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Science Fiction Novels > Phillip K Dick

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I've read all of his book including his "straight" fiction like CRAP ARTIST. His writing always focuses on the failed relationships between characters with science fiction as a backdrop. "Must Read" novels include: DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP, UBIK, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, THE SIMULACRA, and DR. BLOODMONEY. Just to name a few...

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I've found some of his writing very readable & others I just can't get through. For instance, I loved "Do Androids Dream..." but couldn't get through "The Man in the High Castle". Deus Irae was written with probably my favorite author, Roger Zelazny, but I couldn't get into it, either.

He's kind of like Jack Nicholson, for me. I either really like him or just can't stand him.

message 3: by Tom (new)


A SCANNER DARKLY was, for me, easily the best of the bunch. Funny and genuinely moving, a devastating picture of a man desperately trying to keep himself together. I enjoyed DO ANDROIDS DREAM but curiously now can't seem to remember much about it, likewise PALMER ELDRITCH.

MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE and FLOW MY TEARS are very much on my radar, I'll be getting to them in the coming months.

message 4: by Hertzan (new)

Hertzan Chimera (hertzanchimera) Guys,

if you wanna get involved in more specific discussions on Philip K Dick, the man and his work, past, present and future, please feel free to join the Philip K Dick group here on Goodreads where I am the moderator:

thanks <- link to group

message 5: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
A SCANNER DARKLY, FLOW MY TEARS, and PALMER ELDRITCH are great novels too. Some of his stuff is less-focused like COUNTER CLOCK WORLD or CRACK IN SPACE, but there's always this little gem of insight: how about the black President Jim Briskin in CRACK IN SPACE?

message 6: by Angie (new)

Angie I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and really enjoyed this book! Personally though I did not enjoy the film as much as the book. I also have only seen the director's cut and have been meaning to watch the theatrical version.

message 7: by Jim (last edited Oct 25, 2008 10:55AM) (new)

Jim (jim_) I'm a big fan of his Books. I couldn't get his books at the bookstore for years, I believe most of his books were out of print, until the re-release of BladeRunner. I used to actually find his short-stories in Hard-Boiled or Sci-Fi collections. Besides DADE, my favorites of his are The World Jones Made, Time Out Of Joint, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, and Confessions Of A Crap Artist. I do have more titles to read.

Jim, good point, I've shelved Man In The High Castle, for over 2 years, I read it one chapter at a time. There's only one of his books that I gave up reading, The Penultimate Truth.

Someone wrote a very short story about what would happen if Sam Peckinpah met PDK. Disclaimer, Read at your own risk. It's more about the people then there work:

message 8: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I love TIME OUT OF JOINT an always wanted to name my first child Raggle. I love the begining of PENULTIMATE TRUTH with the lonely fog enshroaded apathy but the novel grows on you, please give it another chance;)

Tera (TheBookishAbyss) I have also read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and loved it. I also thought "A Scanner Darkly" was genious.

message 10: by Jim (last edited Oct 26, 2008 07:50AM) (new)

Jim (jim_) Rob, I can appriciate your dislike on Confessions Of A Crap Artist. As the title suggests It is his most loathsome self-deprecating work. I have found that most every prolific author has a least one book where they spit at there readers, either telling them how easy it is to write a book or how stupid there audience is. PDK like other authors spent a lot of time insulting editor's, he shifted on this. I read this book as more of PDK's catharsis dealing with divorce, death, and other failures. I agree it's depressing, but interesting reading. He is intentionally inconsiderate of the readers, he questions materialism, love, trust, and the establishment in general. Unlike his other novels, this story has no utopia, no happy ending, there are no Martian's or others. You get this life's miserable kind of feeling. If you are patient to read through the ordeal, you should enjoy the tie-in ending.

message 11: by Ubik (last edited Oct 30, 2008 08:30PM) (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Confessions is a really odd one to start with. I started with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and its still one of my absolute favorites.

Since then, Ive read a total of 27 of his novels (0 short stories) and that includes Confessions (which I personally loved -- Have you seen the movie?) and Voices From The Street which is the last of his completed non-lost novels to be published just last year and it was awesome but I wouldnt recommend it to you at this point

My top 5:

1. Now Wait for Last Year
2. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
3. Ubik
4. Eye in the Sky
5. The Cosmic Puppets

And as someone mentioned above, there are groups on here specifically dedicated to Dick. There is also mine which isnt solely Dick, but everything is Dick-"ian" if you know what I mean. Social SF, SF that questions reality, more obscure stuff, etc: The Phildickians. I only have one member so far (I havent really been promoting it), but youre all welcome to join

message 12: by Ubik (last edited Oct 30, 2008 09:03PM) (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Yeah, the movie is French. Its called Barjo. I really liked it.

