Philip K Dick (An Imagined Interview)
Making contact with Phil was no easy task. Many emails went between myself and his current publishers. He expressed adamantly that he did not wish to go through another interview, but would answer questions over email. Upon my first ‘introduction’ email and the first question, he about faced and changed his mind. He simply answered, ‘We can meet if you wish’. I have no idea about his sudden change of heart and his allowing me to actually visit him and speak face to face. I can only surmise that he envisaged the interview as being more productive speaking in the same room, than conversing over email.
He set some rules.
He wished his location to remain a secret - I have purposely left actual description vague.
He allowed me to record him for transcription purposes, but asked that the recording not be published (though as you’ll see, he didn’t want it destroyed).
He asked me to choose my favourite story or novel and bring it along.
Finally, he wanted to see the finalised transcription of the interview and give the go ahead for publication.
The transcription is as close to the original recording as possible. Any grammar incorrectness is simply because it is as things were said.
Late 2005. Somewhere in England.
It’s late afternoon, I easily locate the address. I rap on the door. I’m not really nervous, just wondering what will happen. The door clicks after a few heartbeats.
He has the chain on and peeks around the door. I’m not recording at this time, but I’ll mention what words were said.
PKD: (frowning) Yes?
RH: Hi Phil, I um.. we arranged a meeting. (I finger the book I’m carrying)
PKD: Ah yes. (he disappears for a second, there’s a rattle of the chain, then the door opens). Please come in.
I am lead into a small room.
PKD: Sit down. Would you like a drink?
I am taken aback how quickly I am accepted into his humble abode. Looking back, I suppose he knew what I looked like from my photo. I choose a comfy chair to sit in.
RH: Water, please. Thanks.
He gathers two glasses and disappears into what I presume is his kitchen. He returns a half a minute later with two filled glasses. I am unsure what he is drinking; but that’s none of my business. He hands me one then sits down on the sofa.
He crosses his legs and eyes me silently, swirling his drink.
RH: Phil, this is an honour. I know I’m going to start babbling. (Smiles). I’ve been a big fan of yours since reading The Electric Ant at school.
PKD: One of my early ones.
PKD: I really don’t like email. It’s impersonal. It’s not like a using a typewriter.