AKS Excerpt

Per suggestion from a Dickhead, here’s part of the Prologue…

“Suppose a man died with the dearest wish of his heart unfulfilled.
Do you believe that his spirit might have the power to return to Earth and complete the interrupted work?”

  • Jerome K. Jerome “Ghost Story”

November 17, 1971 – Santa Venetia, California

It was an ordinary ranch-style house on a quiet cul-de-sac; a dark, starry night—until the explosion. Even that was muffled and neighbors would later claim they didn’t hear a thing. If they had been watching, they would have seen a firestorm roll through the house and crack the front picture window.

An hour or so later, a big, red 1963 Pontiac convertible rumbled around the corner onto Hacienda Way heading toward the house. The couple inside the car giggled like teenagers. The girl driving was only eighteen, but the man pawing at her was old enough to be her father. He was also a semi-famous science fiction author, but that meant nothing to her. She had other interests in Philip K. Dick.

“Stop it,” she said as she pushed him away. “You smell like greasy burger and onions. You know that stuff’ll give you bad dreams.”
“Not tonight, baby,” he whispered in her ear as Sharon parked the car in front of Phil’s place. “I’m only dreaming of you.” Phil was swaying to Carole King’s light and breezy voice on the radio. “Let’s do it here.”
“Nooo,” she whined. “Let’s go in and do it on the floor.”
Phil’s girlfriend-of-the-moment hopped out of the car and pulled him from the passenger seat. He playfully tugged at the buttons on her blouse as they staggered up the walk-way to the front door. Phil had never actually “done it” with this girl, but liked the idea. Since his last divorce, he hadn’t technically been dating anyone. Sharon was one of several young druggies he let crash at his house.

In the Bay Area in 1971, everyone was scoring or selling some kind of dope. Phil didn’t care much for hash or coke, but was a considerable consumer of white cross tabs—amphetamines. Writing fuel. His need for speed was also a way to keep Sharon around, and keep an eye on her. Phil fancied himself her savior. Actually, Sharon was the one taking care of Phil. Someone had to.

Phil was prone to terrible bouts of depression and paranoia. He was also agoraphobic, and needed someone to drive him places, even to the grocery store or burger joint. But on such a starry night, Phil was happy for a change and focused on the possibility of making it with this young dark-haired girl.

“Vincent,” he slobbered in Sharon’s ear while fumbling with the key to unlock the front door.

“Man, you are stoned,” she stopped and frowned. “Are you a homo?”

Phil smiled, “It’s a song. Fabulous.” He sighed, “Brand new album. Wait til you hear…” He pushed the door open with his hip and was about to give another push toward Stephanie, but she moved to flip on the light switch. Before he could finish his thought, she shrieked, “Jesus! Phil, look!”

For a moment, Phil couldn’t comprehend the devastation. “What the…?!”

A million tiny pieces of white debris covered everything – the carpet, furniture, the drapes and it was even sticking to the walls. As his eyes darted toward the adjoining den, his writing room, where chunks of metal were strewn among the bits of white. Phil pushed past Stephanie, who was frozen in place, to his study and saw the mangled remains of his fire-proof file cabinet.

“Shit, I knew it!” Phil rubbed his eyes and temples. The force of the explosion had blown slivers of steel into the side of his oak desk. Bits of canceled checks, and other unrecognizable paper and plastic swirled together into a sickening stew of debris.
Phil allowed friends to come and go, smoke pot and make a mess of his house, but no one was allowed in the writing room. It was his only safe haven, strictly off limits. He kept that room neat and tidy. It was the only way he could organize his thoughts and have any privacy to work on his novels. Now, his mind was as cluttered and confused as the mess around him. He knew one thing for sure—his latest and most important manuscript was gone.
Sharon followed Phil into the den and found him staring off blankly. Then he erupted into a crazy, maniacal laugh that scared her.
“Thank God I’m not crazy!”

“I’m calling the cops,” the girl said, looking around for the phone.

