What is the role of spectacle in modern life according to either Phillip K. Dick’s The Penultimate Truth or Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Support your argument in response to this question with specific descriptions and analysis of the spectacles that appear in the novel.
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Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake has a familiar ring to it. Large corporations trying to use unethical scientific means to create some kind of masterclass. The twenty first century is becoming increasingly more dependent on technology for its ability to introduce concepts otherwise beyond the average person's grasp. Oryx and Crake. reveals that everything has a price and can be negotiated which then renders a potent form of voyeurism as an acceptable method of entertainment. Curiosity, when it extends beyond the borders of "normal,"delivers results that introduce the reader to spectacle. Even for the Crakers, "The spectacle of depravity is of interest even to them, purified by chlorophyll though they are." In Guy Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle," he points out that "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation" and a person can establish a passive relationship with anything or anyone around him or her but which is far from appropriate.
The integration of live suicides, animal atrocities and, in fact, any form of "entertainment" bears the question of what friendships are and should be built upon. Shared interests which are intolerable but which create a relationship render humanity itself as a spectacle. "Nothing some people won’t do to get on TV." Snowman's very attempts at becoming popular reveal his confusion and bewilderment at what has become of him.
The very essence of nature and the continuation of human life such as it appears in Oryx and Crake itself becomes a spectacle as it relates to the often questioned distinction between the creation of life by normal and abnormal means and where to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not. Transgenesis and the ability to "create" super beings and then perpetuate the "gene" so that a whole new species results confirm that the consequences of trying to create perfection outside the human realm are terrifying and should be enough to ensure that Crake cannot succeed.
People constantly strive to find new ways to entertain themselves and Atwood's suggestion that changing mankind is even possible is not a new concept and regularly dwells in people's minds. For some, the consideration is ridiculous and not worthy of debate and for others, "Crakers" are a very real possibility. To combine the natural with such an engineered method of existence and where appearance is everything just adds to the spectacle. There is little respect when "every moment of her life was sent out live to millions." and facing the consequences of such moral degradation becomes part of life - part of the spectacle.
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A fog can drift in from outside and get you; it can invade. At the long high window of his library--an Ozymandiasian structure built from concrete chunks that had once in another age formed an entrance ramp to the Bayshore Freeway--Joseph Adams pondered, watched the fog, that of the Pacific. And because this was evening and the world was darkening, this fog scared him as much as that other fog, the one inside which did not invade but stretched and stirred and filled the empty portions of the body. Usually the latter fog is called loneliness.
"Fix me a drink," Colleen said plaintively from behind him.
"Your arm," he said, "it fell off? You can't squeeze the lemon?" He turned from the window with its view of dead trees, the Pacific beyond and its layer in the sky, darkness hanging and approaching, and for a moment actually considered fixing her the drink. And then he knew what he had to do, where he had to be:
At the marble-top desk which had been salvaged from a bombed-out house in the Russian Hill section of the former city of San Francisco he seated himself at the rhetorizor, touched its _on_-tab.
Groaning, Colleen disappeared to search for a leady to fix her the drink. Joseph Adams, at his desk and rhetorizor, heard her go and was glad. For some reason--but here he did not care to probe his own mind too deeply--he was lonelier with Colleen Hackett than without her, and anyhow late on Sunday night he fixed a dreadful drink; it was always too sweet, as if by mistake one of his leadies had dug up a bottle of Tokay and he had used it, not dry vermouth, in the martinis. Ironically, left to themselves, the leadies never made that error. was this an omen? Joe Adams wondered. Are they getting smarter than us?
At the keyboard of the rhetorizor he typed, carefully, the substantive he wanted. _Squirrel_. Then, after a good two minutes of sluggish, deep thought, the limiting adjective _smart_.
"Okay," he said, aloud, and sat back, touched the rerun tab.
The rhetorizor, as Colleen reentered the library with her tall gin drink, began to construct for him in the auddimension. "It is a wise old squirrel," it said tinnily (it possessed only a two-inch speaker), "and yet this little fellow's wisdom is not its own; nature has endowed it--"
"Aw god," Joe Adams said savagely, and slapped off the sleek, steel and plastic machine with all its many microcomponents; it became silent. He then noticed Colleen. "Sorry. But I'm tired. Why can't they, Brose or General Holt or Marshal Harenzany, _somebody_ in a position of responsibility, put Sunday night somewhere between Friday noon and--"
"Dear," Colleen said, and sighed. "I heard you type out only two semantic units. Give it more to ogpon."
"I'll give it plenty to ogpon." He touched the _no_-tab, typed a whole sentence, as Colleen stood behind him, sipping and watching. "Okay?"
"I just can never tell about you," Colleen said. "If you passionately love your job or hate it." She read the sentence aloud. " 'The well-informed dead rat romped under the tongue-tied pink log.'"
