Talked about on today’s show:
1964, Simulacrum vs. Simulacra, Dick is right in complaining about the title, Ace Books, what this book is about, “The First Lady Of The United States”, in the background, a tiny little hint, are chupas androids?, a closed-circuit-like passing spasm, who and what are robots, simulacrum, undercooked, best novel or worst novel, the audiobook, well-crafted, juggling, so confusing, a populated novel, psychoanalyzing Philip K. Dick, the settings, a complex complicated world, the Warsaw Pact, Poland, the Soviet Union, jalopies, why is the world the way it is?, der alter = the old man, Philip K. Dick saying…, my wife is my boss, changeable husbands, my emotions aren’t real, a fine idea for an SF novel, Queen Elizabeth II, the society is profoundly different, they don’t have books (or knowledge about anything), projecting into minds, your one chance, mass psychosis, societal control, a caste system, “the Ges”, the USEA society, education?, hobbies, “Let’s Watch Nichole”, it was nightmare world, passing the social studies test to keep your apartment, deep sea divers, knowing the numbers, a glimmering seed of an idea, revisionist history all the time, busywork, having political correct terms for everything, a Stalinist version of this story, the New Pravda, Wikipedia, “the euphemism treadmill”, what sounds like attack words, the word shit is a shitty word, toilet, escape to another planet, there’s always people going off-world, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, when you leave Earth, service simulacra, a worker of your own to help you, a warm jacket and a packed lunch, quick divorce, “I divorced my wife last night”, the Frontier Thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner, space as the new frontier, “the artificial worlds of Philip K. Dick”, the default, “the final frontier”, colonizing the solar system and the universe, other countries, Canadian bacon exists, moving to another apartment complex is a huge deal, what will the kids think?, a satire, the latest season of Homeland, an unprecedented, American television is very strange, House Of Cards, has there ever been an American television series set in another country?, not a Netflix show, tricked Americans into seeing another country, increasing America, the Berlin Airlift, JFK, the Philippine conquest, and Cuba, Germanophile weirdness, time travel is very easy, why always with the Hermann Göring in SF?, “he looks like he’s having fun”, he knows how to use power, Caligula, monsters, you have to have dinner with someone in the Third Reich, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, why is Hermann Göring in this book?, a transplanted plot?, looking to change time, palace intrigue, a time war, hilarious, more of everything, he’s running into himself, Sir Francis Drake, Time Pawn aka Dr. Futurity, apartment complexes, The Man Who Japed, fear of the pop-quiz, history isn’t neat, from democracy to totalitarian hermit kingdoms, baroque weird alien things (from the outside), it hangs itself (together), jug bands?, “Jug Band Plays The Whitehouse”, Richard Congrosian believes his body odor is lethal, Chick, chupa, the way Dick’s mind works, she’s so mean she can’t be a robot, that explains my lack of emotion, palupas are fake, am I invisible?, nits?, the crawling advertisements, they shoot the adveritzments to make them shut up, the reason Richard Congrosian thinks he stinks, I’ve had sex with 755 women, I’ve met three presidents of the United States, the default response, brainwashing, Jesse is sensitive to scent, Tide laundry detergent, gender equality vs. not touching door-handles, Paul’s superpower is he can smell ketchup from a mile away, Jesse thinks the general public is brainwashed by clothing cleaning products advertising, soap operas, Gain laundry detergent, advertising a product can create a market, fake creation of desire, the pets, my sheep’s not real, like the Dr. Bloodmoney, psychiatry, Mars, neanderthals, political factions, mutants, he just read something, The Crawlers, “more evolved” isn’t really a thing, a group of sad-sack mental deficients, what circumstances would allow you to enjoy a future that is grim?, he wanted vegetables and they gave him a coin, if they were the simulacra at the end, waiting for their time to rise up over the humans, the neanderthals will inherit the earth, this (novel) is a stew, not the best meal he (Dick) has served, electic music enterprise, do they have any ethnic music before you die?, funny digs, German conglomerates, Dick seemed to enjoy writing this, the next thing you know you have twenty characters and ten plots, it’s all held together by Dr. Egon Superb, Strikerock, Wilder Pembroke, National Police, one of his biographies or an interview, other than being a psychoanalysis of his own marriage, Dick never came at it from whatever the dominant view was, sometime in this period…, communists, the FBI came by and interviewed him, a locked filing cabinet, bikers, drug addicts, the FBI, or he did it, he became friends with one of the FBI agents (who taught Dick to drive), Donald A. Wollheim, in the paranoid phase, I’m gonna help out, no matter what novel there’s only thirty or forty people in the entire society, eventually their in the crank file, when you see the NP men, the Secret Service, an insight, when Philip K. Dick is at home he’s at work, all grist for his mill, when he isn’t writing novels he’s writing letters to the FBI, a terrible Philip K. Dick novel but a pretty good science fiction novel, fun and funny, a prism, that’s okay, sometimes you get stuff that’s okay, was there boobs?, “she had high-rise breasts”, 90-year old breasts, no quivering breasts, they were poking out every now and then, “her breasts protruded divinely”, we have marriage we have boobs, somebody is drinking coffee, you can see his life, so true, so familiar, just hanging out with Philip K. Dick again, random Germans, he likes Germans, hanging out with Philip K. Dick.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Gather Yourselves Together
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
[UNABRIDGED] – 9 compact discs; 11 hours
Themes: / Loss of innocence / Communist China / philosophy /
Gather Yourselves Together is one of Philip K. Dick’s earliest novels, written when he was just twenty-four years old. It tells the story of three American workers left behind in China by their employer, biding their time as the Communists advance. As they while away the days, both the young and naïve Carl Fitter and the older and worldly Verne Tildon vie for the affections of Barbara Mahler, a woman who may not be as tough-as-nails as she acts. But Carl’s innocence and Verne’s boorishness could end up driving Barbara away from both.
Prior to writing the complex reality-bending science fiction novels and stories that Philip K. Dick is best known for, he strived to be accepted as a mainstream writer; writing a handful of novels that on the surface bear little resemblance to the works that later became the source material for such films as Bladerunner and Total Recall. Gather Yourselves Together is one of these very early novels and one of a few to still be intact and published posthumously. The story revolves around three Americans left deserted among themselves in communist China to oversee the changing of the guard as their company is turned over to the Chinese.
At first the very basic and sparse plot spanning a few day period seems to bare little resemblance to the often sprawling narratives of Philip K. Dick’s better known alter-universes, but closer examination reveals several themes that would later re-occur in many of his better known stories. Additionally for enthusiasts, many autobiographical aspects of the author’s own life seem to be worked into the story. Although only mentioned in passing, a topic that would become a lifelong obsession and reappear in later novels is first mentioned in this novel: that of the time of the fall of the Roman and birth of Christianity being constantly repeated throughout history including during what Philip K. Dick thought was his own lifetime.
Narrator Luke Daniels does a great job breathing life into a novel that at 481 pages in length and which having little of substance actually take place in the span of the novel’s few days could easily have lost a listener’s interest. The story fills out the space by spending significant time on the past of the three characters while focusing on their current relationships in the present. The overall tone of the book is fairly dismal, which each character being extremely self-absorbed in their own ways but being drawn together due to circumstance. That being said, much of the story has a theatrical feel that builds to a very satisfying conclusion. The audiobook ends with an afterword by Dwight Brown, also read by Luke Daniels. Gather Yourselves Together succeeds on many levels and is certainly not a book to be avoided simply due what would seem to be an uninteresting premise when compared some of Philip K. Dick’s wilder, better known works.
Review by Dan VK.