In what feels like a game of unchance, but, we can assure you, is not a war with fnools (sorry — Chris), we reluctantly will have to put off another meeting until what will be something of a September reunion. For all prospective members’ sakes, we’re looking forward to a time when the lives of those involved with this group are slightly less punctuated by deadlines; although it is by reason of these deadlines that we are getting our Dickian work done, scrivening away in our hovels.
In fact, these deadlines signal just the fact that the group is raging on precisely as it should: PhD theses, conference papers, and other manner of PKD-related projects are precisely what’s stopping us, ironically, from getting together to chat about the ampheteminergic scrivener’s works themselves. So, with our excuses out of the way, we now present our updated meeting schedule here.
UNSW Sam Seminar Series: “The Unsettling Domestic Life of Philip K Dick’s Alternate Thingyverses”
The positive and productive item of business is that Adam and Chris will be presenting extended papers, each of about 45 mins, at one of this term’s instalments of the UNSW’s SAM Seminar Series. Our papers, supplemented by what are surely to be recognised as some of the most vivid slides in the conference avocation, shall be delivered on Tuesday 9 September at UNSW, 5:00-6:30 pm, in the Robert Webster building, lecture theatre 327. All required details are here. More updates to follow!
A Little Something for Us Dickanauts
Our SAM series talks will follow the conference panel that members of this reading group assembled last month for the University of Sydney’s Prosaic Imaginary conference. Our talks were very well received, prompting the likes of John Plotz, one of the conference’s fantastic keynotes, to register what we are happy to interpret as his thoughtful encomia. Since that conference, both Chris and Adam have uploaded their panel papers to their respectively preferred online loci:
- Chris Rudge, Doctored Images: Doctors and Their Devices in Philip K. Dick’s 1960s novels
- Adam Hulbert, The Persistent Elsewhere: Radio in the Worlds of Philip K. Dick
Dick: Ever the Variable Man
More than forty years since his passing, novel biographical memories are still being recalled about Philip K. Dick. Recently, R. Grahame Cameron shared his memory of Dick’s attendance at a Canadian science-fiction conference in Canada in 1972. One of the great lines from Cameron’s piece details Dick’s response to what seems to have been a Fluxis-style assemblage of experimental found sounds produced by Marshall McLuhan, the likes of which one might have expected to find in an edition of the great 1960s’ Aspen. The object of the audio piece was seemingly to reproduce a fragmented or pre-unified version of sonic reality–a kind of pre-conscious subject sonic ecology, enabling listeners to hear the “medium without the message” (or “the message without the medium”), as it were. As Cameron writes,
I have a phonograph record on which Marshal McLuhan put together music, bits and pieces of dialogue and assorted sound effects jumbled together that was supposed to give you some sense of McLuhan’s thoughts on how the media work, and worked us over, as he would say. Well, we started playing this for Dick because we thought it would be the sort of thing he’d enjoy, and all of a sudden he started yelling ‘Turn it off! Turn it off! It sounds like the inside of my head!’”
It’s hard to know whether to take the often self-satyrising and sardonic, but at-other-times maniacal Dick seriously here. Would the inside of Dick’s head have been so disturbingly reverberant with the likes of these sound effects at this stage of his life? And, if so, isn’t it all the more interesting that, at this moment in which this psychoticized aurality is reproduced and compounded, that we should hear, in Dick’s panicked tones, his anxious request to turn it off?
You can expect more from us post-September. Until then, we’ll be in a retreat syndrome.