I started last July, re-reading them in any order, but after "UBIK" and "A Maze of Death," I realized they should be read in chronological order. Chronology is a bit difficult with PKD, since he cranked out quite a bit of work in the 50s and 60s, but some of it wasn't published until years later. So, my revised methodology for reading/reviewing is to try to review and post them in order of publication date, although I might skip over a few until I feel inspired to write a review. My scope is limited to the science fiction novels published during his lifetime. I realize that omits the mass of work published posthumously and non-sci-fi like "Confessions of a Crap Artist," but it helps keep my task focused and I feel it's more representative of the style he's known for.
Oddly enough, during my break I read two more PKD-related books. They were "Philip K. Dick's Electric Ant," which is reviewed here, and Jonathan Lethem's book "The Disappointment Artist," which includes an essay titled "You Don't Know Dick." It's a short essay, eight pages, where he discloses his infatuation with Dick, buying multiple copies of his paperbacks, and eventually making a pilgrimmage to California in 1984 to volunteer for the Philip K. Dick Society. His insights are interesting, balancing between what Dick's work meant, and what Dick's work meant to Lethem. Also, he's honest, coming down hard on some of the books, especially "Vulcan's Hammer." He writes:
14. Nevertheless, even the very worst of those realist novels would better reward your time than "Vulcan's Hammer." Not to be a bully.The "Disappointment Artist" also has essays on "Star Wars", John Wayne and "The Searchers," Jack Kirby's return to Marvel Comics in the 70's, and John Cassavetes, among other personal adventures. I enjoyed reading most of it.
Now... back to the remaining twelve PKD novels. One of those is "Vulcan's Hammer."