Dicktionary This is a glossary of terms used by Philip K Dick






This page was last updated on 22/12/1995

This is a glossary of terms used by Philip K Dick. The description of each
term is based on my (or someone else's) best guess at the meaning, with
opinions, criticisms, bad jokes etc. Hopefully this approach will keep the
thing interesting, instead of it being just a dry, dusty description of
words that PKD used. It could be argued that some of the words here are not
exclusive to PKD, but I've included them because I think he put a spin on
the usual meaning. I'll also try to include some characters in the
Dicktionary, and even some comments on books and stories (I'll try not to
give the plot away too much, but be warned..)- at least until the whole
thing gets out of hand! What I'm trying to acheive is an overview of the
ideas that Dick grappled with- all of them, even the silly/trivial ones-
via the terms that he used to label them. That's why there's an entry on
Palmer Eldritch, but not Rick Deckard or Ragel Gumm. The PKD FAQ keeps
another lingo page here.

I'd be grateful if you'd mail me (Subject: DickWord) with any additions or
corrections to my definitions, any of PKD's books where you've encountered
a DickWord, or any other sources where you've encountered one. I'll try to
expand definitions wherever possible, but obviously this'll take time.
Apoligies for definitions like "an alien". Please return to this page
often- it'll get more interesting as it develops! In fact, it already has.

Each entry in the Dicktionary takes a standard form: The word or phrase in
capitals; definition and notes; PKD sources of the word (abbreviated into
numbers and initials); Each part is separated by a colon. Short stories are
initialled by the name of the part of five volume collection it appears in,
then a hyphen then the initials, so Beyond Lies the Wub, appearing in
Beyond Lies the Wub appears as BLTW-BLTW. The PKD FAQ Maintains a list of
books and short stories , which might be handy if you can't work out what
the initials mean....

[email protected]

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ARTIFORG: An artificial organ. When mentioned in PT, they are no longer
made and are therefore reserved for the top brass in the government. In
NWFLY, they usually insert themselves. People can live for two hundred
years with artiforgs- like Virgil Ackerman, who was born (like PKD) in the
late 1920's but is still alive when Dr Sweetscent travels forward in time
to 2155: PT, NWFLY

AUTONOMIC: After the autonomic nervous system; It means Intelligent. PKD
used it to describe a range of things, e.g. In Ubik, there's an autonomic
pharmacy. U

BLUE CEPHALOPOD MAN: A comic book/superhero that turns out to be the source
of advanced weapons design: ZG

CONAPT: Apartment. Appears in lots of Phils work: U

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?: Novel. The bounty hunter Rick Deckard
is called in to retire a number of escaped replicants after they have
killed one of his collegues. Much of the novel concerns what it means to be
human and uses comparisions between humans, replicants and specials to
illuminate this subject. He also puts in a couple of machines (Mercer,
Empathy box) to reduce the distinction between humans and others even more.
Made into the film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott. But you knew
that already.

EMPATHY BOX: A device used to merge with MERCER :DADOES

FLAPPLE: A flying car. Sometimes they are AUTONOMIC, sometimes thay aren't

FLURK: Expletive, as in "Flurk off, Zafsky!":U

FNUGGING: Expletive

FOODHEAD: Shithead. In CCW, where we eat our turds through our arses, we
shit out food from our mouths.:CCW

FRIPPING: Expletive:CCW

FURBLE: does it mean to come up witha clumsy inelegant solution to a
technical problem? kind of like kludge? Its like a combination of fumble
and burble and fudge.

GALACTIC POT HEALER: Novel . A man emigrates to another planet and gets
involved with a marine-based religion and the repeated printing of some
sort of bible. We meet the Glimmung and a Ganymedian Slime Mould. One of
Dicks best, but it's been a couple of years since I read it...

