Eye in the Sky, by Philip K. Dick

At any given time I’m usually reading (at least) one book, and listening to an audiobook during my commute.  Sometimes I work on similar books for “reading” and “listening” at the same time, but most often I try to go down different paths with the two books.

Right now, I’m listening to Philip K. Dick’s The Eye in the Sky.

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It’s one of Dick’s earlier novels, in fact arguably the earliest one that really had that provocative Phildick quality. It was first published in 1957, and the super-quickie plot summary is as follows: Following an industrial lab accident, an out-of-work engineer finds himself, along with his wife and a few others, catapulted into an alternate world of Old Testament religious fundamentalism, where prayer and miracles and plagues of locusts are part of daily life.

Philip K. Dick is one of those writers I find interesting enough to think about and talk about, but I don’t actually find myself reading his work very often. I think he’s more notable for his ideas, for pushing the envelope and questioning assumptions, than for his actual writing. Certainly he’s a beloved name in the realm of science fiction, but he’s one of those writers whose books are more interesting in summary than they actually read on the page.

Still, I’d say he has a lot of value even as just a provocateur. And Dick was certainly one of the more interesting personalities or “characters” in science fiction when I was growing up, along with Harlan Ellison.

Speaking of Philip K. Dick, there’s a Dick biography by Lawrence Sutin that is one of the more interesting author bios I’ve ever read. It’s focused quite a bit on Dick’s late-life religious/metaphysical/psychotic experiences, hence the title Divine Invasions.

I’m no more than 1/4 of the way through this audiobook so I’ll write more about it later. Just wanted to write a little something about it, as I’m having fun revisiting a writer I think about a lot, and regard highly, but don’t actually read often enough.

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