Philip K. Dick and Our Predicament

I've been thinking about Philip K. Dick quite a lot in recent months. Philip K. Dick, for those who pay no attention to such things, is the writer who, without ever expressly intending it, transformed the often shabby and degraded genre of science fiction into something resembling art. From the early 1950s through the 80s, Dick wrote several dozen extremely quirky and individualistic novels foregoing the themes of most SF in favor of his own preoccupations. These were written in large part for low-rent paperback houses like Ace and Belmont for $500 on the barrelhead, and no expectation of another dime, the concept of "royalties" not having penetrated that far down. (At least not as far as Ace, which pocketed some $40,000 belonging to Dick that had to be shaken out of them decades after the money should have been paid.) To financial woes we can also add a disorderly personal life of the type that thrived in California and virtually nowhere else during the 50s....(Read Full Article)

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