View Full Version : Philip K Dick suggestions

20-11-2004, 01:31 PM
I've just started reading Philip K Dick this year - began with Valis trilogy and have just finished "Five Great Novels" collection - Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch / Martian Time-Slip / Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep / Ubik / A Scanner Darkly. There's about 100 more to get through (can't wait!) - anybody got any favourites that I can look for next?


20-11-2004, 01:40 PM
"the man in the high castle" is my favorite

maybe i should describe it a bit: it's one of his early books- a very carefully written alternate history (germany/japan won ww2) that i find very haunting. the book is a bit different for dick (not as breathless, if that makes any sense) but just as memorable.

20-11-2004, 02:12 PM
second that - 'man in the high castle' is awesome. First one I read - 'time out of joint' still strikes me as one of the best

20-11-2004, 02:27 PM
you've read all the best ones already! i didn't like man in the high castle. i lie valis and ubik best. time out of joints alright.

20-11-2004, 03:32 PM
I forgot to mention that I read Man In The High Castle too! I've also been reading an anthology with the beginning of a sequel too High Castle and a load of Exegesis entries. I hope i've not really got through all the best ones - I might have to re-read them!

20-11-2004, 03:40 PM
you've read all the best ones already! i didn't like man in the high castle. i lie valis and ubik best. time out of joints alright.

valis & ubik are pretty intense (the result of dick's full on 'mental illness'?) but I still like the more straightforward (relatively speaking only) sci fi stuff he wrote earlier on - they're packed full of ideas that are still being recycled by people these days

20-11-2004, 04:13 PM
i think the Man in the High Castle is by far the best
although it's the least speedfreak Gnostic and the one with the most conventional literary qualities -- unlike many of the others reads like it wasn't written in a weekend

20-11-2004, 05:13 PM
... uhm, since you have read Man in High Castle/Ubik/A Scanner Darkly/Valis and the others you mentioned you really have just read the essential of P.K.Dick. A good other choice could be "Confession of a Crap artist", the best of his non SF book; "Do android dreams of electric sheep" or "Counter Clock World" are nice, if not as good as his best work, or you could try "Eye in the Sky" as one of his first work or give a chanche to the very bizzarre "the unteleported man/lies inc.". Or better try for some of his short stories, they are collected in 3 or 4 volumes, there are some pearl in there, like my eternal favorite: "the electric ant".
A very interesting book to read is Lawrence Sutin biography of PK Dick; Sutin is not a great writer, but the life of Dick is (expeciailly after the 60's) awesome if a much bit depressing. You will discover that A Scanner Darkly and Valis are actually a some sort of autobiography!!!


20-11-2004, 05:32 PM
A very interesting book to read is Lawrence Sutin biography of PK Dick

yes i concur- this book (titled "divine invasions") is a really interesting read

and other titles i remember enjoying:

"dr bloodmoney"
"flow my tears, the policeman said"
"the divine invasion"

21-11-2004, 04:42 PM
I’ve got a soft spot for We Can Build You and Galactic Pot Healer (though according to Divine Invasions the man himself didn’t rate GPH).

I saw that Five Great Novels collection in a bookshop a while ago and was kind of put off; I’ve kind of liked sifting through them for the moments of greatness for years – one really weird one, one really good one, one fairly dull one with a great premise… I think they should’ve done Five Novels of Intermittent Quality; much more Dickian ;)

23-11-2004, 04:19 AM
And some of the short story collections are worth a flick thru. V. high pulp content mostly but some genuinely nasty stuff in there (e.g. The Father-Thing)

25-11-2004, 08:18 PM
I second "Confessions Of A Crap Artist". That was the first one of his I ever read and it's awesome. Still probably my favorite. The girl in it's brutal, I don't think she's named Pris, but she's definitely from the same harsh mold. Is "Now Wait For Next Year" the one where a guy tries to track down his wife who's addicted to a time travel drug? I'm not sure of the name but that was a good one too.

26-04-2005, 10:54 AM
i just read the three stigmata of palmer eldritch and the penultimate truth. both of them are good, i enjoyed the latter more, it didn't hurt my brain so much.

27-04-2005, 03:58 PM
I'm a massive PKD fan, have collected most of his books. Can't wait to see what Linklater does with Scanner Darkly - it's a tough book to bring to film, but hell, they were able to make Blade Runner out of Androids.

