In Radio Free Albemuth, his last novel, Philip K. Dick morphed and recombined themes that had informed his fiction from A Scanner Darkly to VALIS and produced a wild, impassioned work that sounds like a visionary alternate history of the United States. Agonizingly suspenseful, darkly hilarious, and filled with enough conspiracy theories to thrill the most hardened paranoid, Radio Free Albemuth is proof of Dick's stature as our century's greatest science fiction writer.
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"This, I realized, is how a man becomes what he is not: by doing what he could never do" - Philip K Dick, Radio Free Albemuth
My brother and I were discussing how PKD would absolutely lose his shit to see how much the world has become what he wrote. I think he would AND wouldn't be surprised by Facebook, the NSA, the surveillance state, cellphones, robots, talking refrigerators, fake news, pharmaceuticals, Trump, perpetual war, fake news, virtual reality, corporatism, etc.
For me this book was a bit of post-Trump-election therapy. Well not therapy. No. Perhaps, acquiescence? Resignation? The resemblance between Ferris Fremont seemed uncanny. Even the relationship between the election of Ferris Fremont and the Russians seemed a bit too close to reality:
"Why should disparate groups such as the Soviet Union and the U.S. intelligence community back the same man? I am a political theoretician, but Nicolas one time said, 'The both like figureheads who are corrupt. So they can govern from behind. The Soviets and the fuzz, they're all for shadow governments. They always will be, because each of them is the man with the gun. The pistol to the head."
The second part of this book that was fascinating was the semi-autobiographical presentations of Dick's own 2-3-74 experience with the "vesicle pisces" and the "pink beam". This experience in February - March of 1974 lead to PKD's gnostic trilogy (VALIS, The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer) and his later assembled The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. This novel was the first he wrote AFTER his visionary experiences of 1974, and every work after seemed impacted by this experience. There is a part of me that thinks the probability of a PKD religion coming into existence is fairly high. Hell, if Hubbard's Scientology can exist, why not one that worships a Vast Active Living Intelligence System?