Share for friends:

Radio Free Albemuth (1998)

Radio Free Albemuth (1998)

Book Info

Genre
Rating
3.8 of 5 Votes: 2
Your rating
ISBN
0679781374 (ISBN13: 9780679781370)
Language
English
Publisher
vintage

About book Radio Free Albemuth (1998)

“Come non pensare al normale corso dell’esistenza umana, dell’uomo lasciato a se stesso? Destinato a percorrere la sua traiettoria circolare, come una massa di materia inerte orbitante attorno a un sole morto, inutile e indifferente, sorda all’universo, cieca e fredda. Refrattaria a qualsiasi nuova idea. Tagliata fuori per sempre dall’originalità. C’era da fermarsi e riflettere".Nel febbraio e marzo 1974 Dick andò incontro a una serie di esperienze mistico-religiose, forse in parte indotte da un anestetico assunto in sede dentistica. Un vero e proprio disvelamento, uno squarcio nel velo di Maya, la realtà illusoria, dietro la quale Dick scoprì l'esistenza di un entità aliena e/o divina che successivamente chiamò Valis. La complessa e sfuggente esperienza, che più volte si è tentato di derubricare a evento schizofrenico, indotto dalla droga, o mera mistificazione letteraria, segnò profondamente l'autore al punto che cercò di rielaborarlo in forma di romanzo. Il prodotto finito sarà la nota Trilogia di Valis, di cui questo romanzo, Radio Libera Albemuth, non è altro che una prima versione, poi scartata e riscritta.Questa premessa si rende oltremodo necessaria vista la particolare natura del testo, un romanzo compiuto, eppure pubblicato postumo, a favore di una successiva riscrittura più congeniale all'autore. Le differenze con il secondo testo sono così ampie però da rendere Albemuth un testo a se stante, degno di lettura non solo per gli addetti ai lavori e per chi volesse scorgervi i tantissimi e microscopici riferimenti autobiografici.Cosa si trova in Radio Libera Albemuth? Innanzitutto, una straordinaria ricostruzione delle esperienze di vita del suo autore, qui clamorosamente e definitivamente sdoppiato in due protagonisti complementari: lo scrittore Phil Dick, razionale, a tratti cinico, per lo più diffidente e indifferente (tentativo finalmente compiuto di Dick di separarsi da "se stesso", estrapolarsi come narratore puro) e il fittizio Nicholas Brady, personaggio di se stesso, per così dire, invasato idealista contattato dal divino. E' in quest'ultimo che Dick riversa tutta la sua biografia, facendo dunque apparire il testo rilevante già per la sua funzione biografica. Non che ci sia solo questo. Inutile dirlo, Albemuth è un testo complesso e ricchissimo, capace di offrire al lettore un'abbondanza di livelli di lettura e un'eccedenza di senso per la quale, anche quando credi di averlo decifrato interamente, senti che c'è ancora qualcosa di oscuro e non detto.La storia, in cui l'elemento fantascientifico appare consistentemente attraverso poche incursioni nette nel reale (ma virtualmente rese improbabili da un narratore inattendibile, quale può essere Nicholas), si riduce al gioco politico in atto negli Stati Uniti, che trasfigura la politica del controllo di Nixon nel personaggio di Fremont, dai vezzi demoniaci e anticristici (quell'allitterazione di F che numericamente corrisponde al satanico 666), mentre due uomini completamente diversi tra loro abbracciano la possibilità della lotta politica, configurandola come complotto (Phil) e missione divina (Nicholas). Tesi politica, filosofica, religiosa ed esistenziale si mescolano così in un intreccio multitestuale e multilinguistico, che s'impone con tutta la sovrabbondante complessità dei suoi livelli di lettura: la velata dittatura di Fremont/Nixon è frutto di una arroganza del potere che rende USA e URSS parti interscambiabili e assimilabili, ma allo stesso tempo è prosecuzione di uno scontro millenario tra l'Impero (romano) e il Popolo (ebraico e proto-cristiano), che ha di fatto congelato il tempo, fermatosi al 70 d.C., ed è ancora il Peccato di una umanità che, corrotta, si è sganciata dalla Rete divina-interstellare che è Valis. In Albemuth si può allargare lo sguardo e scrutare su grande scala l'abisso del cosmo, scoprendo satelliti divini in comunicazione con noi, oppure restringere lo sguardo alla scala subatomica, scoprendo, rimpicciolito tra le righe, uno scrittore di fantascienza che fa pace con se stesso, facendo di se stesso un personaggio. E poi ci sono mondi alternativi, tentativi metanarrativi di riunificare le opere di Dick in un universo comune (ci sono riferimenti sparsi all'ucronia di La svastica sul sole), c'è l'ambiente discografico californiano e il tema della musica, della radio e dall'ascolto, che mette insieme il lavoro giovanile di Dick come impiegato in un negozio di dischi (e, forse, in una radio), il ruolo delle emittenti di controcultura e di opposizione ai regimi, ma soprattutto il tema dell'ascolto e del contatto umano, che si tratti di esseri umani, divini o alieni. Tutto questo e molto altro concorrono a rendere Radio Libera Albemuth uno dei più lucidi e visionari romanzi di Dick, e il più riuscito tentativo di elevare la fantascienza a luogo privilegiato in cui si incontrano gli uomini e la letteratura.

