Radio Free Albemuth

Philip K. Dick
Radio Free Albemuth Cover

An Unpolished Work in Progress


I'm of two minds with Radio Free Albemuth (1976/1985), Dick's posthumously published novel that precipitated his more famous VALIS trilogy. I pity the Phil (sorry) for the publication of this book, which, in his right mind, he never would have wanted the public to read in this condition. It reads like the shell of a story. He's not the best writer, but he writes clean prose, and I've never seen him reliant on so much bad, awkward, abrupt, and pointless dialogue. It reads like something a CIA shill ghostwrote in order to make PKD look like a joke. (Which is actually something that happens in the book.)

In my other mind, it has whetted my appetite for next month's PKD read, VALIS (1981), which I hope will be a better written, amplified fictionalization of the hallucinations events that happened to PKD in February and March of 1974. As if reading his nonfictional account in The Exegesis isn't enough. Please, Phil, tell us more about the pink light!

Reading notes:


Given the evidence of the BINGO card, perhaps what's supposed tofeel like the most PKD book ever is actually the least PKD book ever. Is it possible that the CIA actually concocted this novel to make PKD look like a bad writer, in order to taint his legacy? Because, man, this book is kind of awful.