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From Philip K. Dick
Untitled (Very) Short Story by Philip K. Dick – Included by Philip K. Dick in a letter, this vignette imagines an elderly Phil Dick having it out with sci-fi author Harlan Ellison. (April 2007)
Three Sci-Fi Authors View the Future – An excerpt from Scholastic Voice (1974) with original quotes from Philip K. Dick speculating on the future of humanity. (April 2007)
My Life in Stillness: White As Day – Unconfirmed long-lost Philip K. Dick poem allegedly written in a personal letter and included in a 1983 anthology titled “Last Wave.” (April 2007)
Metaphysical Quotations From The Novels Of Philip K. Dick – Andrew May has compiled a collection of quotes from PKD’s science fiction novels that deal with philosophy, religion and the meaning of human existence.
Philip K. Dick Letters From 1982 – These letters written in the last months of Philip K. Dick’s life are available for the first time on philipKdick.com. Thanks, Kris for sharing these gems with PKD fans.
Tractates Cryptica Scriptura from Valis
How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later 1978 article
8 thoughts on “Literary Criticism”
I believe that Philip K. Dick was an idea man, but a terrible writer.
It depends what you mean by a terrible writer.He didn’t have a prettily embroidered prose,but the strength of his literary skill lay in the core of his concepts that made him great.A sparkling literary style would not have improved the quality of his brilliant invention,unlike writers of less substance who mostly just polish their stuff with a literary grace.
In fact,his prose,if rough,was actually I think unique and unmistakable,dense,fast and impacted,with a rapid variation in tone book after book.He didn’t write at great length and ramble either,not even in Valis,but was rather economical and concise.
Quite the contrary I think. I’ve heard this criticism a lot and I couldn’t disagree more. His prose is clear and evocative. And it flows better than most any sf writer I know of. He describes complex inner states in a concise and relatable way and he handles a multitude of different viewpoints of the same events within the same novel. A number of his novels I have read in a single sitting because I was literally unable to put them down.
I think most people are perhaps unused to the pulp-ish style, which is influenced heavily by golden age sf, particularly AE Van Vogt. It’s just the kind of writing I like, with the right mix of detail and forward momentum.
His prose style can’t be confused with anybody else,containing vivid,realistic dialogue.It is his style I love and kept me reading his stuff.
i think his most memorable trait, whatever you believe of his style of writing, was the central premise of “what is real?”. You enter his world and realistically only certain types of people have the ability to grasp and not just that but to grasp straight away the ability of two (or more) realities to exist.
His style of writing is organically bound-up with this theme,it seems then.Everything that happens in the novels and many of the short stories,is fleshed-out through the cells of the strange,nightmarish but humourous happenings of his literary fiction……yes?
a nightmare that often you dont want to wake from, because in an odd sense it makes sense. i have found by reading his books over the years that they reflected the worries and oddities of the times- which is of course obvious – maybe there was that slight sense of unreality then. i remember as a child being worried/surrounded by the threat of nuclear war, but also the very unreal sense of learning to live with it. the darkness of his writing at times reminds me so much of that time
Dick predicted socialogical and political changes rather than technological happenings,which was pertinent as a writer of speculative fiction/literature.I can’t quote any instances off-hand now,but the modern world’s acceptance of a culture defined by apperances created by the media,and the interferance of dominant world governments infiltrating our everyday mindsets,will be familiar to everybody well aquinted with his stuff.I know just what you mean though.
In a 1964 essay,he wrote that reality and illusion,in the pages of his fiction,differed ever so slightly,the differences being quantitive rather than qualitive.The “illusions” hidden beneath the bed of reality of his stuff,are just layers of a pluriform world that weakens as his characters undergo strange experiences.