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Temporary Note


Philip K. Dick

Criticism
The following are works of biography and criticism relating to Philip K. Dick and his writing. This section is planned for future expansion.


Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick

By Lawrence Sutin

Citadel, 1991, ISBN 0806512288; Paperback $19.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Citadel edition:

Divine Invasions is the first full-scale biography of Philip K. Dick, a brilliant writer who, working inside the science fiction field, created some of the most powerful and lasting visionary fiction of this century. This biography chronicles the story of a man whose life was truly as interesting as his own enduring work.

Biography by Lawrence Sutin, who also wrote a biography of Aleistair Crowley.

Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982: A Memoir and Biography of the Science Fiction Writer

By Anne R. Dick

Edwin Mellen Press, 1995, ISBN 0773491376; Hardcover $99.95. [Browse/Purchase]

A review blatantly stolen from Amazon.com:

While I have read many books relating to Philip K. Dick, this is the first from somebody who lived with him day to day that I have read. Anne Dick, while making many interesting observations does not really tell me anything that makes me understand exactly who PKD is/was. She spends quite a bit of time looking through her eyes at how she could have been, should have been, and how PKD treated her and his family. It is though she is working at providing her own cathartic needs through the book. The descriptions of living conditions, friendships, relationships, while all interesting, leave me wanting something more. I'm not quite sure what, and possible Anne was not as well. This book was written many years ago and then revised for this publication. It shows. Sometimes the book seems to ebb and flow with the older stuff being broken by newer material.

Anne was Dick's second wife, who underwent a period of hospitalization for mental illness – and event that inspired him to write Clans of the Alphane Moon.

Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'

By Judith B. Kerman, ed.

Popular Press, 1997, ISBN 0879725109; Paperback $27.95 [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Popular Press edition:

This book of essays looks at the multitude of texts and influences which converge in Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, especially the film's relationship to its source novel, Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Essays consider political, moral and technological issues raised by the film, as well as literary, filmic, technical and aesthetic questions. Contributors discuss the film's psychological and mythic patterns, importance political issues and the roots of the film in Paradise Lost, Frankenstein, detective fiction and previous science fiction cinema.

Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection

By D. Scott Apel, ed.

The Impermanent Press, 1999, ISBN 1886404038; Hardcover $19.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the Impermanent Press Web site:

This exceptional anthology includes:

Over eight hours of interviews with noted science fiction author Philip K. Dick...more than 30,000 words, including 8,000 words on his March, 1974, "mystical experiences" -- the most complete and most personal account ever published outside the Exegesis.

Philip K. Dick speaking in depth on:
—What is really real?
—Who is really human?
—What is sanity? What is madness?
—Why do I do it?

Numerous supplementary essays, including:
—Robert Anton Wilson on PKD's mystical experiences
—R. Faraday Nelson on his friendship and collaboration with PKD, and PKD's unwritten books
—A rarely-seen short story by PKD in which he fictionalizes his mystical experiences
—Theodore Sturgeon's comments on PKD's philosophy
—Two additional essays and selected correspondence from PKD

Finally, an interview segment so bizarre, so shocking, that it must be read to be believed! Even hard-core Philip Dick readers will have their beliefs in "what is real" shaken.

What If Our World Is Their Heaven? The Final Conversations With Phillip K. Dick

By Philip K. Dick, Elaine Sauter, Gwen Lee

Overlook Press, 2003, ISBN 1585673781; Paperback $14.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the Publisher:

In November of 1981, four months before the author's death, journalist Gwen Lee recorded the first of several in-depth discussions with Philip K. Dick. The subjects touched upon included the specifics of his writing process, his enthusiastic response to the scenes and trailers he'd seen of Blade Runner (he never lived to see the finished film), and accounts of his religious experiences. But the greatest amount of time was devoted to discussions of his next novel, Owl in Daylight, a book he would never get the chance to write. A tale steeped in mysticism, biotechnology, and the relationship between music and language, it was to be his masterpiece.

These extraordinary interviews are filled with the wit and aplomb characteristic of Dick's writing, helping make What If Our World Is Their Heaven? not only an engaging read, but a unique and compelling historical document. It will be a must read for anyone interested in the field of science fiction.

