Review Phillip K. Dick

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Philip Kindred Dick
(December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his influential work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendentalexperiences.

Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success.[1] His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle earned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.[2] He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel.[3] Following a series of religious experiences in February–March 1974, Dick's work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981).[4] A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.


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Dick's writing produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazinesduring his lifetime.[5] A variety of popular films based on Dick's works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall(adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). In 2005, Time named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923.[6] In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.
 
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Paranormal experiences and mental health issues

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 beauty of the dark-haired girl and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. "This is a sign used by the early Christians," she said, and then left. 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.[23]

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, Dick was startled by a separate recurrence of the pink beam. It imparted the information to him that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital, where his suspicion was confirmed by professional diagnosis.[24][verification needed]

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 hallucinations. "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," Dick told Charles Platt.[25]

Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations, which he referred to as "2-3-74",[19] shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the "pink beam", Dick described the initial hallucinations as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the hallucinations increased in length 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". Dick wrote about the experiences, first in the semi-autobiographical novel Radio Free Albemuth and then in VALIS, The Divine Invasion 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 Frederic Jameson, of being foreign agents of Warsaw Pactpowers.[26] 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.[27]

At one point Dick felt that 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.[28] Dick 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 Dick wrote was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; it was published shortly after his death in 1982.
 

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Adaptations


Films

Several of Dick's stories have been made into films. Dick himself wrote a screenplay for an intended film adaptation of Ubik in 1974, but the film was never made. Many film adaptations have not used Dick's original titles. When asked why this was, Dick's ex-wife Tessa said, "Actually, the books rarely carry Phil's original titles, as the editors usually wrote new titles after reading his manuscripts. Phil often commented that he couldn't write good titles. If he could, he would have been an advertising writer instead of a novelist."[48] Films based on Dick's writing had accumulated a total revenue of over US $1 billion by 2009.[49]

Future films based on Dick's writing include an animated adaptation of The King of the Elves from Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was set to be released in the spring of 2016 but is currently still in preproduction; and a film adaptation of Ubik which, according to Dick's daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, is in advanced negotiation.[52] Ubik was set to be made into a film by Michel Gondry.[53] In 2014, however, Gondry told French outlet Telerama (via Jeux Actu), that he was no longer working on the project.

The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second Variety. The Halcyon Company, known for developing the Terminator franchise, acquired right of first refusal to film adaptations of the works of Philip K. Dick in 2007. In May 2009, they announced plans for an adaptation of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.
 

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Television

It was reported in 2010 that Ridley Scott would produce an adaptation of The Man in the High Castle for the BBC, in the form of a mini-series.[55] A pilot episode was released on Amazon Prime in January 2015 and Season 1 was fully released in ten episodes of about 60 minutes each on November 20, 2015.[56]

In late 2015, Fox aired The Minority Report, a sequel adaptation to the 2002 film of the same name based on Dick's 1956 short story "The Minority Report".

In May 2016, it was announced that a 10-part anthology series was in the works. Titled Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the series will be distributed by Sony Pictures Television and premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and Amazon Video in the United States.[57] It was written by executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Michael Dinner, with executive input from Dick's daughter Isa Dick Hackett, and stars Bryan Cranston, also an executive producer.[58]

Stage and radio[edit]
Four of Dick's works have been adapted for the stage.

One was the opera VALIS, composed and with libretto by Tod Machover, which premiered at the Pompidou Center in Paris on December 1, 1987, with a French libretto. It was subsequently revised and readapted into English, and was recorded and released on CD (Bridge Records BCD9007) in 1988.

Another was Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, adapted by Linda Hartinian and produced by the New York-based avant-garde company Mabou Mines. It premiered in Boston at the Boston Shakespeare Theatre (June 18–30, 1985) and was subsequently staged in New York and Chicago. Productions of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said were also staged by the Evidence Room [59] in Los Angeles in 1999[60] and by the Fifth Column Theatre Company at the Oval House Theatre in London in the same year.[61]

A play based on Radio Free Albemuth also had a brief run in the 1980s.

In November 2010, a production of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted by Edward Einhorn, premiered at the 3LD Art and Technology Center in Manhattan.[62]

A radio drama adaptation of Dick's short story "Mr. Spaceship" was aired by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio) in 1996 under the name Menolippu Paratiisiin. Radio dramatizations of Dick's short stories Colony and The Defenders[63] were aired by NBC in 1956 as part of the series X Minus One.

