So I'm listening to the audiobook for Philip K. Dick's Valis. And it's not so much a mindfuck, so far, as it's a perfectly rational exploration of time and space.
Actually, I'm simultaneously listening to Valis, The Time Machine (Wells), and Anthem (Rand) by clicking back and forth between chapters.
The Time Machine has me laughing because every time the reader mentions the Time Traveler, I substitute Time Gorilla. And then I try to change the story to fit a world where an intelligent gorilla invents a time machine. I haven't gotten very far, but I cracked up when the Time Gorilla asked his guests to join him after dinner in the Banana Room.
And in order to make Anthem bearable, each time I hear the reader say, "Equality 7-2521," I substitute, "Fuck You, Dickhead." And whenever I hear "The Golden One," I drive up on the sidewalk and crash into a delicatessen.
I guess these stories are somehow related in that they each express an individual's attempts to explore and influence the world around him. I think I'm going to press Shuffle and see if I can keep up with the combined narrative.
But Valis is pretty fucked up on its own. Dick seems to be a genius or at least well-read. So the influence of drugs on his characters just makes me envy them more. Most people are boring on drugs. Expand the consciousness of most normal people with chemicals and they all end up singing "Stairway to Heaven."
Drugs fuck you up because they enable our brains to access things our other senses can't normally perceive. Or through a long developed self-preservation, they choose to ignore. That's why drugs fuck up so many people. There's a lot of shit we just shouldn't know.
I've known things that I shouldn't know. But I've had to ignore them. Otherwise, I might become indebted to some Entity or some external Force. I can barely tolerate having regular people around; so I for damn sure don't want to clean the house because some Entity might come to visit. Fuck you, Entity.
Speaking of which; Dick writes, or says, however you want to interpret the narrator in Valis, as an autobiography or a novel, the words "fucked up" to describe where he lives, as in "The whole place was fucked up." I think that's awesome.
I love when characters say something was fucked. Fucked or fucked up; it's the same to me. Say something is fucked and you can only go up from there. Your story could end with everyone near death and you missing a leg and it's still better than being fucked. To be fucked implies the promise of something better somewhere down the road. To begin a story by saying everything was fucked is to be an optimist.
So my choice for the Greatest Novel Ever Written would open with "Everything was fucked." I thought about "everything is fucked," but that sounds too negative. In fact, my ultimate story that I would place on my nightstand and read every night before bed would just say, "Everything was fucked. The End."
And I would nod and think, "Yeah. Yeah, it was."