Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Philip K. Dick Simulacrum Still Missing (with a head full of speed)

The story of the missing Philip K. Dick simulacrum is a bizarre tale that began February, then had an end of June update again this year (still missing). As though taken from one of Dick's stories, the android was displayed prominently at a Chicago sci-fi convention (they did a Q&A), and Comic Con in San Diego.
But, after leaving with the body and head for Texas, main designer David Hanson forgot to retrieve it from the overhead carry-on compartment. Allegedly, the airline located it again, and sent it back to Hanson, but it has yet to arrive.

Yeah right, some baggage handler is using it for a Halloween decoration this year!

Imagine if they got it to talk: you would have a new PKD novel unfolding into our reality.
What if a janitor from Puerto Rico found him? It would be hilarious if the person who found it learned from the simulacrum, and returned the head out of guilt!

I'd like to think the simulacrum awoke, and realized he really was Philip K. Dick, and decided to live a normal life somewhere. He would have his coffee in the morning, smoke, and have his beer in the evenings. He could do speed. Maybe he could find a cheap-apartment outside of Berkeley--the real Philip K. Dick wouldn't even recognize the town anymore.

He could go to Disneyland, becoming more-and-more like the original man. Who knows, maybe he could write like Dick eventually. But somehow, I think the android would become sad at how much the world had changed since Phil's death in 1982, but also how little it has changed. It's a bittersweet dream that might convince me there is some divine architecture to the universe, but as in Dick's novels, truth and proof of the divine will always be something elusive to humanity.

The irony of all this is that the CPU of the android has around 10,000 pages that have remained mostly unpublished from Dick's private writings. They could even be from his legendary "Exegesis", which is still basically unpublished in its 2 million word form. So, I would imagine the children of Philip K. Dick are a little worried about the whereabouts of the head. This is a strange thing when a lot of other databases have gone-missing, all in the same period...

Hanson has vowed that if the head isn't found, he'll build another one. That would be great, and I'd pay a lot of money just to sit and talk to a piece of Philip K. Dick--the only one we have left now. The creation of this android is exciting, and it also evokes the sadness embodied by Philip K. Dick and his canon. It is so miraculously infused with the spirit of the man, and it offers some hope.

I could see androids saving humanity from-itself, and wouldn't it be beautiful if Dick was partly-responsible for it? The loss to science-fiction was enormous when he died, though hardly anyone knew it at the time.

PS: Next models by Hanson Robotics Inc. wish-list: Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Orson Welles, Josef Goebbels, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, William Blake, Winston Churchill, Ted Bundy, Aleister Crowley, V.I. Lenin, Josef Stalin, St. Francis, Che Guevara, Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, John Dillinger, Al Capone, Graham Parsons, John Wilkes Booth, Nat Turner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Augustus Caesar, Bugs Malone, Jimi Hendrix, Moctezuma II, Napoleon, Pablo Picasso, Yukio Mishima, Thomas Edison, Jim Morrison, Woody Guthrie, Lenny Bruce, John Brown, Pontius Pilate, Hernan Cortez, Grigori Rasputin, Sitting Bull, John Lennon, Leonardo DaVinci, Mary Shelley, John Ford, Christopher Columbus, Aldous Huxley, Heraclitus, Ted Bundy, Siddartha, Sid Vicious, St. Paul, Malcolm X, Thomas Paine, Carlo Gesualdo, H.H. Holmes, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Simon Magus, Sir Isaac Newton, Calamity Jane, Friedrich Nietzsche, Zoroaster, Pancho Villa, Ambrose Bierce, Edward R. Murrow, George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Comte St. Germaine, Adam Weishaupt, Joan of Arc, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler, Emma Goldman...

Perhaps the simulacrum became paranoid (head full of speed), and decided it was time for a trip to the New Synanon under the pseudonym Horselover Fat. But what did it mean, and why had his car broken-down?