Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 25.11 (Philip K. Dick)

Dick, Philip K.
The Divine Invasion

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I am currently reading The Divine Invasion. Last night before bed I read chapters 14 and 15. Before that Lori and I watched a couple of episodes of The Twilight Zone (original version, first two episodes), plus one episode from the rapidly declining 30 Rock. The latter was funny for about five episodes of season one and then went into a humor tailspin from which it has never fully recovered. Before that I watched about an inning of the Yankees/Devil Rays game. Before that I was on the computer for a short while. Before that we dropped Geoffrey Gatza and Donna White off at their apartment. Before that we drove from Rochester, where we had stopped on the way home for coffee, back to Buffalo. Before that we drove from Sodus Point to Rochester. In Sodus we went to a lighthouse on the shore of Lake Ontario, where a kindly older man gave us a three-dollar tour of the lighthouse that included a meandering history of the Harbor at Sodus Point and let us climb the winding metal staircase to the top of the lighthouse. Before that we were driving around, slightly lost, when, happily, we drove past the birthplace of John Ashbery, Ashbery Farm, a large apple orchard in the town of Sodus. We had gone to an 80th birthday party for Ashbery a couple of summers ago in neighboring Pultneyville, but hadn't actually seen the house he grew up in. Before that we drove from the other side of the bay to Sodus Point. Before that we took a long hike along the Chimney Bluffs on the other side of Sodus bay. We wandered through the woods along the top, then down the other side and back along the rocky shore. We looked for and found several small pieces of sea glass for Donna, who uses it to make Jewelry. Before that we had a picnic in the park that leads to the path on which we hiked. In addition to providing cheese and bread and fresh fruit, Geoffrey made several delicious dishes: one with shrimp, chicken and asparagus in a vinaigrette, another with black beans and fresh tomatoes; and a third with potatoes, corn, onions, and possibly hearts of palm. Lori made a blueberry crumble with fresh blueberries from Rust Belt Books' secret organic blueberry source. We topped it with heavy whipped cream. Before that we drove from Buffalo to Chimney Bluffs along the NYS Thruway. We drank coffee and ate belgian chocolate/peanutbutter/rasberry brownies that Geoff had made. Before that Lori and I rambled around the house gathering our things before going to pick up Geoff and Donna. Before that we slept. Before that, I fell asleep reading chapter 13 of The Divine Invasion.

from The Divine Invasion

It came time to put Manny in a school. The government had a special school. The law stipulated that Manny could not go to a regular school because of his condition; there was nothing Elias Tate could do about that. He could not get around the government ruling because this was Earth and the zone of evil lay over everything. Elias could feel it and, probably, the boy could feel it, too.

Elias understood what the zone signified but of course the boy did not. At the age of six Manny looked lovely and strong but he seemed half-asleep all the time, as if (Elias reflected) he had not yet been completely born.

"You know what today is?" Elias asked.

The boy smiled.

"OK," Elias said. "Well, a lot depends on the teacher. How much do you remember, Manny? Do you remember Rybys?" He got out a hologram of Rybys, the boy's mother, and held it to the light. "Look at Rybys," Elias said. "Just for a second."

Someday the boy's memories would come back. Something, a disinhibiting stimulus fired at the boy by his own prearrangement, would trigger anamnesis--the loss of amnesia, and all the memories would flood back: his conception on CY30-CY30B, the period in Rybys's womb as she battled her dreadful illness, the trip to Earth, perhaps even the interrogation. In his mother's womb Manny had advised the three of them: Herb Asher, Elias Tate and Rybys herself. But then had come the accident, if it really had been accidental. And because of that the damage.

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