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#BookReview and new book The Other Side of Philip K. Dick: A Tale of Two Friends by Maer Wilson (@MaerWilson) , Tim Powers (Foreword). A portray of a time, a man and a dear friend. (And some free books)

Hi all:

Today I bring you a new book (the author belongs to one of the groups of authors I joined early on in my career and where I learned the little I know, ASMSG, Authors Social Media Support Group) by Maer Wilson. Although I’ve known her for a while, I hadn’t managed to read any of her books, but when she offered an ARC of her newest and I read what it was about, I couldn’t resist. And don’t worry, the book was published earlier this week (on the 9th of August) so you won’t have to wait. Ah, and read until the end, as another author of the book reminded me that in the ASMSG website readers can access free books by the authors in the group, and some of mine are there too!

Maer Wilson was very kind and sent an excerpt and extra material, so you can get a better sense of what her book is like.

The Other Side of Philip K. Dick by Maer Wilson
The Other Side of Philip K. Dick by Maer Wilson

The Other Side of Philip K. Dick: A Tale of Two Friends by Maer Wilson  (Author), Tim Powers (Foreword)

“As a literary figure, Philip K. Dick is popularly perceived as a crazed, drug-addled mystic with a sinister Third Eye. Nothing could be further from the truth – the Phil I knew was a warm, humane, very funny man. Maer Wilson understands these truths far better than I, and The Other Side of Philip K. Dick casts a welcome shaft of daylight upon the real PKD, as opposed to the dark, distorted caricature Dick has become.” Paul M. Sammon, Author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner

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What is the truth behind the legend of Science Fiction great, Philip K. Dick?

 

In spring, 1972, Phil Dick moved to Fullerton, CA, where he met Theatre student Mary (Maer) Wilson. Amid marriage proposals, marathon talk-fests and a love for music and films, they forged a strong friendship that would last the rest of his life.

 

Wilson’s quirky, yet unflinchingly honest, memoir reveals a funny, compassionate and generous man. She captures an inside view of one of our literary greats – a brilliant writer who gave the world some of its most revered Science Fiction.

 

“I found this book engrossing and authentic – a truthful and serious account of the last part of Phil Dick’s life by someone who was a fundamental part of it and who has the skill to write about it. There is evident love and friendship in this book, but also honesty. This was the Phil Dick I knew.” James P. Blaylock, World Fantasy Award-Winning Author

 

You can pre-order ebook versions now.
The paperback will be available on August 9, 2016

 

Amazon Kindle – https://goo.gl/nQ12tW

Amazon Paperback – https://goo.gl/Nvx1H0

Barnes & Noble Paperback – http://goo.gl/GzEVxz

Barnes & Noble Nook – http://goo.gl/o92tkr
iTunes – https://goo.gl/LDArxc
Kobo – https://goo.gl/uax6Fm

Goodreads – https://goo.gl/WFdQZy

Smashwords – https://goo.gl/zbBGE9

 

 

Maer Wilson Author Pic

 

Maer Wilson’s Bio

After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she’s a writer.

Maer first met Philip K. Dick in 1972 when he moved into the apartment across the hall from her in Fullerton, California. They remained close friends until his death in 1982. Maer was always an avid reader, but it was Phil who introduced her to science fiction, and she fell in love with the genre, later expanding into most aspects of Spec Fic.

When she’s not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. Maer is a partner in Ellysian Press, a small publishing house. She lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her two poodles.

Named 2015 Fantasy Author of the Year by AuthorClassifieds.com, Maer’s books include the recent Apocalypta Z. Her Modern Magics series includes the novels Relics, Portals, and Magics, as well as novelettes and stories set in that universe. Maer recently contributed to, compiled and published the charity anthology, The Dark Dozen. She is currently working on a science fiction novel, Truthsayer.

You can find all Maer’s books and novelettes at Amazon and other online retailers. For more info, you can visit Maer’s website at http://maerwilson.com/.

A few links so you can check other books by the author:

 

Maer’s Website:  http://maerwilson.com/

The Other Side of Philip K. Dick Website:  http://goo.gl/C4fWp8

Maer on Amazon:  http://goo.gl/a2BiU2

Maer on Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/YGe8ug

Maer on Facebook:  https://goo.gl/KRgX2k

Maer on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaerWilson

Maer at Goodreads:  https://goo.gl/oFvUuZ

Maer at Pinterest:  http://goo.gl/BLweoV

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Excerpt

“But first let’s set the scene.

It’s April, 1972 in Fullerton, California around 7:00 PM. The sun has set and the night is cool, balanced between full spring and hints of summer. Can you feel the slight breeze?

The street is Quartz Lane. Some of the many apartment buildings in the area line the short road. We’re going to go to the first complex on the right, just past the church. There’s a small courtyard and the residents all have their curtains drawn. Most are translucent and clearly show the light from the apartments. But there. That first apartment on our right? The one upstairs. Yes, that one with the light shining through a gap in the curtains.

