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Philip K. Dick

Matti Schneider
May 14, 2009

Philip K. Dick

A presentation of one of my favorite authors’ work and life.

Matti Schneider

May 14, 2009


  1. Main theme Fragile nature of what is "real" "All of

    his work starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality" "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 […]." Quotes from Charles Platt.
  2. Theme incarnations Mental illness Clans of the Alphane Moon :

    society made up from asylum inmates Drug uses A Scanner Darkly : main character becoming addicted to Substance D, hallucinogenic drug Manipulations from greater entities Governments agencies, extraterrestrials, mutants, whatever… 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".
  3. Sci-Fi ≠ Boom-Boom No big shiny spaceships bombing each other

    Always based on persons, usually following the thoughts of an individual lost in a shifting world No heroes Common, working people Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said : a superfamous TV star loses his identity overnight
  4. Famous adaptations Blade Runner Based on Do Androids Dream of

    Electric Sheeps ? Minority Report, Paycheck, Next Use of the stories, but much more action-based, less reflective Vanilla Sky Not a real adaptation, but clearly more representative (Ubik) Blade Runner : Deckard is a Blade Runner, a police man of the future who hunts down and terminates replicants, artificially created humans. He wants to get out of the force, but is drawn back in when 4 "skin jobs", a slang term for replicants, hijack a ship back to Earth. The city that Deckard must search for his prey is a huge, sprawling, bleak vision of the future. This film questions what it is to be human, and why life is so precious. Payckeck : Ben Affleck plays an engineer who is hired to work on a top-secret project with the understanding that his memory will be erased after he completes the job. He completes the job, and he gives up millions of dollars to receive an envelope, which contains several items such as a key, a pack of cigarettes, sunglasses, a bullet, etc. Ben uses these items to regain his memory while his old employer is trying to kill him, and the government is trying to put him in jail for something he doesn't remember doing. Every item plays a part in saving his life, his memory, and our future. Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)
  5. Unstable reality Took hallucinogen drugs Schizoid/Paranoid behavior Wanted to be

    interned in a psychiatric hospital The Exegesis, monumental last work More than 8000 handwritten pages Tells about his visions
  6. Difficult personal life Married five times, always ended with a

    divorce His work didn’t get any attention until the very end of his life Success started in France, then came back to the U.S.
  7. Consequences on work An author who put a lot of

    himself into his stories Makes the difference between him and his successors: same themes, but not as true VALIS, one of his last books, has a lot of references to his life
  8. Influences on literature Shifting realities is referred to as a

    « Dickian » theme Precursor of the cyberpunk genre Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  9. Influences on society Work deeply linked with the American hippy

    movement Not remarked at first in the U.S. In France : big success due to arrival on 68 Representative of the new generation’s realities Doubtful of the old hero and happy-ends models Drugs, delusive reality
  10. Sources Wikipedia (en) IMDB An analysis in Aurore sur un

    jardin de palmes, a collection of Dick’s works at Omnibus editions Questions?