Guest Blogger and WWEnd Member, Charles Dee Mitchell, has contributed a great many book reviews to WWEnd and we’ve invited him to contribute to our blog. This is the latest in Dee’s series of Philip K. Dick reviews that he started on his blog www.potatoweather.blogspot.com. We’ll be posting one every week until he runs out of reviews or gets tired of Philip K. Dick books.
Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick
by Lawrence Sutin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Answer the following True or False questions about the life of Philip K. Dick:
1) PKD’s twin sister, Jane, died in the first months of her life from malnutrition and poor home care.
2) Later in life, PDK liked to imagine that his sister was living and a lesbian.
3) In high school, PKD’s agoraphobia was at times so bad that he could not go to public events such as concerts. Later he was comfortable in only one Chinese restaurant that had very high sides to its booths.
4) PKD was on amphetamines from the mid 1950’s until around 1972. Some were prescribed, but as the drug scene took off in the 1960’s, he also bought speed off the street.
5) When he was a young man, his mother told him that if he left home he would become a homosexual.
6) PKD’s first wife was also the first woman he had sex with. The marriage lasted six months and Jeanette, the wife, said in court that Phil’s record playing kept her up at night.
7) PKD was married five times, towards the end to women who were barely half his age.
8) Between 1953 and 1957, PKD wrote 14 novels. Between 1963 and 1964 he wrote 11.
9) PKD wrote The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch while tripping on acid.
10) PKD stole pills from his mother and blamed her for not keeping them under lock and key.
11) While trying to live in Canada, PKD felt a mental collapse coming on and pretended to be a heroin addict to get into the only treatment program he could find. He did not like the people he met there.
12) When PKD’s house was broken into, ransacked, and burgled the police were not able to solve the case. They considered PKD to be their most likely suspect.
13) When PKD and his wife were investigated by the FBI, his wife fixed dinner for the agents and one agent taught PKD how to drive.
14) In February, 1974, PKD had an impacted wisdom tooth removed and sodium pentathol was used. Later that day, a girl from the drugstore who was delivering Darvon wore an icthus, the Christian fish symbol. When it caught the light, and PKD stared at it, he realized for the first time that he was an immortal being. For the remainder of his life he had visions of the divine and conversations with a divine presence he named VALIS,
15) PKD’s spiritual visions, and many of his other character traits, are common symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy.
Only number (9) is false. According to his biographer Lawrence Sutin, all the rest are true.