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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928. While attending UC at Berkeley, he dropped out rather than take ROTC training. There he stayed to write some 36 novels and 5 short story collections. He won the 1962 Hugo for The Man in the High Castle and the 1974 John W. Campbell Award for Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. He died of heart failure caused by a stroke in 1982.

Over the years, Philip K. Dick's novels and collections have slipped in and out of print. However, in 1991, Vintage, a division of Random House, the folk who bring us Ballantine and Del Rey titles, began an ambitious project to reprint many of his novels. While not all of them have reappeared, a fine selection have. It is their covers (for the most part) which supplement this list (© date appears in brackets).

Deus Irae Deus Irae w/ Roger Zelazny (1976)

Did Tibor McMasters, a limbless heretic, have a chance against the awesome powers of the Deus Irae, the entity behind WWIII? Commissioned to paint his likeness, Tibor must first find him. This, while his Christian companion acts on orders to sabotage his mission. This violent clash of good and evil undermines a perilous pilrimage.

The Ganymede Takeover The Ganymede Takeover w/ Ray Nelson (1967)

Three guerillas make a raid for food and supplies. Defenders hold them off with strange new weapons found nearby. The weapons produce illusions. Twenty four soldier phantoms, an army of giant vampires, man-eating plants, Valkyries, cannibal children, all illusions. The trouble began when they switched off the machines and the phantams didn't go away.

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Ubik Ubik (1969)
This novel is a metaphysical comedy of death and salvation (which is available in a convenient aerosol spray). Glen Runciter is dead. Or is everybody else? Someone died in an explosion. But, while his funeral in Des Moines is being organized, his staff grieving at their loss are getting bewildering and sometimes scatological messages from the boss. And the world around them is spinning out of control.


In part 1 of the VALIS trilogy, we meet Horselover Fat, a schizophreniac, the hidden mysteries of Gnostic Christianity, and the reality revealed by a pink laser. All play a role in this theological detective story in which God is both a missing person and the perp of the ultimate crime.

Vulcan's Hammer Vulcan's Hammer (1960)

Society turns over control to a computer, Vulcan III, following an atomic war. The resultant civilization, static, and stagnant, heads for revolution as the lower caste, led by the Healers, decide that change is needed. However, Vulcan, not the computer it once was, may not be willing to cede control to the people.

We Can Build You We Can Build You (1972)

Louis Rosen sells simulacra of famous personalities such as Abraham Lincoln. His buyer is a billionaire whose schemes could get Louis in deep trouble. Compounding his problems, one of his simulacra doesn't want to be sold. Is an electronic Lincoln any less alive than his creators? Is a machine that cares and suffers inferior to the woman Louis loves - a borderline psychopath who does neither?

Philip K. Dick Reading List

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Copyright © 1999, 2004 by Rodger Turner

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