Friday, 13 November 2009


Extract from Philip K. Dick, Dr Bloodmoney:

I must be dreadfully worried today, Bruno Bluthgeld said to himself. For now an even graver alteration in his sense-perceptions was setting in, and one unfamiliar to him. A dull, smoky cast was beginning to settle over all the environment around him, making the buildings and cars seem like inert, gloomy mounds, without colour or motion.
And where were the people? He seemed to be plodding along totally by himself in his listing, difficult journey up Oxford Street to where he had parked his Cadillac. Had they (odd thought) all gone indoors? As if, he thought, to get out of the rain ... this rain of fine, sooty particles that seemed to fill the air, to impede his breathing, his sight, his progress.
He stopped. And standing there at the intersection, seeing down the side street where it descended into a kind of darkness, and then off to the right where it rose and snapped off, as if twisted and broken, he saw to his amazement - and this he could not explain immediately in terms of some specific physiological impairment of function - that cracks had opened up. The buildings to his left had split. Jagged breaks in them, as if the hardest substances, the cement itself which underlay the city, making up the streets and buildings, the very foundations around him, were coming apart.
Good Christ, he thought. What is it? He peered into the sooty fog; now the sky was gone, obscured entirely by the rain of dark.
And then he saw, picking about in the gloom, among the split sections of concrete, in the debris, little shriveled shapes: people, the pedestrians who had been there before and then vanished - they were back now, but all of them dwarfed, and gaping at him sightlessly, not speaking but simply poking about in an aimless manner.
What is it? he asked himself again, this time speaking aloud: he heard his voice dully rebounding. It's all broken; the town is broken up into pieces. What has hit it? He began to walk from the pavement, finding his way among the strewn, severed parts of Berkeley. It isn't me, he realized; some great catastrophe has happened. The noise, now, boomed in his ears, and the soot stirred, moved by the noise. A car horn sounded, stuck on, but very far off and faint.

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