"Listen," he said grimly. "I want to see what this stupid assist that cost me fifteen thousand Wes-Dem dollars is going to do with that. I'm serious; I'm waiting." He jabbed the rerun tab of the machine.
"When's the speech due?" she asked.
"Oh no." He thought, I hate it even more when it's early.
The rhetorizor, in its cricket's voice, intoned folksily. "We think of rats, of course, as our enemy. But consider their vast value to us in cancer research alone. The lowly rat has done yeoman's service for huma--"
Again, at his savage instigation, it died into silence.
"--nity," Colleen said distantly; she was inspecting the authentic long-ago dug up Epstein bust in the niche that divided the west wall shelves of books, where Joseph Adams kept his reference texts on TV commercials of the last, past, great twentieth century, in particular the religious and the Mars candy bar inspired creations of Stan Freberg. "A miserable metaphor," she murmured. "A yeoman rat. yeomen were young villagers during the Medieval period, and I bet even though you're such a pro you didn't know that." She nodded to a leady which had come to the library door at her request. "Get my cloak and have my flapple brought to the main entrance." To Joe she said, "I'm flapping back to my own villa." When he didn't answer she said, "Joe, try it, the entire speech, without that assist; write it in your own words. And then you won't have 'yeoman rats' to make you so cross."
He thought, I don't think honestly I could do it, in my own words, without this machine; I'm hooked on it now.
Outside, the fog had managed a complete success; he saw, with one brief sideways glance, that it inhabited the world right to the window of his library. Well, he thought, anyhow we're spared another one of those brilliant, radioactive-particles-in-suspension-for-all-eternity sunsets.
"Your flapple, Miss Hackett," the leady announced, "is at the main entrance and I hear by remote that your type II chauffeur holds the door open for you. And due to the evening vapors one of Mr. Adams' household servants will shed warm air about you until you are tucked safely inside."
"Jeez," Joseph Adams said, and shook his head.
Colleen said, "You teached it, dear. It got its precious jargony linguistic habits straight out of you."
"Because," he said bitterly, "I like style and pomp and ritual." Turning to her, appealing, he said, "Brose told me in a memo, it showed up at the Agency directly from his own bureau in Geneva, that this speech has to use a squirrel as the operational entity. What can you say about them that hasn't already been said? They save; they're thrifty. We know that. Do they do anything else good that you know of, that you could _hang_ a goddam _moral_ on?" And he thought, they're all dead. There just isn't such a life form any more. But we still extol its virtues. after having exterminated it as a race.
On the keyboard of the rhetorizor he vigorously, with deliberation, punched two new semantic units. _Squirrel_. And--_genocide_.
The machine, presently, declared, "The funniest thing happened to me on my way to the bank, yesterday. I happened to pass through Central Park, and you know how--"
Incredulous, staring at the machine, Joe said, "_You_ passed through Central Park yesterday? Central Park's been gone forty years."
"Joe, it's just a machine." Cloak on, she returned momentarily to kiss him goodnight.
"But the thing's insane," he protested. "And it said 'funny' when I fed in _genocide_. Did you--"
"It's reminiscing," Colleen said, trying to explain it to him; she knelt briefly, touched his face with her fingers and peered at him, eye to eye. "I love you," she said, "but you're going to die; you're going to rupture yourself working. Through my office at the Agency I'll file a formal petition to Brose, asking if you can take two weeks off. I have something for you, a gift; one of my leadies dug it up near my villa; legally within the boundaries of my demesne, as per that recent little interchange my leadies had with those of my north neighbor's."
"A book." He felt a flicker within him, the peaked flame of life.
"An especially good book, the real prewar thing, not a Xeroxed copy. Know what of?"
"_Alice in Wonderland_." He had heard so much about that, had always wanted to own it and read it.
"Better. One of those outrageously funny books from the 1960s--in good shape: both front and back covers intact. A self-help book; _How I Tranquilized Myself by Drinking Onion Juice_ or some such thing. _I Made a Million Dollars by Leading Two-And-a-Half Lives For the FBI_. Or--"
He said, "Colleen, one day I looked out the window and I saw a squirrel."
Staring at him she said, "No."
"The tail; you can't mistake the tail. It's as round and fat and gray as a bottle brush. And they hop like this." He made a wicket-motion with his hand, showing her, trying to recapture it, for himself, too. "I squalled; I got four of my leadies out there with--" He shrugged. "Anyhow they finally came back and said, 'There's no such thing out there, dominus,' or some darn remark." He was silent a moment. It had, of course, been a hypnagogic hallucination, based on too many drinks and too little sleep. He knew it. The leadies knew it. And now Colleen knew it. "But just suppose," he said, then.
