Phil Dick

Philip Kindred Dick (usually printed Philip K. Dick on book covers), US writer of ScienceFiction; born December 16, 1928, died March 2, 1982.
 http://www.philipkdick.com/ 
He wrote:

DoAndroidsDreamOfElectricSheep?

ISBN 0345350472 which was cinema-tized as BladeRunner.

Total Recall

ISBN 0586207694 The story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", after a lot of dilution and perversion, became TotalRecall?.

Ubik

ISBN 0679736646

A Scanner Darkly

ISBN 0679736654

VALIS

ISBN 0679734465

Radio Free Albemuth

ISBN 0679781374

Galactic Pot-Healer

ISBN 0679752978

The Man in the High Castle

ISBN 0679740678 HugoAward Winner

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

ISBN 0679736662

...and more than 25 other novels, as well as five volumes of short stories. Most of his novels are in print.

His story "The Minority Report" was made into a film starring Tom Cruise.


The five-volume set The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick (here in approximate in order of when the stories were written) contains the complete collection of his short stories, some previously unpublished.

The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford and Other Classic Stories ISBN 0-8065-1153-2

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale and Other Classic Stories ISBN 0-8065-1209-1

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories ISBN 0-8065-1226-1

The Minority Report and Other Classic Stories ISBN 0-8065-2379-4

The Eye of the Sibyl and Other Classic Stories ISBN 0-8065-1328-4

If you cannot find Brown Oxford, look for a volume called Paycheck. It appears to be the Brown Oxford volume given a new name to cash in on the Ben Affleck movie. Yes, Brown Oxford contains the "Paycheck" story.

I highly recommend the incomplete collection The Philip K. Dick Reader (ISBN 0-8065-1856-1 ), which contains "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (Total Recall movie), "The Minority Report," "Paycheck," "Second Variety" (Screamers movie), and a host of creepy, old-fashioned, Cold War era stories which would make wonderful Twilight Zone episodes. -- ElizabethWiethoff

Rod Serling tried to buy the rights to adapt Dick's story "Imposter" for his TwilightZone series, but for some reason was unable to acqure the rights. (See The Twilight Zone Companion page 37, ISBN 0-553-01416-1 .) "Imposter" is in the Remember It for You Wholesale volume.


Several of his novels and stories have been turned into films, some good, some atrocious. More are on the way. Supposedly wrote much of his best stuff under heavy chemical influence. And it shows.

Actually, I think it's much more likely that he suffered from mild to moderately schizophrenia than he was a constant psychedelic drug user. Maybe. His more autobiographical writings suggest that he mostly used stimulants, and used them a lot. Chronic heavy use of some stimulants can induce temporary psychosis. Or so I've heard.

There's speculation that he suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, which could explain the events that led to the writing of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and VALIS.


Most of PK Dick's books are very rough around the edges, but full to the brim of crazy and fascinating ideas. Of all his books, A Scanner Darkly is by far the best, and also the most polished. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is also good, but in different ways than BladeRunner, which was based upon it.

Much of his work deals with the questions "What is real? What does it mean to be human?". For example, Do Androids Dream... has fake emotions, fake animals, a fake religion and fake people. Does it matter? Can fake humans - androids - inspire real love?


"full to the brim of crazy and fascinating ideas"

PKD made several SuccessfulScienceFictionProphecies: his 1969 novel Galactic Pot-healer mentioned in passing the drug "Hardovax", now known to most folks as Viagra.


Ubik is completely safe when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Do not exceed the stated dose.


Philip K Dick won a 1963 HugoAward for what was one of his most famous science fiction novels, The Man in the High Castle. He also wrote a number of non science fiction novels, including The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike and Humpty Dumpty in Oakland, which are far more coherent than some of his science fiction work, but still have a strong sense of paranoia and insecurity. The Dark Haired Girl novel's title is a reference to his sister, who died at a young age. His only non-SF novel published during his lifetime was Confessions of a Crap Artist.


He supposedly wrote most of his books while on LSD and other drugs.

Actually, he was on a lot of harder drugs. See A Scanner Darkly.

My impression, from reading autobiographical and biographical material on Dick, is that he used amphetamines heavily during the '60s. He was perpetually hounded by financial problems (his books were critically acclaimed, but sold poorly during his lifetime) and it seems that he used speed to maintain the frenzied writing schedule that (barely) kept him in the black. -- RobertChurch


The fact that he did a lot of drugs is a lot less interesting to me than the ideas he puts forth in his writing, as stated above - what is real, how your inner life affects the outer, and the religious stuff from VALIS and The Divine Invasion. Some people are also more interested in the drugs JimiHendrix? took than in his guitar playing, go figure.

Well, if you figure exactly what drugs and in what quantities and rate, maybe, just maybe, you can write/play just as well as Dick/Hendrix... [and no, I'm not serious.]


Nice write-up on the ascendancy of PKDick's work in Hollywood on the NYTimes editorial page: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/19/opinion/19FRI3.html


CategoryAuthor, CategoryScienceFiction

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