Author Jonathan Lethem is also the man who edited Philip K. Dick’s anthologies for the Library of America. In this new interview, Lethem notes that Philip K. Dick correctly predicted our future.
“I think that Dick saw the makings of the contemporary reality we experience so profoundly. And this speaks to the different layers of reality in his work — the way time moves at one clip according to the calendar, but other ways in terms of mental time, psychological time, social time, American historical time.
“Like if you look at the terms of this absurd, hysterical healthcare debate — it’s basically McCarthyism again, the Red Scare. Socialism is coming to get us. ”
“Mid-50s America was overwhelmingly alive in his vision, in such a way that he saw it simultaneously as a present and as a future. He saw the makings of the late capitalist experience embedded in that mid-century triumphalist post-war moment. And it’s as though he experienced it all, in all its absurdity and its tragedy, as this overwhelming vision…the books are so raw with that perception that they still feel like a desperate attempt to record an arriving moment…”
And Lethem talks about his own recent novel, Chronic City. “I think it’s a response to living in a pretty dreadful moment — a series of dreadful moments in the last ten years. And it’s a book about complicity, too —
about going along with how wrong it all is because you find it entertaining or good enough or necessary, in various degrees.”