GANYMEDIAN SLIME MOULD: An intelligent being!:GPH

GLIMMUNG: An alien:GPH

GRASSED: Slang useage for being intoxicated: OFFF8

HOMEOPAPE: A newspaper that filters the news so it only shows what you are
interested in- these are beginning to exist now in the form of web robots.
There's a good description of what Phil imagined a homeopape to be in Ubik.
Along with many SF predictions, there are anachronisms in the way the thing
operates. The homeopape asks you what you want to read about. (the
forefront of our technology), and then prints it on paper. It's obvoius
that this was written before PCs were common....As an aside, I found it
amazing that the astronauts on Apollo 13 were using slide rules. This
illustrates a vast difference between the world of today and 30 years ago:
U

HOMOSIMULACRIC: In the manner of an android. Appears in Ubik even though
there are no Simulacra in the novel.:U

JJ-180: A highly addictive drug. when taken, you feel like you are in
control of objects, you 'know' them well and they serve you. Later in the
book, this effect is not mentioned again, and JJ-180 becomes a means of
travelling in time. As the drug wears off this control reverts to how you
are normally, and then things starts to get heavy and unfamiliar. You can;t
pick things up . Taken by Kathy Sweetscent, wife of Eric Sweetscent.
Supposed to be Made by Tijuana Fur and dye Co, but could be made by the
REEGS. Kathy was given the drug by secret agents from earth's ally
Lillistar. It turns out in the end that it was made on earth as a weapon
against our supposed allies, Lillistar. It is designed as a poison and was
intended to be put in the water supply. It is addictive after a single
exposure, causing damage to the liver and bloodstrean that cannot be cured
by artiforg replacement. JJ-180 allows the user to travel in time or to
parallel universes- a user is affected in one of 3 ways- he moves to the
future, the past or to parallel universes. There's a good bit where Kathy
persuades herself to take a second dose- a real insightinto how addiction
works. She says to herself. "I can't think straight, and I need to to
figure out how to get break my addiction. Therefore I need to take another
hit. After that I can think about how to break my addiction."...:NWFLY

KIBBLE: The chaos in the physical households of Deckard [sic] and Jack
Isadore [sic], but it also describes the emotional and spiritual chaos in
their lives. The kibble is the emotional and physical junk that builds up
in Dekkards life, it builds up so much it almost smoothers him. In the
novel he is forced to deal with all this kibble - his attitude to
replicants; his views on electric sheep,;his wife; Mercerism - and either
overcome it, or succumb to it. Note, however, that it's the intrusion of
Roy Batty into his life which forces this action and self examination upon
him. This theme pops up again in, for example, NWFLY; Here Dr. Eric
Sweetscent is also under a pile of Kibble, especially in relation to his
wife and relationship to his employer. The novel in some ways is his
journey to remove this kibble from his life, again forced upon him by the
intusion of President Molinari [sic] into his life..:DADOES, NWLY

KIPPLE: Exactly the same thing as kipple- there's confusion on the Dicklist
about the spelling. Ron Churgin says:

But it also reminds me of the ancient cartoon ( early 1900s New Yorker?)
showing an ardent and studious male suitor meaningfully inquiring of his
beloved sweet young thing:

He, passionately: "Do you like Kipling?"

She, innocently : "I don't know...I've never kippled."

LAND-O-SMILES: A brand of (hash?) cigarette

LIES INC.: Novel (1967). Originally called The Unteleported Man. A weird
one, possibly due to the way it was written, the style flips about all over
the place. People are leaving earth due to overcrowding using a teleport
device. Analogy of teleport device to the "showers" in concentration camps.
There is a plan to travel to the new planet by spaceship and physically
report back to earth, a round trip of eighteen years. Dick once again (3SPE
and others) plays with the vastness of space and the return of some sort of
saviour that goes wrong. On crossing via the teleport, the central
characters are shot with LSD darts and everthing goes completely crazy...:
UM

MERCER: An entity that humans "merge" with using an empathy box. By showing
that they are able to empathize with another person, they also show that
they are not androids. The grim gag here is that to prove you are human,
you have to empathise with a machine.:DADOES

MIN: to mimiaturise anything. Lots of spy-type devices are often minned in
PKD books

MOOD ORGAN: A device that one can set to change one's own moods. This means
that you are like a machine- if you are fed the right input you will
respond in a predictable way. And if your moods can be altered, what makes
you different from any other machine?:DADOES

MOREC: Moral Reclamation:TMWJ

MOUTH-HOLE: In CCW, where time flows backwards, this expletive is the
equivalent of our "Asshole". Think about it. See also FOODHEAD: CCW

NEXUS-6: The new and improved replicant, just introduced. Rush out and get
some for YOUR off-world mine.:DADOES

