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Temporary Note


Philip K. Dick

Multimedia
This page contains films, musical works, documentaries, books on tape, and fictional homages inspired by Philip K. Dick and his writing. This section is planned for future expansion, and is currently a work-in-progress. As we get arounbd to reviewing more of the featured materials, additional commentary will be added.


Film

Blade Runner (1982)

Directed by Ridley Scott

[DVD, Director's Cut]
[DVD, Director's Cut Special Edition]
[VHS, Director's Cut]

Ridley Scott's seminal science fiction masterpiece is based on Dick's novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Additional commentary is planned for the future.

Total Recall (1990)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

[DVD]
[DVD, Special Edition]

[VHS]

Paul Verhoeven's action-packed blockbuster is based on Dick's story, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Additional commentary is planned for the future.

Screamers (1996)

Directed by Christian Duguay

[DVD]

Based on Dick's short story, "The Second Variety," Screamers is a passable B-movie of horror in space. Additional commentary is planned for the future.

The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick (2000)

Directed by Mark Steensland

[DVD]
[VHS]

From Amazon.com:

Dick's unnerving ideas influenced a generation, but despite the title of this labor-of-love documentary, it's less about his work than the life-changing events of the last decade of his life. The bizarre true story of paranoia, mind-altering drugs, mystical visions, and an 8,000-page treatise called The Exegesis is as compelling as any of his novels. All it lacks is a grounding: filmmakers Mark Steensland and Andy Massagli take for granted a familiarity with the author and his work. That may leave the casual viewer a bit bewildered by it all, but fans will appreciate the comments of cult author Robert Anton Wilson and rare audio recordings of Dick himself (set to funky minimalist animation). Lacking a strong portrait of Dick's life and work before the visions, The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick is hardly definitive, relying almost solely on interviews to flesh out the figure, but it is a valuable first step in exploring the work of one of the most influential "unknown" authors of our time.

The Waking Life (2001)

Directed by Richard Linklater

[DVD, Director's Cut]

Richard Linklater's movie is a surreal, animated ramble from one philosophical conversation to another. In the end, the theories of Philip K. Dick are discussed, framing the protagonist's evaporating sense of reality. Additional commentary is planned for the future.

Imposter (2002)

Directed by Gary Fleder

[DVD, Director's Cut]

Additional commentary is planned for the future.

Minority Report (2002)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

[DVD, Widescreen]
[DVD, Full Screen]
[VHS]

Although its focus on film-noir plot conventions and (admittedly very impressive) action sequences removes it from the more cerebral realm of the original story, Spielberg's Minority Report it is still a remarkable achievement. Set in a seemingly benign police state where one's identity is constantly tracked, Spielberg's vision of the future is both beautiful and terrifying, painted in saturated colors and as breathlessly modern as Blade Runner is run-down and seedy. Still, one immediately recognizes the Dickian hallmarks of paranoia and mistrust; and in some ways, Spielberg's more subtle and insidious depictions of a police state -- where submissive citizens are scanned by robot spiders and the invasive barrage of advertising is relentlessly personalized -- sits even more uneasily than the corporate hegemonies of Blade Runner or the overt fascism of Total Recall. While selecting Tom Cruise as the lead continues the trend of casting action heroes as Dickian protagonists, Cruise is still a recognizable Dickian character, directing his computer to the sound of Schubert and developing an addiction of a sensory enhancing drug called Clarity. Still, despite its many achievements, Minority Report fails to register on the same depth as the more poetic Blade Runner. By skirting some of the more heady issues raised by its own plot, Minority Report never transcends its genre, and the Spielbergian optimism of its conclusion strikes a false note.


Audio

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Abridged)

Read by Matthew Modine

Time Warner Audio Books, 1994, ISBN 1570420521; 1 cassette $17.00. [Browse/Purchase]

Matthew Modine reads an abridged version of the novel that inspired Blade Runner.

