Why You Can’t Quote Philip K. Dick

Michael H. Rowe for The Millions:

In Dick’s novels, his plots are like thinking machines. You have to operate them like a piece of equipment to understand what they do, not expose one gear and say, Wow, it’s spinning so fast…

Dick isn’t out to crystallize a particular sentiment. He does not aim to be quotable—to be, in a word, reducible. Instead, his novels feel like labor, as though they are tabulating the results of some desperate experiment.

I’ve always found it really difficult to write anything about PKD’s books in my ongoing reading log, but never wanted to stop reading them. The “desperate experiment” running through most of these books is an attempt to express and defend feelings of dread, paranoia, and psychological instability.