The masterpieces of course are Ubik, Scanner Darkly, Three Stigmata and Man In The High Castle. As an earlier poster noted, Counter Clock World is great.

All made when he was wacked out on massive amounts of speed.

I would recommend Flow My Tears The Policeman Said, Now Wait For Last Year, Game Players of Titan and Dr. Bloodmoney as other great books of his to read.

Not a fan of Valis or Divine Invasions - to much metaphysics.

Don't forget about his short stories. Minority Report, Total Recall, Screamers were made based on his short stories.

27-04-2005, 06:51 PM
'flow my tears the policeman said' seconded, despite its dreadful title

27-04-2005, 10:26 PM
Everything I've read has been mentioned here already - the last one I read was flow my tears ... which was real good ...

I didn't really get into counter-clock world all that much, likewise man in the high the castle.

There is another Dick thread (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=897) around, which includes this link to a crazy article (http://www.mindcontrolforums.com/hambone/pkd.html) posted by Yuri:

"Phillip K. Dick, the late schizoid Sci-Fi author and Ira (The Unicorn) Einhorn, sixties radical activist turned seventies New Age networker cum fugitive axe murderer, began a correspondence in early February of '78 centered around Dick's firmly held (on shaky ground) belief that the Russians were beaming psychotronic transmissions via satellite into his already somewhat disturbed mind.

According to Dick--often known for his far-out flights of paranoiac fancy--these "micro-wave boosted telepathic transmissions," as he called them, commenced on March 20, 1974, showering Dick with endless reams and streams of visual and audio data. Initially, this overpowering onslaught of messages Phil reluctantly received were extremely unpleasant and, as he termed them, "die messages.""

27-04-2005, 11:06 PM
I thought Counter Clock world really got going near the end. The stuff with the LSD gas and all that. I'm reading Lies. Inc right now and it's totally insane. It's a revised version of the Unteleported Man, but I never read that one so I don't know how much he changed it.

06-05-2005, 10:34 AM
I've been dipping into the collected short stories for the last couple of months. "Upon The Dull Earth"really sticks in my mind for its phantastic weidrness - an almost Lovecraftian tale of demon summoning, drenched in blood!

I've just read "Holy Quarrel" this morning where a self aware defence supercomputer (on a mission from God!) orders a nuclear strike on Sacramento to rid the world of the Devil - who it believes to be a geriatric gumball salesman! Of course they dismantle all the computers and then the gumballs start multiplying...! CLASSIC WACKINESS!! :D

Nick Gutterbreakz
15-05-2005, 10:17 PM
No one showing any love for 'The World Jones Made'? It's one of his earlier novels from 1956. Precognitive post-nuclear messiahs, engineered mutants, hermaphrodite sex in drug-fuelled nightclubs...what more do you want?

18-06-2005, 08:51 AM

But 'Do ANDROIDS' is still the best becuase of it's neo-hardboiled noir style, it's great ending, and of course the Blade Runner influence...Conceptually and stylisitically its DICK's best I reckon, though HIGH CASTLE is pretty incredible too.. 'TIme out of Koint' is basically THE blueprint for all those Matrix, 'hidden reality' type films, full stop.

18-06-2005, 07:37 PM
I've read about 7 or 8 of his books and from my own experience and other people I talk to, Radio Free Albemuth is probably the single most necessary read. it just sucks you into its world of conspiratorial logic and does not let go... it's a state beyond paranoia, and like all great art (I'm saying this without too much thought) it makes it clear that "normal" people are the delusional ones.

16-01-2006, 08:34 PM
Missed it earlier on tonight but there's a Radio 4 thing (http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/radio4/int/-/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/crapartist) on Philip K Dick.

I wish BBC would let people download the shows as MP3s for your headphones instead of being stuck using their player.. :(

16-01-2006, 11:23 PM
total inconsequential question: was that blockbuster The Island based on a Dick story?

17-01-2006, 09:05 AM
total inconsequential question: was that blockbuster The Island based on a Dick story?

Dont think so - but its a common enough theme. Theres a Paul J McCauly short story which is similar, if less epic...

Nice one for ressurecting this thread... forgot all about it.

17-01-2006, 02:40 PM
Love Man In the High Castle (which seems to be the majority vote as their favourite Dick novel).

The book (a loose biography) by Emmanuel Carrere "I Am Alive And You Are Dead" is also very good.