The Minority Report and Other Short Stories

Read by Keir Duller

Harper Audio Cassette, 2001, ISBN 0694523348; 2 cassettes $25.95. [Browse/Purchase]

HarperAudio CD, 2002, ISBN 0060095261; 1 CD $29.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From AudioFile:

Philip K. Dick holds a special place in the annals of science fiction. He is beloved by many for his strange reality-bending stories. The five stories included here are an excellent sample of his fiction. Most notable in the collection are "Minority Report," which supposes that psychics could be employed by the police to predict and prevent murder, and "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," in which a person goes to a shop to have memories of a vacation implanted in his mind, only to find that he's got some memories of his own. The no-frills presentation by Keir Dullea is perfect for the material.

Additional commentary is planned for the future.

Philip K. Dick: Speaking His Mind

Interview with Philip K. Dick

Impermanent Press, 1994, ISBN 1570420521; 1 cassette, 60 minutes, $9.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Pantheon edition:

A one-hour audiocassette of excerpts from the interview with Philip Dick transcribed in Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection. No transcript can do full justice to the uniquely expressive style of speaking which Philip K. Dick possessed. Experience Phil Dick in his own voice – from drawling, deadpan irony to vehement, impassioned delivery – discussing many of the topics in this landmark interview.


Music

VALIS: An Opera

Composed by Tod Machover

Bridge Records, 1993; 1 CD $16.99. [Browse/Purchase]

A modern "opera" based on VALIS by American composer Tod Machover, a pioneer of blending electronics with classical music. Additional commentary is planned for the future.


Fiction Inspired by Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas

By Michael Bishop

Tor Books, 1994, ISBN 0312890028; Paperback $12.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Tor edition:

It is 1982. The United States has a permanent Moonbase. Richard M. Nixon is in the fourth term of the "imperial Presidency." And an eccentric novelist named Philip K. Dick has just died in California. Or has he? Psychiatrist Lia Pickford, M.D., is nonplussed when Dick walks into her office in small-town Georgia, with a cab idling outside, to ask for help. And Cal Pickford, a longtime Dick fan stunned by the news of his hero's death, is electrified when his wife tells him of the visit. So begins a sequence of events involving Cal in the repressive politics of the Nixon regime, the affairs of an aging movie queen, a hip but frightened Vietnamese immigrant and an old black man who works as a groom -- all leading up to a fateful confrontation between Dick, Cal, and Nixon himself on the moon.

Philip K. Dick High

By David Bischoff

Wildside Press, 2000, ISBN 1587150751; Paperback $14.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the back of the Wildside edition:

THE HIGH SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE...

"You've never wondered what the meaning of life is, have you?" asked my teacher. I shook my head. "I thought people who were depressed asked those kind of questions." "Okay. Then Quinn, I'll have to be more direct. Middlevale isn't Middlevale. Eisenhower isn't truly an accredited American high school. I'm not me, and you're not you!" "Then who are we?" "Victims!" Her finger shot in the air. "Victims of some sort of experiment! Some kind of psycho-social experiment perpetrated by scientists without principle, a government without morals!" Her dewlaps quivered with indignity. My head was spinning again. I tried to speak but I couldn't. "These ears . . . open them up and you'll find microchip monitors and controls. And judging by the kind of 'visions' we've both seen, I'd also say you'd also find some kind of mind-cloak device, adjusted to auditory and visual aspects of our brains, normalizing the odd things that may abound in this laboratory environment." I blinked. "You mean, it's all a joke?" "A bad one. A total farce." "You're telling me . . . You're saying that it's all a set-up? But how long has this been going on, then?" "Hard to say. Part of your memories could have been programmed." "Programmed?" I stared. "Like computers."

You've just read the excerpt, you be the judge!

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.

Powell's Search -- This link searches for rare and out-of-print books by or about Philip K. Dick via Powell's Bookstore


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.

Criticism -- A list of criticism and biography.

Bibliography -- A PKD bibliography.

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