Philip K Dick Tweets (@DoAndroidsTweet)
[6/4/17 – Philip K Dick has sadly come to an end; after reading what is below, and the tweets, come here.]
Philip K Dick Tweets will play out the entire life of Philip K Dick in around 600 tweets, over the course of about 6 months. If you’re not sure what this will look like, please see what I did with Ludwig Wittgenstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
These tweets are based almost entirely on the biography, ‘Divine Invasions’, by Lawrence Sutin. Whether you only know Philip K Dick as ‘the Blade Runner guy’, or are a seasoned Philip K Dick obsessive (see Note 1), I recommend you: (1) Read more Dick, (2) Read Sutin’s incredibly informative and insightful biography, (3) Read more Dick, (4) Follow these tweets and enjoy the ride.
The tweets fall into one of 3 categories: verbatim quotes from Philip K Dick, paraphrased quotes from Philip K Dick, and things he really, really could have said at the time, I promise (see Note 2). But beware: he was notorious for ‘fictionalising’ his anecdotes and recollections somewhat. When talking about whether something Philip K Dick said happened actually happened, his second wife Kleo said: “If we’re talking about Philip, essentially it’s true – it just didn’t happen.”
Would Philip K Dick have approved of this project? Well, he may have felt queasy being squeezed into 140 character parcels. While he’s certainly known for his slogans and catchy titles (‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’), let’s remember that he wrote 121 short stories, 44 novels, and to top that off a 1000-page ‘Exegesis’. This was not a man who felt he had to sum things up in a quick one-liner.
He said in a 1978 interview: “I proffer a vast mixed bag – out of it I shake coin-operated doors & God. It’s a f**king circus. I’m like a sharp-eyed crow, spying anything that twinkles & grabbing it up to add to my heap.” He liked to use the medium of full-fat, multi-character, gizmos-out-of-your-ears, ‘the Martians are coming!’ sci-fi to communicate profound truths. In this respect, I don’t think he would’ve liked these tweets. I think he would’ve told you to read the f**king books.
And I echo the hypothetical Dick: Read the f**king books.
But I’ve come to realise that there’s actually something very Phildickian about getting him to speak to you, from beyond the grave, through inanimate objects and popular media. One can imagine he is willing it all from cold-pac, or he is revealing himself as a mischievous demigod, playing tricks on us small earthlings. What comes to mind is ‘Ubik’, when the characters see above a urinal a message from someone who is supposedly deceased: “JUMP IN THE URINAL AND STAND ON YOUR HEAD. I’M THE ONE THAT’S ALIVE. YOU’RE ALL DEAD.”
Thanks again to Lawrence Sutin, who – beyond giving a thumbs up to the general idea – is unaffiliated with this project. Thanks to Lauren Farnsworth for her amazing artwork of Philip K Dick. Many thanks to the man himself; I hope I’ve shown you the respect you deserve. I’d also like to apologise in advance to people who knew Philip personally, in the event that any of these tweets bring back difficult memories.
Note 1: And I know there are many, many of you out there. Yes, even you, who refuses to acknowledge one iota of value in the films and reads ‘V.A.L.I.S.’ on a monthly basis.
Note 2: The dates given in brackets are only rough guides. I would recommend against citing a fictitious Twitter feed in any scholarly work.