And the one across from it. The light isn’t as bright, but we need to note that one, too.

We can almost hear the giggles of two girls as we make our way up the stairs and fade through their door. Shhh… We’ll be as quiet as the ghosts from the future that we are.

The scene is set. The actors and orchestra are in their places as the curtain rises.

The stage lights come up.

The conductor taps his baton on the music stand.

 

The music begins.

 

 

Chapter 1 – At First

“It happened back when I was still immortal.”

 

Praise for The Other Side of Philip K. Dick

“I found this book engrossing and authentic – a truthful and serious account of the last part of Phil Dick’s life by someone who was a fundamental part of it and who has the skill to write about it. There is evident love and friendship in this book, but also honesty. This was the Phil Dick I knew.” James P. Blaylock, World Fantasy Award-winning Author

 

“As a literary figure, Philip K. Dick is popularly perceived as a crazed, drug-addled mystic with a sinister Third Eye. Nothing could be further from the truth – the Phil I knew was a warm, humane, very funny man. Maer Wilson understands these truths far better than I, and The Other Side of Philip K. Dick casts a welcome shaft of daylight upon the real PKD, as opposed to the dark, distorted caricature Dick has become.” Paul M. Sammon, Author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner

 

“The strongest piece of writing I’ve read in years. Wilson’s pacing is perfection. The Other Side of Philip K. Dick is filled with laughter and the kind of love only true friends can share. Even if, for some reason, you’ve never heard of Philip K. Dick, you will fall in love with him and Wilson. The ending had me crying, like “end of the Notebook” crying. Utter perfection.” M. Joseph Murphy, Author of the Activation series

 

“There are many tales of epic friendships, but there is one huge difference here: The Other Side of Philip K. Dick is real. Wilson’s prose gives us an inside view into two minds, a genius and a young girl. Through her eyes I am left with one thought — this is a man I wish I had known.” –Danielle DeVor, author of the Marker Chronicles.

 

“Frank and revealing. One part faithful memoir, one part a wonderful evocation of Phil’s final 10 years. Writing with crisp clarity, Maer’s humorous anecdotes wonderfully evoke both the times and the man. Her conversational prose sparkles with truth and winning story-telling. Best of all, this warm tribute replaces the oft-told myths about Phil with unique insights into his caring, compassionate and generous nature.” Daniel Gilbertson, Friend of PKD

 

“As a fan of Dick’s fiction, I was engrossed by these amusing, insightful, and poignant reminiscences of the last ten years of his life. Wilson evokes a human portrait of a warm, funny, unassuming man who was a good friend to a young student. This memoir is well-written and heart-felt. It illustrates not only the private world of a great writer but what it was like to be young in the seventies in California.” Carol Holland March, Author of The Dreamwalkers of Larreta

PKDteaser3

 

My review:

I received an ARC copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I thought I’d get a couple of things out of the way before I gave my opinion of the book. This is the first book by Maer Wilson that I’ve read. I’m aware she writes fiction but haven’t read any of her novels yet. The second thing is that I’ve read some of Philip K. Dick’s novels, but I’m not a connoisseur of his work and I have but a passing acquaintance with his life. Like a lot of people I’m more familiar with some of the film adaptations of his science-fiction novels than I am with the original books (but I must say one doesn’t forget easily reading one of his books and notwithstanding my undying love for Blade Runner, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is imprinted in my brain).

This book is not a biography of Philip K. Dick, or a memoir of Mary (Maer) Wilson, although it does have elements of both. The author sets up the scene and explains clearly what she intends to do at the opening of the book. This is the story of her friendship with the writer that spanned the last ten years of his life. She does not justify his behaviour, she does not provide a critical analysis of his work, and she does not go on a research digging expedition trying to discover who the true Philip K. Dick was. After many years of reading works about the man she got to know quite closely, and not recognising the versions of her friend those books created, she decided to share the man she knew. She acknowledges that he might have been different when he was younger and that perhaps he presented differently with different people. (In fact she has an interesting theory about the matter that makes perfect sense to me, but although not a true spoiler, I’ll leave you to read it yourselves).

Mary Wilson met Philip K. Dick when she was a young theatre student, and although she goes to great pains to try and remember and record the things as they happened at the time (and as her young-self experienced them), the older (and of course wiser) Maer Wilson can’t help but sometimes despair of her younger counterpart. As all young people, and especially somebody preparing from a young age for an acting career, the young Mary thinks she is immortal and the centre of the universe. She accepts friendships as they come and does not question either motives or reasons. She does not inquire why an older man (when they meet she doesn’t even know he’s a writer) is living with a young student or why he would want to make friends with people who are twenty five years his juniors. The way she writes about the young Mary reminded me of Herman Melville’s Redburn, where the older writer can’t help but reflect on the naïveté and inexperience of his younger self. (Not that she is all that naïve as she acknowledges that the writer had a crush on her and she handled it remarkably well, but she’s neither humble nor always wise).

