Dick, Philip K. 1928–1982

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Dick, Philip K. 1928–1982

(Philip Kindred Dick, Richard Phillips)

PERSONAL: Born December 16, 1928, in Chicago, IL; died of heart failure following a stroke, March 2, 1982, in Santa Ana, CA; son of Joseph Edgar (a government employee) and Dorothy (Kindred) Dick; married, 1949; wife's name Jeannette (divorced); married, 1951; wife's name Kleo (divorced); married, 1958; wife's name Ann (divorced); married April 18, 1967; wife's name Nancy (divorced); married Tessa Busby, April 18, 1973 (divorced); children: (third marriage) Laura; (fourth marriage) Isolde; (fifth marriage) Christopher. Education: Attended University of California—Berkeley, 1950. Politics: "Anti-war, pro-life." Religion: Episcopalian.

CAREER: Writer. Hosted classical music program on KSMO Radio, 1947; worked in a record store, 1948–52; occasional lecturer at California State University—Fullerton; active in drug rehabilitation and anti-abortion work.

MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Animal Protection Institute.

AWARDS, HONORS: Hugo Award, World Science Fiction Convention, 1962, for The Man in the High Castle; John W. Campbell Memorial Award, 1974, for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said; guest of honor, Science Fiction Festival, Metz, France, 1978; Philip K. Dick Memorial Award was created by Norwescon, an annual science-fiction convention in Seattle, WA; inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington, 2005).



Solar Lottery (bound with The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1955, published separately, Gregg, 1976, published as World of Chance, Rich & Cowan (London, England), 1956, reprinted under original title, Vintage (New York, NY), 2003.

The World Jones Made (bound with Agent of the Unknown by Margaret St. Clair), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1956.

The Man Who Japed (bound with The Space-Born by E.C. Tubb), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1956, published separately, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

Eye in the Sky, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1957, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2003.

The Cosmic Puppets (bound with Sargasso of Space by Andrew North), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1957, published separately, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.

Time out of Joint, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1959, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

Dr. Futurity (also see below; bound with Slavers of Space by John Brunner), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1960, published with The Unteleported Man by Dick, 1972, published separately, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.

Vulcan's Hammer (bound with The Skynappers by John Brunner), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1960, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.

The Man in the High Castle, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.

The Game-Players of Titan, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1963.

Martian Time-Slip, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1964.

The Penultimate Truth, Belmont-Tower, 1964, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.

The Simulacra, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1964, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

Clans of the Alphane Moon, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1964, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

Dr. Bloodmoney; or, How We Got Along after the Bomb, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1965, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1965.

Now Wait for Last Year, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1966.

The Crack in Space (also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.

The Unteleported Man (also see below; bound with The Mind Monsters by Howard L. Cory), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966, reprinted (bound with Dr. Futurity by Dick), 1972, reprinted separately, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.

(With Ray Nelson) The Ganymede Takeover, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1967.

Counter-Clock World, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1967, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

The Zap Gun, Pyramid Publications, 1967, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Doubleday, (New York, NY) 1968, published as Blade Runner, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1982.

Ubik (also see below), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969.

Galactic Pot-Healer, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969.

A Philip K. Dick Omnibus (contains The Crack in Space, The Unteleported Man, and Dr. Futurity), Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1970.

A Maze of Death, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1970.

Our Friends from Frolix 8, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1970, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2003.

We Can Build You, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1972.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Roger Zelazny) Deus Irae, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1976, reprinted, Vintage (New York, NY), 2003.

A Scanner Darkly, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1977.

VALIS, Bantam (New York, NY), 1981.

The Divine Invasion, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1982.

The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike, Zeising, 1984.

Radio Free Albemuth, Arbor House, 1987.

Nick and the Glimmung, Gollancz (London, England), 1988.

The Little Black Box, Gollancz (London, England), 1990.

The Minority Report, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2002.


A Handful of Darkness, Rich & Cowan (London, England), 1955.

The Variable Man and Other Stories, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1957.

The Preserving Machine and Other Stories, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969.

The Book of Philip K. Dick, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1973, published as The Turning Wheel and Other Stories, Coronet (London, England), 1977.

The Best of Philip K. Dick, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1977.

The Golden Man, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1980.

Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, edited by Patricia Warrick and Martin H. Greenberg, Southern Illinois University Press, 1984.

Lies, Inc., Gollancz (London, England), 1984, revised edition, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1985.

The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford, and Other Classic Stories, introduction by Roger Zelazny, Citadel Press (New York, NY), 1987.

The Collected Stories, five volumes, Underwood Miller, 1987.

Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, introduction by Jonatham Lethem, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2002.

Paycheck, and Twenty-four Other Classic Stories, Kensington (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to anthologies, including Time to Come, edited by August Derleth, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1954;Star Science Fiction Stories #3, edited by Frederik Pohl, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1955; A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume I, edited by Anthony Boucher, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1959; Dangerous Visions: Thirty-three Original Stories, edited by Harlan Ellison, Doubleday, 1967; Final Stage, edited by Edward L. Ferman and Barry N. Malzberg, Charterhouse, 1974; Science Fiction: The Academic Awakening, edited by Willis E. McNelly, College English Association, 1974; and Science Fiction at Large, edited by Peter Nicholls, Gollancz (London, England), 1976, Harper (New York, NY), 1977.


Confessions of a Crap Artist, Jack Isidore (of Seville, Calif): A Chronicle of Verified Scientific Fact, 1945–1959 (novel), Entwhistle Books, 1975.

A Letter from Philip K. Dick (pamphlet), Philip K. Dick Society, 1983.

In Milton Lumky Territory (novel), Ultramarine, 1984.

Ubik: The Screenplay (based on novel of same title), Corroboree, 1985.

Puttering About in a Small Land (novel), Academy (New York, NY), 1985.

Mary and the Giant (novel), Arbor House, 1987.

The Broken Bubble (novel), Arbor House, 1988.

The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1974, edited by Paul Williams, Underwood-Miller (Novato, CA), 1991.

Gather Yourselves Together (novel), WCS Books (Herndon, VA), 1994.

The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings, edited by Lawrence Sutin, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1995.

The Philip K. Dick Reader, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1997.

The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1938–1971, Underwood Books, 1997.

What If Our World Is Their Heaven?: The Final Conversations of Philip K. Dick, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2000.

Also author of unpublished novels A Time for George Stavros, Nicholas and the Higs, and Voices from the Street. Author of radio scripts for Mutual Broadcasting System. Contributor of over 100 stories, some under pseudonym Richard Phillips, to Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy, Amazing Science Fiction Stories, and other magazines.

ADAPTATIONS: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was filmed as Blade Runner by Warner Bros., 1982. "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" was filmed as Total Recall, 1990. Imposter, directed by Gary Felder, was based on a story by Dick. The Minority Report was adapted for a film of the same name, directed by Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2002. Paycheck, based on Paycheck and Other Short Stories, was released by Paramount Pictures, 2003.

SIDELIGHTS: The central problem when reading Philip K. Dick's science fiction is how to distinguish the real from the unreal. Dick once told an interviewer: "My major preoccupation is the question, 'What is reality?'" In novel after novel, Dick's characters find that their familiar world is in fact an illusion, either self-created or imposed on them by others. Dick "liked to begin a novel," Patricia Warrick wrote in Science-Fiction Studies, "with a commonplace world and then have his characters fall through the floor of this normal world into a strange new reality." Drug-induced hallucinations, robots and androids, mystical visions, paranoic delusions, and alternate or artificial worlds are the stuff of which Dick's flexible universe is made. "All of his work," Charles Platt wrote in Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction, "starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality. Everything is a matter of perception. The ground is liable to shift under your feet. A protagonist may find himself living out another person's dream, or he may enter a drug-induced state that actually makes better sense than the real world, or he may cross into a different universe completely."

Despite the mutable and often dangerous nature of Dick's fictional worlds, his characters retain at least a faint hope for the future and manage to survive and comfort one another. Dick's characters are usually ordinary people—repairmen, housewives, students, salesmen—caught up in overwhelming situations that call into question their basic beliefs about themselves and their world. In The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch powerful drugs create such believable hallucinations that users find it difficult to know when the hallucination has ended and the real world has returned. A character in Time out of Joint discovers that he does not really live in a mid-twentieth-century American town as he had believed. He lives in an artificial replica of an American town built by a government of the future for its own purposes. In Eye in the Sky eight people at a research facility are pushed by a freak accident into a state of consciousness where each one's subjective reality becomes real for the entire group for a time. They experience worlds where the ideas of a religious cult member, a communist, a puritan, and a paranoid are literally true. The ability of Dick's characters to survive these situations, preserving their sanity and humanity in the process, is what Dick celebrated. His novels presented a "world where ordinary people do the best they can against death-driven, malevolent forces," Tom Whalen wrote in the American Book Review.