NEUTROLOGICS: higher-order cogitative methods used by the evolved NewMen.
Beyond comprehension of Unusuals, Under Men and Old Men: OFFF8

NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR: Nov. Earth is at war with the Reegs, and has an
ally in the Lillistar empire. We are losing the war and feel like our ally
is taking over our planet. We focus on Eric Sweetscent, Artiforg Surgeon
and his wife Kathy, an antiques procurer. There's an excellent chapter
about how bad their marriage is early on. Eric is originally employed by
Virgil Ackerman, head of Tijuana fur and dye Co, who use a martian organism
(name?) that can mimic objects (see also the Biltong). He goes to work for
Gino Molinari, President of earth, who is dying, but what of? Eric finds
out that Gino has been close to death many times, but appears to have the
organs of a nineteen year old. He suspects that his diseases are
sympathetic symptoms of the ilnesses of those around him. Gino's great
strength is his ability to feel absolute responsibility for his actions
(its also his weakness). Then a robant younger Gino Appears on TV, giving a
great speech. Eric is taken to a vault and shown another gino, this time
dead from an assasination..Meanwhile Kathy has become addicted to the drug
jj-180. Interesting few pages on how she convinces herself to take another
jj-180 hit. The second time she takes it, she finds that she and the
autonomic cab she is in travels back in time from 2055 to 1935. Kathy is an
expert on Wash-35, the martian replica of 1935 Washington DC which her
Artiforg-supported boss Virgil Ackerman maintains as a hobby. Note that
reality itself is altered by the drug- a constant PKD theme- . She posts a
transistor from the cabs radio to the boy Ackerman, returns to the cab and
waits for the drug to wear off. This fails because she was (?) in a
parallel universe. The Dicklist has recently (12/95) discussed the
similarities of Molinari to Mussolini. In this context, the Lillistar
empire becomes the Nazi Axis, and the Reegs become the allies.

OCCIFER: Joel Smith was tickled to find that the police title is "Occifer".
This is definitely not a typo and pops up frequently.:OFF8

PAY THE PRINTER: We meet the biltong, which copies objext almost perfectly.
Versions of the Biltong subsequently pop up in many stories. We find that
if we can get something for free, we don't bother keeping the skills we
needed before we could get it for free, and stagnate. This is Luddism in
it's most powerful form...PTP-SV?

PENULTIMATE TRUTH: Novel: During a nuclear war, everyone has to live in
underground TANKS to escape contamination. One of the tanks needs an
ARTIFORG, so a volunteer rises to the surface to find that there is no war
anymore. A 1984-type book, dealing with the power of misinformation. Can't
remember what PT actually is,though. PT based on a series of early short
stories dealing with the same scenario (BLTW-TD; SV-SV). Note that the
Hebrew for tooth is "shin", which is also the penultimate letter of the
Hebrew alphabet. Is PT a play on "The penultimate tooth"?

PRECOG: A mutant with precognition powers :3SPE:

PROXER: An alien from Proxima centauri :3SPE:

PUDDINGED: Malformed. Said of objects made by the Biltong that began to
decay.PTP-SV

REEGS: Insectoid aliens that are supposed to be our enemies but are
actually quite nice. They communicate with hemans via an electronic
decoding box: NWFLY.

REPLICANTS: Androids. They are used by humans as slave labor on other
planets. Sometimes they escape and get down to Earth where they are hunted
down by bounty hunters. One distinguishing feature of replicants compared
to humans is that they are supposedly not able to empathize with others:
DADOES

RETIRE: Kill (used of escaped replicants). You can't say you're killing
them because then you would have to admit that they were once alive. And if
they were alive, they were definitley sentient beings....:DADOES

SCENARA: Opium-based drug, named for Wade Scenara the drug's inventor.
:OFFF8

SEMI-MATTER: Substance between matter and antimatter which can absorb
either. Morgo the Frolixian in OFFF8 claimed ot be made of this: OFFF8

SKIN: A form of currency- the skin of a fungus- the only thing that cannot
be reproduced by replicating organisms (We met these organisms in a short
story (in vol 2 I think)), and therefore the only thing that can be used as
money. Must get awful smelly...:3SPE

SPECIALS: Humans who's genes have deteriorated due to radiation. They are
considered subhuman by non-specials. They are not allowed to emigrate
off-planet. A typical Dickian Underclass - note that this underclass is
called SPECIAL and not disabled/mutants etc- very PC! :DADOES