I believe this was the first book I ever read by Phlip K. Dick. It wasn't published during his lifetime, although he used themes from it in his book VALIS and its sequels. Basically, it is set in a world slightly ahead of the time it was written, in which totalitarianism has begun to take hold in America through President Ferris Fremont and his “FAP” (“Friends of the American People”) movement. In the midst of this, an obscure record clerk in Berkeley starts getting messages from space, which roughly correspond to certain Gnostic gospels and heretical Christian ideas. His life and that of his closest friend, is turned upside down by the experience.This is the most "autobiographical" of Dick's fiction, even to the point of having a character named "Phil Dick," who narrates 2/3 of the novel. That's a bit of a trick however, because Dick actually divides his own personality between that character and Nicholas, who narrates the middle third. Let me see if I can unpack that a bit for you.Someone who knew Dick once said that he had long conversations with him about an alien who he was in contact with. Dick would go on and on and give great detail about what the alien had said, what its stated purposes were, what Dick suspected might be behind it, how far he could trust it and so on. When his friend would ask, "Do you really believe all this?" Dick would stop short and say, "If I believed all this, I'd be crazy, wouldn't I?" In terms of the novel, Phil is the part of Dick that thinks believing in aliens is crazy, while Nicholas is the part that really, truly believed. Nicholas has direct experiences of Gnosis, in which he knows at a supra-rational level that the being exists, while Phil is excluded from such experiences, being able only to appreciate Nicholas's claims through reason (or dianoia, to stick with the Platonic terminology). Phil, in the book, is at some pains to point out that he doesn't do any kind of drugs, while it's pretty well established that Dick experimented some. This seems to speak to the two parts of Dick's mind that were working here - one part believed what it experienced while on drugs, the other part was eternally skeptical.This book probably represents Dick's efforts to unpack this experience to the best of his ability. That makes it interesting that we begin and end with the rationalist side in control. Dick could never completely commit to the reality of his experience, and always came back to saying “I’d be crazy if I believed all that.” The book is less explicit, and maybe we need to see his “wouldn’t I?” at the end as a real question for each reader to decide for him or herself. It may therefore have been too personal to publish in his lifetime – some questions are better left unanswered. Dressing it up and making it more sci fi probably made it safer to share. But, apparently, he did finish and correct the proof that was discovered when this was published after his death, so he probably meant for it to happen. Readers today are free to make their own assessments.

Do You like book Radio Free Albemuth (1998)?

Radio Free Albemuth is another fine Philip K Dick novel, written in 1976, but published in 1985 after his death. It's a precursor to VALIS, and as such, centers around VALIS, an alien God-like entity.This book is certainly post-modern. One sure sign is Dick writes himself into the book as one of the characters. "Phil Dick" is a sci fi writer in Berkeley who has written Man In a High Castle and other "real" works of Dick, and yet while the author uses this pseudo-Dick as a character, he steps awa
¡ªScott Holstad

One of the weaknesses of PKD is the disconnect between exposition and narrative. There were large sections given over to theology, paranoia, psychopathologies, fringe science, eschatology, and political science; none of these were adequately woven into the narrative. Moving from exposition to narrative was abrupt and dislocating. There were other weaknesses with this mostly interesting book. Notably, dialogue -- the characters seemed not quite believable because of their flat dialogue. Nonetheless, it was an interesting book. Recommended for those hardcore PKD fans -- but not a good entry point into his work. Rating 3 out of 5 stars.
¡ªDavid

Philip K. Dick is one of the great science-fictional minds of the 20th century. I don't think I need to defend this statement. This book, however, is not one of his most popular. Dick himself is said to have disliked the book, at least enough that he later gave it a more-polished rewrite and published it again as VALIS (for all intents and purposes, a completely distinct work). I, however, loved it.The book does get a bit "meta," though not quite as much as VALIS, what with the author entering into the picture as a character. All of the characteristic "what the fuck is going on?" Dick weirdness is here, with the questions about reality and the characters standing in for higher powers. It all plays out wonderfully, as it usually does.The real strength of Radio Free Albemuth, though, the thing that sets it apart, is the story. The conflict between the secret would-be saviours of the Earth (led by the mysterious and alien/divine VALIS) and the omnipresent, all-consuming conspiracy of Ferris F. Fremont's political regime is a captivating one. The book ends up being rather disparaging, but with the tiniest glimmer of hope abiding. Just enough to keep us going. Just enough to let us believe in the good. The last scene of this book is one of the greatest things I have ever read, and I stand by that statement.Furthermore, this is another one of those "idea books." I find, every once in a while, a book that acts as an introduction (through analogy or retelling) to a belief system, and that expresses it perfectly. The best example I can think of to convey this idea is not a book but a film: The Day The Earth Stood Still. The original, that is, not the shitty Keanu Reeves remake. It is the perfect introduction to Christianity. So much so that you can appreciate it fully and not even realize until later that Christ exists as Klaatu, and that you now know what it means to believe in him. This book does the same thing with Gnosticism. You see, Radio Free Albemuth is not really a science fiction novel. Oh, no. It is a Gnostic treatise, presenting one way that one might reinterpret those religious views for the modern era (especially if, as Dick might say, one was "buggier than batshit"). I have an abiding love for these sorts of novels, and this book is one of my favourites.Dick fans and science fiction junkies: read this book. More importantly, read this book (if possible) before you read the VALIS trilogy. It's completely different, but it really helps to understand Dick's changing ideology as he attempted to cope with his own experiences of the divine and/or mental illness. After you read this, look up Gnosticism and see how much you already know. I guarantee it's more than you'd think.
¡ªLauren

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Philip K. Dick

Other books in category Fiction