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The Life of Philip K. Dick: Reviews

Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, Lawrence Sutin, Harmony, 1990, 352 pp.

Philip K. Dick's life consists of an astonishing series of events, some filled with grief, others profoundly affirmative of the nature of humanity. Drug use, government conspiracies, relationship problems -- all of this is thrown alongside true friendships, powerful writing, and a tentative answer to the question of what constitutes humanity. Namely, kindness. The reader of any biography of Dick will likely experience two reactions: amazement at all of the crazy things that happened to him and no small amount of empathic pain for his seemingly endless troubles, personal and otherwise. The life of Dick makes for an interesting enough biography, but there is a complicating factor. Dick's varying theories on the nature of reality, perhaps his most famous theme (and leading to a favourite adjective of mine: Dickian), extended themselves into every area of his life. Reality breaks down into a splendid, confusing, heartwrenching mess in novel after novel, from his first masterpiece, The Man in the High Castle, to his last completed book, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. And the biographer trying to determine what happened in Dick's life has to sort through wildly differing versions, most of them from Dick himself. I'll deal with this when I talk about the 1971 break-in at Dick's house. A biography of Dick faces another difficulty: the place of Dick's writing in the critical view. Dick wrote many mainstream novels during the fifties, and none sold during his lifetime. So he turned to a genre known as science fiction, which had next to no prestige at the time. Has that state of affairs for science fiction changed at all? Who is reading Dick's books these days, with the publication of a handful of mainstream novels? A Dick biographer has to sort through these thorny issues and what's more, decide on a tone that can treat some particularly unconventional events in an effective and uncondescending manner.

Lawrence Sutin's Divine Invasions handles most of these problems with skill and wit. On the whole, this biography is extensively researched and generally well-written. Sutin's tone is quite informal, which reveals a great deal about his perspective on Dick. For example, the chapter titles are marvellous, with the Introduction title just as good as any: "If Heraclitus Is Right -- And 'The Nature Of Things Is In The Habit Of Concealing Itself' -- Then Where Better To Look For Great Art Than In A Trash Genre?" Sutin deals frankly with questions of genre and science fiction and mainstream, all in the context of Dick's own agonizing attempts to gain access to the mainstream. Sutin sometimes falls into the trap of reading Dick's life from Dick's novels -- sometimes the analogies work, but more often, the layer of fictionalization created by any narrative gets ignored. However, as much as he relies on this technique, Sutin also recognizes the problem. See the opening two quotations that Sutin supplies for the "Chronological Survey and Guide." In the first, Dick says it is a "cardinal error" to see an author's life in the writing, and in the second, Dick says: "[people say]... that from the corpus of my work I can be absolutely and precisely inferred. This is true." (290). Which is true? Which did Dick believe? These questions will recur.

Sutin spends a few chapters with Dick's childhood and teenage years. Dick's twin sister died when the two of them were only a few months old, and Dick's parents divorced when he was six. Sutin traces quite a few of Dick's troubles later in life back to the loss of a twin (which is apparently a psychologically devastating phenomenon, even if only learned of later) and a rocky relationship with his mother. Sutin does not make a causal connection, but there's no question that Dick's life started with some difficulties that preyed heavily on the young man.

Dick tried one year of college, but his phobias (agoraphobia, difficulties with swallowing, vertigo), among other factors, proved the undoing of that. He was working in a record store, and writing when he could. In the early fifties, he started selling short stories to science fiction magazines, and decided to become a full time writer. Despite all of the adversity ahead, he scarcely looked back, producing over fifty novels in the next three and a half decades of his life.

One day in 1962, all of his mainstream attempts were returned to him as unpublishable. In that same year, he wrote The Man in the High Castle, what I consider as his best novel. The sixties were a time of intense writing for Dick, with ups and downs in quality, and little in the way of reward for his efforts. Dick was already married for the third time, to Anne Dick, who has written a book about her life with Dick. Dick was also using and abusing a number of different drugs, mostly amphetamines, but also various other prescription and non-prescription drugs. The drug lifestyle peaked at the beginning of the seventies and came to a end, if only symbolically, with the novel A Scanner Darkly, published in 1976.

