Philip K. Dick’s Final Years in Orange County

The Berkeley boho spent his final years in Orange County, which suited him fine, his daughter says. Scott Timberg writes in the LA Times:

When, one evening in 1976, Philip K. Dick invited Tim Powers to his Fullerton apartment, the Cal State student expected the kind of night he often passed with the science-fiction titan: a wide-ranging conversation, fueled by wine and beer, about religion, philosophy and Beethoven.

The night began the usual way. But it took a strange turn as Dick’s wife, Tessa, and her brother began grabbing lamps and chairs. “She and her brother were carrying things out of the house,” recalls Powers. “I said, ‘Phil, they’re taking stuff, is this OK?’ ”

” ‘Powers, let me give you some advice, in case you should ever find yourself in this position,’ Dick said. ‘Never oversee or criticize what they take. It’s not worth it. Just see what you’ve got left afterward, and go with that.’

“And then,” Powers recalls, “her brother said, ‘Could you guys lift your glasses? We want the table.’ ”

Dick was an old hand at marital dissolution. Tessa had reached her breaking point, and that evening marked the beginning of what would become his fifth divorce. The author could bounce in and out of love affairs, stints in rehab and drug overdoses — all the while never losing his cool.

Read More: LA Times

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    Dick was aware of the cliché. In the novel “Radio Free Albemuth,” a narrator named Phil Dick speaks of Orange County, “far to the south of us, an area so reactionary to us that in Berkeley it seemed like a phantom land, made of the mists of dire nightmare.

  • Anonymous

    My brother’s letter to the Times:
    My wife and I got a kick out of Scott Timberg’s Sunday story about Philip K. Dick. In fact, when I read the first portion to her, we both had to laugh out loud because it was so out of synch with reality. Somebody sure got this one wrong.

    If you are a fan of Phil and you want an accurate account, please read on.

    First, we were not at the Fullerton apartment. We were at the house on Santa Isabel.

    Second, it was not nighttime. It was bright daylight.

    Third, I never entered the house on that day and I never “started grabbing” anything. My wife did go in and help carry out Chris’s clothes and toys, but she isn’t even mentioned.

    Fourth, we had no truck, no van, no trailer to transport chairs or tables.

    Mr. Timberg asserts “the details…come from Powers’ journals.” I doubt Tim Powers was there. My sister Tessa says it was Kevin Jeter who was in the house.

    If the fallacious account really does come from Tim Powers, he owes me and Tessa and Phil’s fans a sincere apology.

    ~~~

  • tessadick

    My brother's letter to the Times:
    My wife and I got a kick out of Scott Timberg's Sunday story about Philip K. Dick. In fact, when I read the first portion to her, we both had to laugh out loud because it was so out of synch with reality. Somebody sure got this one wrong.

    If you are a fan of Phil and you want an accurate account, please read on.

    First, we were not at the Fullerton apartment. We were at the house on Santa Isabel.

    Second, it was not nighttime. It was bright daylight.

    Third, I never entered the house on that day and I never “started grabbing” anything. My wife did go in and help carry out Chris's clothes and toys, but she isn't even mentioned.

    Fourth, we had no truck, no van, no trailer to transport chairs or tables.

    Mr. Timberg asserts “the details…come from Powers' journals.” I doubt Tim Powers was there. My sister Tessa says it was Kevin Jeter who was in the house.

    If the fallacious account really does come from Tim Powers, he owes me and Tessa and Phil's fans a sincere apology.

    ~~~

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