Solar Lottery, 1955 (pb. in England as World of Chance, 1956)
The World Jones Made, 1956
The Man Who Japed, 1956
Eye in the Sky, 1957
The Cosmic Puppets, 1957
Time out of Joint, 1959
Dr. Futurity, 1960
Vulcan’s Hammer, 1960
The Man in the High Castle, 1962
The Game-Players of Titan, 1963
Clans of the Alphane Moon, 1964
Martian Time-Slip, 1964
The Penultimate Truth, 1964
The Simulacra, 1964
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, 1964
Dr. Bloodmoney: Or, How We Got Along After the Bomb, 1965
The Crack in Space (Cantata 140), 1966
Now Wait for Last Year, 1966
The Unteleported Man, 1966 (pb. in England as Lies, Inc., 1984)
Counter-Clock World, 1967
The Zap Gun, 1967
The Ganymede Takeover, 1967 (with Ray Nelson)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 1968 (reissued as Blade Runner, 1982)
Galactic Pot-Healer, 1969
The Philip K. Dick Omnibus, 1970
A Maze of Death, 1970
Our Friends from Frolix 8, 1970
We Can Build You, 1972
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, 1974
Confessions of a Crap Artist, 1975
Deus Irae, 1976 (with Roger Zelazny)
A Scanner Darkly, 1977
The Divine Invasion, 1981
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, 1982
The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike, 1984
Radio Free Albemuth, 1985
In Milton Lumky Territory, 1985
Puttering About in a Small Land, 1985
Humpty Dumpty in Oakland, 1986
Mary and the Giant, 1987
The Broken Bubble, 1988
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
The Variable Man, and Other Stories, 1957
The Preserving Machine, and Other Stories, 1969
The Book of Philip K. Dick, 1973 (pb. in England as The Turning Wheel, and Other Stories, 1977)
The Best of Philip K. Dick, 1977
The Golden Man, 1980
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1985
Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, 1985
The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, 1987
Philip K. Dick: In His Own Words, 1984
In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis, 1991 (Lawrence Sutin, editor)
The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1991-1993 (Don Herron, editor)
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings, 1995 (Lawrence Sutin, editor)
What If Our World Is Their Heaven: The Final Conversations of Philip K. Dick, 2000 (Gwen Lee and Elaine Sauter, editors)
The Dark Haired Girl, 1988
Philip Kindred Dick was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 16, 1928, the son of Edgar and Dorothy Kindred Dick. He and his twin sister Jane were six weeks premature; Jane, the smaller and more frail of the two, died on January 26, 1929. When Dick was still a small boy, his mother told him about his sister’s death. As a surviving twin, he felt a mixture of guilt and anger; in later years, he sometimes attributed Jane’s death to his mother’s negligence, probably unfairly so.
Philip K. Dick
Some months after Jane’s death, the Dick family moved to California, where Edgar took a job in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s San Francisco office. In 1933, however, when Edgar was transferred to Reno, Nevada, Dorothy refused to go. A strongly independent woman (she was a feminist and a pacifist at a time when those convictions placed her in a distinct minority), she chose to remain in Berkeley with Philip. A custody battle ensued, as a result of which, in 1935, Dorothy and Philip moved to Washington, D.C., where she wrote pamphlets on child care for the Federal Children’s Bureau. In 1938, they returned to Berkeley, where Philip attended high school and, very briefly, the University of California. Except for a period of a few weeks in 1972 spent in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he lived in California for the rest of his life.
In Dick’s own account, he began his career as a writer at the age of twelve. That was when he learned to type–a skill at which he had to become extremely proficient in order to keep up with the pell-mell flow of his imagination. It was at age twelve that he discovered hist first science-fiction magazine, inaugurating a lifelong attachment. By that time, too, he suffered from a variety of phobias and other emotional problems, connected, in part at least, to childhood traumas. As an adult, he seemed to move from one emotional crisis to another–he was married five times, attempted suicide several times, and experienced several breakdowns–but through it all he remained an immensely productive writer.
Anthony Boucher (the pen name of William Anthony Parker White), critic and writer of mysteries and science fiction and cofounding editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1949, played an important role in the development of Dick’s career. Though unimpressed by Dick’s attempts at mainstream fiction, Boucher saw great promise in the young writer’s more speculative fiction and encouraged him to develop his talent in that direction. In October, 1951, Boucher accepted Dick’s story “Roog” for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; it was Dick’s first sale. In 1952, Dick sold four more stories. Soon, he had established himself as one of the most prolific writers in the genre; in 1953 and 1954, he sold more than fifty stories.
In the early 1950’s, there were many outlets for science-fiction short stories, as new magazines were appearing in abundance. By the mid-1950’s, however, the boom was over; only a few magazines in the science-fiction field survived. At this time, Dick began to shift primarily to writing novels, though he continued to produce stories throughout his career; commercial considerations aside, the novel form offered much greater scope. Solar Lottery, Dick’s first science-fiction novel, was published in 1955. By the end of the decade, he had published five more. (During the 1950’s, Dick also completed a dozen mainstream novels, but publishers were not interested in his mainstream work. One of these novels, Confessions of a Crap Artist, written in 1959, was published in 1975, and several of the others were published posthumously.)
Dick continued to write at a feverish pace through the 1960’s. His novel The Man in the High Castle, published in 1962, received the Hugo Award, science fiction’s most prestigious accolade. In the next two years, 1963 and 1964, he wrote eleven novels, all of them readable, several outstanding. He was acknowledged as one of the leading figures in science fiction. Most of these books, however, earned only small advances and minimal royalties.
Dick’s sustained productivity came at a high cost. By the early 1960’s, he had become a heavy user of amphetamines and a whole pharmacopoeia of medications; his dependence on amphetamines increased as the decade passed. While Dick also experimented occasionally with other drugs, he was never the LSD-inspired writer of legend; later, he described the destructive impact of drugs on many of his friends and on his own life.
By the end of the 1960’s, Dick was in poor health both physically and mentally, and his output of fiction decreased considerably. In February and March, 1974, he had a series of mystical experiences that preoccupied him for the remainder of his life. He devoted some two million words to a running commentary which he called “An Exegesis,” a philosophical/autobiographical journal in which he reflected on his life and works, on problems such as the nature of good and evil, and particularly on his firsthand encounter with the divine (which, according to his mood, he was inclined to interpret in various, often contradictory, ways, sometimes debunking it altogether). He also published several novels influenced by the experiences of 1974, including Valis, The Divine Invasion, and the posthumous Radio Free Albemuth.
Only in his last years did Dick begin to enjoy financial security. (An impulsively generous man, he gave without ostentation to charitable organizations and to individuals in need.) Foreign rights–his books were particularly popular in France, Great Britain, and Japan–and reprints brought significant income, as did the 1982 film Blade Runner, an adaptation of his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The film also attracted new readers to his work, but Dick did not live to see its premiere; he died in Santa Ana, California, on March 2, 1982, after a series of strokes.