Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Flow My Tears, the 1st-Year Law Student Said

So, yeah. We chose Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. By "we" I mean, variously: me, the whims of fate, my fellow reader/partner in comprehensively dorky crime, the buyers who are responsible for inventory selection (or lack thereof) at behemoth bookstores...

Here are my findings, so far.
  • I like the cover. (My edition is ISBN: 0679-74066X) It reminds me a little bit of our poster for The Vagina Monologues, come to think of it.
  • I can pronounce the title. But can I understand it? It is supposed to come from a poem that composer John Dowland set to music in something like the 1600s. But the references to that piece write his lyric as "Flow, my tears..." In other words, it's a command. So where's Philip K. Dick's comma? Yeah. Exactly. He only puts one, later, preceding "the Policeman Said." Maybe I will understand this when I meet a policeman character later on in the book. Maybe I won't. Stay tuned.
  • I've read four chapters and have met as many weird characters.
  • I don't know what I think about it yet. When I first started reading it I was in a wretched mood, brought on by the Evil Appellate Brief Consuming My Life On Which I Am Making Substantial Progress. The other day it was more like the Evil Appellate Brief Consuming My Life On Which I Had Barely Started. I hated everyone I saw, but really I maybe just hated the world of research and procrastination in which I dwelt. And in the first chapter of Flow... there was a cranky woman who hated everyone and perfectly matched my mood and I loved it.
    "He had never understood her dislike for fans; to him they were the lifeblood of his public existence...'You shouldn't be an entertainer,' he said to Heather, 'feeling the way you do. Get out of the business. Become a social worker in a forced-labor camp.'
    'There're people there, too,' Heather said grimly."

  • Yeah, forced labor camps. Why? Well, because it's a weird world. It's a science fiction book. It necessarily has weird flying machines and mind control and a dystopic society and all that other crap. I don't dislike it; it's just so -- well, science fictiony. Sigh. Science fiction makes me sigh. Hey, I should call it sighence fiction! Brilliant! Oh, I'm so going to do that. But I digress.

    My old reading pals in L.A. and I would talk about our Walls. We each had a Wall with regard to books. I think one friend's wall was Latin American magical realism and such. Another person might have a Wall with romance. We're voracious readers, but stop short of reading "everything." My Wall, I think, is usually science fiction. Even when it's good, it takes a lot for me to read it. Plus, I'm not entirely sure I think it's all that good when it's Good Science Fiction. Example, Fahrenheit 451. Loved the message, but frankly I liked the interview with Bradbury included in the back of the 50th anniversary edition better than the book itself. (In the interview he commented among other things on the insidious aspects of television and their similarity to things in his book).

    The only science fiction book I've ever really liked, really, is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Often when I say that, people say, "Well, and that isn't even really science fiction..." Exactly. Nonetheless, I have long been intrigued by Philip K. Dick, and I really wanted to read something by him. Plus I had this idea of him that he was kind of scisighence fictiony, but also kind of postmodern weird fictiony. And I like that very much. Pynchon and the like. So I'm still reserving judgment, and I'm trying to break down my Wall, but so far when I think about whether or not I like this book, I just think, "Well, it's really sighence fictiony..."

  • Also, I don't really have time for much of anything until I finish this dastardly Evil Appellate Brief Consuming My Life On Which I Am Making Substantial Progress. But I sneak in a chapter of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said here and there on the train. And it makes me happy. Because, well, anything is better than the Evil Appellate Brief Consuming My Life On Which I Am Making Substantial Progress. To which I must now return.

1 comment:

Saradevil said...

You have not yet begun to read Phillip Dick. Read Valis. Only Valis serves as a proper introduction to Dick!