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Philip K. Dick on Kurt Vonnegut

Far be it for me to add another to the blossoming forest of eulogies for Kurt Vonnegut, a man who I loved — I’m just thankful I’ve been alive at a time when I could read his writings (Mark Twain, never got the chance). I do have something to share though: some audio of Philip K. Dick expressing his insight into Kurt Vonnegut, an author which arguably, I think, he shared much in common with. Both Vonnegut and Dick used speculative fiction to explore a relationship between author and character and the hopes and tragedies of individuals within narrated realities outside their control (see Breakfast of Champions and Man in the High Castle). Vonnegut’s Player Piano was also one of Philip K. Dick’s favorite books.

Interviewer: Did you read Breakfast of Champions?

PKD : Yes.

Interviewer: What did you think of Vonnegut’s attitude towards his characters?

PKD : Disgusting and an abomination. I think that that book is an incredible drying up of the liquid -sack- sap of life in the veins of a person like a dead tree…that’s what I think. I also love Kurt Vonnegut.

You can listen to it below in the mog player here.

The audio comes from a cassette rip of an interview with Philip K. Dick, circa 1981, by persons unknown for a PKD newsletter. The cassettes came from a collection of tapes loaned by a friend to David Roel, who in turn made them available on the Internet a few years ago. You can hear more of these recordings here.

Click here, for a post on Vonnegut’s Calypsos of Bokonon.

About Aharon N. Varady


Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes . He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find my work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support me, please consider donating via my Patreon account.

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