In many of his works, Dick stresses the importance of emotion, "which in his view made men human," Steven Kosek wrote in the Chicago Tribune Book World. In Now Wait for Last Year it is the ability to feel for others that distinguishes the aliens from the Earthlings, while in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a similar ability separates the androids from human beings. This emphasis on human emotions is usually contrasted with the technological environment in which Dick's characters find themselves. The typical Dick novel is set in a technologically advanced, near-future America which is falling apart in some way. Caught in the accelerating chaos, his characters need all of their humanity to survive. "There are no heroics in Dick's books," Ursula K. LeGuin explained in the New Republic, "but there are heroes. One is reminded of [Charles] Dickens: what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people."

Dick had, John Clute maintained in the Washington Post Book World, a "self-lacerating, feverish, deeply argued refusal to believe that the diseased prison of a world we all live in could possibly be the 'real' world." As Dick himself explained it in his introduction to the story collection The Golden Man: "I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards." In the afterword to that same collection, Dick explained why he chose to write science fiction: "SF is a field of rebellion: against accepted ideas, institutions, against all that is. In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real."

This questioning of reality was often accomplished through the use of "two basic narrative situations," Patrick G. Hogan, Jr. wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, adding that Dick's "favorite plot device is that of alternate universes or parallel worlds." Dick, Hogan added, "is also fascinated by what he characteristically calls simulacra, devices ranging from merely complex mechanical and electronic constructs to androids, and by the paradoxes created by their relationships to organic life, especially that of human beings." Many critics considered the best of Dick's novels about alternate universes to be The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is probably his best-known novel about simulacra.

The Man in the High Castle, winner of the Hugo Award and generally considered Dick's best novel, is set in a world in which America, which lost World War II, has been divided in two and is occupied by the Germans and Japanese. Most of the novel takes place on the Japanese-occupied West Coast and revolves around a group of Americans who are trying to cope with their status as subject people. Concerned primarily with creating a believable alternate society, the novel reveals in the process "how easily this nation would have surrendered its own culture under a Japanese occupation and how compatible American fears, prejudices, and desires were with Nazism," as Hogan remarked. The novel's "man in the high castle" is the author of an underground best-seller about an alternate world where America won the war. "I did seven years of research for The Man in the High Castle," Dick once explained in an interview for the Missouri Review. "I had prime-source material at the Berkeley-Cal library right from the gestapo's mouth—stuff that had been seized after World War II … That's … why I've never written a sequel to it: it's too horrible, too awful. I started several times to write a sequel, but I [would have] had to go back and read about Nazis again, so I couldn't do it." Dick used the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divining system, to plot The Man in the High Castle. At each critical juncture in the narrative, Dick consulted the I Ching to determine the proper course of the plot.

The alternate universes in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch are created by powerful hallucinogenic drugs. The novel is set in the near-future when the increasing heat of the sun is making life on Earth impossible. The United Nations begins forcing people to immigrate to Mars, an inhospitable desert waste where colonists must live in underground hovels. Because of the boredom of colony life, a drug-induced fantasy world has been devised that uses small dolls and miniature settings. When a colonist takes the drug Can-D, he becomes one of the dolls and lives for a brief time in an Earth-like setting. The manufacturer of the dolls and settings—a company named Perky Pat Layouts, after the female doll—also sells Can-D. When Palmer Eldritch returns from a deep-space exploration, he brings with him a supply of the new and more powerful drug Chew-Z. Eldritch has also acquired three "stigmata"—an artificial metallic arm, enormous steel teeth, and artificial eyes. His Chew-Z is cheaper and longer-lasting than Can-D, and he soon is selling it to the Martian colonists. But Chew-Z does not seem to wear off; the user is moved into a world that seems like his own but with the important difference that Palmer Eldritch has god-like powers. Bruce Gillespie, writing in Philip K. Dick: Electric Shepherd, called Palmer Eldritch "one of the few masterpieces of recent science fiction."

