Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A thought on "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said"

I am reading a great book by Philip K. Dick called “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said,” which of course is full of typical dickian dystopia, paranoid nightmare, questionable identity, reality unhinged and unusual technology that sounds almost like what you see around you every day. But when I came upon this passage on page 160, I had a vague feeling like I myself was in the novel:

“Tone arm. Spindle. He got one of his records out of its sleeve and placed it on the spindle. I can work these things, he said, and turned on the amplifiers, setting the mode to phono. Switch that activated the changer. He twisted it. The tone arm lifted; the turntable began to spin, agonizingly slowly. What was the matter with it? Wrong speed? No; he checked. Thirty-three and a third. The mechanism of the spindle heaved and the record dropped.”

There are people out there, not much younger than me, who upon reading this passage might think, “Wow, that’s another one of those far-out never-was inventions (like homeopapes, flipflaps, and simulacra) that Dick dreamed up in his fevered imagination. Maybe some day they’ll come up with these devices that play music like that…”

Is it possible that vinyl records never existed? Or record players? I remember then from when I was a kid, but is it possible that those memories didn’t exist before I read this book?

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