Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reality Out of Joint

When the everyday world feels, as it often does, ridiculous and bewildering, I grab another Philip K. Dick novel to read because the act is therapeutic.  Living in a Philip K. Dick novel for a short while makes the real world seem almost reasonable by comparison.  Thus I’ve read a lot of Philip K. Dick novels.

This time I grabbed Time Out of Joint (1959), the story of Ragle Gumm dismantling his 1950s world to realize that his reality was only a construct to shield himself from his harrowing situation in the mid-1990s.  This novel was Dick’s first hardcover book, and it mixes (not quite successfully) his attempts at writing mainstream novels with the inventive outlandishness that makes his science fiction novels so interesting. 

But I wonder: has the modern world come too closely to resemble Philip Dick’s mindscape, that the impact of his novels is lessened?  Admittedly, Time Out of Joint is not top-tier Philip K. Dick, but the way that Hollywood films and television series have (again, with varying degrees of success) promulgated a Dickian worldview into the mainstream makes me wonder.  Time Out of Joint didn’t fulfill my need for reality-crushing paranoia this time.  Perhaps it’s time for a first-tier Dick novel that I haven’t yet read (Martian Time-Slip?), or a re-read of Ubik….

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