"Write, in your own words, how you felt. By hand on paper--not dictated into a recorder. What finding a thriving, living squirrel would have meant to you." She gestured scathingly at his fifteen thousand dollar rhetorizor. "Not what it thinks. And--"
"And Brose himself," he said, "would strike it. Maybe I could get it through the 'vac, to the sim and then on tape; I think it'd go that far. But never past Geneva. Because I wouldn't be saying, in effect, 'Come on, fellas; carry on.' I'd be saying--" He considered feeling peaceful for a moment now. "I'll try," he decided, and rose to his feet, pushing his old-California wicker chair back. "Okay, I'll even do it in longhand; I'll find a--what do you call them?"
"Ballpoint pen. Think of your cousin who was killed in the war: Ken. Then remember you're both men. Then you have it: pen."
He nodded. "And program the 'vac direct from that. You might be right; it'd be depressing but at least it wouldn't make me sick stomachwise; I wouldn't get those pyloric spasms." He began searching around the library for--what had she called it?
Still on rerun, the rhetorizor squeaked to itself, ". and that little fellow; inside that head was packed a powerful lot of savvy. Maybe even more than you or I can ever guess. And I think we can learn from him." It droned on. Inside it thousands of microcomponents spun the problem from a dozen drums of info-data; it could go on forever, but Joe Adams was busy; now he had found a pen and all he needed was blank white paper. Hell, he surely had _that_; he beckoned to the leady waiting to escort Colleen to her flapple.
"Get the staff," he instructed it, "to search up paper for me to write on. Go through every room of the villa, including all the bedrooms, even those not currently in use. I distinctly remember seeing a folio or packet of it, however it used to come. It was dug up."
By direct radio contact the leady passed on his command and he felt the building stir, through the villa's fifty-odd rooms, his staff moving into activity from the spot where each had halted after its last task. He, the dominus, sensed, with the soles of his feet, the burgeoning life of this his building and some of the inside fog went away, even though they were only what the Czechs had called _robots_, their crazy word for _workers_.
But, outside, the fog scratched at the window.
And when Colleen left, he knew, it would pluck and scrape, try to get in, more determinedly.
He wished it were Monday and he were at the Agency, in New York at his office, with other Yance-men around him. And the life there would not be the movement of dead--or rather, to be fair, unliving--things. But the reality itself.
"I can tell you," he said suddenly. "I love my work. In fact I've got to have it; there's nothing else. Not this--" He gestured at the room in which they stood, then at the murky, clouded-over window.
"Like a drug," Colleen said, perceptively.
"Okay." He nodded. "To use the archaic expression, 'I'll purchase that.'"
"Some linguist," she said gently. "It's _buy_. Maybe you ought to use that machine after all."
"No," he said, at once. "You were right; I'm going all the way back to trying it direct, on my own." Any moment now one of his staff of leadies would come clanking in with blank white paper; he was sure he possessed it, somewhere. And if he didn't he could swap some item with a neighbor, make a trip, surrounded and protected, of course, by his entourage of leadies, to the demesne and villa to the south, that of Ferris Granville. Ferris would have paper; he had told them on the open-channel vidline last week, composing his--god forbid--memoirs.
Whatever in, on or over Earth memoirs were.2
Time for bed. The clock said so, but--suppose the power had been off again, as it had for almost a whole day last week; the clock might be hours wrong. It might in fact, Nicholas St. James thought morbidly, really be time to get up. And the metabolism of his body, even after all these years underground, told him nothing.
In the shared bathroom of their cubby, 67-B of the Tom Mix, water ran; his wife was taking a shower. So Nicholas searched about her vanity table until he found her wristwatch, read it; both timepieces agreed, therefore that was that. And yet he felt wide-awake. The Maury Souza affair, he realized; it preyed vulturely on him, made a trough of his brain. This is how it must feel, he thought, to contract the Bag Plague, where those virtues get in and cause your head to expand until it pops like a blown-up paper bag. Maybe I'm sick, he thought. Actually. Even more so than Souza. And Maury Souza, the chief mechanic of their ant tank, now in his seventies, was dying.
"I'm out," Rita called from the bathroom. However, the shower still ran; she was not out. "I mean, you can come in and brush your teeth or put them in a glass or whatever it is you do."
What I do, he thought, is get the Bag Plague. probably that last damaged leady they sent down hadn't been 'cided properly. Or I've picked up the Stink of Shrink, and from that he physically cringed; imagine, he thought, having your head diminish in size, features included, to the circumference of a marble. "Okay," he said, reflexively, and began to unlace his work boots. He felt the need to be clean; he would shower, too, despite the severe water ration currently in force at the Tom Mix, and by his own edict. When you do not feel clean, he realized, you are doomed. Considering exactly what we could be made unclean by, the microscopic _things_ downfalling to us that some careless ambulatory metal hunk of handmade parts had failed to 'cide out of existence before yanking the drop switch, shooting three hundred pounds of contaminated matter to us, something both hot and dirty at the same time. hot with radioactivity and dirty with germs. Great combination, he thought.
