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Currently showing posts tagged Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep

  • These Books Will Change Your Life - Because I Wanted To Write You A Pop Song by the Kara Vernor and I Am Barbarella by the Beth Gilstrap.

    Travel. Read. Planes. Layovers. Read. Read. Read. We have been reading all week and we are riffing on all things read - please feel free to look here and here, assuming that's your jam - and today we are all about the quite stellar Because I Wanted To Write You A Pop Song by the Kara Vernor and I Am Barbarella by the Beth Gilstrap. Both are collections about relationships, with family, friends and lovers, new and old, and people trying to either get out of said relationships, make sense of them, repair them, or at least repair oneself in relation to them, or all of the above. I Am Barbarella is comprised of a number of intertwining pieces about those living on the edge of something, success, insight, love, sobriety, living on the fringe, small town and working class, and battling loss, so much loss, that they can never quite escape it, and don't really seem inclined to. Gilstrap's great strength is in fact just how lived-in these characters feel. She is not author as observer, and somewhere far off and commentating on them. She is author as embedded reporter, grounded, and in it. And while there are many stories in the collection that absolutely slayed us, we can say that "Getting By With Sound" may have hit us the hardest, leaving us to wipe away tears, and glance out of the airplane window, as opposed to uncomfortably making eye contact with the people in our row.


    The pieces in Because I Wanted To Write You A Pop Song are more a series of explosions, less intersecting and embedded, and more impressionistic, resulting in a lingering vibe that borders on the hallucinatory. Not to stretch what may feel like an obvious comparison too far, but the stories feel like pop songs, small gems of ideas spun into narratives that are primarily short, fast and full of jabs, which leave the reader's head spinning. Again, there are many stories here that left our head spinning, if not outright crushed - and we should probably note here, that Vernor's stories also tread more in the realm of violence, at least the threat of it, than those of Gilstrap's - but "Bonus Round" in particular left a mark. Though how couldn't a story that starts with the line "And then one day your molestor turns up as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune," not do so? We should add here, that you don't need travel to read these collections, you just need to read them, and sooner than later. We would also add, that they are sure to change your lives as well, though of course you already know that.

  • This Book Will Change Your Life - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

    We suppose it's meta and obnoxious to state that when This Blog Will Share Your Life's curator at large Ben Tanzer wrote his novel Orphans he saw it as an homage to The Martian Chronicles and Death of a Salesman as chanelled by Philip K. Dick. What is more obnoxious, possibly, definitely, is that said curator, from here on known as "us" and as needed, "we," had never up to that point read anything by Philip K. Dick and still hadn't when Orphans was published. It occurred to us then as we began to write, then edit, Foundlings, the follow-up to Orphans, that we might just finally need to read some actual Philip K. Dick for inspiration and guidance, as well as for any proper, and further, channelling that might follow therein. We chose Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? for its focus on what we believed was it focus on androids and those who have both conflicted relationships with them and conflicted feelings about them. While we found that, as well as the expected bounty hunters and dystopia, we didn't know that Mars factored into the story, much less musings on marriage, affairs and how anyone makes anything work. And while we could tell you how much we loved the book, how we couldn't put it down or how it is rich in detail and imagination, we suspect you already know all of that. What we really didn't expect, however is that the book, like Orphans, and yes that comparison is surely obnoxious, is also a rumination on work and how we even begin to make the act of work itself work. Further, there is the following line about Deckard the bounty hunter, and primary protagonist, which not only caught us off-guard, but caused us pause: "...he found himself shaking. But I had to do it, he said to himself...I have to get my confidence, my faith in myself, and my abilities, back. Or I won't keep my job." Suffice to say that we have spent much of the last six to eight months in a similar headspace, work fucked, confidence undermined, swagger lacking. We want to get past that, and we intend to. We are doing so now. But to say being in this headspace has been unexpected and weird for us, much less that we dove into this book at this very time, after sitting on it for months, seeking, and expecting, something much different, has been an odd, yet pleasant surprise, leaving us to wonder if we were supposed to pick it up now and not sooner, which is very much not the kind thing we generally believe in. Still, this is where we are, this is when we picked it up, this is what Dick does and if the book hasn't in fact changed our lives, it has certainly spoken to us about just how fucked things can be until they're not.