PKD

The Great Writers series. A look at some of the writers who have inspired me and millions of others.

First up we have:

Philip K. Dick

Great Writers: Philip K. Dick
By David Sloma

Copyright 2014-2015 by David Sloma. All rights reserved.

*Note: This is an ongoing piece of writing, a work-in-progress and will be updated from time to time.  It’s not to be copied and sold, however. I ask that it not be posted anywhere else, as I am making updates to this.

UPDATED: November 11, 2015
On this sombre Remembrance Day here in Canada, another update.
-Finished Doctor Bloodmoney (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-Finished The Penultimate Truth (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-Finished The Man in the High Castle (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-Reading The Divine Invasion

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2015
-Finished Dr. Futurity (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-Reading Doctor Bloodmoney (see section PKD Books I Have Read) Hmm, another “dr.” book in a row?

UPDATED: July 18, 2015
-I read UBIK (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-I read A Scanner Darkly (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-Starting to read Dr. Futurity (see section PKD Books I Have Read)
-I read some books about Phil (see section Books About PKD)

Even if you’ve never read of one his books, it’s likely you’ve seen a movie or TV show based on Philip K. Dick’s work and influenced by the ideas he put down on the written page. I hope this ebook will serve as an introduction to his excellent writing and extraordinary life.

And, like PKD, this ebook is something that is ongoing, as I update it when I have something new to say on the subject. For, as PKD may have left this Earth and his Earthly body, he is still very much “around,” as many can attest to who have continued to feel his influence.

Every effort has been made to be factual, report errors to the author. Insert 5 cents to continue.

www.davidsloma.com

PKD

 

Contents:

 

-A Brief Bio Of Philip K. Dick (PKD)

-PKD Books I Have Read

-An Introduction To PKD’s VALIS Mystical Experiences

-Stories Of PKD That Have Been Turned Into Films

-Links To Videos About Philip K. Dick

-Books About PKD

-PKD Online Resources

-More By David Sloma

 

A Brief Bio of Philip K. Dick

 

Philip Kindred Dick (PKD) is one of the most popular and one of the best science-fiction authors. There have been many of his works turned into films and TV, and the adaptations continue, with the most successful one so far being Blade Runner – a cinematic masterpiece. I’ve seen many movies that have been based on his work without even realizing it at first; likely you have, too.

PKD was American, and lived from 1928 to 1982, mostly in Berkeley, California as an adult, including a stint in Vancouver, Canada. He led a life of many ups and downs, was married several times, and much controversy still surrounds his work. His writing has been the inspiration for other writers for decades now, and will be for decades to come. Readers have marveled at the worlds of his stories, which often held deeper meanings than were observed on the surface, and contain ideas that rattle around in the brain for a long time to come.

Phil was an early reader and collector of comic books, and pulp science-fiction magazines and digests as a teenager. He also nurtured a deep interest in classical music, which was very unusual for a high-school student! He wrote for his high school newspaper in Berkeley, California, cutting his teeth with publication.

In his early days of trying to be a writer he had a lot of rejection and was often poor. One day, seventeen of his rejected manuscripts were delivered to his house by mail, and he faced much despair that he would not be able to make a living as a writer. He held some varied jobs, including working in a record store.

He wrote several mainstream fiction novels that didn’t seem to attract much attention. But, he kept on writing, determined that he would find an audience for his work, and be able to make a living on it; this belief of his was to come true in a big way. He started to sell some short sci-fi stories, but on the advice of his agent, he began to write sci-fi novels, as they would be able to generate more income, and be appealing to Phil’s developing audience for his short stories. His breakout novel was

Common themes and areas of exploration in his writing were the nature of consensus reality versus other realties, multiple worlds within worlds, the relationship of one’s inner world to the outer world – and what the implications of all this could be. He speculated the existence of a computer controlled consensus reality, a type of “matrix”.

 

 

PKD Books I’ve Read

 

The Man in the High Castle
Written in (to be filled in later)
First published (to be filled in later)
My copy published in (coming soon…)

This must be the fifth PKD novel I’ve read and it’s a very good one as well. It’s about how the world would be had Japan and Germany not lost WW2. I enjoyed this book. Some nice actions scenes, good suspense, surprises, and as always, food for thought. Not my favourite PKD novel, but still better than most.

 

The Penultimate Truth
Written in (to be filled in later)
First published (to be filled in later)
My copy published in (coming soon…)

Does it get any better than this? Talk about predictive fiction that has spawned other fiction and real life events! Killer robots, post-apocalypse setting, people living in underground fallout shelters…I won’t give the story away, but this one is great. Very engaging read, one that was hard to put down (as most of his books are!).
More to come soon, including pictures of my paperback copy….