And, in the back part of his mind, again he recalled: _Souza is dying_. What else matters? Because--how long can we last without that one grumpy old man?
Approximately two weeks. Because their quota came up for auditing in two weeks. And this time, if he knew his luck and his tank's, it would be one of the Minister of the Interior Stanton Brose's agents, not General Holt's. They rotated. It prevented, the image of Yancy on the big screen had once said, corruption.
Picking up the audphone he dialed the tank's clinic.
On the other end Dr. Carol Tigh, their G.P. in charge of their small clinic, said, "No change. He's conscious. Come on down; he tells me he'd like to talk to you."
"Okay." Nicholas rang off, shouted--through the noise of running water--to Rita that he was going, and left their cubby; outside in the common corridor he bumped past other tankers on their ways from the shops and recreation rooms to their cubbies for bed: the clocks had been right, because he saw numerous bathrobes and standard issue synthetic wubfur-fuzz slippers. This really is bedtime, he decided. But he knew he still could not sleep.
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The three stigmata of palmer eldritch analysis
As The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch is reissued, Michael Moorcock finds he has some problems with Philip K Dick The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a 1965 novel by US science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Overview of Philip K. Dick's novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Immediately download the The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans. Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations (Contributions to the Study. Review Analysis of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964) The Zap Gun (1964) The Penultimate Truth (1964).
Plot Summary of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch "The year is about 2016. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is often touted as Philip K Dick?s best novel, which is some recommendation given that he wrote around forty of. Thank you, S. Pope and robertod, for this analysis and discussion.
Three stigmata of palmer eldritch summary
Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch Chapter 1 summary/analysis: By way of a prolegomena, and to. exercise your pre-frontal cortex, I?d like to remind you of something. Plot Summary of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch "The year is about 2016, and the Earth is overheating. Immediately download the The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans. The story begins in a future world where global warming has.
Paper Summary: The plot summary isn't very good at all. Overview of Philip K. Dick's novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Anne Hawthorne has a lot more importance, as does the drama on the colony. Thank you, S. Pope and robertod, for this analysis and discussion.
The three stigmata of palmer eldritch sparknotes
Immediately download the The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans. Plot Summary: In this wildly disorienting funhouse of a novel, populated. Plot summary (From Wikipedia) The story begins in a future world where. As The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch is reissued, Michael Moorcock finds he has some problems with Philip K Dick As usual, Phillip K. Dick has left me with spirally eyes and a whirring brain.
Plot Summary of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch "The year is about 2016, and the Earth is overheating. Thank you, S. Pope and robertod, for this analysis and discussion. I'd like to give a plot summary, but I'll let someone else do that and egotistically. His wit, compassion, and knife-edged irony make The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch moving as. The story begins in a future world where global warming has. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964) The Zap Gun (1964) The Penultimate Truth (1964) Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch Chapter 1 summary/analysis: By way of a prolegomena, and to. exercise your pre-frontal cortex, I?d like to remind you of something.
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World War III is raging - or so the millions of people crammed in their underground tanks believe. For fiteen years, subterranean humanity has been fed on daily broadcasts of a never-ending nuclear destruction, sustained by a belief in the all powerful Protector. Now someone has gone to the surface and found no destruction, no war. The authorities have been telling a massive lie. Now the search begins to find out why.Philip K. Dick
Philip Kindred Dick
December 16, 1928 ( 1928-12-16 )
Chicago. Illinois, U.S.
March 2, 1982 ( 1982-03-02 ) (aged 53)
Santa Ana. California, U.S.
Novelist, essayist, short story writer
Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments and altered states. In his later works Dick's thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse. paranoia and schizophrenia. and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS . [ 6 ]
The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. [ 7 ] Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said . a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. [ 8 ] "I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards," Dick wrote of these stories. "In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real." [ 9 ] Dick referred to himself as a "fictionalizing philosopher."
