Philip K. Dick -30-

Philip K. Dick died 30 years ago, on March 2, 1982.

Dick was already a major science fiction writer before he died, but since his death he has come to loom over popular culture in a way that other near contemporary SF writers of similar stature (say, Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, Harlan Ellison, and John Brunner) have not. Dick’s themes of paranoia and unreality continue to resonate in a world where almost every human action is permanently recorded, an where so many of us live lives half in a world of unreality (said a man typing in his blog).

Dick’s prose may often have been workman-like, but his vision and voice were unique, and his sheer productivity was staggering not only for its quality, but also it quantity. Between 1961 and 1966, Dick wrote:

  • The Man in the High Castle
  • We Can Build You
  • Martian Time-Slip
  • Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb
  • The Game-Players of Titan
  • The Simulacra
  • The Crack in Space
  • Now Wait for Last Year
  • Clans of the Alphane Moon
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  • The Zap Gun
  • The Penultimate Truth
  • His portion of Deus Irae (later finished by Roger Zelazny)
  • The Unteleported Man
  • The Ganymede Takeover (with Ray Nelson)
  • Counter-Clock World
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Nick and the Glimmung
  • Ubik
  • That’s in order of composition. Some of those are minor works, and many were only published later or after his death, but five or six are considered classics. Had an otherwise unknown SF writer written just one Dr. Bloodmoney or Ubik, they would still be remembered today as the one-hit wonder of a minor classic. To think that Dick cranked them out in six years (and was just as productive writing short stories earlier in his career) is pretty mind-boggling.

    I recently read Clans of the Alphane Moon on the way back from Stavanger, and I hope to have a review up in the not so distant future.

    (Also, I have a few Dick firsts and paperback reprints available through Lame Excuse Books.)

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