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Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  29 reviews

It is 1982. The United States has a permanent Moonbase. Richard M. Nixon is in the fourth term of the "imperial presidency." And an eccentric novelist named Philip K. Dick has just died in California.

Or has he? Psychiatrist Lia Pickford, M.D., is nonplussed when Dick walks into her office in small-town Georgia, with a cab idling outside, to ask for help. And Cal Pickford,
Paperback, First Orb edition, 341 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Orb Books (first published 1987)
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3.61  · 
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 ·  416 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philip K Dick fans, SF fans
Recommended to Ubik by: random search for titles with "Philip K Dick" in them
Shelves: own
Excellent pastiche by Bishop. I believe he captured the meat of PKD literature very well. The main theme in Radio Free Albemuth is definitely evident here. I loved the way it ended up; almost as a sacrifice by Philip K Dick in a way to have lived this "alternate" life pretty much the way he was in actual reality. PKD in real life, as amazing an author of SF as he was, wanted SO BADLY to be recognized as a "real" novelist. He considered himself as writing "schlock" just to pay the rent. As it sta ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't know much about Philip K. Dick, but fictional representations of U.S. presidents are pretty solidly My Thing. (Seriously: What is with my fascination with Nixon, or at least the Imagined Nixon [see also: Coover, Roth, Futurama]? I have no idea.)
Simon Mcleish
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 2002.

Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas is a direct tribute to the famous science fiction author; not only does it use many themes from his work, but Dick himself is one of the major characters. The novel begins with the death of Dick and the rising of a ghostly form from his body. But this is not the world we know, but an America which won in Vietnam, and where the increasingly dictatorial Richard Nixon is approaching the end of his fourth term in offic
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I learned from reading this book that I do not possess an intimate knowledge of Philip K. Dick's lexicon. I knew that going in, but didn't think it would matter. I've loved the few Dick books I've read and was intrigued by an effort to make him a central conceit in a fantasy/surrealist novel. Maybe if you knew Dick as well as the author you'd really like it. I lost interest in the book about half way, completely uninterested in how the plot would resolve. Mostly, I found the writing style and ch ...more
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
A hesitant 4... perhaps a 3.5.

Not bad... it took a bit of reading before I became interested in the plot, but then it got fairly interesting.
For some reason it reminds me of The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks. Must be that subversive character approach. :P

Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
A sweet, smart, and funny memorial to a great writer by a damn good one. As a huge PKD fan in my younger days, this book made me very, very happy.
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helps being an admirer of PKD's work.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Bishop takes an interesting concept and completely mangles the execution. A better writer could have made a masterpiece of this. In the intro, Bishop states he purposely didnt write this in PKD pastiche, but in his own author voice. I think he did this because hes a shit writer, and he knows it.

The high level concept is neat - PKD as a character in a different world, taking elements of Valis, the man in the high castle, the divine invasion, as well as inverting his status as a genre writer to ma
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
En esta novela/tributo, Bishop reproduce fidedignamente algunos de los elementos más característicos de las obras de Philip K. Dick. Lo hace de tal manera que consigue hacernos creer que efectivamente estamos leyendo una de las mismas. Realidades históricas alternativas, libros prohibidos, universos paralelos a esas realidades históricas alternativas, cosmonautas, un Nixon desatado, tiendas de mascotas ...elementos en aparencia discordantes se van uniendo para tejer una historia coral imprevisib ...more
Cliff Jr.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For Philip K. Dick fans, of course.

Thoroughly weird and full fun PKD nods and references. I really loved the stuff at the very end, but for me, that could have been half the book, not just an epilogue. There was a lot of crazy sci-fi action, but somehow not as much as I expected. Overall, this book made me miss PKD, which I really should have expected.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An homage to the great science fiction author by someone who might not be as talented but is at least sane and not drug-addicted.

