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Phillip K Dick Thread

IceFord345

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Let's discuss anything and everything related to Phillip K Dick. He is personally one of my favorite authors. His philosophical trippy sci-fi is really unique and hard to come by anywhere else. I have read many of his novels. I have read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,The Man in the High Castle,Ubik, A Scanner Darkly, Valis, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, Time Out of Joint, Martian Time-Slip, The Penultimate Truth, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. And I would say that I have enjoyed all of his novels. But I could never find an author who wrote books similar to his. Here's my lainchan thread has some suggestions. https://lainchan.org/lit/res/8177.html. (Also btw is there a lainchan archive out there?)

People have said that his short stories are really good and I haven't read any of them. Where should I start? Is there a good collections of all of them.
 

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punishedgnome

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I have only read The Man in the High Castle, but it is one of my favourite sci-fi novels of all time. One thing in particular I thought was really interesting was the desire on the part of the Japanese people who took over the Western US to own genuine pre-war American made items as opposed to knockoffs, even though they are nearly identical. That's a funny thing about collectors that I guess was as true back in the 1960s when the novel was written as it is now: this idea of authenticity even when an item is of equal quality and function. I need to read more of his stuff. I like the Bladerunner and Minority Report movies, but obviously that's not the same as reading the original novels.

His personal life is very interesting, but like Hunter S Thompson, it's hard to discern what is true, and what he wanted to present as his public persona.

From Wikipedia:

On February 20, 1974, while recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, Dick received a home delivery of Darvon from a young woman. When he opened the door, he was struck by the dark-haired girl's beauty, and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. As she was leaving, she replied: "This is a sign used by the early Christians." Dick called the symbol the "vesicle pisces". This name seems to have been based on his conflation of two related symbols, the Christian ichthys symbol (two intersecting arcs delineating a fish in profile), which the woman was wearing, and the vesica piscis.

Dick recounted that as the sun glinted off the gold pendant, the reflection caused the generation of a "pink beam" of light that mesmerized him. He came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance, and also believed it to be intelligent. On one occasion, he was startled by a separate recurrence of the pink beam, which imparted the information that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital, where the illness was confirmed by professional diagnosis.

After the woman's departure, Dick began experiencing strange hallucinations. Although initially attributing them to side effects from medication, he considered this explanation implausible after weeks of continued hallucination. He told Charles Platt:

"I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane."

Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations which he referred to as "2-3-74", shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the "pink beam", he described the initial hallucinations as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the hallucinations increased in duration and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live two parallel lives—one as himself, "Philip K. Dick", and one as "Thomas", a Christian persecuted by Romans in the first century AD. He referred to the "transcendentally rational mind" as "Zebra", "God" and "VALIS" (an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System). He wrote about the experiences, first in the semi-autobiographical novel Radio Free Albemuth, then in VALIS, The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer and the unfinished The Owl in Daylight (the VALIS trilogy).

In 1974, Dick wrote a letter to the FBI, accusing various people, including University of California, San Diego professor Fredric Jameson, of being foreign agents of Warsaw Pact powers. He also wrote that Stanisław Lem was probably a false name used by a composite committee operating on orders of the Communist party to gain control over public opinion.

At one point, Dick felt he had been taken over by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. He believed that an episode in his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was a detailed retelling of a biblical story from the Book of Acts, which he had never read. He documented and discussed his experiences and faith in a private journal he called his "exegesis", portions of which were later published as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. The last novel he wrote was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; it was published shortly after his death in 1982.
 
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Taleisin

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Currently reading Dr Bloodmoney, really enjoying the post-apocalyptic semi-ironic vibes.

Favourite is VALIS so far, eventually imma actually read exegesis

For similar authors, I don't think there's much to find. You might however enjoy some of William Gibson's work as he definitely took some thematic and stylistic inspiration from him
 
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I'll be real, I've only read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but I'd love to read more of his work because I really liked it. I thought the weird vegetarian society was intriguing and how animals are a show of social status was quite fun. Overall a good read, I would appreciate any recommendations after because I'm fairly sure that Do Androids is his most well-known work, and I'm interested in reading more from him.

(Also Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a way better title than Blade Runner, just saying)
 
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№56

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People have said that his short stories are really good and I haven't read any of them. Where should I start?
Beyond Lies the Wub is short and fun, I haven't read any of his other short stories but there are several anthologies out there you could look into.
The only PKD books I've read are Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (very different from Blade Runner), but I really liked both of them and want to read more. (I also love the movie Total Recall, but that doesn't really count.) Ubik in particular is a book that's been stuck in my head for a while, especially the parts about technology being used to subvert the natural function of the afterlife; trapping people in a state between life and death and delaying their reincarnation because they paid for the privilege of doing so before they died. It's a really memorable and unsettling idea. One thing I really like about PKD is how he wasn't afraid to throw lots of interesting ideas and concepts like this into his stories even if they weren't directly related to the plot. Examples include the talking coin-operated appliances in Ubik and the city with two different police departments that are totally ignorant of each other's existence in DADOES. These surreal little details work like stand-alone sci-fi stories in their own right and are part of what gives his writing such a unique feel.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7SxTm_LQW4
 
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punishedgnome

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(I also love the movie Total Recall, but that doesn't really count.)
I forgot about that one. I have actually also read We Can Remember It for You Wholesale in a university course around 20 years ago. Great story. I actually kind of like Total Recall more because I just visually love that grotesque late 80s science fiction movie aesthetic, but the Philip K Dick story is wonderful. That's one case where the movie nailed the ambiguity from the book.
 
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