Pointing the Way, But to Where?

Do not miss Charles Platt’s review of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick in the New York Times. Platt tells how he heard some of these exegetical ideas from Dick in person back in 1979, while the rest of his mini-essay is rich with other intriguing insights.

 The following quotes are selected merely to give a sense what is being reviewed.

The trouble is, any revelatory messages are embedded in more than 900 pages of impulsive theorizing, much of which is self-referential. Dick typically floats a concept, criticizes it 10 pages later, criticizes the critique, then rejects the whole thing as a totally different notion enters his head.

We receive no help from the editors in mapping this tangle. As Richard Doyle, a professor of English and information sciences and technology at Penn State, writes in his afterword, “When you begin reading the ‘Exegesis,’ you undertake a quest with no shortcuts or cheat codes.” Thus we’re on our own when we ponder sentences like “This ­forces me to reconsider the ‘discarding and annexing’ process by the brain in favor of a proliferation theory,” or “So irreality and perturbation are the two perplexities which confront us,” or “I dreamed: I am the fish whose flesh is eaten, and because I am fat, it is good. (Bob Silverberg ate me.)”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]