Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Something Missing, part 2

Number 3 on my list of the 10 books overlooked as the best of the 20th century is

Radio Free Albemuth, by Philip K. Dick

A paranoid incompetant has schemed his way into the White House and convulsed America in a vicious war against imaginary internal enemies. A struggling science fiction writer named Philip K. Dick is trying to keep from becoming one pf the war's casualties. And Dick's best friend, a record executive named Nicholas Brady, is recieving transmissions from an extraterrestrial entity that may also happen to be God-- an entity that apparently wants him to overthrow the President.

Normally, I distrust the back cover summary on a book. They're reductionist by nature and often innacurate altogether. But Radio Free Albemuth is different. The above description accurately sums up the plot but it also gives you a handle on what is, by its very nature, dodgy subject matter. Anyone at all familiar with Phil Dick's Valis material will know what I mean. Anyone who isn't should go read Valis, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, and the Divine Invasion. Then read Albemuth, which takes the real life events of Philip Dick's own mind mangling experiences, pink phosphor lasers and all, and remixes them into a single, last moving story about two men trying to live in an insane world.

A lot of people have written how El Presidente Bush resembles Big Brother or Dr. Strangelove more and more every day. But they aren't even close; he's Ferris F. Fremont, down to the cowboy hat, vacant gaze and mindless snear. Read Radio Free albemuth and shiver at how truely frightening the similarities between this parallel Earth of the eighties resembles real life today.

Aramcheck, help us.

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