The Essential Philip K. Dick

“The K stands for ‘Kindred.’ It was a family name, but if there’s anyone who can forgive a fanciful imputation of significance, it is Philip K. Dick. How lovely that a poet of alienation would come into existence bearing that word. Perhaps you’ve nurtured a suspicion that you have the makings of a Dick fan. The writer’s influence is everywhere, though mainstream acknowledgment of his talents arrived belatedly. (His obituary in this newspaper is under 200 words and lists his age of death incorrectly. He was 53, not 54.) The question is where to start. Dick’s published output — at least 35 novels and countless short stories — ranges from sublime to inscrutable, which is partly a result of volume. His book advances were skimpy and there was a family to support, so he wrote quickly, often fueled by amphetamine tablets. (Dick’s typing speed: 120 words per minute.) If you’re a stickler for prose style and hold a zero-tolerance policy toward the word ‘boobies,’ this is not your fellow. The best of his work is fueled by nuclear-strength imagination, grand metaphysical and theological explorations, and prescience in matters of technology, marketing, consumerism, media and ecological catastrophe. In an excellent biography, ‘Divine Invasions,’ Lawrence Sutin characterized Dick’s style as ‘wayward and sprawling, in the spirit of a new Orange County shopping mall.’ Indeed. Dick’s endings tend toward ambiguity. Sometimes you wonder whether he mashed his hands across the typewriter for the last 10 pages of a manuscript, dropped it off at the post office and went for a beer. Stanislaw Lem considered Dick’s ambiguity — when it was successful — to be a strategy for generating rapture. Insisting on precise conclusions from the author, Lem wrote, would be like demanding that Kafka produce an entomological justification in ‘The Metamorphosis’ stating when and under what circumstances a guy might wake up as a bug. You’ve been warned. See you on the other side! …”
NY Times
W – Philip K. Dick bibliography

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Books and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Essential Philip K. Dick

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s