the American novelist who in recent years has most influenced non-American poets, novelists, and essayists.

Dick is good even when he’s bad and I ask myself, though I already know the answer, whether the same could be said of any Latin American writer.

Dick portrays suffering as forcefully as Carson McCullers. And VALIS is more disturbing than any novel by McCullers.

Dick seems, at moments, like the king of beggars, and at others like a mysterious millionaire in hiding, and by this he may have meant to explain that the two roles are really one.

Dick wrote Dr. Bloodmoney, which is a masterpiece, and he revolutionized the contemporary American novel in 1962, with The Man in the High Castle, but he also wrote novels that have nothing to do with science fiction, like Confessions of a Crap Artist, written in 1959 and published in 1975, which shows how well-loved he was by the American publishing industry.

There are three images of the real Dick that I’ll carry with me always, along with my memories of his countless books. First: Dick and all his wives—the incessant expense of California divorces. Second: Dick receiving a visit from the Black Panthers, an FBI car parked outside his house. Third: Dick and his sick son, and the voices Dick hears in his head advising him to go back to the doctor again to inquire about a different illness, very rare, very serious, which Dick does, and the doctors realize their mistake and they perform emergency surgery and save the boy’s life.

A Day in the Afterlife of Philip K. Dick

philip k dick in space

A Philip K. Dick Documentary