 

UBIK
Written in (to be filled in later)
First published (to be filled in later)

Wow, this is an amazing book! The first PKD book I’ve read and what an introduction! I’m not going to give away any of the story details, but I will say it had to do with ideas of life/death and what is “really” real. A sort of virtually-realty experience, or is that more-real-than-real reality? That’s for you to decide. You may wonder about the UBIK spray cans on some of the book covers and in videos about PKD—rest assured it will all be explained when you read the book, or will it? See my video about the book to check out the great cover on the DAW paperback I have (coming soon).

 

A Scanner Darkly
Written in (to be filled in later)
First published (to be filled in later)

The second PKD book I have read. To think this was written decades ago, yet it’s still futuristic is becoming one of the leitmotivs I am finding in Phil’s work. As I have read more about his life, I can see how many of his experiences of the times (1960’s in particular) have informed this story. The copy I read was a DAW softcover edition with a very psychedelic illustration—see my video about the book to get a look at the great cover! (coming soon). You can find the link on my site: (coming soon) and on my YouTube channel “RockinFilms” (video coming soon).

 

Dr. Futurity
Written in 1960
First published (to be filled in later)
The edition I read published in 1984, a softcover paperback

(July 18, 2015) I was looking for a new book to read from the TBR (To Be Read) pile/collection and came across a few PKD books I have not read yet. I was gifted a big collection of SF/Fantasy paperbacks a while ago, many of them quite old. Perhaps a fellow SF/Fantasy fan passed away and his family wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate them? I don’t know for sure. But it was an impressive box of books, including many giants of the field, including several PKD novels. I hemmed and hawed over various titles from other authors, but since I had been on a bit of a PKD kick recently, I decided to just keep on reading more of his work. I decided on Dr. Futurity.

Just started reading this and it’s already made me go “Wow!” in the first few pages…And a PDK synch moment occurred when I saw one of the characters speaking a different language, due to that fact that he is from another time—this is significant to me, as I am working on a SF story that also has to do with a character going to a world where the inhabitants there speak another langue. I’ve been thinking about how to write this language in my story and then I find this story of Phil’s from before I was born. Interesting…I’ll be reading this story very keenly.

Also, there’s a 2nd synch, as I think this is the only other place I’ve seen the word whooshed used. I used the word in my novel Brainjob published in 2011. Here I was thinking I had probably made it up, as my spellchecker kept telling me it didn’t exist. Guess not.

August 9, 2015 – I finished this book the other day and wow…another great read! I can see a lot of places where this book has influenced other sci-fi, particularly movies. Also, there are some devices here that are used in other PKD stories. For a book that was written in 1960, it does not feel dated and is still exciting to read. It’s a novella, of about 100 pages, or a short novel; great, quick read! The third PKD book I’ve read (along with some short stories).

 

Doctor Bloodmoney
(Reading about the end of the world on a sunny, late summer day here (Aug 9, 2015).
Written in (to be filled in later)
First published (to be filled in later)
My copy published in (coming soon…)

Update November 11, 2015:
I’ve finished the book and really enjoyed it (if one can enjoy the bleak setting-you can, as the writing is so rich). I think this is a my favourite PKD book so far, but I think that with most every book. It was interesting to read about the places in this book, as I’ve been to many of the real life locations (wait, what is real life? We are talking PKD, here!). Another nuclear war story and a great story it is, as it really gets into some interesting metaphysical areas. Very readable and highly recommended. The fourth PKD novel I’ve read. Might be my favourite one so far, but that’s hard to tell, as they all have great parts in them.

Cover images and other data to come, soon.

 

An Introduction To PKD’s VALIS Mystical Experiences

 

PKD had several troubling and also enlightening metaphysical experiences, including having scenes from his books come to pass in his life. He says it started when he answered the door one day to find a woman like a character out of one of his books. He was hit with a pink beam of light from a necklace she was wearing, then he had a past-life experience which found its way into his fiction, and became the basis for many of his working theories on time travel.

He was also in communication with another intelligence who told him things that were of benefit to his life and to those around him. These communications included information about a health problem his young son had that the doctors had missed. His son was rushed to the hospital, the doctors then were told to examine the son for the issue, which they found, much to their surprise, and his son was treated immediately—if his son had not been treated right away the health issue would have been fatal.

He speculated for years on the source of these communications, and if he was somehow time-traveling when he wrote the parts in his books that would later manifest in his life.

Another theory that he developed was that he was being given information from a vast, extra-terrestrial intelligence he called VALIS. He told of being shown whole manuscript pages in his dreams and given much information.

There have been some good documentaries to explore this most interesting area of his life, such as:

Philip K. Dick – The Penultimate Truth Documentary

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM921saJqXc

Also see the book Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection by D. Scott Apel for more exploration on this topic (there’s a short review of the book later in this ebook).