Dick received the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a near-future novel in which popular television talk show host Jason Taverner wakes up one morning in a world where he is unknown. No record even exists of his having been born, an awkward situation in the records-conscious police state that Taverner's California has become. The explanation for this impossibility is that Taverner is living within the drug hallucination of Alys Buckner, and in that hallucination there is no place for him. The powerful drug, able to impose Alys's hallucination on reality itself, eventually kills her, and Taverner is set free. "Dick skillfully explores the psychological ramifications of this nightmare," Gerald Jonas commented in the New York Times Book Review, "but he is even more interested in the reaction of a ruthlessly efficient computerized police state to the existence of a man, who, according to the computers, should not exist."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is Dick's most celebrated novel about simulacra, mechanical objects which simulate life. In this novel Dick posits a world in which androids are so highly developed that it is only by the most rigid testing that one can distinguish them from human beings. The key difference is the quality of empathy which humans have for other living things. When some androids escape from a work colony and make their way to Earth, bounty hunter Rick Deckard must find them. But Deckard gradually comes to feel compassion for the androids, realizing that the tests he gives measure only a subtle difference between androids and humans. In contrast to this officially sanctioned tracking and killing of androids, this near-future society accepts artificial animals of all kinds—everything from sheep to spiders. With most real animals extinct, replicas are fashionable to own. One of the rarest animals is the toad, and when Deckard discovers one in the desert, he believes he has made an important find. But even in the desert there are no real animals. Deckard notices a small control panel in the toad's abdomen. Nonetheless, he takes the toad home and cares for him. His wife, touched by his concern for the "creature," buys some electric flies for the toad to eat. "Against this bizarre background of pervasive fakery," Philip Strick wrote in Sight and Sound, "the erosion of authentic humanity by undetectable android imitations has all the plausibility of a new and lethal plague whereby evolution would become substitution and nobody would notice the difference." Writing in Philip K. Dick, Patricia S. Warrick called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? "one of Dick's finest novels," citing its "complexity of structure and idea." The novel was loosely adapted as the film Blade Runner in 1982.

Several critics have commented on the structure of Dick's fiction, pointing out that many novels end inconclusively and are often filled with deliberate paradoxes and inconsistencies. Angus Taylor, writing in his Philip K. Dick and the Umbrella of Light, explained that Dick "undermines the plot in its superficial aspect by throwing roadblocks in the way of the smooth succession of events, and asks us to divert our attention, to search out and accept the poetic core of the work; he tries to focus our attention on the plot as a 'net' for catching something strange and otherworldly." In similar terms, Roger Zelazny noted in Philip K. Dick that "the subjective response,… when a Philip Dick book has been finished and put aside is that, upon reflection, it does not seem so much that one holds the memory of a story; rather, it is the after effects of a poem rich in metaphor that seem to remain." Writing in Extrapolation, Mary Kay Bray saw Dick's novels as using a "mandalic" structure. "The key to mandalic structure," Bray wrote, "is that it radiates from a center and must suggest that center in all its patterns and images. In point of view and details of landscape and character, Dick's novels manage just that." Also writing in Extrapolation, Warrick argued that in Dick's novels, he creates a "bi-polar construction" of reality. This construction presents both sides of a question simultaneously, expecting a synthesis from the reader. This synthesis results in the reader seeing "from opposite directions simultaneously. He is rewarded with a fleeting epiphany—Dick's vision of 'process reality,'" Warrick wrote. "Ultimately, however, one intuits, not analyzes, Dick's meaning."

In several of his novels, Dick drew upon his own life experiences. A Scanner Darkly, for example, is dedicated to a list of Dick's friends who died or suffered permanent health damage because of drugs. The novel concerns undercover narcotics agent Bob Arctor, who is assigned to investigate himself. His superiors are unaware of his undercover identity and Arctor cannot afford to reveal it. He investigates himself to avoid suspicion. While conducting the investigation, however, Arctor is taking the drug Substance D. The drug splits his personality until he no longer recognizes himself in surveillance videotapes. Arctor's condition worsens until he is finally put into a drug rehabilitation program. "The novel," Patrick Parrinder wrote in the Times Literary Supplement, "is a frightening allegory of the process of drug abuse, in which some of the alternative realities experienced are revealed as the hallucinations of terminal addicts." "Drug misuse is not a disease," Dick wrote in an author's note to the novel, "it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car." Dick himself suffered pancreatic damage from his involvement with drugs. His use of amphetamines resulted in the high blood pressure which eventually ended in his fatal stroke. Dick once admitted to Platt that he had "regarded drugs as dangerous and potentially lethal, but I had a cat's curiosity. It was my interest in the human mind that made me curious…. These were essentially religious strivings that were appearing in me."

