Oh, I was a strange, strange child. And not the least of my strangenesses was that I loved the stories of Philip K. Dick.
That was odd in several ways. First of all, it was odd because I was a girl, and most girls in those days didn’t read science fiction. Secondly, I was eight or nine when I was doing this reading. Thirdly, Dick’s stories themselves are very strange; they seem that way to me even now.
But they are very very good. Dick’s become a great deal more famous now than he was then, and his short stories and novellas and novels have been made into several films, including “Blade Runner.” The stories, although they were the stuff of nightmare—children’s minds being especially susceptible to that sort of thing (at least mine was, with the power to frighten me in a very deep and disturbing way)—were extraordinarily compelling.
And yet I kept reading. They were just that good, and stretched the mind in a way I found almost irresistible. My favorite was probably “Second Variety,” an extraordinarily grim tale for a child—or for an adult, for that matter.
So I was delighted to read this piece at American Thinker about Dick. You may enjoy it, if you’re a fan. And you may enjoy it even if you’re not:
But in Philip Dick’s world technology is twitchy, with endless glitches, often open to abuse and exploitation by unsavory elements both in and out of government. Reality itself cannot be depended on — it can collapse under your feet like a rotten stairwell. Nothing is what it seems — even a beloved pet can turn out to be a product with an expiration date. Government officials can simply be simulations, if they exist at all. Threats can appear out of nowhere, often irrationally or even whimsically. To escape all this, the public retreats into drugs or obsessions with apparent trivia — games, “setups” for dolls, hallucinatory virtual worlds. A functional aristocracy has returned, creating a kind of techno-feudalism — (think of Tyrell, abiding alone within the peak of his vast pyramid in Blade Runner). Dick’s world can kill you in a nanosecond without anybody wondering why or even paying much attention.
[NOTE: You may also enjoy this piece about Dick, a man often thought crazy. Let’s just say he had a very unusual mind.]