Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was an excellent biography of Philip K Dick to read. It was thoroughly researched and well written. It started from his birth to his upbringing to the beginning of his writing career, through the career, his relationships with his five different wives and with his three children, his bizarre experiences, and his death in 1982. It was a very comprehensive book. And it was fascinating. I never knew — and still don’t know how or why — that Dick was SO very obsessed with his twin sister, who died at one month. He spent his entire life searching for an adult alternative to her and made up fantasies about her being a protective lesbian. The book also chronicles his love/hate relationship with his mother, and how that impacted his views on women. Additionally, it was interesting to find out just how passionate he was. I mean he fell in love at the drop of a hat! He was in love with the idea of being in love. Her tormented himself by falling in love with girls half his age, begging them to move in with him and marry him, only to be repeatedly spurned, except on several occasions. Apparently his obsession with authority (his mother) carried over the the FBI and CIA. He just knew they were watching him, and indeed they were. It was fascinating to read about the break in at his house with his big safe being blown up and his calling the police to report he did it. He was indeed paranoid, which anyone reading his novels could figure out. He was also quite insane, while also a genius. Of course, everyone interviewed for this book by the author tried to claim he was sane, lucid, normal, but the evidence shows otherwise. He was batshit crazy. The drugs didn’t help, for one thing. His near-religious experience of 2-3-74 was bizarre to read about too. And it’s amazing how it impacted him and his writing for the rest of his life. I mean, he actually thought God was speaking to him and revealing himself to him through an AI satellite. Crazy! It was sad to read about how badly he wanted to become an accepted mainstream writer and how he failed so badly at it during his lifetime. But his sci fi was visionary, just fantastic! There’s never been another writer like him. One thing I liked about this book was that at the end, it went over all of his books, gave a synopsis, some commentary, and a subjective rating. It was interesting to see how I rated specific books as opposed to the author. I didn’t agree with all of his ratings, but I liked reading them. If you’re a PKD fan, this book is a must. Get it, read it, be amazed. If you just like interesting biographies, this is also a book for you. I strongly, strongly recommend this book. It’s that excellent.