Archive for the ‘PKD’ Category

Philip K. Dick, a man who changed Science Fiction forever.

Dick’s work is becoming ever more popular, having major Hollywood movies based directly or partially on his works, such as “Blade Runner”, “Total Recall”, “A Scanner Darkly”, “Minority Report” and the list goes on. He was a master of the dystopian future genre. The movie Blade Runner, which is based on his book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is considered the quintessential dystopian future story.

Dick always took a suspicious view of Government, a trait that showed in his work, and even while he seems to have tried to stay out of the political scene, he did attend at least one anti-war protest, and for a brief time in the 60’s was at least partially under surveillance by the FBI, a fact that would provide fuel for his suspicions and paranoia that manifested in the later years of his life. He went through a long dark night of the soul that involved drugs, paranoid delusions, associations with a criminal element, epiphany and catharsis, that makes him one of the few Sci-Fi authors whose real world life is at least as fascinating as his fiction work, to that end if you are interested in a documentary about him and his life I highly recommend The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick from 2001. I have met several people who knew him directly, and almost universally when these people recollect him it is with a deep sadness, citing his depression, paranoia, and drug use towards the end of his life.

One of the themes in his work was that of the “Dark Twin”, often noted by critics of his work, but an atypical example of this theme in his work is from one my favorite of his works “Galactic Pot Healer” in which one of the main characters, an alien creature with immense power known as the Glimmung was described as being a member of a species which is twin-born, one dark and one light, and only one of the twins can live, and one must destroy the other in order to survive. His biographers often note that he was born a twin, and that his twin sister died shortly after her birth, as justification for this haunting theme in his works.  Each of his works is entertaining, worthy, thought provoking and fascinating, but Galactic Pot Healer has always held a special place in my heart, and that is the example from his works that I would recommend as a good PKD starter.

If you are anything like me, you will find that after reading Dick’s work, you will be asking yourself all sorts of strange questions about the nature of life, perception and the mind, that you would not likely have asked yourself before reading his work. I do not know if it was an intended purpose of his writing, but his work seems to have a mind altering quality similar to what drug using vision seekers describe from being on LSD, peyote and the like.


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