Phil grabbed her forcefully. “No you’re not.” The wild look in his eyes scared her. “No fucking cops, you hear?”

She began to shake and cry.

“I’ll deal with this. You need to leave.” Phil practically shoved Sharon out the door and then felt bad. It wasn’t like him to be mean, especially to a crying woman. But he was about to cry himself, and didn’t want anyone to see that.
Phil collapsed in a heap on the living room floor, in the middle of the mess. “Damn,” he sputtered. “I knew the sons of bitches were after me.”

For hours Phil sat on the floor, rocking back and forth and playing over in his mind theory after theory of who would go to such extremes to steal his writing. It was a carefully crafted, professionally executed explosion. They knew to use heavy wet bath towels to muffle the sound and contain the contents. “The bastards,” he thought, hoping they got a soggy wet manuscript and that maybe one of them blew a hand off in the process. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep, still curled up in a half-sitting, half fetal position.

He sat on the floor for hours, rocking back and forth, playing over in his mind theory after theory of who would go to such extremes to steal his writing. It was a carefully crafted, professionally executed explosion. Whoever did it knew to use heavy wet bath towels to muffle the sound and contain the contents.
The bastards. He hoped they got a soggy, illegible manuscript, and that maybe one of them had blown off a hand in the process. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep in his half-sitting, half-fetal position.

In the light of day, the scene was even more disturbing. It hadn’t been a dream. The mess was real. Stiff and foggy, Phil got up and stumbled to the phone, which remarkably was still intact. He found the number of a guy who had been a demolitions expert in the Special Forces. Carl knew all about explosives. Once he was on the line, Phil identified himself and mumbled some cryptic, code talk. He had no trouble conveying the point. In less than an hour there was a knock on his door.

Phil cautiously peeked through the peep-hole. Standing there was a mountain of muscle; six-foot-five, at least two hundred and fifty pounds of it, still sporting a marine-style buzz cut.

Phil opened the door and the ex-marine had the same reaction that Phil had the night before.

“Shit!” Carl cursed as he carefully stepped inside.
Carl instantly began surveying the scene. He reached down and ran his fingers through some of the white debris.
“Asbestos. Your safe was blown, eh?”

Phil shushed him, finger to his lips, and turned on the TV for background noise. Amazingly, it still worked. His stereo, an expensive quadraphonic, was gone. Suspecting the place was bugged, Phil spoke in a hushed voice. “An eleven hundred pound Mosler Class D fireproof file cabinet.” He pointed toward his den.

——— what happens next? Gotta get the book 😉 BUY IT NOW! click link to your right ——> Scroll up 😉

Latest Links!

Updates: 2.11.2011
I was going to wait until all the new reviews are out, but with THREE of the four ready and such good news, I had to post now! The pic is from Feb 4 event in Albuquerque. Dennis (my editor and fellow writer) and I sold several books (a good night!) Just before the event Dave Hyde posted his new review of A Kindred Spirit. It’s here at PhilipKDickFans. So it Otaku #21 (Posted by Marc of Germany) I’ve also created a fan forum there called AKS Issues where we can discuss some of the topics in the book and debate fine points of PKD references. Join in! Otaku is linked in my comments there, again. Just click the Forum button here on AKSbook and magically jump over to PKD Fans! (You’ll need an account to post over there, but it’s very simple to create one.) Phil’s widow, Tessa Dick, just posted a review of AKS on Amazon! And, she’s agreed to be interviwed for Otaku #22! (by me) I hope Gill will link to all of this along with his own comments over on Total Dickhead. I’ll turn these to links the minute the info is there! Thanks everyone for buying, reading and talking up AKS! OH, and below is the place to post final Errata for the forthcoming eBook. yay!

Final Version Errata

Anyone who has read, is reading or can help, a few of us are pushing through AKS again (the 9.16.2010 print version, not FDO) for final corrections. Maureen, leader of the pack, finds errors on practically every other page. I know some people say I can’t write, but that’s a moot point now (and yes, moot not mute, as some folks say.) I am trying to find and fix as many typos, glaring punctuation issues, and the most abhorrent grammar at this point.

