The sci-fi writer who was a rat

Adam Levenstein cleon42 at
Tue Apr 24 08:51:32 MDT 2001

I don't think it's quite fair to call Dick a "rat" or
say he "betrayed" anyone. As the article points out,
during his later years the poor guy was quite
literally insane, and stories about a KGB plot to
conquer science fiction (!) were nothing more than the
ravings of an unfortunate, disturbed individual whose
stories I will always enjoy reading.


--- Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> wrote:
> Lingua Franca, Volume 11, No. 4-May/June 2001
> Marxist Literary Critics Are Following Me! How
> Philip K. Dick betrayed his
> academic admirers to the FBI.
> by Jeet Heer
> INFLUENTIAL literary
> theorist Fredric Jameson eulogized him as "the
> Shakespeare of science
> fiction." At the time of this encomium, Dick was
> hardly famous. The author
> of more than fifty books, he had an enthusiastic
> following among science
> fiction fans. But he was rarely read by anyone else.
> These days, Dick is far better known. Vintage
> publishes his fiction in a
> uniform paperback edition. Hollywood filmmakers
> transform his stories of
> imaginary worlds and conspiratorial cartels into
> movies like Screamers and
> Total Recall. Meanwhile, academic critics laud him
> as a postmodernist
> visionary, a canny prophet of virtual reality,
> corporate espionage, and the
> schizoid nature of identity in a digitized world.
> Indeed, beginning in the
> last years of his life and continuing to the
> present, these critics have
> played a key role in the canonization of Philip K.
> Dick.
> But did Dick return the favor? Not exactly. To their
> considerable anguish,
> Dick's academic champions have had to contend with
> the revelation that
> their hero wrote letters to the Federal Bureau of
> Investigation denouncing
> them. In these letters, Dick claimed that Jameson
> and other literary
> theorists were agents of a KGB conspiracy to take
> over American science
> fiction. When he sent these messages, Dick was not
> in the best state of
> mind: He frequently heard voices and saw visions,
> often bathed in a
> mysterious pink light. Even so, the news of his
> surreptitious campaign
> against his academic admirers has left some of them
> deeply disturbed.
> In his fiction, Dick had a genius for turning
> reality upside down and
> inside out, writing novels in which time runs
> backward or the Nazis win
> World War II. Yet the celebrated "reality
> breakdowns" of Dick's novels seem
> normality itself compared with the bizarre,
> unsettling missives he sent to
> the authorities in Washington, D.C. The laureate of
> radical postmodernism
> was, it turns out, a stool pigeon.
> Full article:
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism mailing list:

Adam Levenstein                          cleon42 at
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