There *usually* is a ton of love for Man In The High Castle, but we must have gotten all the haters in this one thread. Most people like it. Im actually another one who couldnt get through it....twice. Maybe someday Ill try again, but I was bored to tears. Im also not so fond of The Simulacra or We Can Build You and I definitely wouldnt read Vulcan's Hammer until the end as well.

Trust me, pick up Ubik or Three Stigmata next. You wont be disappointed.

message 13: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Oct 31, 2008 02:50PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Glad to see you in the group Ubik! And thanks for the great list. I collect vintage PKD books and have an almost complete collection of 1st editions in paperback and hardback. My prize is a first printing of UBIK that my mother bought when it was originally released; she was a huge science fiction fan as a child in the late 50s and throught her life:)

MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is probably his most dense prose, very thick and intense as his characterizations cross cultural boundaries: the American jewelrey maker, the Japanese businessman, and the German soldier. His insights are rather profound and he makes each person unique and come to life. Even the writer of the censored book called THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY which is about the absurd notion that the Axis powers actually lost WWII! This is a great novel for history buffs to see an alternate reality, a very real possibility that we (the Allies) could have lost the 2nd WW if Britian would have capitulated. In PKD's fiction, we live in the alternate reality and the Nazis are trying to break through and conquor more than just their own dimension! Cool stuff. Highly recommended.

PALMER ELDRITCH as the little child still sends shivers down my spine...

message 14: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Agree with you on the child version of Palmer Eldritch! Ooooh I almost forgot about that. Its the only Dick Ive read twice and I still forget little pieces of it.

What about gubble gubble? *That* gives me shivers. Martian Time Slip was one of his scariest

message 15: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Oct 31, 2008 03:52PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Gubble wife and I still jokingly say that when we hear politicians speak on TV:) MARTIAN TIME SLIP very good book! I love the Bleakman and feel sorry for them.

message 16: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Hoppy Harrington still gives me the creeps, wheeling around in his little phocomobile.

Jenny, I would recommend FLOW MY TEARS as the next great read, but you can't go wrong with any on KD's list!

message 17: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
TRANSMIGRATION is such a good novel, he creates one of his finest and most complex characters.

message 18: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Hoppy Harrington is definitely a creepy character. I probably visualized him all wrong, but nevertheless eerie

message 19: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I don't think so. I just requested Solaris by Stanislaw Lem from PaperBackSwap and I will be upset if its not the Solaris that I am thinking of...

message 20: by Phillip (new)

Phillip becky is right. philip k dick didn't write solyaris. it was lem.

it's kind of weird that eveyrone talks about solyaris on this group, but not stalker....

do folks not consider stalker sci-fi?
and if not, why not?

message 21: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) *sigh of relief*

message 22: by Tom (last edited Nov 20, 2008 11:19AM) (new)

Tom | 166 comments Phillip, maybe because STALKER is relatively hard to see. The DVD releases are really inadequate, and virtually unwatchable. I do wish Criterion would do a version, it is long overdue.

STALKER was the film where I started to feel that I "got" Tarkovsky. The long takes, the discussions about anything but the story, the voiceover poetry, all kind of came together for me in this one. That long long long take toward the end when it starts raining in the antechamber to The Room was one of the most powerful experiences I've ever had in a movie theatre.

I'd call STALKER sci-fi. I have the novel ROADSIDE PICNIC, on which the film is based, somewhere but have never read it.

message 23: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Yeah, Im surprised Ive neither seen Stalker nor read Roadside Picnic seeing as Im a fan of the Strugatsky brothers. I did *rent* Stalker back in about 2001-2002, but at the time I dont think I was in a right mind state for it so I got about 10 minutes in and gave up; Ive been planning to see it again ever since...

message 24: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Love STALKER but the Russian DVD I watched a few years ago was, like Tom said, nearly unwatchable: too dark, the image stuttered, and terrible subtitles. I'm waiting for a Criterion re-issue also. I would consider it great science fiction and worthy of our attention.

message 25: by Phillip (last edited Nov 24, 2008 09:22AM) (new)

