Started reading Dick’s ‘Radio Free Albemuth’, his last novel published after he passed away in 1982, prequel to the so-called ‘Divine Trilogy’, as well as started the exploration of his long-after death publishing, late 2011, of ‘The Exegesis’, the frenzy journal he spent years on, filling thousand of pages in epileptoïc style and illumination of research in religions, philosophy and everything else, massive work that most probably will never be published in full and still accounts for almost 900 pages of selected writings.
18 Jan …
Finished reading ‘Radio Free Albemuth’. Despite mixed feelings I am admitting it is a great Philip K. Dick’s novel. I like the ‘self-fictional’ characterization of the author himself in the novel along his twin brother Nicholas Brady who is used as the replica or recipient of Dick’s own mystic experiences during the events of February-March 1974. Well done Phil for this posthumously published work!
My friend Nicholas Brady, who in his own mind helped save the world, was born in Chicago in 1928 but then moved right to California.
A figure stood silently beside the bed, gazing down at him. The figure and Nicholas regarded each other; Nicholas grunted in amazement and sat up. At once Rachel awoke and began to scream.
‘Ich bin’s!’ Nicholas told her reassuringly (he had taken German in high school). What he meant to tell her was that the figure was himself, ‘Ich bin’s’ being the German idiom for that.
How can I render the strange experience of reading a Philip K. Dick’s novel? Especially this one? God knows (or Valis knows) I read a lot of them in my young age (Ubik, Man in the High Castle, Simulacra, The three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Solar Lottery, Clans of the Alphane Moon, Dr Bloodmoney…) but I kept always away from the weird stuff he had written almost at the end of his life, between 1976 and 1981 in transition from drug abuse to religion. This guy went completely nuts, it is very clear to me now but what makes him depart from the ordinary fool is that he meant it very seriously to report about his madness as a writer, and as work of autofiction. By some strange coincidence of events, it happens that at the same time, a French writer coined the concept and practice of ‘autofiction’ (Serge Doubrovsky, Fils, 1977). It was in the ‘air’ apparently, thanks to ‘post-structuralism memetic contamination’ (influence), a bit of the same kind infecting the mind of Nicholas Brady in ‘Radio Free Albemuth’. What is odd with Dick is the distance between the frugality of his writing style, plain, dull, trivial and the living experiences of the protagonists most of the time being uplifted into some heavenly world of visions and knowledge.
Anyway… ‘Ich bin’s!’ tells the ghost image of myself to me and the other guy waiting in the elevator it is time to move upwards the office in cubicle permutation awaits today a new flow of data from the laptop I will plug into my head through the earphone of the iPhone this is not about a trilogy but the very real experience of moving up and down into the three circles of life and death inferno purgatory paradise through switches in high-speed connections however the slowest link prevails emotions interfere as usual beams of light eerie sounds play their chaos nothing will stop me this is my duty the conference room the management board I am here this is it gentlemen you are dead and I am alive suddenly the guy slams the doors people stare at each other in amazement he is completely nuts but they don’t see their faces this board is a collection of robots robots I am alive and you are all dead said he before jumping from the fifth floor of the building through closed windows without fracturing them and they could see him flying upwards the wings opened as a raptor bootstrapped from nowhere into the void … ‘Ich bin’s!’