In addition to 44 published novels, [ 10 ] Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. [ 11 ] Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, [ 12 ] ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner . Total Recall . A Scanner Darkly . Minority Report . Paycheck . Next . Screamers . and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, TIME magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. [ 13 ] In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series. [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ 17 ]Contents Personal life
Philip Kindred Dick and his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, were born six weeks prematurely on December 16, 1928 in Chicago to Dorothy Kindred Dick, and Joseph Edgar Dick who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. [ 18 ] [ 19 ] Jane died six weeks later on January 26, 1929. The death of Philip's twin sister profoundly affected his writing, relationships, and every aspect of his life, leading to the recurrent motif of the "phantom twin" in many of his books. [ 18 ]
The family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. When Philip turned five, his father was transferred to Reno. Nevada. When Dorothy refused to move, she and Joseph divorced. Both parents fought for custody of Philip, who was awarded to the mother. Dorothy, determined to raise Philip alone, took a job in Washington, D.C. and moved there with her son. Philip was enrolled at John Eaton Elementary School from 1936 to 1938, completing the second through the fourth grades. His lowest grade was a "C" in written composition, although a teacher remarked that he "shows interest and ability in story telling." In June 1938, Dorothy and Philip returned to California. It was around this time that he became interested in science fiction. [ 20 ] Dick states that in 1940 at the age of twelve he read his first science fiction magazine entitled "Stirring Science Stories". [ 20 ]
Dick attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley. California. He and fellow science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin were members of the same high school graduating class (1947), but were unknown to each other at the time. After graduating from high school he briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley from September 1949 and withdrew November 11, 1949, with an hon. dismissal granted January 1, 1950. Dick was an undeclared major and took classes in history, philosophy, and zoology. Through his studies in philosophy, he realized that existence is based on the internal-based perception of a human, which doesn't necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as an "acosmic pan-enthiest," believing in the universe only as an extension of God. [ 21 ] After reading the works of Plato and pondering the possibilities of metaphysical realms, Dick came to the final conclusion that, in a certain sense, the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether or not it is truly there. This question from his early studies persisted as a theme in many of his novels. Dick dropped out, according to his third wife Anne in her memoir, because of his ongoing anxiety problems. Anne states that he did not like the mandatory ROTC training. At Berkeley, Dick befriended poet Robert Duncan and poet and linguist Jack Spicer. who gave Dick ideas for a Martian language. Dick claimed to have been host of a classical music program on KSMO Radio in 1947. [ 22 ]
From 1948 to 1952 Dick worked in a record store. In 1955, he and his second wife, Kleo Apostolides, received a visit from the FBI, which they believed to be the result of Kleo's socialist views and left-wing activities. The couple briefly befriended one of the FBI agents. [ 23 ]
Around this time in his life, Dick's marriage to his third wife had fallen apart, and he was divorced in 1964. But by 1966, he met Nancy Hackett and married her by the end of the year. [ 24 ]
Dick was married five times: to Jeanette Marlin (May 1948 to November 1948), Kleo Apostolides (June 14, 1950 to 1959), Anne Williams Rubinstein (April 1, 1959 to October 1965), Nancy Hackett (July 6, 1966 to 1972), and Leslie (Tessa) Busby (April 18, 1973 to 1977). Dick had three children, Laura Archer (February 25, 1960), Isolde Freya Dick (now Isa Dick Hackett) (March 15, 1967), and Christopher Kenneth (July 25, 1973).
Dick was quite miserable during his marriage to Anne, and he felt his creativity to be stifled by her. She repeatedly claimed that his constant work on writing was detrimental to her, and their relationship. Feeling an immense amount of pressure from his family responsibilities, Dick retreated from his family and wrote "The Man in the High Castle" based on his personal concerns and frustration, which became one of his most famous works. [ 25 ]
Dick tried to stay off the political scene due to the high societal turmoil from the Vietnam war; however, he did show some anti-Vietnam war and anti-governmental sentiments. In 1968, he participated in an anti-war pledge called the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest", [ 26 ] [ 27 ] resolving not to pay income taxes, which resulted in the IRS seizing his car.
On February 17, 1982, after completing an interview, Dick contacted his therapist complaining of failing eyesight, and was advised to go to a hospital immediately, but did not. The next day he was found unconscious on the floor of his Santa Ana. California home after suffering a stroke. In the hospital, he suffered another stroke after which his brain activity ceased. Five days later, on March 2, 1982 he was disconnected from life support and died. After his death, Dick's father Joseph took his son's ashes to Fort Morgan. Colorado where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane, whose tombstone had been inscribed with both their names when she died 53 years earlier. [ 23 ] [ 28 ] [ 29 ]Career
Dick sold his first story in 1951. From that point on he wrote full-time, selling his first novel in 1955. The 1950s were a difficult and impoverished time for Dick. He once said "We couldn't even pay the late fees on a library book." He published almost exclusively within the science fiction genre, but dreamed of a career in the mainstream of American literature. During the 1950s he produced a series of non-genre, relatively conventional novels. In 1960 he wrote that he was willing to "take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer." The dream of mainstream success formally died in January 1963 when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency returned all of his unsold mainstream novels. Only one of these works, Confessions of a Crap Artist . was published during Dick's lifetime. [ 30 ]
In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle . [ 7 ] Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man. Dick wrote:
"Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter. God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don't agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."
