July 22, 2010

Philip K. Dick letters

Filed under: philip k. dick — ubikcan @ 7:59 am

Updated below.

I didn’t quite believe this when I heard it a few weeks ago and so left it for a while, but I’ve just been notified by Amazon that my copy of the last (6th) volume of PKD letters is on its way to me! What a nice birthday present.

These cover the years 1980-1982, the last two years of his life. Henri Wintz, who helped type up the letters 20 years ago(!), has a few comments here. This will complete my collection of the letters (I have the 5 other vols, including a slipcase edition of the first volume).

Many people have a “JFK” moment: I have a PKD moment, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard he had died. I was an undergraduate student and was waiting with my friends to go into my prehistoric archeology class here, and was reading Ansible, the Dave Langford newsletter (still going!) which carried the PKD death notice:

Stop Press: Philip Dick died on 2/3 March in California, aged 53. RIP.

(Ansible March 1982).

Going back now and seeing those few simple words it’s so surprising how that moment can remain with me 28 years later.

Update 7/27/2010.

I’ve now receive the book and can confirm that it exists (well you never know with things Dickian). There’s a slip of paper in it (it doesn’t say “soft drink stand”) noting that only 1350 copies were printed and that the dust jacket was done 10 years ago and is out of date. Also they’ve cut the price tag off the jacket (wrong wrong wrong, will badly affect value–not that I plan to sell this after waiting so long to get it). The other books came out in 1991 so this is now 19 years late.

However, the contents are as moving and interesting as ever. Perhaps more so now that PKD has some distance from his ever-popular topic of 2-3-74 (Feb-March 1974). He still obsesses over it, but this is the time when he’s written Valis and is working on Valis Regained and Timothy Archer. He also buys his own “conapt” and gives his own varying interpretations of Valis. He has a long correspondence with Patricia Warrick about it so you know it’s all still there for him. And this is the time when he was getting interviewed a lot and generally things are happening with the movies.

Highly recommend but act quick before they sell out–don’t wait for the promised paperbacks!


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