Philip K. Dick: Writer or Prophet?

Philip K. Dick was a prolific science-fiction writer. He usually depicted a bleak, dystopian future. His works have become more famously known as the motion pictures Blade Runner, Total Recall,  and Minority Report, as the current television series The Man in the High Castle. He died of a stroke in 1982 at age 53.

Below are some of the things he said during his life. Now, remember, he died in 1982.

Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.

There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.

Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.

It’s the basic condition of life to be required to violate our own identity.

There are no private lives. This a most important aspect of modern life. One of the biggest transformations we have seen in our society is the diminution of the sphere of the private. We must reasonably now all regard the fact that there are no secrets and nothing is private. Everything is public.

Look at the world around us today. I ask you, was Mr. Dick a mere writer of science fiction, or a prophet?

3 thoughts on “Philip K. Dick: Writer or Prophet?

  1. One should read Dick. The movies are not the writer. Phil was only part of Blade Runner. He actually worked with Ridley Scott. It and A Scanner Darkly were the two well done Dick renditions. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a completely different story. Read it. Minority Report was a short story. The movie was a re-writing by Spielberg. The Adjustment Team was the short story. The Adjustment Bureau was a good movie, after the politicsal bullshit ended. Paycheck was a great story. The movie was mixed. The two great speculative American authors of 20th century were Dick and Delany. And Dick hated Delany’s most famous work, Dhalgren. I wrote about A Scanner Darkly over at My site.

  2. The short story Total Recall was based on was called, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. It ends when he is informed by the agency that employed him as an agent that he must now be permanently retired. He runs. The story ends… well, you should read it. It is completely different than either movie and is for more satidsfying and touching.

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