Book Report: I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick

So, I actually read I Am Alive and You Are Dead last fall, and I wanted to see what I wrote about it, and I wrote nothing about it, so I’m writing the report now. Did I really write nothing about it? Guess not.

I wanted a biography of Philip K. Dick, because I was curious how much of some of the details of his last three books were biographical. The answer to that question is both more and less than I thought, which is about what I expected. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is really almost not science fiction at all, it’s really more a portrait of Berkeley and the wacky spiritual quests of its overeducated denizens, which are often painfully transparently motivated by their inability to deal with their personal relationships. I was especially curious to see if the Episcopal bishop (who sort of reminded me of someone who would have been in my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s crowd) was based on a real person, and he was, sort of.

Anyway, it confirmed a lot of what I had guessed. Dick was a dick, especially to his wives. He was really crazy, though at times it seems almost willfully so. Reading it kind of got me over him, which I was also sort of hoping to do. I still want to get around to reading The Man In The High Castle, but it might be a while.

The author only frothed into raving fandom intermittently, but did seem to write the book as an excuse to write little expositions on his favorite novels. I guess that’s not uncommon in biography, but still, I think it was a little annoying.