In January 2006, a The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (English for Trzy stygmaty Palmera Eldritcha) theatre adaptation premiered in Stary Teatr in Cracov, interestingly with an extensive use of lights and laser choreography.[64][65]

In June 2014 the BBC broadcast a two part adaptation of 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?' on Radio 4, starring James Purefoy as Rick Deckard. [
 

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Influence and legacy

Lawrence Sutin's 1989 biography of Dick, Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, is considered the standard biographical treatment of Dick's life.[38]

In 1993, French writer Emmanuel Carrère published Je suis vivant et vous êtes morts which was first translated and published in English in 2004 as I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, which the author describes in his preface in this way:

The book you hold in your hands is a very peculiar book. I have tried to depict the life of Philip K. Dick from the inside, in other words, with the same freedom and empathy – indeed with the same truth – with which he depicted his own characters.[31]

Critics of the book have complained about the lack of fact checking, sourcing, notes and index, "the usual evidence of deep research that gives a biography the solid stamp of authority."[74][75][76] It can be considered a non-fiction novel about his life.

Dick has influenced many writers, including Jonathan Lethem[77] and Ursula K. Le Guin.[78] The prominent literary critic Fredric Jameson proclaimed Dick the "Shakespeare of Science Fiction", and praised his work as "one of the most powerful expressions of the society of spectacle and pseudo-event".[79] The author Roberto Bolaño also praised Dick, describing him as "Thoreau plus the death of the American dream".[80] Dick has also influenced filmmakers, his work being compared to films such as the Wachowskis' The Matrix,[81] David Cronenberg's Videodrome,[82] eXistenZ,[81] and Spider,[82] Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich,[82] Adaptation,[82] Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,[83][84] Alex Proyas's Dark City,[81] Peter Weir's The Truman Show,[81] Andrew Niccol's Gattaca,[82] In Time,[85] Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys,[82] Alejandro Amenábar's Open Your Eyes,[86] David Fincher's Fight Club,[82] Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky,[81] Darren Aronofsky's Pi,[87] Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko[88] and Southland Tales,[89] Rian Johnson's Looper,[90] Duncan Jones' Source Code, and Christopher Nolan's Memento[91] and Inception.[92]

The Philip K. Dick Society was an organization dedicated to promoting the literary works of Dick and was led by Dick's longtime friend and music journalist Paul Williams. Williams also served as Dick's literary executor for several years after Dick's death and wrote one of the first biographies of Dick, entitled Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick.

The Philip K. Dick estate owns and operates the production company Electric Shepherd Productions,[93] which has produced the films Adjustment Bureau (2011) and the upcoming Walt Disney Company film King of the Elves, the TV series The Man in the High Castle[94] and also a Marvel Comics 5-issue adaptation of Electric Ant.[95]

Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a simulacrum or remote-controlled android designed in his likeness.[96][97][98] Such simulacra had been themes of many of Dick's works. The Philip K. Dick simulacrum was included on a discussion panel in a San Diego Comic Con presentation about the film adaptation of the novel, A Scanner Darkly. In February 2006, an America West Airlines employee misplaced the android's head, and it has not yet been found.[99] In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement.






 

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Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a simulacrum or remote-controlled android designed in his likeness.[96][97][98] Such simulacra had been themes of many of Dick's works. The Philip K. Dick simulacrum was included on a discussion panel in a San Diego Comic Con presentation about the film adaptation of the novel, A Scanner Darkly. In February 2006, an America West Airlines employee misplaced the android's head, and it has not yet been found.[99] In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement.

 

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I keep planing to read VALIS....

Sounds intriguing....


VALIS is the first book in Philip K. Dick's incomparable final trio of novels (the others being The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer). This disorienting and bleakly funny work is about a schizophrenic hero named Horselover Fat; the hidden mysteries of Gnostic Christianity; and reality as revealed through a pink laser. VALIS is a theological detective story, in which God is both a missing person and the perpetrator of the ultimate crime.

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What a unique mind the man had, even if his theories about reality were as off the wall as can be.....


https://www.imdforums.com/threads/are-we-all-living-in-a-simulation.4465/
 

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