In 1972, Dick donated manuscripts, papers and other materials to the Special Collections Library at California State University, Fullerton where they are archived in the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Collection in the Pollak Library. It was in Fullerton that Philip K. Dick befriended budding science-fiction writers K. W. Jeter. James Blaylock. and Tim Powers. The last novel written during Dick's life was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer . It was published shortly after his death in 1982.Unusual experiences
On February 20, 1974, Dick was recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth. Answering the door to receive delivery of extra analgesic, he encountered a Christian woman who was calling door to door. She was wearing a Christian fish pendant ; 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" that mesmerized him. Dick came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance; he also believed it to be intelligent. On one occasion, Dick was startled by the pink beam. It imparted the information to him that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital where Dick's suspicion and his diagnosis were confirmed. [ 31 ]
After the woman's departure, Dick began experiencing strange visions. Although they may have been initially attributable to the medication, after weeks of visions he considered this explanation implausible. "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. [ 32 ]
Beam hallucinations such as Dick's are quite common. The most famous sufferer of an identical condition was inventor Nikola Tesla. [ 33 ]
Throughout February and March 1974, he experienced a series of visions, which he referred to as "2-3-74", shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the "pink beam", Dick described the initial visions as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the visions increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live a double life, one as himself, "Philip K. Dick", and one as "Thomas", a Christian persecuted by Romans in the 1st century A.D. 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 Transmigration of Timothy Archer . i.e. the VALIS trilogy .
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 story from the Biblical Book of Acts, which he had never read. [ 34 ]
His experiences and faith were documented and discussed in a private journal which was published as Exegesis .Pen names
Dick had two professional stories published under the pen names Richard Phillips and Jack Dowland. "Some Kinds Of Life" in Fantastic Universe. October, 1953 was published as by Richard Phillipps apparently because "Planet For Transients" was published in the same issue under his own name. [ 35 ]
The short story "Orpheus with Clay Feet " was published under the pen name "Jack Dowland". The protagonist desires to be the muse for fictional author Jack Dowland, considered the greatest science fiction author of the 20th century. In the story, Dowland publishes a short story titled "Orpheus with Clay Feet", under the pen name "Philip K. Dick".
The surname Dowland refers to Renaissance composer John Dowland. who is featured in several works. The title Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said directly refers to Dowland's best-known composition, "Flow My Tears". In the novel The Divine Invasion . the 'Linda Fox' character, created specifically with Linda Ronstadt in mind, is an intergalactically famous singer whose entire body of work consists of recordings of John Dowland compositions. Also, some protagonists in Dick's short fiction are named 'Dowland'.Style and works Themes
Dick's stories typically focus on the fragile nature of what is "real" and the construction of personal identity. His stories often become surreal fantasies as the main characters slowly discover that their everyday world is actually an illusion constructed by powerful external entities (such as in Ubik [ 36 ] ), vast political conspiracies, or simply from the vicissitudes of an unreliable narrator. "All of his work starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality", writes science fiction author Charles Platt. "Everything is a matter of perception. The ground is liable to shift under your feet. A protagonist may find himself living out another person's dream, or he may enter a drug-induced state that actually makes better sense than the real world, or he may cross into a different universe completely." [ 32 ]
Alternate universes and simulacra were common plot devices, with fictional worlds inhabited by common, working people, rather than galactic elites. "There are no heroes in Dick's books", Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, "but there are heroics. One is reminded of Dickens. what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people." [ 36 ] Dick made no secret that much of his ideas and work were heavily influenced by the writings of Carl Jung. [ 28 ] [ 37 ] The Jungian constructs and models that most concerned Dick seem to be the archetypes of the collective unconscious, group projection/hallucination, synchronicities, and personality theory. [ 28 ] Many of Dick's protagonists overtly analyze reality and their perceptions in Jungian terms (see Lies Inc. ), while other times, the themes are so obviously in reference to Jung their usage needs no explanation. [ citation needed ] Dick's self-named Exegesis also contained many notes on Jung in relation to theology and mysticism. [ citation needed ]
"Phil Dick's third major theme is his fascination with war and his fear and hatred of it. One hardly sees critical mention of it, yet it is as integral to his body of work as oxygen is to water." – Steven Owen Godersky [ 38 ]
Dick frequently focused on the question, "What is human?" In works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? beings can appear totally human in every respect while lacking soul or compassion, while completely alien beings such as Glimmung in Galactic Pot-Healer may be more humane and complex than Dick's human characters.
Mental illness was a constant interest of Dick's, and themes of mental illness permeate his work. The character Jack Bohlen in the 1964 novel Martian Time-Slip is an "ex-schizophrenic". The novel Clans of the Alphane Moon centers on an entire society made up of descendants of lunatic asylum inmates. In 1965 he wrote the essay titled Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes. [ 39 ]
Drug use (including religious, recreational. and abuse ) was also a theme in many of Dick's works, such as A Scanner Darkly and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch . Dick was a drug user for much of his life. According to a 1975 interview in Rolling Stone . [ 40 ] Dick wrote all of his books published before 1970 while on amphetamines. "A Scanner Darkly (1977) was the first complete novel I had written without speed", said Dick in the interview. He also experimented briefly with psychedelics. but wrote The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch . which Rolling Stone dubs "the classic LSD novel of all time", before he had ever tried them. Despite his heavy amphetamine use, however, Dick later said that doctors had told him that the amphetamines never actually affected him, that his liver had processed them before they reached his brain. [ 40 ]Selected works
For complete bibliography, see Philip K. Dick bibliography.
