In the early 80s I had the strange idea (I have forgotten the circumstances that led me to do it) to read every book by Philip K. Dick that I could find. What made it easy was that McGill our local public library (we lived in Burnaby) had over 50 novels and short story volumes of the author. I remember that the last (I read around 39) novel I read (by that point I was feeling unhinged) was The Man Who Japed. To this day my youngest daughter Hilary who was around 11 at the time will tell you that to jape is to joke.
One of the books that stayed with me was The Man in the High Castle which is an alternative history in which the Japanese and the Germans win WWII ( an extended war that ends in 1947) and take over the United States.
But my favourite Dick book is the second part of what is now called the VALIS Trilogy. The novel is called The Divine Invasion.
My favourite reference from this novel:
“Let us go,” she said, “hand in hand. Like Beethoven and Goethe: two friends. Take us to Stanley Park in British Columbia and we will observe the animals there, the wolves, the great white wolves. It is a beautiful park, and Lionsgate Bridge is beautiful; Vancouver, British Columbia is the most beautiful city on Earth.”
“That is true,” he said. “I had forgotten.”
“And after you view it I want you to ask yourself if you would destroy it or change it in any way. I want you to inquire of yourself if you would, upon seeingsuch earthly beauty, bring into existence your great and terrible day in which all the arrogant and evil-doers shall be chaff, set ablaze, leaving them neither root nor branch, OK?”
“OK Emmanuel said.”
“Let’s go look at the wolves,” Zina said. “They are such beautiful animals. And we can ride the little train. We can visit all the animals.”…
In the Stanley Park Zoo, the pair release a baby goat, a kid. The kid is thankful but we soon find out that he is the devil.
Today as I was on my way to pick up a copy of Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington’s Glory (about a heroic group of black US Civil War Soldiers) I passed on 34thAvenue not far from Granville. I saw some film trucks, police motorcycles and a sign that read The Man in the High Castle.
I stopped. I got out of my car and approached a policeman with sunglasses and a film crew guy. They soon knew I was a friendly kind of guy and informed me that sure enough after a successful airing (an inadequate use of that word in these contemporary times) in January 2015 it is not being made into a series. The young film crew guy told me (after I had explained the Dick had lived in Vancouver for a while), “It is appropriate that we are doing this in Vancouver.”
After that I quoted from The Divine Invasion and finished it with, “and the Devil is a baby goat living in the Stanley Park Zoo.”
By this time the cautious motorcycle policeman smiled and pointed at the house behind him that had a flag on a pole. It seemed to be an American flag until I noticed that it was a startling variant. Embedded in it was a Swastika.
My copy of Dick’s book (the one scanned here) is probably worthless as it is a Book -of-the-Month Club edition. I know for sure I would not part with it or feed the Stanley Park Zoo goats with it. Philip K Dick in Vancouver 71 Philip K. Dick items in the Burnaby McGill Public Library
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.