SQUIB: a kind of hover car. It's steered with a tiller and has a boat-like
description: OFF8

SWIBBLE: some kind of device to control the 'politically correct behaviour'
of citizens. It is "an artifically evolved telpathic metazoan." It's
purpose was to stop war by ensuring that everyone maintained the same
ideology, that everyone agreed. The last war was fought between those who
wanted swibbles and those who didn't. When the main character asks the
wrongly directed time-traveled repairman what happened to those who lost
the war, the answer is wonderfully simple, "Why," the repairman said
gently, "the swibbles got them.":Service Call, vol 4.

TANK: Vast underground container, acting as a refuge from nuclear
holocaust:PT

THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH: Novel (1962), widely regarded as one of
Dick's best, but I'm not so sure. Earth is overcrowded and (due to global
warming?) overheating. Citizens are drafted to Mars (unless they can prove
they are insane) to reduce the population on earth. Life is so dreadful on
Mars that the colonists spend much time in a drug-induced fantasy world:
Perky Pat Land. Palmer Eldritch returns from Proxima with a new and better
drug. The trouble is, Palmer has the power to invade the hallucination and
control it. It turns out that PE encountered The creator of the universe
floating between Proxima and earth. The creator invaded him and came to
earth to see what was going on. Dick tries to show us that if there is a
god, it behaves in a way that we can't hope to understand.The three
Stigmata are the physical alterations to Eldritch's body- metal teeth,
Metal eyes with slit-lenses, and a metal arm. The themes are excellent but
I found the ending a bit of an anticlimax.

TIRE REGROOVING: Process of using a hot iron to melt deeper grooves into
the bodies of already bald tires. Occupation of Nick Appleton in OFFF8.
Outlawed by Gram in this novel: OFFF8

UBIK:Nov: Initially seems to the standard mutie/anti mutie type conflict
thing (dealt with in a short story by P before, in one of the first three
vols- was it the Golden Man? ) But this is really used as a device to
introduce a lot of people then kill them. What it really deals with is the
after-life. If people are frozen quickly enough after death, cephalic
activity can be picked up, allowing communication with the deceased for a
few days (which can be spun out, hour at a time for many years). People in
this state are said to be half-lifers. A group of people, lured to the moon
and killed are placed in cold storage (we don't know this). What then
happens is everything starts to decay, everything except for strange
messages from someone starts to decay or become old. The messages are from
someone trying to get in touch with them while they are in half life, and
the decay is caused by a gradual cessation of cephalic activity. Ubik
itself is a spray to stop objects regressing to a form they had in earlier
time, e.g. a tv goes back to a valve radio. Trouble is, Ubik itself
regresses to a point where it's magic ingredient isn't there. It's a short
form of ubiquity. Note also the bizarre modes of dress in the book. I'd
love to see these illustrated..:U

UNTELEPORTED MAN: Novel: Early version of what became Lies, Inc.

VOIGT-KAMPFF TEST: The test that is used to differentiate replicants from
real human beings.:DADOES

WES-DEM: Western Democracies

WUB: An alien/Martian: BLTW-BLTW

WUBFUR: A commonly encountered expensive material (used as mink would be
used, I guess). A wub is a creature that invades/takes the form of (can't
remember) other creatures, so it shouldn't really have a "fur"...this is a
typical PKD in-joke.... :3SPE

YANCY: President. And when he died, they made a robot to do his job: PT

ZAP GUN: Novel (1965), not a popular Dick book, but I thoroughly enjoyed
it. Recollection is hazy but; Weapons are literally "dreamed up" in a
phoney war between east and west. Dick focuses on the insecurities of the
dreamers about losing their powers and being one of the ordinary people.
East and West must unite to combat an alien foe that begins to destroy
cities all over earth. Interesting link to a story "War Veteran" in vol 3
of collected short tales- Veteran turns up who turns out to be from a
future war. The weapons dreamers discover that all the weapons are
appearing in old comic books. Not the most highbrow of Dicks works, but the
gallows humour is superb..

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Thanks

To Kevin for providing a mirror in the states; Hans Persson; James Latham;
Kees van Prooijen; Bill Albert; KR Hodge ;Ron Churgin; Joel Margot


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