The Man in the High Castle (1962) is set in an alternate universe United States ruled by the victorious Axis powers. It is considered a defining novel of the alternate history sub-genre, [ 41 ] and is the only Dick novel to win a Hugo Award. Philipkdickfans.com recommends this novel, along with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ubik . as an introductory novel to readers new to Dick's writing. [ 42 ]
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) utilizes an array of science fiction concepts and features several layers of reality and unreality. It is also one of Dick's first works to explore religious themes. The novel takes place in the twenty-first century, when, under UN authority, mankind has colonized the Solar System 's every habitable planet and moon. Life is physically daunting and psychologically monotonous for most colonists, so the UN must draft people to go to the colonies. Most entertain themselves using "Perky Pat" dolls and accessories manufactured by Earth-based "P.P. Layouts". The company also secretly creates "Can-D", an illegal but widely available hallucinogenic drug allowing the user to "translate" into Perky Pat (if the drug user is a woman) or Pat's boyfriend, Walt (if the drug user is a man). This recreational use of Can-D allows colonists to experience a few minutes of an idealized life on Earth by participating in a collective hallucination.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) is the story of a bounty hunter policing the local android population. It occurs on a dying, poisoned Earth de-populated of all "successful" humans; the only remaining inhabitants of the planet are people with no prospects off-world. Androids, also known as andys, all have a preset "death" date. However, a few andys seek to escape this fate and supplant the humans on Earth. The 1968 story is the literary source of the film Blade Runner (1982). [ 43 ] It is both a conflation and an intensification of the pivotally Dickian question, What is real, what is fake? What crucial factor defines humanity as distinctly 'alive', versus those merely alive only in their outward appearance?
Ubik (1969) uses extensive networks of psychics and a suspended state after death in creating a state of eroding reality. A group of psychics is sent to investigate a group of rival psychics, but several of them are apparently killed by a saboteur's bomb. Much of the novel flicks between a number of equally plausible realities; the "real" reality, a state of half-life and psychically manipulated realities. In 2005, TIME magazine listed it among the "All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels" published since 1923. [ 13 ]
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) concerns Jason Taverner, a television star living in a dystopian near-future police state. After being attacked by an angry ex-girlfriend, Taverner awakens in a dingy Los Angeles hotel room. He still has his money in his wallet, but his identification cards are missing. This is no minor inconvenience, as security checkpoints (manned by "pols" and "nats", the police and National Guard) are set up throughout the city to stop and arrest anyone without valid ID. Jason at first thinks that he was robbed, but soon discovers that his entire identity has been erased. There is no record of him in any official database, and even his closest associates do not recognize or remember him. For the first time in many years, Jason has no fame or reputation to rely on. He has only his innate charisma to help him as he tries to find out what happened to his past and avoid the attention of the pols. The novel was Dick's first published novel after years of silence, during which time his critical reputation had grown, and this novel was awarded the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. [ 8 ] It is the only Philip K. Dick novel nominated for both a Hugo and for a Nebula Award .
In an essay written two years before dying, Dick described how he learned from his Episcopalian priest that an important scene in Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – involving its other main character, Police General Felix Buckman, the policeman of the title – was very similar to a scene in the Acts of the Apostles. [ 34 ] Film director Richard Linklater discusses this novel in his film Waking Life . which begins with a scene reminiscent of another Dick novel, Time Out of Joint .
A Scanner Darkly (1977) is a bleak mixture of science fiction and police procedural novels; in its story, an undercover narcotics police detective begins to lose touch with reality after falling victim to the same permanently mind altering drug, Substance D, he was enlisted to help fight. Substance D is instantly addictive, beginning with a pleasant euphoria which is quickly replaced with increasing confusion, hallucinations and eventually total psychosis. In this novel, as with all Dick novels, there is an underlying thread of paranoia and dissociation with multiple realities perceived simultaneously. It was adapted to film by Richard Linklater .
VALIS (1980) is perhaps Dick's most postmodern and autobiographical novel. examining his own unexplained experiences. It may also be his most academically studied work, and was adapted as an opera by Tod Machover. [ 44 ] VALIS was voted Philip K. Dick‘s best novel at the website philipkdickfans.com. [ 45 ] Later works like the VALIS trilogy were heavily autobiographical, many with "two-three-seventy-four" (2-3-74) references and influences. The word VALIS is the acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Later, PKD theorized that VALIS was both a "reality generator" and a means of extraterrestrial communication. A fourth VALIS manuscript, Radio Free Albemuth. although composed in 1976, was posthumously published in 1985. This work is described by the publisher (Arbor House) as "an introduction and key to his magnificent VALIS trilogy."
