Philip K. Dick Plops An Acid Trip In The Middle Of A Novel
Daw SF Books
It's hard to overstate the influence Philip K. Dick has had on modern science fiction. If you've ever seen a sci-fi flick -- Blade Runner, Minority Report, you name it -- chances are that it was based on one of his stories. Unfortunately, that unique vision was the result of, as we've mentioned before, Dick being pretty nuts -- and while this often feeds creative genius, it also had the power to inspire the literary equivalent of a bad acid trip. By that, we mean that Dick literally wrote about an acid trip in his less-than-seminal book Lies, Inc.
Sadly, not actually a novel about the Silver Surfer starting a law firm.
The book begins as an interesting story about the invention of teleportation and a distant Utopian planet that may not be all it's cracked up to be. But then, in the middle of this exciting narrative, the protagonist gets shot by an LSD-tipped dart for no apparent reason. This results in no fewer than a hundred winding pages detailing the specifics of this psychedelic trip, only for the original story to abruptly start up again. Imagine if Atticus Finch accidentally ate some shrooms and spent the rest of To Kill A Mockingbird riding a flying salamander through a forest of giant eyelashes. Good, now you're in the right head space to read the following:
While we could chalk this up to the brilliance of a true original thinker, the actual reason behind it is the same reason most college freshman essays end up in double-spaced 18-point font. The original pulp story, The Unteleported Man, was about half the length of a novel, and, as was the practice at the time, Dick was asked to double the story's length for a paperback release. Unfortunately, between turning in the original story and publisher Ace Books' plea for seconds, Dick had decided that he was done writing pulp like The Unteleported Man. He had also just started experimenting with LSD, and turning to the old creed of "write what you know," he decided to shift focus from space opera to space ball-tripping.
We can assume the artist made that choice long before him.