The author does not aim to discover where Philip K. Dick was coming from or what happened during the periods when they lost contact, for example when he got married and his wife wasn’t keen on his younger friends, or when Mary was living with a boyfriend and so busy with her theatrical performances that she couldn’t always make time for a social life. She does not try to make up for gaps or recreate things that she was not witness too. She does include photographs of events relevant to the narration, drawings, etc., and has obtained some of the correspondence a common friend had kept, but in its majority, the book is made up of anecdotes, conversations and events that the writer remembers in plenty of detail, as would be expected of somebody talking about a close and dear friend. I also got the sense, from the book and the foreword, that Dick had remained a topic of conversation for his group of friends and some of the episodes mentioned have been reminisced upon more than once.

As it has been noted often (and is also mentioned in the foreword of the book), anybody who attempts to tell somebody else’s story, ends up telling his or her own, and the author gives us a wonderful insight into ten years of her life, from her years as a student, performing and putting on plays, to having her own theatre company, and working herself to exhaustion. It is a vivid portrayal of a type of life, a place and a period, that will make readers wish they were there, going to watch A Clockwork Orange with Philip K. Dick, or meeting Ridley Scott to talk about Blade Runner. It isn’t a glamorous story or a celebrity autobiography (thankfully!), and it has ups and downs, moments of enlightenment and regrets, happy moments and doubts and what ifs, but that’s what real life is like.  The author writes as if she was telling her memories of Dick to a close friend, or perhaps as if she was retelling herself the episodes she recalls, trying to puzzle together and order her thoughts, to grab hold of her experience and not let go. It is an intimate and reflective style of writing that makes the reader feel close to both actors and events.

I personally enjoyed getting to know both the author of the book and a bit more about Philip K. Dick, the friend of his friends. This is not a book for somebody looking to acquire facts and figures about Dick, or a comprehensive biography, warts and all. It isn’t a book that talks in detail about his writing (although there are references to his comments at the time and the stories he shared), and it isn’t a gossip column trying to settle grudges (and sadly this is not the first non-fiction book I read where the people really close to somebody are pushed aside by the individual’s official family when s/he is no longer able to do anything to prevent it). This book will be of interest to people who want to find a new dimension, a more personal one, to Dick the man rather than the myth. And also to readers who want to experience the era of the 1970s (and early 80s) in California as it would have been for a very talented and artistic group of friends. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at some of those meetings. That’s not possible but at least I have this book.

Thanks to Maer Wilson for giving me the opportunity of reading and reviewing her new book, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Ah, and another author from the group, Carolynne Raymond (from Lady Maverick Publishing) has written a great post for readers so they can access some books by this talented group, and all for FREE! Check it here! (And yes, one of mine is available there).

By OlgaNunez

I was born in Barcelona and after living in the UK for many years have now returned home. I teach English, volunteer at Sants 3 Ràdio, a local radio station, I'm a writer, translator (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and I'm a medical doctor and worked in Forensic Psychiatry many years. I also have a BA and a PhD in American Literature and Film, and a Masters in Criminology. I've always loved books and apart from writing them I review them often.
I write a bit of everything, check my books for more information and my about page for links.
My blog is bilingual, English and Spanish.

8 replies on “#BookReview and new book The Other Side of Philip K. Dick: A Tale of Two Friends by Maer Wilson (@MaerWilson) , Tim Powers (Foreword). A portray of a time, a man and a dear friend. (And some free books)”

As an avid fan of the film Blade Runner, I confess that I have never read the story on which it was based, or any other work by PKD. I have also been unaware of any opinions about his lifestyle, or personality. I do not read much sci-fi (the ‘Dune’ novels were an exception) and I never read biographies, as I like to leave some mystery about well-known people. This is neither of those genres of course, but I am sure it will be of great interest to those interested in Dick’s work, and that period in California.
Best wishes, Pete.

Thanks, Pete. I haven’t read a lot of PKD but I’ve read the book Blade Runner is based on and although they did a great job, there is much more about the world and more detail (I remember a mood machine that as a psychiatrist fascinated me). I don’t read a lot of science-fiction either but like you, there are exceptions. (And I’m reviewing one next week). Have a great weekend!

Hi Olga. I’m very intrigued by your review. I was a big fan of the Blade Runner movie. However, that was the extent of my acquaintance with the writer of the original book. I had no idea that Philip K. Dick was perceived as described. The story sounds fascinating. TGIF hugs.

Thanks, Teagan. Yes, I didn’t know much about him (although after reading some of his work I remember having had a look at a couple of articles). It’s a fascinating book for sure. Have a fantastic weekend! (I’m off to the book fair tomorrow but I’ll be sure to catch up with your serial as soon as I can).

Hello Olga! I enjoy Maer’s style of writing. I’m not usually a memoir reader but I have been known to read outside my usual genres. I’d be interesting to read about a side of PKD few know about. Thank you!

Olga, thanks so very much for your support. And thank you to your awesome readers as well!!!

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