What is the 1971 break-in that I mentioned earlier? On the night of November 17, 1971, while Dick was out of the house, his house was broken into. Most of his possessions were stolen. And Dick's giant, fireproof safe had been blown up with plastic explosives and all of the contents taken. What were the contents? Manuscripts, letters, business papers, cancelled checks, and so on. Who could possibly have done this crime? The police investigation had several irregularities, only contributing to Dick's paranoia. Sutin lists all of the possible culprits that Dick suspected: religious fanatics, black militants, the Minutemen, local police, FBI, CIA, IRS, local druggies, himself, military intelligence (183-185). Sutin spends a good portion of Chapter 8 describing the time period, the break-in and its consequences, and so on, but for the best source of Dick's own words on the break-in, see its extensive coverage in Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick by Paul Williams, where Williams has published his interviews with Dick from the fall of 1974.

The early seventies had another strange event in store for Dick. 2-3-74, Dick called it, referring to the second and third months of 1974. See my review of VALIS, which is Dick's own fictional account of what happened. At the time, Dick was married to Tessa Busby, his fifth wife, and their child, Christopher, had been born the previous year. 2-3-74 was a divine revelation. Of some kind. Dick heard voices and received information for the rest of his life. What did this information consist of? For one, the tip off in the summer of 1974 that his son Christopher was suffering from "a potentially fatal inguinal hernia." (225). Christopher was operated on in October, for a condition that even the child's doctor had not spotted. I will discuss some of the contents of Dick's revelation in my review of VALIS. However, this visit from the divine, and all of the theological commotion it caused in Dick's journaling, did not help Dick a great deal in his personal life. His marriage to Tessa fell apart not much later, and Dick's mother died in 1978 without a major reconciliation between mother and son.

Dick himself died in 1982, just a few months before the movie Blade Runner was released. I'll deal with this a bit more fully in my review of The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick, a collection of Dick's non-fiction which, among many other interesting things, gives Dick's reactions to the Blade Runner scripts that he saw. The last few years of Dick's life had a remarkably different cast to them than some of the hellish years of the sixties and especially the early seventies. Dick was making some money from reprints and foreign editions. He was writing again, after some dry years in the seventies, producing two of his best books ever. Then a series of fatal strokes intervened. He died at the age of 53.

Sutin closes Divine Invasions with a section entitled "Chronological Survey and Guide." In keeping with the informal tone of the biography so far, Sutin is a little more honest and involved with the material than a typical biographer. For instance, he rates each book on a scale of 1 to 10. To give a hint of Sutin's own tastes, here are the Dick books that get 10 out of 10: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Ubik, The Best of Philip K. Dick (a collection of short stories published in 1977), and VALIS. Some of Dick's more famous books, like The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, only get 9 out of 10 according to Sutin. Sutin's ratings will help a new reader sort through over 50 of Dick's titles, a list which shows a mingling of poorer efforts among better quality books. A helpful way to conclude a fine biography.

VALIS, Philip K. Dick, Bantam, 1981, 227 pp.

The novel VALIS presents almost insurmountable difficulties to the reviewer. Ostensibly, the book is about a man named Horselover Fat and the crazy things that happen to him and some of his friends, Phil Dick (the narrator of the novel) being one of them. But on page 3 we find out: "I am Horselover Fat and I am writing this in the third person to gain much-needed objectivity." (3) and later on that Horselover Fat is what the name Philip Dick means ("dick" being the German word for "fat"). What exactly is this book VALIS? Are the strange events depicted in it what really happened to Dick? And if not, why is Dick himself a character in the book? I am convinced that parts of VALIS are a mockery of some cheesy science fiction writer who thinks he received a message from God. Other sections are written in earnest, with wacky and overly-solemn theology coexisting with agonizing suicide attempts. In the end, any attempt to separate Dick's life from VALIS would be futile. However, it would be just as useless to say that anything in this book tells the truth about what happened to Dick, as this is a novel and anyone named "Phil Dick" in it is simply another fictional character. Here is a relevant quotation from Sutin's biography, Divine Invasions: "Is Valis autobiography or novel? Both. As Phil explained in a March 1979 letter: 'Oddly, the most bizarre of events in it are true (or rather -- and this is a crucial difference -- I believe they are true).'" (258). As I stated in my review of Sutin's biography, Dick told differing versions of the events in his life, as with the 1971 break-in. One version usually found its way into his fiction, and VALIS represents a variant, or an extended riff, on the theme of 2-3-1974. This lack of distinction between the ostensible reality of Dick's life and the fictionalized novel form probably won't surprise any fan of his earlier books. Autobiography? Novel? Theology? Ramblings of an insane mind? None of these categories mean much in the face of the basic irrationality of the universe, as Dick came to understand it.

