The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick is a non-fiction book containing the published selections of a journal kept by the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, in which he documented and explored his religious and visionary experiences. Dick's wealth of knowledge on the subjects of philosophy, religion, and science inform the work throughout.

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
The Exegesis of Philip K Dick
Cover of the first edition
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SubjectPhilosophy, religion, science
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date
2011
Media typePrint
Pagesxxv, 944 pp.
ISBN978-0-547-54927-9
OCLC709669831

Background to the journals

Dick started the journal after his visionary experiences in February and March 1974, which he called "2-3-74." These visions began shortly after Dick had two impacted wisdom teeth removed. When a delivery person from the pharmacy brought his pain medication, he noticed the ichthys necklace she wore and asked her what it meant. She responded that it was a symbol used by the early Christians, and in that moment Dick's religious experiences began:

In that instant, as I stared at the gleaming fish sign and heard her words, I suddenly experienced what I later learned is called anamnesis—a Greek word meaning, literally, "loss of forgetfulness." I remembered who I was and where I was. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. And not only could I remember it but I could see it. The girl was a secret Christian and so was I. We lived in fear of detection by the Romans. We had to communicate with cryptic signs. She had just told me all this, and it was true.

For a short time, as hard as this is to believe or explain, I saw fading into view the black, prisonlike contours of hateful Rome. But, of much more importance, I remembered Jesus, who had just recently been with us, and had gone temporarily away, and would very soon return. My emotion was one of joy. We were secretly preparing to welcome Him back. It would not be long. And the Romans did not know. They thought He was dead, forever dead. That was our great secret, our joyous knowledge. Despite all appearances, Christ was going to return, and our delight and anticipation were boundless.[1]

In the following weeks, Dick experienced further visions, including a hallucinatory slideshow of abstract patterns and an information-rich beam of pink light. In the Exegesis, he theorized as to the origins and meaning of these experiences, frequently concluding that they were religious in nature. The being that originated the experiences is referred to by several names, including Zebra, God, and the Vast Active Living Intelligence System. From 1974 until his death in 1982, Dick wrote the Exegesis by hand in late-night writing sessions, sometimes composing as many as 150 pages in a sitting. In total, it consists of approximately 8,000 pages of notes, only a small portion of which have been published.

Besides the Exegesis, Dick described his visions and faith in numerous other works, including VALIS, Radio Free Albemuth, The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, one brief passage in A Scanner Darkly, and the uncompleted The Owl in Daylight, as well as many essays and personal letters. In Pursuit of Valis: Selections From the Exegesis was published in 1991.

Further volumes

In April 2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced plans to publish further excerpts from the Exegesis in two volumes. The first, 1056 pages long, would have been released in 2011, and the second (a volume of the same length) in 2012. Editor Jonathan Lethem described the upcoming publications as "absolutely stultifying, brilliant, repetitive, and contradictory. It just might contain the secret of the universe."[2][3] The plan was changed to publish the Exegesis as one large book. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick was ultimately published November 2011.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ Dick, Philip K. (1995). "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later". In Lawrence Sutin. The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings. New York: Vintage/Random House. p. 271.
  2. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 29, 2010). "Publisher to Release Philip K. Dick's Insights Into Secrets of the Universe". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times Company. p. C2. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Acquires the Philip K. Dick Library" (Press release). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. April 28, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  4. ^ "Philip K. Dick Revealed with the Publication of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick" (Press release). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. November 2, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2012.

Bibliography

External links

A Little Something for Us Tempunauts

"A Little Something for Us Tempunauts" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in the anthology Final Stage in 1975.

Carter Scholz

Carter Scholz (né Robert Carter Scholz, born 1953) is a speculative fiction author and composer of music. He has published several works of short fiction (collected in The Amount to Carry, 2003) and two novels (Palimpsests 1984, with Glenn Harcourt; Radiance: A Novel 2002). He has been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven and Other Lost Songs". He also co-wrote The New Twilight Zone episode "A Small Talent for War" and contributed stories to Kafka Americana.

