Radio Free Albemuth // Philip K Dick [thoughts + spoilers]

[Image taken from the film version, obviously]

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Apparently this is one of the lesser books by Phil K Dick, probably because it’s semi-autobiographical…which means he can’t go into space or insert too much of the weird shit he usually does because we know reality isn’t really like that…or a reality without drugs anyway.

Reality = no ubik, no Palmer Eldritch, no androids

What he can do, though, is give the characters more believability and grounding than in something like ‘Ubik’. Not that Ubik didn’t have good characters…it did, but Joe Chip had a normal life for about five pages, until the plot kicked in and then his character was formed around that…’Radio Free’ has characters who live a normal life for the entire length of the plot, only sometimes being forced into extreme situations e.g. Nicholas gets arrested and shot in the head. [Spoiler]

Dick puts himself in the story

The secondary or main character of this [depending on reader POV] is a writer called Philip K Dick. He doesn’t try to hide that it’s himself…there’s nothing that’s slightly off, no detail that doesn’t fit…this is Philip K Dick and the only thing I think he’s made up is his best friend, Nicholas.

According to Wikipedia, Nicholas is the other side of Phil K Dick, the part of him that believed he was experiencing visions from ‘Valis’ in the 60’s and 70’s…I forget what the acronym stands for, but the last word is system…Vast Active Lithe Intelligent System? Continue reading

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