The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings

By Philip K. Dick, Lawrence Sutin, ed.

Vintage, 1996, ISBN 0679747877; Paperback $13.00. [Browse/Purchase]

From the original Pantheon edition:

Philip K. Dick has established himself as a major figure in American literature. The landscape of his imagination features a wealth of concepts and fictional worlds: Nazi-rule in a postwar nightmare; androids and the unification of man and machine; and an existence that no longer follows the logic of reality. His vision has shaped the way we perceive the past and present and how we look at the future.

This first-time collection assembles his nonfiction writings (the bulk of which either have never before been published or have appeared only in obscure and out-of-print publications -- essays, journals, speeches, and interviews. In these writings he explores issues ranging from the merging of physics and metaphysics to the potential influences of "virtual" reality and its consequences to a plot-scenario for a potential episode of "Mission: Impossible," to the challenge that fundamental "human" values face in the age of technology and spiritual decline.

Philip K. Dick (Pocket Essentials)

By Andrew M. Butler

Trafalgar Square, 2000, ISBN 0375421513; Paperback $6.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Pocketbook edition:

Who was Dick? A freaked-out junkie who took too many drugs? An explorer of madness who got too close to his subject and ended up claiming to have met God? A practical joker? The most consistently brilliant SF writer in the world?

At a time when most SF was about cowboys in outer space, Dick explored the landscapes of the mind, conjured with fake realities and was able to make you believe six impossible things before breakfast. He embodied the counter-culture a decade before the 1960s.

Perhaps best known for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- the novel which inspired Blade Runner -- Dick's world is one where reality is only provisional, where the President might be an android, where psychiatrists come in suitcases, and where God speaks through cat food commercials and comes in a handy aerosol can. And where you might be a figment of someone else's imagination...

What's in this book? As well as an introductory essay, each of Philip K. Dick's novels is reviewed and analysed. And for those who want more, there is a listing of the many other books and articles which have grappled with this genius.

I Am Alive and You are Dead: The Strange Life and Times of Philip K. Dick

By Emmanuel Carrère

Metropolitan Books, 2003, ISBN 0805054642; Hardcover $26.00. [Browse/Advance Order]

From the Publisher:

From the master chronicler of psychological extremes, an unforgettable portrait of the "Shakespeare of science fiction" whose work has influenced millions. For his many devoted readers, Philip K. Dick is not only "one of the most valiant psychological explorers of the 20th century" ( The New York Times ) but a source of divine revelation. Dick, whose work inspired such films as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report, dedicated his life to solving one ultimately unanswerable question: What is real?

In the riveting style that won accolades for The Adversary, Emmanuel Carrère follows Dick's strange odyssey from his traumatic beginnings in 1928, when his twin sister died in infancy, to his lonely end in 1982, beset by mystical visions of swirling pink lights, three-eyed invaders, and messages from the Roman Empire. Drawing on interviews as well as unpublished sources, Carrère traces Dick's multiple marriages, paranoid fantasies, and vertiginous encounters with the drug culture of sixties California. He vividly conjures the spirit of this restless observer of American postwar malaise whose more than fifty novels subverted the materials of science fiction-parallel universes, intricate time loops, collective delusions-to create classic works of contemporary anxiety.

As disturbing and engrossing as a work by its subject, Carrère's unconventional biography interweaves life and art to reveal the maddening genius whose writing foresaw-from cloning to reality TV-a world that looks ever more like one of his inventions.

Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern

Liverpool University Press, July 2003, ISBN 0853236186; Hardcover $62.95. [Browse/Advance Order]

When we receive more information about this upcoming work, we will post it here.

Out-of-Print, Rare, Second-hand

Amazon.com Search -- This link will search Amazon.com for all books and materials by or about Philip K. Dick.


Go To:

Main Page -- Back to the main Philip K. Dick page, with biography and links.

Novels -- An annotated list of Philip K. Dick's novels.

Stories -- A list of Philip K. Dick's short story collections.

Multimedia -- A list of films, music, and fictional homages inspired by Philip K. Dick and his writing.

Bibliography -- A PKD bibliography.

--Allen B. Ruch
& Richard Behrens
30 March 2003