Here’s what has been discovered thus far. Comments with page #. If I have a return comment (other than simply fixing it) mine will be bold:

p 108: in the quote, “Without Peace there will be No Future” – Done
Pg. 110 fixed formatting around Pike’s final sentence.
Pg. 111 Removed Pre-Civil War reference – redundant Mars Hill
Pg. 113 several word changes including “Pike’s persistent pestering.” cause I love me some more alliteration 😉
p 115 line 3: “pretty damn difficult” should that be “damned”? no, do a Google on that phrase
p 117 “the open road sounds better than it is” … s/b “sounded”, right?, since the rest of the context is past tense — If so, it would be “was” not is.
p 119 line 13: “and thought the of a travel column” … word missing? maybe “idea”? (this was supposed to be: Phil had been watching “and thought the travel column was…” typo
p 121: line 2 you say “redhead” but line 3 you say “red head” … s/b redhead
p 121 line 8: you break “thoughts” at end of line … it doesn’t look right
p 122 line 11: “all she wanted a hot shower” … missing a word? perhaps “was”? YES (to all typos/hypens, etc.)
p 123 line 2: since you’re using “fake leather” as an adjective, i think it should be hyphenated?
p 125 line 28: “with landscape like this to enjoy” … like what?
p 125 line 32-33: “apple pie for desert” .. s/b “dessert”
p 126 line 15: “interstate rest-stops” … rest stops is not hyphenated
p 127 5th line from bottom: in 1982 would the young boy have been referred to as “native american” or as “indian”? GOOD — SEE EXTENSIVE COMMENT BELOW
p 128 last line: “that is not the dream that she awoke with” … s/b “that WAS not the dream”

p 126, line 24 … “the ocean lie ahead” – her note said it may be correct as is, but it caught her eye (i think “lie” is right here) Kay thinks lay ahead Her thoughts: I have a strong feeling that “lie” is NOT correct, because when we say “it looked as though ” followed by anything, the verb is never in the present tense. examples: It looked as though the road turned (not turn) ahead. It looked as though better weather was (not is) in store. I reserve the right to be wrong though. 😉

Mo’s third batch (the OMG batch 😉
p 130 line 14: “Indian culture” – you see, here you say Indian, not indian or native american
p 130 4th para: “this travel log idea” — should be travelog or travelogue, per dictionary.com … and this phrase is used numerous times Only when Pike says travelogue
p 131 lines 20-21: “no Need” … s/b “no need”
p 133 line 12: “Remind me Phil, how …” s/b “Remind me, Phil, how …”
p 133 end of 3rd para: “self righteous” s/b “self-righteous”
p 134 para 3 line 8: “writing the Native American” feature … again, that’s a foreign phrase in 1982, right?
p 137 para 4: you use the terms “indian” (l/c )
SEE BELOW — ALL NA REMOVED!!
p 138 line 5: “pony-tail” … i looked it up s/b “ponytail”
p 138 2nd para from bottom, line 1: “Flags-taff” — s/b “Flag-staff”
p 140 line 4: “back-pack” — s/b “backpack”
p 140 3rd line from bottom: “who” … should that be “whom” ???

