Departing from of our usual first-Thursday-of-the-month custom, please note that we will now be meeting on the 9th of October for our 6th meeting. See the poster at left for details. Featuring a few busts of Beethoven–and his life mask of 1812–as well as a cassette tape and recorder, the poster takes inspiration from Dick’s multiple references to Beethoven in this month’s reading, as well as Dick’s reference to the so-called “Platt Tape.” Recorded on 17 May 1979 in Santa Ana, the Platt Tape features an interview with Dick that was conducted by Charles Platt for his book, Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction. The interview itself is fantastic, offering a number of lucid biographical revelations from Dick about his Berkeley days, including a few recollections of his early reading habits, and his adoration of Proust and van Vogt, whom he seems to offer up as avatars for his diverse taste in both ‘classic’ literature and sci-fi. Conceding something of a knee-jerk disdain for literary “classics,” however, Dick explains that his reading habits were wholly epicurean:
My motivation was entirely a pleasure/pain motivation. I read what I read because I liked it. I was extremely rebellious against authority, and if something was considered a classic I didn’t read it because it was a classic. I mean, I wasn’t trying to read classics per se. I liked Proust, I liked [A.E.] van Vogt. I still like Proust and I still like [A.E.] van Vogt.
The interview is well worth a listen, and appears not to be transcribed online. Perhaps it’s transcribed in Platt’s book? Please let us know if you know.
Upcoming Conference Panel
In other news, members of the reading group Chris, Pat, and Adam, will be speaking as a panel at a conference next month at the University of Sydney. The Happiness, Joy and Pleasure conference will host our three papers, which we have grouped under the title “Hedonic Mediations: Happiness in Science and Science Fiction.” More details to come.
Meeting Viewing: ‘Beyond The Door’ (2011)
Another thing we are thinking of doing at the next meeting (if we need, or can get, a breath from The Exegesis) is watching a short film based on one of Dick’s early short stories (embedded below). Directed and edited by Matthew Mandarano in 2011, the film is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1954 short story, “Beyond The Door,” originally published in the January 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe (cover at left). “Beyond The Door” seems to have been republished in various formats since the ’50s, including in a new ebook edition this year (2014) under Harper Collins’ Harper Perennial Classics label.