alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
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In February and March 1974, SF writer Philip K. Dick had a series of hallucinatory experiences which influenced the remainder of his personal life and literary career. Although he generally treated these as genuine spiritual revelations, on which he wrote a massive journal commentary he called the Exegesis, he did occasionally consider the possibilities that these visions were symptoms of schizophrenia or a temporal lobe epilepsy. Whatever they were, in 1981 Dick sat with interviewer Gregg Rickman to discuss them, and in the summer of 1986, R. Crumb illustrated some excerpts in Weirdo #17. 2⅔ pages out of 8.


On February 20, 1974, Dick received a home delivery of pain medication following a wisdom tooth extraction. He found himself drawn to the ichthys necklace the delivery woman was wearing.







Dick claimed that the following month his mind underwent a year-long invasion by a two-thousand-year-old intelligence, which he would later call "VALIS" (Vast Active Living Intelligence System), and which was also somehow the soul of a first-century secret Christian. He believed this entity not only got his financial affairs in order but also saved his infant son Christopher's life.









For the record, Tessa B. Dick has vouched for this incident having occurred. Of course, that doesn't (and can't) prove her husband's revelation was objectively real, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Now back to Crumb's adaptation:









Crumb notes that he drew most of the text from Gregg Rickman, Philip K. Dick: The Last Testament (Fragments West/Valentine Press, 1985). That's out of print, but you can read more of Dick's gnostic speculations in The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, ed. Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). Over 900 pages more, in fact--and that's still a small fraction of what PKD had to say about his experiences, and what he felt they meant, over the last eight years of his life.

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