I’ve yet to fully decide the direction this blog will take. All I know is that I’ve been a long time Philip K. Dick (PKD) fan since my teenage years, and I’ve always wanted to in some way cover his entire oeuvre and beyond, inclusive of not only his written work, but also its derivations across film and television.
According to Aaron John Barlow, in his seminal PH.D, thesis ‘Reality, Religion, and Politics in Philip K. Dick’s Fiction’, PKD’s “themes fall into three inter-related categories: metaphysics, religion, and politics.” PKD’s metaphysics deals with the “perception and the world and interaction of the individual with both. Religion focuses on “the moralities of creator and creation relations.” His politics center “on relationships between individuals and political systems.” Barlow also identifies the models PKD used for presentation in his fiction, particularly “the mask”. Used as a tool of deception it “explores the possible relationships that may exist between the deceiver and the deceived, between each and the mask itself, how the act of deception might change the relationships, and the impact on them of the discovery of the hoax.”1
“[H]ow we perceive the world and reality is one of Philip K. Dick’s primary concerns.” PKD’s characters “are often confused and cognitively disoriented.”2 In PKD’s apocalyptic writings he emerges “as the poet laureate of the postmodern adventure in his bleak and frightening portrayals of the future of global capitalism, interplanetary space travel and colonization, and the merging of humans and technology.”3
My next blog entry starts at the beginning of his writings, or at least at the earliest I have access to: the short story Stability. According to the PKD fan site, chronologically, Stability falls after two earlier writings. PKD’s very first manuscript, Return to Lilliput, was lost and never found nor published. His second writing, Stratosphere Betty, was self-published, but I have not been able to procure a copy (and if anyone knows how I can get my hands on it please let me know).
Disclaimer: this is an amateur attempt, and I claim no academic or inside knowledge. I am only a fan, and in no way affiliated with PKD. I’ll make sure to credit my sources, but errors will be made, and I will be solely responsible. Feel free to correct me, but please do so with a gentle hand. Let’s talk first.
1Aaron John Barlow. “Reality, Religion, and Politics in Philip K. Dick’s Fiction” University of Iowa. 1988.
2Rubén Mendoza. “Adapting (to) Philip K. Dick’s Perceptual Play.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, 2014, pp. 242–247. JSTOR.
3Steve Best & Douglas Kellner. “The Apocalyptic Vision of Philip K. Dick.” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 3(2), 186-202. (2003).