19 June 2004

I Am Reviewing You, And You Are Dead

Once upon a time, I noted the existence of the book I Am Alive and You are Dead, a book about Philip K. Dick. I have not read the book, so I can't comment on Charles Taylor's take on it for the NY Times, but it's a lovely example of a scathing review:
...the writings of Dick, the hugely influential science fiction writer, function as the dope that sets Carrere off on one mind-blowing theory after another, man. Rambling on while the reader sinks into catatonia, ''I Am Alive and You Are Dead'' (never was a book so aptly named) reads like a hyperadolescent spouting forth trippy what-ifs: ''What if a fiction writer found out that all the stories he made up were true?''; ''What if nightmares yanked us into alternate universes?'' The result winds up reducing Dick's writing to bubble-gum Pirandello, or Borges rejiggered for Saturday afternoon movie serials.

Update (6/21/04):In the comments, Mark Kelly points out that the L.A. Times has a much more positive review (registration required). I should also note that John Leonard, in Harper's, had a positive tone, though he mostly used his brief review to discuss PKD. In the past, Leonard has had little patience for trippy what-ifs, so I think if it struck him the way it did Taylor, he would have said so. Guess I'll just have to read the durn thing myself ... but I think I'll wait for the paperback.

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