Dick's interest in religion crystallized in 1974 in a mystical experience that changed the course of his career. "I experienced an invasion of my mind," Dick explained to Platt, "by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane." For several months, this presence took over Dick's mind and directed his actions. He claimed that it straightened out his health and finances and put his business affairs in order. Despite numerous efforts to rationalize the experience, Dick was unable to come to any conclusions about it. In VALIS, The Divine Invasion, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Dick wrote of theological paradoxes and seekers after truth, exploring various religious concepts for possible an-swers. Dick realized the disturbing appearance of his claims, and in VALIS questioned his own sanity through two characters who are aspects of himself. Horselover Fat is a half-mad mystic who hears God's voice in his head. The other character, Phil Dick, is a writer who tries to understand Horselover, although he regards him in a bemused manner. It is revealed in the course of the novel that Horselover is actually a psychological projection of Phil. He has been created as a way to deal with the death of Phil's loved ones, to act as a shield against accepting those deaths. With this revelation, Clute observed, "we begin to see the artfulness in the way Dick has chosen to handle … material too nutty to accept, too admonitory to forget, too haunting to abandon." After asking the question "Was Phil Dick sane?," Peter Nicholls wrote in Science Fiction Review that "the question has no absolute answer…. Phil thought that God had reached into his mind. To this day I am not sure whether he meant this literally or metaphorically."

Prior to his success as a science-fiction writer, Dick attempted to find a niche as a mainstream author in the 1950s and 1960s. Two of the books he produced during this period were posthumously published as Mary and the Giant and The Broken Bubble, and both revolve around 1950s suburban California. The protagonist of Mary and the Giant is an undereducated twenty-year-old woman who whirls in the vacuum of her life options. These include marriage or love with several different lovers, including an elderly record-store owner, an African-American lounge singer, and an underachieving pianist. A Publishers Weekly critic called Dick "one of the most compelling chroniclers of life and love in 1950s California that we have had." Colin Greenland of the Times Literary Supplement stated that "this neglected early novel reveals Philip K. Dick's remarkable insight into a society on the eve of change and a young woman on the edge of panic." "The narrative voice is ever clear and sensitive, forcing sympathies in unlikely places," noted Nancy Forbes in her New York Times Book Review appraisal of Mary and the Giant, adding, "In this film noir world, people may be good, but they are never nice." Greenland concluded that Dick's "bald, assertive style prefigures the work of contemporary writers like Frederick Barthelme, Tobias Wolff, and Ellen Gilchrist, who attempt to articulate, in their own terms, the dramas of individuals whose moral perceptions are smothered by a culture of compliance and consumption."

The Broken Bubble centers on narrator Jim Briskin, a radio announcer who is still in love with his ex-wife, Pat. The story unfolds as Jim introduces Pat to two of his fans, teenage couple Art and Rachel, thereby unwittingly setting into motion a complex relationship between the four. In the New York Times Book Review, George Blooston said of the characters: "Their willfulness is riveting. But by the time the dust clears and the morally strong have saved the weak, the rewards of the novel seem meager. Without the humor or wisdom of Dick's science fiction, this portrait of 1950's anomie is dominated by its bleak naturalism and soap-operate earnestness." Clute of the Times Literary Supplement commented, "It is a slippery plot to hold, but although Dick sometimes loses control … the mature, deft, probing tenderness with which he presents his four protagonists exhibits a rather more than scattershot talent."

At his best, Dick is generally regarded as one of the finest science-fiction writers of his time, and many of his books have remained in print more than three decades after their initial publication. Nicholls believed him to be "one of the greatest science fiction writers in history, and one of [the twentieth] century's most important writers in any field." Dick was, Whalen maintained, "one of America's best writers…. He was a great science fiction writer, so much so, that one is reluctant to apply the SF label, with its undeserved stigma, to his writing." Similarly, Clute held that Dick was the "greatest of science fiction writers—though he's by no means the best writer of science fiction" to clarify that what Dick wrote was concerned with the human condition, not with the technological progress of the future. In her evaluation of Dick's work, LeGuin stressed that it is easy to misinterpret him. A reader "may put the book down believing that he's read a clever sci-fi thriller and nothing more," LeGuin wrote. "The fact that what Dick is entertaining us about is reality and madness, time and death, sin and salvation—this has escaped most readers and critics. Nobody notices; nobody notices that we have our own homegrown [Jorge Luis] Borges, and have had him for thirty years." According to Kosek, Dick held a "very intense and morally significant vision of life," and this vision imbues his "long string of compelling, idiosyncratic novels …, most of which embodied a single urgent message: Things are not what they seem to be."



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Voice Literary Supplement, August, 1982.

Washington Post, March 4, 1982.

Washington Post Book World, February 22, 1981; May 23, 1982; June 30, 1985; May 25, 1986; August 2, 1987.



Chicago Tribune, March 4, 1982.

Los Angeles Times, March 8, 1982.

Newsweek, March 15, 1982.

New York Times, March 3, 1982.

Publishers Weekly, March 19, 1982.

Time, March 15, 1982.

Times (London, England), March 15, 1982.

About this article

Dick, Philip K. 1928–1982

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