VALIS begins with many events as they did indeed happen in Dick's life, albeit thinly disguised. In this book, Fat's wife, Beth, leaves him, taking their son Christopher with her. Fat's response is a suicide attempt. In real life, Dick's wife, Tessa, left him, taking their son Christopher with her. Dick's subsequent suicide attempt matches the details told of Fat's suicide attempt in VALIS. Fat's writer friends David and Kevin are based on Dick's friends, noted science fiction writers Tim Powers and K.W. Jeter. Fat helps a woman named Sherri, who is dying of cancer, whereas Dick helped out her real life counterpart, Doris Sauter. Dick's 2-3-74 experience is described and analysed in extensive detail.

Yes, all of these autobiographical elements are here. But the book veers away from this trend about two-thirds of the way through. The character of Kevin sees a film called VALIS, and the friends go to see the makers of the film, Eric and Linda Lampton. Linda has just given birth to a girl, who is the reincarnation of VALIS, or the current version of Christ -- this girl heals the split between Horselover Fat and Philip Dick. Unfortunately this healing does not last long and the book ends with Fat roaming the world, looking for the next saviour. Did Dick see a film like this and then roam the world in search of the saviour? Well, no.

To focus solely on the autobiographical aspects would miss the best part of the book: Dick's bitterly funny tone of writing. The narrator often makes fun of Fat and Fat's theological obsessions openly. Put this in the context of Dick (the character of Dick, that is) admitting on page 3 to the illusory split between himself and Fat, and the situations become quite funny, grimly so. Fat withholds information from Dick, they go out cruising at night, and so on. Here's a perfect example of the way Dick treats the situation in the book:

"We enjoyed baiting Fat into theological disputation because he always got angry, taking the point of view that what we said on the topic mattered -- that the topic itself mattered. By now he had become totally whacked out. We enjoyed introducing the discussion by way of some careless comment: 'Well, God gave me a ticket on the freeway today' or something like that. Ensnared, Fat would leap into action. We whiled away the time pleasantly in this fashion, torturing Fat in a benign way." (17-18).

Later on page 18, we encounter another version of this technique of black humour. Kevin's cat was run over by a car, and the cat's death represents to him all the injustice in the universe. Kevin's plan to confront God at Judgement Day with the dead cat is related in such a way that the reader is convulsed with laughter. But the masterful comic timing -- as with this sentence: "By then, Kevin used to say, the cat would be as stiff as a frying pan; he would hold out the cat by its handle, its tail, and wait for a satisfactory answer." (18) -- does not quite disguise the serious intent of the passage. Injustice permeates the world as we know it, and Kevin, like many others, is not satisfied with easy or pat answers.

Dick's theology in response to 2-3-74 (or at least the version of that theology presented in VALIS) is a way of dealing with the problem of injustice. Dick picked up on many ideas from Gnosticism, and he shared many of the same emphases on the importance of knowledge ("gnosis"). Our world is held in the mind of, or propagated continually by, an irrational deity. Irrationality is the cause of all the suffering and despair and death that we see around us: "In other words, the universe itself -- and the Mind behind it -- is insane. Therefore someone in touch with reality is, by definition, in touch with the insane: infused by the irrational." (31). However, somewhere beyond the irrational deity there exists a rational deity, and this second being is trying to get through to us. Thus, The Divine Invasion is the title of Dick's next novel after VALIS, a novel about this very process. And this also explains Dick's 2-3-74 experience. The problem lies in our "occlusion," a word which Dick uses constantly -- we are blinded by the ostensible reality around us. Dick's own problem (generalizing now to the real-life Dick from the fictional Dick and Fat) consists in being the only "sane" person among the "insane" population -- as is obvious, it's easy to switch the terms so that our shared reality is the arbiter of sanity. Who is right? And what kind of proof of such a scenario could there possibly be?