Phillip i disagree with your assessments of the russian edition of the film. it works for me. it's not easy to get, and rather expensive.

i assume you guys are talking about the russico release on dvd? (it comes with two discs...).

it's much improved over the copies that were floating around on vhs. the subtitles are in yellow and easy to see. i agree they are not always really good translations, but you always get that with russian cinema (and others).

i've seen it twice on the big screen, which is obviously where you want to see it (or any of his movies). i can't really say enough good things about it. the poem his father wrote on music that is narrated about half way through just kills me. and also the one about the tree being supple in its youth, but how it hardens with time...absolutely beautiful.

people say his films are slow, but when you go to russia you realize what it's all about. those folks deal with time in a very different way than we do here in the west. for one thing, at least in saint petersburg, the days and nights can be so long...and then there is the issue of travel. most russians take the train, which takes forever. can you imagine taking more than a week to cross the states? that's just how they do it there. no one i knew flew in planes. and then there is the train service. i was in a lot of places where i couldn't leave town for a day or two because the trains simply were not running on schedule...or at all. things take a long time to happen there. it just makes sense that the films are slower.

message 26: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Philip, I had the same issues Alex had with the Russian/Russico DVD release. I found it very hard to watch, the picture just didn't look right.

I also have the Kino DVD which didn't really improve matters, as it was basically the Russico release in a different package.

It may just be a disagreement between the DVD and my DVD player/TV set. It wouldn't be the first time that something just didn't work with my system.

message 27: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
The problem with the DVD is only technical, not in the actual substance of the film itself:)
I loved this film but the DVD projected on a larger screen showed all of the disc's defects. It was like watching a great film at an Art House Theatre that is spliced together from tenth generation prints. I'm hoping for a new remaster soon like SOLARIS: the Criterion version is really good.
Personally, I like white subtitles that aren't too intrusive upon the image...though they sometimes blend into the background.

message 28: by Kandice (new)

Kandice We Can Remember it for You Wholesale
Minority Report (story, not film)
Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep ( I think the film is great, but should be considered seperately from the movie-they are like two different stories along same theme)
There's a story by him about a war in the future, there are "android" things that infiltrate a bunker. I can't remember the name of it, but I remember reading it a few times, and listening to it on tape. I loved it. Maybe Alex knows?

message 29: by Daniel (last edited Jan 10, 2009 02:58AM) (new)

Daniel | 39 comments Rob wrote: "Jim: What did you like about Crap Artist? I found it horribly outdated and downright dull. Plus...I thought it'd be more sci-fi than it was. I thought that was all Dick wrote."

In fact, in his life time, it's the only NON-SF work of his that saw print. After his death a number of his other non-SF works were published posthumously.

It was made into a French movie, "Barjo."

message 30: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments Kandice wrote: "There's a story by him about a war in the future, there are "android" things that infiltrate a bunker. I can't remember the name of it, but I remember reading it a few times, and listening to it on tape. I loved it."


message 31: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Daniel M. wrote: "Kandice wrote: "There's a story by him about a war in the future, there are "android" things that infiltrate a bunker. I can't remember the name of it, but I remember reading it a few times, and li..."
Thanks. I don't have the book anymore, so couldn't look, but I remember really enjoying it.

message 32: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
SCREAMERS it is...good little story but thought the movie quite forgettable. Though Peter Wellers wasn't too bad.
I enjoy Dick's novel CONFESSION and think it's the best of his non-sf novels, and I've read them all. Turns out the only sane character is the one who is considered crazy by everyone else, especially his own family. I haven't seen the French film: Daniel, have you seen it? If so, do you recommend?

message 33: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 39 comments I've seen "Barjo" but haven't read "Crap Artist" so I can't compare them. It's an interesting film, worth checking out, but not something you need concern yourself with if you can't track down a copy.

message 34: by Phillip (new)

Phillip hmmmn. haven't checked back in here for a while.

i saw stalker on the big screen at the tarkovsky festival a few years ago at the castro. it didn't look as good as the print i have from russico. does the version you all have come in two discs? does it have all those fine interviews with various people that worked on the film? i'm confused. my print looks great. i can't believe how good it looks in fact.

oh well.

back to pkd...i really enjoyed valis, ubik, scanner darkly and do androids dream. all of those were fine reads. i see the three stigmata of palmer eldritch on a few lists listed above, i think i'll try that one next.

