Just finished this after previously read Ubik and VALIS, could we have a Philip K Dick thread? This book is probably a better example of how his ideas are often better than his execution, Ubik was much more well crafted when it came to the collapse of the character's realities. VALIS was great as well, but it's a little different so I'm not sure how I can compare that to his larger corpus of writing.
Any suggestions on what I should read next? I've peeked into my copy of A Scanner Darkly the other day, but I'm not sure if I want to read another book of his or try out something by a different author.
I love PKD and ASD is by far my favourite book by him.
A lot his work does read like a first draft that needs a thorough workover, yeah, but I came to consider it part of the charm I guess.
The recurring themes of God, drugs, and mental health (and lack of same) make his work as a whole more enjoyable and meaningful than the parts individually I think. It all kind of comes together as a lifelong semi-autobiography.
Don't pass over his short stories either, though. As you said yourself he's a lot more about ideas than execution and the short story as a medium works better for that than does the novel.
There was a short called The Days of Perky Pat which he later borrowed from for The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.
Just to shake things up, I'm going to list some books no one ever bothers to recommend. They are good, just not as well known as Valis or ASD.
The Game Players of Titan
A Maze of Death
I'm also a fan of Galactic Pot Healer, but it seems to be one of those love it or hate it books. It's definitely more lighthearted than some of his other work. If you're interested, Divine Invasions by Lawrence Sutin is a solid biography, with an extensive critique of PKD's books at the end.
I've read A Scanner Darkly, High Man's Dick in the Ass Castle and Minority Report and haven't really enjoyed any of them very much. I was going to read one more work by him before I gave up. Any recommendations on what that work should be?
Three Stigmata probably has my favorite world out of all the ones he created for his stories. It's overall one of my favorites too. I love the psychic fashion consultant profession as a backdrop, and Leo Bulero as the cosmic hero of our solar system is hilarious to me. I just liked the imagery of inter planetary travel being expressed like riding a train between cities
Where the DICK really shines is in his short stories.
not the same guy, but High Castle was a complete bore. He built up a really good concept and I was waiting for it to really go somewhere but it kinda didn't after 3/4 so I dropped it.
I'm not even the type to complain about "muh plot" at all, but generally if you're going to have a shit plot you at least need to supplement with beautiful prose. High Castle had neither.
I liked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep though.
PKD is a total post modern deconstructionist who hates conventional plot structure, especially climaxes and clear resolutions. Do Androids Dream is probably his most conventional story as far as structure goes
I really liked his story "the electric ant" its reminds me of Borges "El Aleph"
I forget to mention I've read Androids as well. I can forgive his somewhat lackluster execution of his ideas, but when his ideas are often as weak as they are I can't really handle them together. It's not even that I need deep concepts to enjoy a book but his stories seem to be written in a way which they live or die by the ideas in them.
I've always felt that his stories, at least for me, take a couple of reads before I can paint the full picture of the world he's creating in my head. I suppose you also need to be able to relate to the existential contemplation of his stories as well, but I assume most people here already can and do
scanner darkly is his most personal, and my favorite. it's really reminiscent of borroughs. it's based on his addict years in CA and i get the feeling that it's largely autobiographical. i really can't recommed people read it enough, it's one of my favorite books
He's so self aware in his behavior of being a creepy middle aged man trying to get with young teenager girl, and I find it strangely endearing. He's one of the most honest writers I've ever come across
He said once that he originally wanted to but he just couldn't take doing any more research about the Nazis. He read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and a bunch of others to make High Castle and apparently it just really sucked the life out of him.