Scholz grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey and graduated from Tenafly High School in 1971. He also attended Rhode Island School of Design.

He is married and lives in California.

Chronic City

Chronic City (2009) is a novel by American author Jonathan Lethem.

Colony (short story)

"Colony" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Galaxy magazine, June 1953. The plot centers on an expedition to an uncharted planet, on which the dominant, predatory alien life form is capable of precise mimicry of all kinds of objects. The size and complexity of the mimicked object can vary from simple doormats to whole spaceships with the larger objects usually attempting to trap and "absorb" humans similar to carnivorous plants.

The story was adapted for radio for the series X Minus One, airing on October 10, 1956.

Exegesis (disambiguation)

Exegesis is extensive and critical interpretation of authoritative text, especially a religious text.

Exegesis may also refer to:

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, a mystical autobiography by Philip K. Dick

Exegesis, a science fiction novel by Astro Teller

Exegesis (group), a radical neuro-linguistic programme

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" is a short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. The short story was first published in Playboy in December 1980, under the title "Frozen Journey".

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Allen Lethem (; born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels.

In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude, which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Kafka Americana

Kafka Americana is a 1999 collection of short stories by Jonathan Lethem and Carter Scholz based on the life (and alternate histories) and works of Franz Kafka. Originally published in a limited edition by Subterranean Press, it was released as a trade paperback by W. W. Norton & Company in 2001.

Mary and the Giant

Mary and the Giant is an early, non-science fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick in the years between 1953 and 1955, but not published until 1987.

Minority Report (2002 collection)

Minority Report is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Gollancz in 2002. Most of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Fantastic Universe, Astounding, Space Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, Worlds of Tomorrow, and Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Novelty Act

"Novelty Act" is a short story by Philip K. Dick. It involves a dystopian future in which the characters' lives are based on entertaining the First Lady of the United States with "novelty acts".

Strange Eden

"Strange Eden" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Imagination magazine, December 1954.

The Crawlers

"The Crawlers" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. Submitted under the title "Foundling Home", it was first published as "The Crawlers" in Imagination magazine, July 1954.

The Mold of Yancy

"The Mold of Yancy" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1955. It is published in volume four of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, The Days of Perky Pat."The Mold of Yancy" follows an investigation into an off-Earth colony where a seemingly benign totalitarian society has emerged. The eponymous Yancy is a popular public figure who is actually a virtual person, created by teams of 'Yance-men'. All aspects of day-to-day life are commentated on by Yancy through advertisements and broadcast shows, from breakfast cereal to music to politics. The populace of the society are essentially being de-politicized and homogenised by the messages of Yancy. All of Yancy's opinions are the least controversial possible; the way his speech is written appears to be profound, yet the content is such that very little is being said.

In the author's notes for this short story, it is mentioned that the Yancy character was roughly based on U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Preserving Machine (short story)

"The Preserving Machine" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in 1953 in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and is included in a later collection of the same name, The Preserving Machine.

"The Preserving Machine" was originally a companion piece to another Doc Labyrinth story, "Left Shoe, My Foot", later published as "The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford".

VALIS trilogy

The VALIS trilogy is a set of science fiction/philosophical novels by author Philip K. Dick which include VALIS (1978), The Divine Invasion (1980), and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982). Dick's first novel about the VALIS concept originally titled "VALISystem A" (written 1976), was published as Radio Free Albemuth after Dick's death in 1982.

Vintage PKD

Vintage PKD is a collection of science fiction stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction by Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Vintage Books in 2006.

War Veteran

"War Veteran" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was first published in If magazine in March 1955.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (collection)

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Citadel Twilight in 1990 and reprints Volume II of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick replacing the story "Second Variety" with "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Fantasy Fiction, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, If, Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Quarterly, Startling Stories, Cosmos, Orbit, Astounding, and Planet Stories.

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