Well, none, of course. And all around Horselover Fat, his life disintegrates. Relationships fail. His friends mock him. Fat's theorizing does him very little good in the concrete situations of his life. However, there is an irony here that makes VALIS such a masterpiece, in addition to the brilliant writing. If the reader takes only one step in Fat's direction of questioning the so-called "concrete," then any pat refutations of Fat and Fat's position fall apart instantly. Dick's science fiction writings made extensive use of the theme of mutable reality; now Dick writes about Dick writing about mutable reality. The genre of VALIS, whatever it could be labelled, is ideally suited to the questions that Dick wants to raise. Fictionalizing his own life proved to be the only way he could treat his concerns satisfactorily. And VALIS is, if nothing else, a brave novel, bold in its exorcism of personal demons at the same time as it provides those lingering enigmas with their fullest airing. Paradox... I can live with it if it's in a package like VALIS.

For a review of Dick's final novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, please see the Challenging Destiny web site.

The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings, Philip K. Dick, Vintage, 1995, 350 pp., edited with an introduction by Lawrence Sutin

The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick is a fascinating volume. The bulk of the selections are taken from the seventies or early eighties, with a scattering of works from the sixties, and almost nothing from earlier eras of Dick's life. Like most of Dick's later works, these writings from the last decade of his life (the philosophical pieces in particular) come close to defeating all criticism. I'm referring again to 2-3-74, a divine revelation or at least a glimpse of something outside of our reality. Dick spent the rest of life dealing with 2-3-74, trying to make sense of what had happened to him. Often contradictory, Dick's philosophical beliefs proceeded seamlessly out of his own paradoxical experiences. Any attempt to say that he was simply rationalizing some kind of psychological torment has been forestalled by Dick's own VALIS, that brilliant postmodern novel that lets us know his sense of irony was intact. But is it postmodern or ironic at all? The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick reinforces the reader's sense that Dick's efforts to define his own beliefs in the face of 2-3-74 were deadly serious. At one point, Dick quotes from David Hume, who denigrated philosophers who took their efforts at understanding reality to be entirely theoretical.

This volume is divided up into six different sections. Part One, "Autobiographical Writings," gives the reader some insight into Dick's life from Dick's own point of view, which can get a little pessimistic at times. Part Two, "Writings on Science Fiction and Related Ideas," has some interviews and a few introductions that Dick wrote to various of his own books. As might be expected from Dick, there are a number of contradictory statements. Part Three, "Works Related to The Man in the High Castle and Its Proposed Sequel," is short but a must-read for any fans of that particular novel. Part Four, "Plot Proposals and Outlines," is also brief, but shows Dick trying to break out of his mold. Part Five, "Essays and Speeches," is easily the longest, taking up nearly half the book. Here, Dick tries to examine his own philosophical beliefs, over time and through a number of different outlets. The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick closes with Part Six, "Selections from the Exegesis," which contains material never before published. Sutin has structured the book in a clear manner, and I sampled a few intriguing sections first before reading the book through.

My first interest was in Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the movie Blade Runner. In Part Four, we find an essay from Dick called "Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", which he wrote in 1968, soon after the novel's publication. It's fascinating to see Dick looking for the centre of interest in the book, examining different choices for the main character, considering casting possibilities, and so on. He spends most of the essay talking about sex (and, as it turns out, the movie Blade Runner is almost diametrically opposed to his choices on every point). A number of his essays from Part Six, like "The Android and the Human" and "Man, Android, and Machine," have philosophical relevance to the book and movie, if only tangentially. Then in a short article written in 1981 called "Universe Makers... and Breakers," Dick describes his reaction to the first draft of the movie: "What my story will become is one titanic lurid collision of androids being blown up, androids killing humans, general confusion and murder, all very exciting to watch. Makes my book seem dull by comparison." (104). These somewhat sarcastic remarks would be tempered by his reaction to the second draft of the film and a reel of special effects that he was shown only a few months before his death.