In 1982, the year of Philip K. Dick's death, Richard Milrose [sic] Nixon is in his fourth term as President of the United States of America. America has won the Vietnam War, invaded and occupied Cuba, has constructed a Moon base, and is about to launch a manned Mars mission. The emended Bill of Rights bans subversive literature, including the science fiction of Philip
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I struggle with how to characterize this book. In a sense it is a pastiche of Philip K. Dick's novels, but Michael Bishop rather pointedly avoids mimicking Dick's writing style (for better or worse, as the case may be). Many of the plot elements are pure Dick, though. I love the fact that the book's villain is Richard Nixon, although I was very much less enamored of the Big Reveal at the end about Nixon. Without getting into spoilers, let me say that the climax really sort of blew the whole book ...more
Max Ampuero
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Transmite a cabalidad el estilo y algunas paranoias de PKD, es muy recomendable. Intrigas, suspenso, conspiraciones alucinantes y personajes algo safados.
Коста  Сивов
Филип Дик е един от любимите ми автори-фантасти. Голям фен съм на множествените реалности в произведенията му и "наркотичният" поглед над света и хората в него. Не напразно Дик е един от най-филмираните писатели (само за незапознатите ще спомена, че филми като "Блейд Рънър", "Зов за завръщане", "Специален доклад", "Скриймърс", "Камера потъмняла" и доста други са именно по негови произведения). В този роман "Филип К. Дик е мъртъв, уви!" Майкъл Бишъп се е опитал да отдаде трибут към учителя си. Ак ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent Dickian story in the irreverence that he would appreciate. The current fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the current environment made this a compelling read. The parallels between the Richard Nixon character and US politics reminded me of the fears about where we are headed to day.

Also, the inclusion of so many places in Georgia amused me.
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed "Ancient of Days," my one previous Michael Bishop book, but I don't think it prepared me for this. A truly fantastic, top-notch homage to PKD, I enjoyed pretty much all of this book.

An engrossing, Dickian story featuring Dick's transcendent spirit as a major charaacter/Christ figure, in a spiritual duel with Richard Nixon for America's soul. This is a fun read, with a real moral sense, and some complexity underlying it. I recommend it to my fellow PKD fans, and to anyone who enj
Frank Hays
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is completely ridiculous in a good way but it is probably best suited for Phillip K. Dick fans as there's lots of little in jokes and such. That said, who else other than big Philip K. Dick fans are going to read such a thing? I think it works. This is the kind of idea that I imagine often gets spit-balled in a mostly humorous manner between authors at the bar after a science fiction conference and then gets forgotten the morning after. I appreciate that Michael Bishop actually went th ...more
Karl Kindt
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Worth reading, but barely. This would not be worth reading unless you are a huge PKD fan. The problem is that the author has PKD as a main character in this paean to PKD, and yet hardly uses him. When he is on stage in the novel, it's worthwhile. When we are forced to sit through the awkward moments like main characters Cal and Lia dealing with Cal's unwelcome erection, it's painful. I appreciate what Bishop wanted to do. I think he gets PKD. The problem is the story itself is not worthy of its ...more
Dave Lefevre
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-scifi, pkd
A neat little book. Bishop creates a very PKDish story and makes Dick one of the main characters. The characters and their relationships feel a lot like the Phil Dick stories from the late 60s and 70s. It's clever to make PKD square off with Nixon, especially when you are aware of the aspects of Dick's biography. Nixon was Phil's arch enemy (though the opposite sure wasn't true. It's not clear Nixon even knew who Phillip K Dick was), and a story where they fight it out is very fitting.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
A decent read. Bishop definitely gets the style of a PKD novel down almost perfectly, but the broad cast of characters and plot get a bit bogged down and boring towards the end, sending the novel limping to a rather unsatisfying conclusion. I really don't see this book having much appeal to anyone other than serious fans of Dick's body of work.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great rendition of PK DIck style and twisted version of reality. This time the vision of the other reality is the world we live in, and the novel lives in an alternate PK Dick reality and refers to the 'alternate' reality that we live in. Bravo.
Chuck O'Connor
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is not much more than fan fiction. It relies on the author miming PKD themes as tropes. The story suffers from Bishop forcing the plot with dubious character action or too easily gained insight. Overall like most things that try too hard to be clever, it comes off as very stupid.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
A nice tribute to PKD. It was an ok read.
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hey all you Dickheads, click this link:
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice tribute to PKD that is still able to stand on its own.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great Dickian-style novel, featuring none other than the man himself, dead.
Geetu Melwani
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bought-in-alaska
Hard to characterize.... fun read.
the author is almost channeling PK Dick .. echoes of Man in the High Castle;

Recommended if you're a PK Dick fan!
rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2007
Juanma Santiago
rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2009
Albert Efimoff
rated it it was amazing
Apr 06, 2014
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Michael Lawson Bishop is an award-winning American writer. Over four decades & thirty books, he has created a body of work that stands among the most admired in modern sf & fantasy literature.

Bishop received a bachelor's from the Univ. of Georgia in 1967, going on to complete a master's in English. He taught English at the US Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs from 1