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Assistant Professor James Blaylock

Chapman assistant professor and novelist James Blaylock appears on a panel today at noon at UC Irvine discussing the life and work of the late science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick, a long-time Blaylock friend who spent his later years in Orange County writing books set in the region.

Blaylock admired Dick’s ability to write science fiction that “read like mainstream fiction but with an off-kilter effect, so that even if the book was set on Pluto, the setting might have the flavor of a neighborhood in Santa Ana or Fullerton,” Blaylock says.

 “Several of his later books are literally set in Orange County. 
A Scanner Darkly
has to do with his time living in Fullerton, and
Valis
is set in Santa Ana.  He was leery of Orange County’s reputation for conservatism, especially in his Fullerton days, when the neighborhoods around the (Cal State Fullerton) university were full of hippies and freaks and political activists, and the police fairly regularly raided apartments.  He saw OC as a place of great paranoia and threat, but to an extent he saw the Bay area that way, too.  He also saw OC as an escape/relief from the even stranger ‘60s when he was living in the Bay area.  When he was living in Santa Ana in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I think that he found his life comparatively restful for the first time in years,” Blaylock says.

The panel, “A County Darkly: Philip K. Dick in the OC,” is in 1030 Humanities Gateway, UC Irvine.