Brains, Bats, and Implanted Thoughts: The Perpetual Life of Philip K. Dick


The legacy of World War terminus has diminished in potency; those who could not survive the dust had passed into oblivion years ago, and the dust, weaker now and confronting the strong survivors, only deranged minds and genetic properties. Despite his lead codpiece, the dust — undoubtedly — filtered in and at him, brought him daily, so long as he failed to emigrate, its little load of befouling filth. So far, medical checkups taken monthly confirmed him as a regular: a man who could reproduce within tolerances set by law. Any month, however, the exam by the San Francisco Police Department doctors could reveal otherwise. Continually, new specials came into existence, created out of regulars by the omnipresent dust. The ads ran: “Emigrant or degenerate! The choice is yours!” Very true, Rick thought as he opened the gate to his little pasture and approached his electric sheep. But I can’t emigrate, he said to himself. Because of my job. — Philip K. Dick,  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Most people know Philip K. Dick for the story that inspired movies such as Blade Runner, a film that defined the language of latter day science fiction cinema and its extraordinary advances in special effects. After writing hundreds of stories, numerous novels, essays and screenplays, Dick joined those writers who turned aside from their work and made an eccentric public life their final art, though his work as a serious writer was never that far from serious readers’ attentions.

He died in 1982, broke, decrepit, most probably mentally ill… More here