17-01-2006, 08:26 PM
thanks for this list. all ive read is do androids sleep..., 3 stigmata..., and a collection of short stories.

while the first two have been mentioned heavily, i would like to say i really enjoy his short stories (esp on the pot), and feel this is one of the greatest mediums for science fiction.

also, to anyone who like PKD, i would highly recommend Last and First Men & Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon. 2 books combined into one, and the second was kind of a sequel to the first, but written many years later.
Last & First men starts off between WWI and WWII, and takes human history through millions of years after that showing how humanity goes through various changes, ultimately destroying itself every time. Star Maker is the same idea, on a much grander scale, taking all of the universe through all of time from the view of one star traveller.

17-01-2006, 09:11 PM
A Scanner Darkly captures drugbrain logic very well. The passage where they get rumbled as addicts because they cannot work out the fundamentals of how a bicycle works is funny.
Valis is bonkers, but compelling at the same time, like a tripped out Da Vinci code.
A Maze of Death - some great ideas in there, the protoplasmic blob factories have stuck with me. Suitably dark ending as well.

Must pick up Radio Free Albemuth...

Good to hear props for Olaf Stapledon, I happened to buy First and Last Men over the weekend after years of not quite doing so. Had never heard of Starmaker though, cheers.

06-09-2006, 07:41 AM
I wasn't sure where to put this one but I just found this site with Jack Vance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Vance)'s answers to fans' questions and on this page (http://p078.ezboard.com/fjackvancefrm26.showMessage?topicID=11.topic&index=13) he mentions meeting Philip K Dick. I expect some of you might be interested.

Here's the meat of it:

Look at Phil Dick. Phil Dick, besides being an awfully clever writer, he got the credentials of being crazy- he became big… there was a big clique around him.
For my taste, he was too batty, too sarcastic, too sardonic, negative.. and yet, some of his stuff was just insanely funny.. but he was not a person I could relate to, at all..

(John V. : Did you meet him?)

Oh, yeah, sure..

(John V.: Did you know him well?)

Not intimately, but fairly well..

(John V.: Did you meet him at parties, in that way?)

I don’t remember, to tell you the truth.
When I first met him, he was kind of meek, quiet, I didn’t think he was going anywhere… then the last time I saw him, Poul and I were invited over to a party over in Marin county, by some woman, didn’t serve us anything, didn’t even serve wine! Anyway, Phil Dick came storming in there, crazy as a coot, didn’t acknowledge either me or Poul, stomped through, stomped out, did some other things while he was there, I forget what now. That was the last time I saw him.. wearing a cape, big boots, swaggering through… the difference between that guy and the guy that I first knew.. where did I meet him, at Scott Meredith’s office, or Anthony Boucher’s house?.. this quiet, modest, little nondescript fellow.. the difference between that guy, and the guy that came stomping through that party, you know, swaggering, like a big pirate, with a big cloak, big boots, not waving a cutlass at all, but just swaggering through there.. by this time, he had his reputation.. he was on drugs, dope, crazy or something.. He was a clever son of a gun.

There was a fellow named Avram Davidson, married a women named Gronya, she divorced him, ultimately, a nice lady, we liked her.. she married Dick, and they lived, oddly enough, rented a house out in East Oakland, by some coincidence, or chance, owned by Ali Szantho...

06-09-2006, 02:13 PM
anyone seen the new Linklater film of A Scanner Darkly?

typically great Shaviro post on it here (http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=507)

20-09-2006, 07:05 AM
Here's a link to a pretty good Philip K Dick documentary on Google video > http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2923065050563922834&sourceid=docidfeed&hl=en-CA that I got from http://nudo.nu/... a pretty interesting art / music / politics /culture blog.

Unfortunately, I've only read "Do androids..." but I'll be taking some of the advice in this thread to a bookshop very soon.

28-09-2006, 11:51 AM
Some of you might enjoy this:


More: http://www.philipkdickfans.com/weirdo/weirdo1.htm

04-10-2006, 04:13 AM
cool. thanks for that.

12-11-2017, 10:09 AM
The thing Phillip K Dick got right about the future is the move to the subscription model, which is a rent model over an ownership model. In UBIK the door to your apartment demands money to open. The push behind the internet of things is likely motivated by switching things like fridges to a subscription model.
computer games have already gone this way to a large degree as have other bits of software like microsoft word. the idea of owning something is becoming obsolete
'you have no rights only privileges and these we can revoke at any time.'