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Philip K Dick

Philip K Dick

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Also Known As: Died: March 2, 1982
Born: December 16, 1928 Cause of Death: stroke
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession:

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ar system, The Three Stigmata fascinated John Lennon enough for him to want to turn the book into a movie. After Now Wait for Last Year (1966) and The Unteleported Man (1966), Dick published one of his most influential works, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), which was set in a post-apocalyptic world and followed bounty hunter, Rick Deckard, as tracks down several runaway androids that have assumed human identities.While respected among peers and aficionados, Dick was still unable to match the sales of more popular contemporaries like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. He next published what many fans considered to be his best novel, Ubik (1969), a surrealist fantasy that touched familiar ground of non-reality through the use of the unreliable narrator and alternate universes. Dick followed with another revered title, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974), a futuristic dystopia that depicted America as a police state, that earned several nominations, including one for a Hugo Award. Soon after finishing the novel, Dick had what could only be described as a profoundly life-altering religious experience that affected his life and work for his last eight years of life. After...

ar system, The Three Stigmata fascinated John Lennon enough for him to want to turn the book into a movie. After Now Wait for Last Year (1966) and The Unteleported Man (1966), Dick published one of his most influential works, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), which was set in a post-apocalyptic world and followed bounty hunter, Rick Deckard, as tracks down several runaway androids that have assumed human identities.

While respected among peers and aficionados, Dick was still unable to match the sales of more popular contemporaries like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. He next published what many fans considered to be his best novel, Ubik (1969), a surrealist fantasy that touched familiar ground of non-reality through the use of the unreliable narrator and alternate universes. Dick followed with another revered title, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974), a futuristic dystopia that depicted America as a police state, that earned several nominations, including one for a Hugo Award. Soon after finishing the novel, Dick had what could only be described as a profoundly life-altering religious experience that affected his life and work for his last eight years of life. After seeing a strange pendant worn by a woman who came to his home, Dick began having strange visions of Ancient Rome, laser beams and geometrical patterns that culminated into what he described as a separate rational mind invading and occupying his own, which led to him questioning the reality of life around him. Though a long-time barbiturate user with a history of mental illness, Dick believed that he had indeed experienced something transcendental and religious; at one point, he believed he had been overtaken by the prophet Elijah. Regardless of their source, the strange occurrences from February and March of 1974 left the author shaken to his core.

Dick sought out specialists and faith healers to interpret the nature of his experiences, while also using his writing to explain what had happened. Meanwhile, he saw his only non-fiction novel, Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975), published during his lifetime. Dick next combined a dystopian future with a semiautobiographical look at the drug counterculture with A Scanner Darkly (1977), which followed an undercover drug officer forced to take down his drug addict friends while struggling to maintain a grip on reality due to his own spiraling addictions. He spent the ensuing years tackling his bizarre experiences in his novels, starting with VALIS (1981), in which the author thinly disguised himself as Horselover Far, who believes that his visions hold the secrets to reality on Earth. The novel marked what became known as the VALIS trilogy, which continued with The Divine Invasion (1981), which depicted God as being alive and exiled on a distant planet, where he awaits the second coming against a highly technical and rationalized world run as a police state. Dick concluded the trilogy with The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982), which focused on an Episcopal bishop haunted by the suicides of his son and mistress and driven to find the true identity of Christ. Transmigration ultimately proved to be the last novel Dick wrote during his lifetime.

Despite the always intriguing nature of his plots, Dick never garnered much interest from Hollywood. But that changed when director Ridley Scott adapted Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? into the futuristic sci-fi thriller "Blade Runner" (1982), starring Harrison Ford as a replicant bounty hunter stalking the streets of a bleak post-apocalyptic Los Angeles while looking for six refuge androids. Though faring poorly at the box office and receiving mixed reviews from critics, "Blade Runner" evolved into a cult classic that spawned generations of fans and numerous knockoffs. The film was also the only one Dick saw made in his lifetime. Having been enthusiastic with an initial screening with Scott, Dick was fully behind the filmed version of his novel despite disagreements with the director over certain themes and character arcs. But in early 1982, just four months before the film¿s release, Dick suffered a series of strokes that left him virtually brain dead while in the hospital. Five days later on March 2, 1982, he was taken off life support and died. He was 53. His father, Joseph, buried Dick¿s ashes next to his twin sister, Jane, at Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, CO.

Following his death, interest in his life and work skyrocketed. In fact, Dick finally achieved the mainstream success in death that he so badly desired in life. Hollywood also took great interest in adapting his work into films following "Blade Runner." Director Paul Verhoeven adapted the story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" into "Total Recall" (1990), which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic Everyman whose memory becomes implanted with that of a spy, leading to an all-to-real mission to Mars to free its citizens. Unlike the previous effort, "Total Recall" was a major box office hit, while critics generally praised the smart, non-stop action. Following two small films ¿ "Barjo" (1993), adapted from Confessions of a Crap Artist, and "Screamers" (1996), culled from the story "Second Variety" (1953) ¿ Stephen Spielberg helmed "Minority Report" (2002), adapted from the short story of the same name. The high-tech action thriller starred Tom Cruise as a futuristic detective in the pre-crime division who suddenly finds himself tagged as a future murder, forcing him on the run to clear his name. Once again, Dick¿s visionary fiction was almost perfectly adapted for the screen, while becoming another huge box office draw.

Director Gary Fleder was the next to step up and tackle Dick¿s material with "Imposter" (2002), which was based on the short story of the same name. Despite a strong cast that included Gary Sinese, Madeline Stowe and Vincent D¿Onofrio, his take on the futuristic world where a respected government scientist (Sinese) goes on the run as an accused alien spy was met with large scale derision from critics while fairing poorly at the box office. John Woo was next to adapt Dick¿s material with "Paycheck" (2003), again made from one of the author¿s many short stories. But like Fleder, Woo failed to delve deep into the author¿s futuristic tale about the nature of memory and identity, and instead stripped the story of any meaning to focus on the plot of an engineering genius (Ben Affleck) on the run from an evil corporation. Again, poor reviews and box office cast a pall on an otherwise intriguing project. Meanwhile, Richard Linklater employed his patented rotoscoping technique to "A Scanner Darkly" (2006), which starred Keanu Reeves as the drug-addled undercover cop. Though generally well received, the film earned little money. Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore starred in "Next" (2007), based on Dick¿s story "The Golden Man" (1953), which again did poorly with audiences and critics. His story "Adjustment Team" was turned into the sci-fi thriller "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011), which starred Matt Damon as a smooth-talking politician whose world gets suddenly thrown after meeting an elusive and mysterious woman (Emily Blunt).th within one¿s self and without. By this time in his life, Dick had married and divorced his third wife, Anne Rubinstein, after his split with Kleo in 1959. He entered into perhaps his most fruitful and idyllic time while married to fourth wife, Nancy Hackett, with whom he had a daughter, Isa. Over the next decade, Dick produced some of his most revered work, starting with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), one of his first novels to blend religious themes with science fiction. Notable for its introduction of the hallucinatory Chew-Z, an alien drug used to enslave humans on planetary colonies throughout the sol

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