p 141 para 7: “i didn’t bring any water or supplies”, followed by Koteen tossing her a canteen of water and a bundle of supplies — like what? (added details there.)
p 142 para 4 line 1: “bellagonna” — often used derisively?? YES, supposed to be “dig” of sorts at the white woman
p 143 line 1: “flat-lander” — i think you’re hyphenating it, because you refer to flat land in the next line, but i’m not sure since it’s also a break in the line, but it should be one word “flatland” and “flatlander”
p 143 para 9 line 5: you say “Old Ones” (capitalized) but earlier (not sure where, sorry) you used “old ones” (no caps)
p 143, 7th line from bottom: “marauders destroyed, them” … delete the comma, s/b “destroyed them”
Yes, fixing all typos, commas, Caps/consistency issues, etc.
p 144 para 7 line 1: “alright” … i think that’s a colloquialism, and s/b “all right” instead ??
p 144 para 7 line 2: “some tribes do not” … s/b “some tribes did not” … i think, given the context, but not sure
p 144 para 12 line 1: “flat-lander girls” …. s/b “flatlander girls”
p 145 2nd para from bottom, last line: “he advised she conserve” … s/b “he advised that she conserve” or possibly “he advised her to conserve”
p 145 last para line 3: “well manicured hands” …. i think that s/b “well-manicured hands” since you’re using a 2-word adjective
p 147 2nd para from bottom, line 2: “vision quest” … in previous references you say “Vision Quest” (capitalized)
p 148 line 10: “gathered his incense, and drums and spread blankets” … s/b “gathered his incense and drums, and spread blankets”
Some places I have changed a few words for better flow, resolves some of the “auto hyphen” issues, and improves context. BUT no time now to enter ALL of them here.

p 150 para 1 lines 4-5: “here’s what WAS happening” plus “constant drumming produces” … conflict of tenses
p 150 para 3 line 2: “he could easily tune-in” … s/b “tune in” without hyphen
p 150 picture: i’m assuming the top of the head is not there on purpose, right? it fit perfectly with the text, but i’m just askin’
p 151 line 3: “he spent” … s/b “he had spent”
p 151 para 4 line 4: line break on “po-werful” … can only break at pow-er-ful
p 151 para 5 line 1: “high pitched flute sound” … i believe that s/b “high-pitched” since it’s a 2-part adjective
p 152 para 6: the paragraph starts with “Phil’s mind ….” but then about halfway thru the para you say “he got up to get Niki …” — it took me a moment to realize you’d switched to Koteen, so i don’t think that’s clear enough? Easy fix, new para.

p 153 para 3 line 1: awkward sentence — perhaps “handed a pair of his loose cotton pants with a drawstring top through the door, along with a big cotton shirt” ???? One word fix: handed HER
p 153 para 8: “the girls is also bird clan” — shouldn’t that be “Bird Clan” (capitalized) AND since you say “also”, was there an earlier reference to Koteen being Bird Clan? i didn’t find it, i flipped back to when he first appeared, but i coulda missed it 😉 Made a FAB FIX here on pg. 153 by interrupting Koteen’s confession: “It’s the old way,” Koteen continued. “The girl is Bird Clan, and—”
“Don’t tell me…”
p 154 para 6 line 1: “And, I’ve got …” — should that perhaps be without the comma ?

Betty’s Suggestions:
p 146, line 3 … “learn more how the Vision Quest”
p 169, line 10 … “blindingly” – she thought the word was incorrectly divided at end of line; instead of “blin-dingly” she thought it should be “blind-ingly” … initially i thought breaking it between two consonants was right, but looked it up and i think betty is right. I have to check this specific example, but in general the auto-hyphen function created these. Sometimes I had room to adjust them, but not always. So, I’ll check this and other alleged “hyphen violations” to see how I can adjust them.

p 200, line 16 … “… the agree” s/b “they”
p 214 ejm adds “With them?” to line 3 for context
p 215, line2 s/b cap on Grand (Kiva)
p 215, line 12 … “her pulsed quickened” s/b “pulse”
p 216 star gazer s/b stargazer
ejm findings:
Pg. 222 added “I found out…” to solve one of the comment Qs
p. 250 “Come again?,” Jake said. (s/b NO comma)
p. 255 “…the planet Sirius?” it’s a star, not a planet
p. 256 Valis s/b All caps on VALIS (for consistency and because PKD capped it. And this ref IS the actual book. NOTE: when Niki is first hearing the term, and it’s not a book title, it can be “valis” — just a vague term.)
p. 259 “Okay, just tell…” this s/b “just LET ME tell” (it was correct in FDO and I messed it up in final version.)

p 274, line 13 … “where would we eve start” s/b “even”

If you have corrections (not just commentary) please post below. Thanks in advance for your help!