There’s Truth In Here, Somewhere

I think I’ve figured out the secret mystery to Lost: It’s all just a viral literacy campaign from the secret Inner Head of the ALA, whom everyone knowns are acid head mystic lit fiends, promoting the most mind bending books of modern literature.

According to io9, the latest episode featured overt references to both Valis by Philip K. Dick and Adolfo Bioy Casares’ The Invention of Morel. And as I recall, an early episode form Season 1 (back when there was still hope the show would make some sense) a character was reading Flan O’Brian’s The Third Policeman.

Valis
is about how Philip K. Dick went slowly bonkers because aliens were beaming maybe-true, maybe-false memories and/or Gnostic Revelations into his head with a pink laser beam. It’s a wild book, notably for the fact that the narrator, Horselover Fat (a literal translation of the names Philip and Dick, from German into English) says up front that he’s really Philip Dick, a science fiction writer but is using the false-narrator character as a way to get some perspective and then half way through forgets he’s created himself as a character until the real Philip Dick shows up and reminds him that he’s the author.

The Invention of Morel is about a guy who gets shipwrecked on an island where a crazy mad scientist was doing an experiment and now all the people are gone, replaced by holographic projections who go through a series of programmed acts. This doesn’t stop the guy from falling in love with a holographic woman who resembles Silent Film star, Louise Brooks.

The Third Policeman is about a philosophical thief who encounters a two Dimensional Police Barracks in the Irish Countryside where the constables have access to technology from paradise and the local villagers are exchanging atoms with their bicycles. Meanwhile, a man with a wooden leg helps the thief (who cannot remember his name) discover that he is dead and has been for years.

So, yeah. The writers on Lost have no clue what they are doing but are trying to allude to successful literature in the same reality-bending genre in the hopes that no one really notices. As usual, you’d probably have more fun reading the books. I recommend starting with The Third Policeman and adding Tom Stoppard’s only novel, Lord Malquist & Mr. Moon, which is to the list. It has existential cowboys, an Irish Jesus and a lion who has suffered the indignity of being banned from the Ritz.