SFF Audio had me back on their podcast for another Philip K Dick episode with Jesse Willis and Paul Weimar. This time we talked about Eye in the Sky (1957), which is now one of my favorite PKDs… it’s got a religious world where religious beliefs are literal; a censorship world, where you can abolish anything you don’t like; and a weird horror world with a house that eats people and excretes the bones onto its back porch… and an inside-out cat! *shudder* SO MUCH TO LOVE.
Also this podcast opens with Paul saying one of the best lines I’ve heard on SFF Audio: “I think I’ve done more Dick on this program than non-Dick.” There should be a drinking game for SFF Audio’s Dick episodes…
Below is an excerpt from Eye in the Sky, from one of my favorite scenes (but there are so many good ones). This is from the early portion of the book where religious ideas, magic and superstitions are all real, and physics is now “a closed subject.” In this scene, an angel has just damned some technicians, and the main character Hamilton is trying to drive away.
Nothing happened; the engine refused to catch. For a time he continued pumping the accelerator and wondering what was wrong. Then, with dismay, he noticed the faded seat covers. The once brilliant and splendid fabrics had become drab and indistinct. The car, unfortunately, had been parked within the damned area.
Opening the glove compartment, Hamilton got out his well-thumbed auto repair manual. But the thick booklet no longer contained schemata of automotive construction; it now listed common household prayers.
In this milieu , prayer substituted for mechanical know-how. Folding the book open in front of him, he put the car into low gear, pressed down on the gas and released the clutch.
‘There is but one God,’ he began, ‘and the Second Bab is—’
The engine caught, and the car moved noisily forward. Backfiring and groaning, it crept from the parking lot toward the street. Behind Hamilton the damned technicians wandered around in their confined, blighted area. Already, they had begun arguing the proper course of appeal, citing dates and authorities. They’d have their status back, Hamilton reflected. They’d manage.
It took four different common household prayers to carry the car down the highway to Belmont. Once, as he passed a garage, he considered stopping for repairs. But the sign made him hurry on.
NICHOLTON AND SONS
And under it, a small window display of inspirational literature, with the leading slogan, Every day in every way my car is getting newer and newer.
After the fifth prayer, the engine seemed to be performing properly. And the seat covers had regained their usual luster. Some confidence returned to him; he had gotten out of a nasty situation. Every world had its laws. It was simply a question of discovering them.
And here are some more awesome Eye in the Sky covers floating around out there. Go read this one. It’s a goodie.