The Second Coming of P. K. Dick   2 comments

John Lennon had just been killed and I think I know why we are on the Earth;  it’s to find out that what you love the most will be taken from away from you, probably due to an error in high places rather than by design.

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, by P. K. Dick

If you are of a certain age you read Dick in the original short story forms in pulp SF magazines like "Amazing Stories" and the novels "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (1968) and the "The Man in the High Castle" (1962).  Starting with the year of Dick’s death, Dick’s strange dark vision took new form in the movies.  Starting with Blade Runner (1982) there are by 2012 at least 9 movies based on his stories.  With the 2009 publication of  Of VALIS and Later Novels  P. K. Dicks later novels have begun to receive the attention they deserve.  The volume: VALIS and Later Novels includes a quality re-print of four  novels whose themes of alternative reality and religion are deeply linked:

  • A Maze of Death
  • The Divine Invasion
  • The Transmigration f Timothy Archer

Recently Simon Critchley  ( chair of philosophy at the New School for Social Research) wrote a three part blog for the New York Times discussing Dick’s philosophy as reflected in "VALIS and Later Novels" , and his (mostly) unpublished  “Exegesis.”   This is the first serious treatment of P. K. Dick’s philosophy I have seen in print in  main stream journalism.  Read read his posts here:   Philip K. Dick, Sci-Fi Philosopher: Part 1  Part 2 Part 3

The official PK Dick Site can be found here. A very good  UNOFFICIAL site can be found here.  Five wives and repeated brushes with alcohol and methamphetamine abuse were ghosts which haunted his life and writing.  According to the official web site:  In February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of visions and auditions including an information-rich "pink light" beam that transmitted directly into his consciousness.   This experience was documented by R. Crumb in the 1986 Comix: Weirdo No. 17 and is one of the themes treated in VALIS. You can see the Crumb comix by clicking on the cover graphic below.

Rolling Stone did an historically interesting article on P. K. Dick in November, 1972(Groovy Cover, too).  This article is also mirrored here.image

And this just in.  “The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick”, complete 244 page ebook on line (damn and I just paid 15 bucks for it on Amazon – Get a copy while it is still available for free). Here and here.

Here are the English language films based directly on P. K. Dick Stories  that I am aware of:

Story Movie Release Date Trailer
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep Blade Runner 1982
Second Variety Screamers 1995
We Can Remember It for You Wholesale Total Recall 1990 & 2012
Impostor Imposter 2001

Minority Report

Minority Report





A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly


The Golden Man



The Adjustment Team

The Adjustment Bureau


You can start a nine part documentary on Philip K. Dick here:

Continue the series from this site.

From the ‘afterword‘ to VALIS, by Terence McKenna

Phil was a vortex victim…Phil (sometimes) thought he was Christ.  I (sometimes) thought I was an extraterrestrial invader disguised as a meadow mushroom.  What matters  is the system that eventually emerges, not the fantasies concerning the source system.  When I compare Phil’s system to mine, my hair stands on end.  We were both contracted by the same unspeakable something.  Two madmen dancing, not together, but the same dance anyhow.  Truth or madness, you be the judge.  What is trying to be be expressed is this: the world is not real.  Reality is not stranger than you suppose, it is stranger than you can suppose.  Time is not what you think its is…Being is a solid state matrix and psychosis is the redemptive process.

From Wired Magazines article on P. K. Dick:

"It’s all very Buddhist," says Uma Thurman, sitting in a dressing room as a makeup artist dabs at her face.  She means Philip K. Dick, of course. Her father, Columbia University professor Robert Thurman, is a leading Buddhist scholar and a good friend of the Dalai Lama, so she’s no stranger to discussions of memory and reality. "Reality is an illusion – that’s the principle of ancient Buddhist thought," she continues. "And the basic idea of being reborn is that you erase the memory. Everybody is interconnected, and you’re working out your karma with people – so you get erased, but all work left undone has to be completed."

Dick was influenced by the Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book Of the Dead).   You can read the Comix Book version here.

Fate, to get Tim Archer, would have to run him through: Tim would never run himself through.  He would not collude with retributive fate, once he spotted it and knew what it was up to.  He had done that now: discerned retributive fate, seeking him.  He neither fled nor cooperated…He stood and fought…he died hard, which is to say, hitting back.  Fate had to murder him.

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, by P. K. Dick


2 responses to “The Second Coming of P. K. Dick

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  1. Pingback: Detour: A Scanner Darkly « top50sf

  2. Pingback: Philip K. Dick – Mental Health And God « Cloud2013 Or Bust

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