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Creative Visionary Philip K. Dick

Posted Nov 19 2011 3:31pm

A new Science Channel documentary notes the writing of Philip K. Dick inspires research in “physics, robotics, even law enforcement” and that more movies have been made from his stories and novels than any other sci-fi author.

“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. Okay, so I should revise my standards; I’m out of step.

“I should yield to reality. I have never yielded to reality. That’s what SF is all about…The SF writer sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It’s not just ‘What if’ – it’s ‘My God; what if’ – in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming.”

Philip K. Dick – from bio by Lawrence Sutin, on the Official Site .

The Wikipedia page notes:

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] Dick said, “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.”

One of the elements of a number of his stories is the concept of parallel universes. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, notes this is an idea being given more credence in quantum mechanics, as he comments in the Science Channel documentary series Prophets of Science Fiction – Executive Producer Ridley Scott.

Here is a promo:

Here is the summary from the Science Channel site

Philip K. Dick sold few books during his lifetime, but has had more movies made from his stories and novels than any other sci-fi author. Philipdickian has become a Hollywood buzzword for stories with mind-bending alternate realities.

Literary genius, celebrated visionary, paranoid outcast: writer Philip K. Dick lived a life of ever-shifting realities straight from the pages of his mind-bending sci-fi stories. Dick’s iconoclastic work fuels blockbuster films like Minority Report and Blade Runner, and inspires ground breaking research in physics, robotics—even law enforcement.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dick pioneers the concept of virtual reality in his fiction. From this analog era, Philip K. Dick dreams into being a digital future — now realized in everything from motion-sensing video games, to the revolutionary simulated environments of UC San Diego’s fully immersive StarCAVE.

In the 1956 thriller The Minority Report, Dick envisions a reality where pre-crime police can peer into the future to stop crimes before they occur. Fifty years later, American police departments unveil the bleeding edge in real-world precognitive crime prevention technology.

Dick’s landmark 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep — known to a generation of moviegoers as Blade Runner — posits a blurring of the line between man and machine. According to robot-engineers, we are now on the cusp of just such a world.

The brilliant author’s work continues to resound with an always-expanding audience. Through a lifetime of surreal experience, Philip K. Dick confronts readers with a deceptively simple question: What is reality?

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Precognition

One of the main elements of The Minority Report is the ability of certain ‘mutants’ to sense the future, and Dick apparently had some psychic ability.

An important event in Dick’s life occurred in the 70’s during which he was visited by a young girl giving out Christian literature. During their conversion, a pink beam of light went off in his head. He suffered hallucinations for the next 24-48 hours, but after that encounter he became precognitive.

The pink lights continue to appear to him which he felt helped him with his visions and fore-knowledge. For example, one day he saw the pink light and was given “knowledge” that would save his son. This information told him to take his son to the hospital promptly as he had a hernia birth defect that would kill him if not taken care of soon.

Much to the surprise of the doctors, Dick’s diagnosis of his son was extremely accurate. From these experiences, he would write about the consequences and ramification of fore-knowledge on reality.

[From ‘Prophets Of Science Fiction: Philip K. Dick’ – Recap Posted a day ago by

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Philip.K. Dick documentary on BBC’s “Arena” originally broadcast on 9th April 1994. Includes scenes from one of my all-time favorite movies “Blade Runner” -

Mental health

His official site biography notes, “In his late teens, Dick later recalled, he was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia – a label that terrified him. Other psychotherapists and psychiatrists in later years would offer other diagnoses, including the one that Dick was quite sane.”

From my post Creativity and madness: High ability and schizophrenia

Books:

This is just a taste of the wealth of material available on Philip K. Dick – just Google his name for much more.

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