Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, February 22, 2010


It was PKD weekend in the O'Leary household, that's Philip K. Dick, author of some of the most challenging science fiction ever written, to you. Watching an Arena documentary, "Philip K Dick - A Day in the Afterlife", and the fan-produced "The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick", was my effort at reviving fond memories of this author's work. Both documentaries took a talking heads style approach to the usual events (the break-in to Dick's home in 1972, his visions of God in 1974, his 8000 page 'Exegesis') with the usual sci-fi writers (Tim Powers, Robert Anton Wilson) trotted out to give their view on his sanity. "The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick" was particularly annoying, with a dreadful animated device introducing its key sections. A little more of a focus on the work would have been better. As it was, I learnt nothing new and was only moderately entertained. Poor.
I also listened to a reading of his not so sci-fi story, "Of Withered Apples". I remembered being set ill at ease when I first read it, and hearing it had a similar effect. Set in New England (Dick lived his life in California), it was very much his attempt at a Shirley Jackson style horror story (with just a pinch of Lovecraft), and not bad an attempt at that.

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