Regardless of the feeling that he was somehow experiencing a divine communication, Dick was never fully able to rationalize the events. For the rest of his life, he struggled to comprehend what was occurring, questioning his own sanity and perception of reality. He transcribed what thoughts he could into an eight-thousand-page, one-million-word journal dubbed the Exegesis . From 1974 until his death in 1982, Dick spent sleepless nights writing in this journal, often under the influence of prescription amphetamines. A recurring theme in Exegesis is PKD's hypothesis that history had been stopped in the 1st century A.D. and that "the Empire never ended". He saw Rome as the pinnacle of materialism and despotism. which, after forcing the Gnostics underground, had kept the population of Earth enslaved to worldly possessions. Dick believed that VALIS had communicated with him, and anonymous others, to induce the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon. whom Dick believed to be the current Emperor of Rome incarnate.
In a 1968 essay titled "Self Portrait", collected in the 1995 book The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick. Dick reflects on his work and lists which books he feels "might escape World War Three": Eye in the Sky . The Man in the High Castle . Martian Time-Slip . Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb . The Zap Gun . The Penultimate Truth . The Simulacra . The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (which he refers to as "the most vital of them all"), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. and Ubik. [ 46 ] In a 1976 interview, Dick cited A Scanner Darkly as his best work, feeling that he "had finally written a true masterpiece, after 25 years of writing". [ 47 ]Adaptations Films
A number 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 have accumulated a total revenue of over US $1 billion as of 2009. [ 49 ]
Future films based on Dick's writing include the animated adaptation King of the Elves from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. set to be released in the winter of 2012; Radio Free Albemuth . based on Dick's novel of the same name. which has been completed and is currently awaiting distribution; and a film adaptation of Ubik which, according to Dick's daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, is in advanced negotiation. [ 51 ] Ubik is set to be made into a film by Michael Gondry. [ 52 ]
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 . [ 53 ] It has been reported in 2010 that Ridley Scott will produce an adaptation of The Man in the High Castle for BBC, in the form of a mini-series. [ 54 ]Stage and radio
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. 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. [ 55 ]
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 [ 56 ] were aired by NBC in 1956 as part of the series X Minus One .Comics
Also in 2009, BOOM! Studios published a 24-issue miniseries comic book adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [ 58 ] Blade Runner . the 1982 film adapted from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. had previously been adapted to comics as A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner .Alternate formats
In response to a 1975 request from the National Library for the Blind for permission to make use of The Man In The High Castle Dick responded, "I also grant you a general permission to transcribe any of my former, present or future work, so indeed you can add my name to your 'general permission' list." [ 59 ] A number of his books and stories are available in braille and other specialized formats through the NLS. [ 60 ]
As of July 17, 2010, eleven of Philip K. Dick's early works in the public domain in the United States are available in ebook form from Project Gutenberg. See Dick, Philip K. 1928–1982 at Project Gutenberg .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. [ 39 ]
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. [ 28 ]
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." [ 61 ] [ 62 ] [ 63 ] It can be considered a non-fiction novel about his life.
The Philip K. Dick Society was an organization dedicated to promoting the literary works of Dick and was previously led by Dick's longtime friend the 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 .
Philip K. Dick Android in the Nextfest Exhibition at Navy Pier
Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a remote-controlled android designed in his likeness. [ 80 ] The android of Philip K. Dick 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. [ 81 ] In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement. [ 82 ]Film
Dick's foreshadowing of postmodernity has been noted by philosophers as diverse as Jean Baudrillard. Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek. [ 3 ] Jean Baudrillard offers this interpretation:
It is hyperreal. It is a universe of simulation, which is something altogether different. And this is so not because Dick speaks specifically of simulacra. SF has always done so, but it has always played upon the double, on artificial replication or imaginary duplication, whereas here the double has disappeared. There is no more double; one is always already in the other world, an other world which is not another, without mirrors or projection or utopias as means for reflection. The simulation is impassable, unsurpassable, checkmated, without exteriority. We can no longer move "through the mirror" to the other side, as we could during the golden age of transcendence. [ 91 ]
For his anti-government skepticism, Philip K. Dick was afforded minor mention in Mythmakers and Lawbreakers. a collection of interviews about fiction by anarchist authors. Noting his early authorship of "The Last of the Masters ", an anarchist themed novelette, author Margaret Killjoy expressed that while Dick never fully sided with anarchism. his opposition to government centralization and organized religion has influenced anarchist interpretations of gnosticism. [ 92 ]Awards and honors
During his lifetime, Dick received the following awards and nominations:See also