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Kick over the Scenery

Stephanie Burt: Philip K. Dick, 3 July 2008

Four Novels of the 1960s: ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch’, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Ubik’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 830 pp., $35, May 2008, 978 1 59853 009 4
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Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s: ‘Martian Time-Slip’, ‘Dr Bloodmoney’, ‘Now Wait for Last Year’, ‘Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said’, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 1128 pp., $40, August 2008, 978 1 59853 025 4
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... for Art Spiegelman’s Maus. And it has happened to science fiction, where the anointed author is Philip K. Dick. When he died in 1982, Dick was a cult figure, admired unreservedly in the science fiction subculture, and in the American counterculture as a chronicler of psychedelia and ...

Hitler’s Common Market

Philip Purser, 6 August 1992

by Robert Harris.
Hutchinson, 372 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 09 174827 5
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... best-known novels based on the premise of a German or Axis victory are Len Deighton’s SS GB and Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. I can remember two no less interesting television variations on the theme: Giles Cooper’s epic play The Other Man, and a serial by ...

Perseverate My Doxa

Emily Witt: What's up, Maggie Nelson?, 16 December 2021

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint 
by Maggie Nelson.
Jonathan Cape, 288 pp., £20, September 2021, 978 1 78733 269 0
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... a word I have now looked up in the dictionary. Reading books like this, I feel like a Philip K. Dick character in the grip of wild-eyed madness. I want to run around telling the authors to snap out of it, to stop wasting their time and their Sontag quotes and so much earnest aggrievement on retweeted dross. But ...

Out of the Gothic

Tom Shippey, 5 February 1987

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... contrast with this classic central statement, two recent releases from Douglas Adams and the late Philip K. Dick take station as ‘outriders’. Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has the four familiar books in one volume. It looks, to be blunt, like a highly entertaining case of ‘cultural wallpaper’. One ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Blade Runner 2049’, 2 November 2017

Blade Runner 2049 
directed by Denis Villeneuve.
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... different answers – or different angles on the same answer – to the title-question of the Philip K. Dick novel on which both are based: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The first says: Of course not, they dream of a removal of the fail-safe device, a technical modification that will allow them to continue in ...

White Boy Walking

Evan Hughes: Jonathan Lethem, 5 July 2007

You Don’t Love Me Yet 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Faber, 224 pp., £10.99, May 2007, 978 0 571 23562 9
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... Wars. His first four novels, which explored and extended the bounds of sci-fi, owe a large debt to Philip K. Dick. Lethem even sold the author’s estate ‘a few dozen’ paperback copies of out-of-print titles they didn’t have, so that the executor could seek their republication. ‘Vulcan’s Hammer, in other words, is ...

It wasn’t a dream

Ned Beauman: Christopher Priest, 10 October 2013

The Adjacent 
by Christopher Priest.
Gollancz, 432 pp., £12.99, June 2013, 978 0 575 10536 2
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... everyone in this book thinks and speaks that way all the time. Priest is sometimes compared to Philip K. Dick, who was no great stylist himself, but Dick’s fiction barrels along at such a speed that it never matters, whereas Priest catalogues every landscape and circumstance and ...


John Sutherland, 18 November 1993

by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 313 pp., £15.99, September 1993, 0 316 90688 3
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Against a Dark Background 
by Iain M. Banks.
Orbit, 496 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 1 85723 185 6
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... on The Wasp Factory. The other influence on Banks’s binaristic obsessions is the SF writer Philip K. Dick – master of alternative universes and split characters. (One of these fictions, ‘We can remember for you wholesale’, recently achieved box-office success in crudified form as Total Recall.) ...

I don’t want your revolution

Marco Roth: Jonathan Lethem, 20 February 2014

Dissident Gardens 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Cape, 366 pp., £18.99, January 2014, 978 0 224 09395 8
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... arty B-movies, or B art-movies, at the same time that Lethem was writing Amnesia Moon, a homage to Philip K. Dick, and Gun, with Occasional Music, a homage to Chandler and Hammett; graffiti and other outsider art started appearing in museums and auction houses; and DJ-worship replaced the mid-century cult of the ...


John Lanchester: Among the Balls, 20 July 2006

... Keen’s cheddar? Perfect. Then I went upstairs and read Emmanuel Carrère’s biography of Philip K. Dick for half an hour or so.† Then I tried to sleep. There are quite a large number of books about how to get a good night’s sleep, and good ‘sleep hygiene’ in general, and not a single one of them recommends ...


Robert Irwin: The Best Thing since Sex, 2 December 1993

... to call them roller blades and to think of myself as a blade runner, someone who is waiting for a Philip K. Dick novel to happen in. Specifically, I now glide about in the faster and more graceful Rollerblade Coolblades. These have a moulded and vented polyurethane boot with ratchet fastenings and ...


Jonathan Lethem: Theatre of Injury, 15 December 2016

... seemed more or less a given. So did the proposition that we were living in a world imagined by Philip K. Dick; this was easily recognisable even if you’d barely read him. To those who knew his work well, the morning-after debate consisted of whether Trump was more like Buster Friendly, the fascist demagogue television ...

Sashimi with a Side of Fries

Adam Thirlwell: Michael Chabon, 16 August 2007

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 414 pp., £17.99, June 2007, 978 0 00 715039 7
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... Union, his fourth adult novel, he plays with two genres: the counterfactual, derived from Philip K. Dick; and the noir thriller, derived from Chandler and Hammett. The counterfactual is all in the background. The thriller is all in the foreground. The thematic link between the two is the endlessly precarious nature ...

But this is fateful!

Theo Tait: Jonathan Lethem, 16 March 2017

The Blot: A Novel 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Cape, 289 pp., £16.99, February 2017, 978 0 224 10148 6
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The Blot 
by Jonathan Lethem and Laurence Rickels.
Anti-Oedipus, 88 pp., £6.99, September 2016, 978 0 9905733 7 1
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... Gardens (2013). Even his prose often seems like the work of a series of distinct writers: from the Philip K. Dick/Raymond Chandler pastiche of Gun, with Occasional Music (1994) to the loose, freewheeling style of The Fortress of Solitude to the clotted, effortful virtuosity of Dissident Gardens. His initial plan, he told the ...

Smash the Screen

Hal Foster: ‘Duty Free Art’, 5 April 2018

Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War 
by Hito Steyerl.
Verso, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 243 2
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... trick, and sometimes this leads her to oscillate between semi-paranoid projections (à la Philip K. Dick) and semi-cynical implosions (à la Jean Baudrillard). Such criticism has a special knack for catastrophism, which it also craves. With enormous ambition it challenges the culture of capitalism, but finally it is ...

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