|Art by R. Crumb|
Yesterday, the Second Foundation SF reading group in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, tackled the works of Philip K. Dick. Having only read three novels by the author, I was on the "least read" side of group, which included a P.K. Dick scholar, and at least one person who has read about half of Dick's books. He wrote 44 novels, 121 short stories, and had 14 short story collections before his untimely death.
Some of the works we discussed at some length in the meeting (instead of just mentioning briefly) included Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, A Maze of Death, VALIS, Radio Free Albemuth, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.
A recurrent theme in the discussion was the importance of religious, Gnostic, and mystical themes in the work of Philip K. Dick. In his later life, he had a mystical experience involving a pink spot of light. He produced a massive Exegesis (published only in part) in an attempt to capture his theological and philosophical insights flowing from this event.
I think my favorite moment in the conversation was when Eric Heideman made the comparison between Ubik and Rainbow Foods' ubiquitous "Chairman Bob." Always thought he looked fishy in a Max Headroom sort of way.
We've decided to do a second session on Philip K. Dick on July 14, 2-4 PM at Merlin's Rest on Lake Street in Minneapolis. We are calling this session "The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick." Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.