message 35: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Jan 13, 2009 05:56AM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Three Stigmata is a great novel (Chew-Z anyone?) and think you'll enjoy it. It combines the microcosom and macrocosom into one altered reality that is absolutely frightening in its implications. Some days I wake up expecting to see steel teeth grinning madly from my reflection.

message 36: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I have both the Kino and the Russico DVDs of STALKER. They're virtually identical, even down to the menus. I don't know what the problem is, but the picture stutters especially during the opening scenes. That first beautiful tracking shot across the bed with the sleeping figures stutters just enough to be a distraction. Very weird, I've never seen it quite so bad before. If I didn't know the film I'd be tempted to think of it as being part of the film. But it isn't.

message 37: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Alex, I have to say that I wasn't crazy about THREE STIGMATA. I read it and enjoyed it well enough, but it hasn't stayed with me at all, not the way that the sublime SCANNER DARKLY has.

message 38: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
The opening of SCANNER is depressingly funny and has stayed with me ever since the first reading many years ago. I always pictured a 70s era Bruce Dern as Jim Barris.

message 39: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) Has anyone read or recall reading, "Humpty Dumpty in Oakland"? If so, do they recommend reading this through?

I'm in Chapter 2 and I'm seeing some PKD genius, but it's slow.

message 40: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) Thanks for the feedback. I read through another chapter and the pace is improving. I think a lot of PDK's full-stories do start a little slow and then he dives into the characters.

message 41: by Jerin (new)

Jerin Tahapary ... Dudes...... Phil Dick is to Scifi Dostoyevsky is to classical literature...

message 42: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 101 comments Mod
Ive read Voices from the Street which started off a little dry, but within about 15 pages had me glued to it and I think its actually one of his best. Its a great "descent into madness" tale. On the other hand, I *tried* reading Mary and the Giant and I just couldnt get through it. The references to the culture and the way of things back then was just soooo far removed from today's society/culture for me to feel any warmth towards it. It instead just seemed kinda naive and ridiculous. In short: it was super dated. People have said that about Voices too, and yeah, it was the late 40s so there are going to be a few things that stand out as outdated, but the feeling wasnt outdated if that makes any sense and the theme of isolation and being trapped in society and going mad feeling inadequate and out of place, being a mediocre salesman with a mediocre life and finally snapping is still very relevant today and will remain that way for centuries to come.

As for his other non-SF, I was planning on giving The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike a shot next. Unfortunately I know nothing of Humpty Dumpty in Oakland though.

message 43: by Jim (last edited Jun 23, 2009 03:18PM) (new)

Jim (jim_) Ubik, thanks for the 411 on Voices from the street. I will add that to my list. I am curious if any PKD is more dated then Time Out Of Joint, which I loved.

message 44: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I'm now reading VALIS, and finding it rocky going after a brilliant opening. It feels less like a novel and more like a lot of meandering typing about religion. Any advice on how to approach this novel?

message 45: by Phillip (new)

Phillip not really, I also found it to bog down in the latter half of the book.

message 46: by Tom (last edited Sep 01, 2009 08:52AM) (new)

Tom | 166 comments Well, I finished VALIS, and liked a good deal of it, but my patience with religious stuff is very very limited, and the further out the religion goes the more limited it gets.

Taking break from Mr. Dick, moving on to Pynchon's INHERENT VICE which looks like good fun so far. I'll probably give FLOW MY TEARS another shot in the coming months. Can anyone recommend CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST?

message 47: by Jim (last edited Sep 05, 2009 07:03AM) (new)

Jim (jim_) Rob, Such sarcasm. Hysterical.

Tom, I actually liked Confessions Of A Crap Artist. WTF it's very sad and depressing, not at all what you would expect in the PKD book. I think of it as the PKD catharsis. I'm not really sure why I liked itl it reminds me of an old friend, he's 41 a low-stress musician, poet, living off Mom and Girlfriend.

message 48: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Actually, Jim, based on the PDK I've read, sad and depressing is about what I'd expect. He's not exactly a cheery writer.

message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) Rob, that musta sucked. Definitely not the first time read. Wish someone had talked you out of that, at the time.

message 50: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) Yesterday, I read some back cover praise for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said from the Village Voice. The quote was something to the effect that PDK was a poor man's Pynchon. At first I was taken by surprise. I've never read Pynchon and i've added at least one of his books to my list and pondered on many of his books not knowing which one i should read first. Does Pynchon write similiar genres and styles as PDK?

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