 

 

 

Stories Of PKD That Have Been Turned Into Films

 

The list includes (more seem to happen on a regular basis):

-Untitled Blade Runner Project (“Bladerunner 2”) There is a Blade Runner sequel in the works, reportedly, under the helm of Ridley Scott. (Date of release unknown)

-The Adjustment Bureau (2011, dir. George Nolfi, based on Adjustment Team)

-Radio Free Albemuth (2010, dir. John Alan Simon, based on Radio Free Albemuth)

-Screamers: The Hunting (2009, dir. Sheldon Wilson, based on Second Variety)

-Next (2007, dir Lee Tamahori, based on The Golden Man)

-A Scanner Darkly (2006, dir Richard Linklater, based on A Scanner Darkly)

-Natural City (2003, dir. Byung-chun Min, based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – uncredited)

-Paycheck (2003, dir. John Woo, based on Paycheck)

-Minority Report (2002, dir Steven Spielberg, based on The Minority Report)

-Impostor (2001, dir. Gary Fleder, based on The Impostor)

-Screamers (1995, dir Christian Duguay, based on Second Variety)

-Confessions d’un Barjo, also titled Barjo (1992, dir. Jérôme Boivin, based on Confessions of a Crap Artist)

-Total Recall (1990, dir Paul Verhoeven, based on We Can Remember it for You Wholesale)

-Morning Patrol (1987, dir Nikos Nikolaidis, excerpted from Phil’s work, unknown)

-Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott, based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)

-Out of This World (1962, TV Series, dir. Various, Host: Boris Karloff, episode Imposter)

The most renowned film based on PKD’s work is, of course, Blade Runner, inspired by his short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. The film was released in 1982, written for the screen by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, and directed by Ridley Scott.

Phil didn’t live to see the finished film, but he was invited by Ridley to view some of the film-in-progress. Of the parts of the film Phil did see, he was very impressed and pleased, even saying that some of the characters (namely Rachel) were portrayed on-screen exactly as he had pictured in his imagination.

Got More? Let me know at: http://www.davidsloma.com/greatwriters-pkd

 

Video Interviews with PKD

 

Philip K. Dick Interview, 1977:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFhsDUAZ6Co

 

Philip K. Dick Interview, 1979:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXqHJYz8NXo

 

Philip K Dick – The Blade Runner Interview, 1981
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I-2JShoyT8

 

Got More? Let me know at: http://www.davidsloma.com/greatwriters-pkd

 

 

Books About PKD

 

“Philip K. Dick: The Dream Connection by D. Scott Apel”

I very much enjoyed this book! Not only does it include hefty excerpts from some eight hours of taped interviews with PKD (with the author and a friend), but it was written by someone who actually knew PKD during his life. The author is a writer from the Bay Area in California, a place where he encountered PKD in person.

The author carried on mail and telephone correspondence with PKD during his life—and also presents a compelling picture that he continued this dialogue with PKD after his passing from the Earth plane. These came, very fittingly, in the form of some incredible dreams, synchronicities and other phenomenons that I will leave up to you to discover when you read the book.

I hope that one day the author will release the whole interview with PKD to the public (if some personal details need to be edited, fine), as an audio book/YouTube video or a complete (as possible) transcript. The interview had to be edited to fit in book form, sadly. Highly recommended for PKD fans.

 

Other books about PKD (that I’ve yet to read):

-Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin (highly acclaimed)

-Tessa B. Dick: My Life on the Edge of Reality by Tessa B. Dick (by one of PKD’s ex-wives)

-The Search for Philip K. Dick by Anne R Dick (by another one of PKD’s ex-wives, seeing a pattern here…)

-I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick

by Emmanuel Carrère (memories of UBIK with the title, hmm maybe that would make a good salad dressing “Memories of UBIK”)

Plus others, both written and yet to be written.

Got More? Let me know at: http://www.davidsloma.com/greatwriters-pkd

 

PKD Online Resources

 

There is a blog/Website and free newsletter about PKD called PKD Otaku (still running) put out by http://www.philipkdickfans.com

There is also an archived newsletter called Philip K Dick Society Newsletter (PKDS) (http://www.thephildickian.com/pkds.html), and a much more on the site: http://www.thephildickian.com

Total Dickhead Blog

Got More? Let me know at: http://www.davidsloma.com/greatwriters-pkd

 

More By David Sloma

 

Brainjob (novel)

Greyland: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 1

Oceandeep: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 2

Rescueplan: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 3

Moonbase: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 4

D.U.M.B.s Ebook Boxed Set – All 4 Novels

Deathsun 2012 (novella)

David Sloma – Short Stories Volume 1

Chewy, Gooey, Fruit Things (screenplay)

DEATHSUN 2012 (screenplay)

BOI MEETS GRL – a vampire screenplay

ONE JOURNEY (short screenplay)

The Cask Of Amontillado (a modern screenplay of the Poe classic)

KHAOTICA (screenplay)

A Conspicuous Medium – (poems)

Nonfic 1 (nonfiction collection)

Robot Town (novella)

Saving My Rotting Cactus (non-fiction guide)

Cyber – Part 1 to 4 (short story series)

Taken Away – Part 1 to 3 (short story series)

Plus, other short stories.

 

Author site: www.DavidSloma.com

 

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