Friday, June 29, 2012

You Love His Stories; You Just Don't Know It

Philip K. Dick android
Philip K. Dick android
For 30 years, movie lovers around the would have been enthralled by the wild imaginings of a writer most people have never heard of.  A dozen films, many of them mega-hits, have been based on his works.  The latest, to be released Aug. 3, 2012, is a remake of the movie "Total Recall" and starts Colin Farrell.

This author is Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), whose paranoiac visions of the near future inspired such films as "Blade Runner,"  "Minority Report," "A Scanner Darkly," and "The Adjustment Bureau."  Filmmakers regularly plunder his writings for movie plots, an indicator of the growing interest in the writing of PKD (as he is commonly known).

During his lifetime, PKD's reputation as a writer was little known beyond science fiction fans.  Since his death, however, not only have his ideas become part of American pop culture, but his writing has been discovered by a wide range of serious literary critics and academicians, who now place him among the top rank in American letters and literature.

The new Philip K. Dick Display at the Al Harris Library shows the award-winning science fiction novels for which he was known.  Also presented are the mainstream literary works written throughout his career that were rejected in favor of his science fiction.  Most were written during the 1950s and 1960s and  are urban tales about young men who are dissatisfied with their jobs and have disastrous love lives.  The fact that these works have been made available by publishers for the first time during the past few years is another indicator of PKD's increasing reputation as a great American  writer.

Also on display is the 2011 release of "The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick," a weighty reproduction of journal entries from the last eight years of the author's life in which he grapples to understand religious expriences he had during a three-month period in 1974.  This long-awaited work among PKD aficionados would not be available in print if the author's prestige was not on the rise.

The display also includes biographical and critical works about Philip K. Dick and his work.

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