Philip K. Dick: The Other Side
sourced from The Gnosis Archive: Gnostic Studies on the Web
Originally published in Crash Collusion magazine, no. 5. Copies may be had for $4 from Box 49233, Austin, TX 78765. Issue 7 is due very soon, and features an article by Adam Gorightly called “PKD, the Unicorn, and Soviet Psychotronics”. It’s also $4. Note that this is a cleaned-up copy with all scanning errors and typos removed. Feel free to distribute it elsewhere.
… the group had taken an active interest in their situation, viewing it as a manifestation on an earthly plane of certain super-terrestrial forces. - Jack Isidore (1)
My first exposure to the mind-bending fiction of Philip K. Dick was in early 1981. It must have been January or February because I remember it still being quite cold. To my surprise, a friend of my dad’s had given him a recent issue of Playboy, which I eagerly perused whenever I had the chance. On one such occasion I needed to prove to myself a maturity beyond the pictures of naked ladies, so I commenced to read the magazine’s various features. It turned out to be the December 1980 issue; one feature was Phil’s story “Frozen Journey” (2). Although this high-school senior had been reading science fiction for a decade or more, I must confess I was confused by the shifting realities portrayed in “Frozen Journey”. Further readings did little for my comprehension.
By the time graduation rolled around, I had seen Phil’s books recommended repeatedly in the columns of Heavy Metal magazine. I picked up a used copy of The Man in the High Castle (3). It was quite good, and a whole lot easier to understand than “Frozen Journey” had been. Soon after, VALIS (4) hit the stands. I bought it. I enjoyed it immensely, but was still unable to fully realize the implications of Phil’s speculations. Next I found the Gregg Press hardcover reissue of Time Out of Joint (5) in a little science fiction bookstore that had just opened off-campus. At last I understood; what I had read of the false or illusory nature of reality while studying Hinduism and Buddhism now made sense on a personal level. As I matured, my appreciation for Phil grew. I started college that fall, and frequented that bookstore often. I scoured almost every used bookstore in the Minneapolis area, spending months in search of elusive PKD titles. I found many rare first editions this way, and still have dreams wherein I continue the search. When Phil died in March of 1982, I owned a copy of nearly every book he had written. I considered his death a personal loss.