American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 140.3: I’ll Be Watching You….I Mean Me (A Scanner Darkly Part 3)

In part 3 of my review of Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY we follow Bob Arctor as he descends into the ultimate of paranoia and addiction by investigating himself. Is this is metaphor for the ultimate fate of the surveillance state? Of course.

Episode 309: Young Politician Lincoln (to 1844)

A new series and a new phase in American political thought. In this episode we meet Abraham Lincoln as a young Whig politician in the 1830s and early 1840s.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 140.2: Paranoia and the Police State (A Scanner Darkly, Part 2)

As we get deeper into Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY we see just how deeply paranoia runs in a world governed by the police state. But just how much of the paranoia is justified? And how paranoid is the state compared to the people it tries to control?

Episode 308: Tocqueville Finale (Democracy in America, Part 8)

The finale to my extended review of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 140.1: California Dreaming of Death (A Scanner Darkly, Part 1)

The first of five episodes covering Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY. This novel has some of his most bleak and powerful images of life in late capitalist California and his prescience on failed war on drugs is astounding. One of his best novels.

Episode 307: Democratic Mores (Democracy in America, Part 7)

In part 7 of my review of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA we get to the heart of the argument about social relations, gender, family, and other aspects of the mores of democratic culture. It is the most fascinating and perhaps relevant part of the book covering everything from how democracies fight wars to how they raise daughters.

Episode 306: Tocqueville on American Individualism (Democracy in America, Part 6)

In part 6 of my review of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA we look at his views on egoism and individualism as well as their impact on American culture and intellect. Is individualism good? What will individualism coming through democracy mean to the aristocratic cultures of Europe?

Philip K. Dick Club: Episode 139: Science Fiction Writer or an Oracle? (The Eye of the Sibyl)

In the 1975 short story (unpublished in his life) "The Eye of the Sibyl", Philip K. Dick writes about himself and his fiction and the Roman oracle. A good preview of the type of thinking that dominated the later part of his life.

Episode 305: Tocqueville on Democracy’s Intellectual Culture (Democracy in America, Part 5)

We jump into volume 2 of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, where he begins to look at the mind of a democracy. He starts with its intellectual culture. It is not all pretty. Is banality the cost of democracy?

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 138.2: A Pilgrimage at the End of Days (Deus Irae, Part 2)

I complete my look at the odd novel DEUS IRAE by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny in this episode. The core idea of a religious pilgrimage in a shattered world is pretty interesting, if not very well executed here. The secret identity subplot does create some tension toward the end.

Episode 304: Tocqueville on Slavery in America (Democracy in America, Part 4)

As we continue our push through Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA and come to the end of volume 1, we explore what he had to say about the threats to American democracy due to slavery.

Philip K Dick Book Club: Episode 138.1: Post-Apocalyptic Gnostics (Deus Irae, Part 1)

In this episode, I take on the first half of DEUS IRAE by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelanzy. It is an odd novel that has a host of narrative and tone issues, but as with all of Dick's novels is always interesting. There are some important previews of the VALIS trilogy themes in this book.

Episode 303: Tocqueville on Parties and Threats to Democracy (Democracy in America, Part 3)

Part three of my review of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. In this part, he begins looking at federalism and its benefits to the American system of government and democracy overall. He also begins looking at the threats facing democracy and explores whether parties are one of those threats.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 137.4: Better a Crap Artist Conspiracy Theorist than Married (Confessions of a Crap Artist, Part 4)

Is is better to be married or a "crap artist" a bit off his rocker? Dick tries to answer this question in his splendid mainstream novel CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST. In this episode I finish off my analysis of this book.

Episode 302: Tocqueville on American Local Government (Democracy in America, Part 2)

Part two of my review of Alexis de Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. Here we focus on his views of local and state governments in American democracy.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 137.3: The Family is Dead, Long Live the Family (Confessions of a Crap Artist, Part 3)

In part 3 of my review of CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST, we watch was one family collapses and another emerges in its wake. The horror of the eternal return of married life is the theme of this splendid novel.