I don’t see them as fundamentally in conflict. My favorite writers are those that combine fiction and nonfiction. This is my interest in William S. Burroughs and Philip K. Dick, but its also the reason for my more recent interest in “horror” writers such as Thomas Ligotti and Quentin S. Crisp.
There are various aspects in common. As I said, they all combined fiction and nonfiction, but they also wrote them separately. Besides all of this, the most obvious similaity is the Gothic. The Gothic definitely applies to the horror writers, but the Gothic isn’t limited to the horror genre. The other connection is Gnosticism. PKD helped to popularize Gnosticism only to maybe a slightly lesser degree than Jung had. Gnostic themes and references are found throughout the works of WSB, TL and QSP.
What has brought all of this together in my mind are several nonfiction books that have been occupying my mind particularly past year or so. One book is The Secret Lives of Puppets by Victoria Nelson, and two books by Eric G. Wilson (The Melancholy Android, and Secret Cinema). Wilson was influenced by Nelson and I always think of these authors together. Both of these authors write about PKD, and Nelson mentions WSB a couple of times. Both focus on the the fantastical and horrific in fiction. Both write about Gnosticism and Wilson goes into great detail about the connection between Gnosticism, the Gothic and the genres.
I won’t go in more detail right now. I just wanted to set down where my thoughts are at the moment. This is a very personal nexus of my understanding of life. Thinking about these authors is my way of contempating my place amidst a world of tremendous suffering. I plan on blogging more about this soon as I clarify my ideas.