As I said earlier, Dick's philosophical beliefs constitute the bulk of this collection. And I must warn any potential readers: these essays make for heavy going. This tough slogging is in remarkable contrast to the readability of Dick's VALIS. The essays in Part Five and the selections from the Exegesis in Part Six are the primary documents in understanding Dick's beliefs through a turbulent period of his life, but I prefer VALIS, mediated as it is by Dick's fiction sensibilities. If a book like VALIS leads you to wonder what Dick really believed, then you might try this section of The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick. But, unsurprisingly, contradictions and discrepancies exist in these essays, as they do span more than a decade.

Unfortunately, while Lawrence Sutin provided us with a wonderful biography in the form of Divine Invasions, he does not have the same grace as the editor of The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick. I apologize for the seemingly nitpicky nature of my complaints, but these problems seriously interfered with the book's effectiveness as a worthwhile collection of non-fiction. As an editor, Sutin, is, paradoxically, intrusive and indecisive. His editorial corrections can be divided into three categories. Firstly, he fixes small grammatical errors, often in the use of prepositions. The first correction of this kind in Dick's text is on page 7 (and all of the square brackets in this paragraph are Sutin's, not mine): "wobbling flesh sacks that much [sic; must] have got in her way." Why do we need to be distracted by this obvious correction? As with the following: "At that time I had no idea what I was seeing? [sic; this question mark appears, in context, to be a typo]." (251). The second kind of editorial comment gives us background information about terminology that Dick uses or biographical information about names that Dick drops: "Stf [abbreviation for 'scientifiction,' an early alternate term for 'science fiction'] was Faustian" (9) or "Gather, Darkness [a novel by Fritz Leiber]" (58). These comments are handy for their immediacy but intrude on the text. Sutin's third tendency, more subtle, has to do with the way he fiddles with Dick's style. Even a small stylistic flair on Dick's part, such as a commercial metaphor for his thoughts -- "I will herein retail [sic; retell] a few of them" (57) -- gets a work-over. And even Sutin's commendable efforts to add dates to Dick's writings becomes something relentless and strange. For example, see Dick's vague (perhaps deliberately so) "Biographical Material on Philip K. Dick" (21-2), and the annotated opening sentence of "Strange Memories of Death": "I woke up this morning and felt the chill of October [1979] in the apartment, as if the seasons understood the calendar" (37). All three kinds of his editorial comments should have been footnoted, or better yet, put into a separate section following Dick's text as endnotes. But since Sutin does not follow this accepted practice, his dubious choices are highlighted.

Sutin's editing of the selections from Dick's Exegesis is particularly misjudged. Here Dick's elliptical journaling style leaves the reader needing more information, not less, and endnotes would have let Sutin expand properly. For example, Dick mentions a letter from Xerox at least half a dozen times before Sutin actually explains it. Ideally, these selections need to be read and re-read in the context of all of Dick's novels, and especially those starting with Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. But Sutin does no favours for those who are on their first reading, and the book isn't helpful for re-readers either. The book lacks an index, something I would have immensely appreciated, especially in order to get a better grasp of Dick's various takes on a subject. I spent nearly half an hour trying to track down the Hume quote I mention in my opening paragraph before giving up. Yes, I take notes when reviewing a book like this, but I have a different mention of Hume noted, one that now seems less pertinent (it was another example of Sutin's editing tendencies in the Exegesis). Perhaps Sutin didn't see his mandate as being extensive, but the package he gives us feels incomplete. I'm not expecting him to write essays for each loose end or to give us all the answers, but he should have worked harder at smoothing out the infelicities that remain.

And one final complaint. I know that Sutin likely did not have control over the blurbs on the back cover of this book, so this is not aimed at him. But when I read certain kinds of sentences -- for example: "Witty, erudite, and exploding with intellectual shrapnel, this is the last testament of an American original." -- I'm reading the book despite the absurdity of the blurb.

Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas, Michael Bishop, Orb, 1994, 341 pp. (originally published as The Secret Ascension in 1987)

Consideration of the life of Philip K. Dick is only complete with a look at his influence on other writers. For example, who would have thought that Ursula K. Le Guin is a huge fan of Dick's writing? I could have used a review of Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven to conclude this column just as easily as Bishop's book. And almost every new edition of a Dick novel has that Le Guin quotation calling Dick "our own homegrown Borges." Stanislaw Lem called Dick the sole artist working in the field long before it was fashionable to make such statements. And as Dick's influence grows, it has indeed become fashionable to heap praise on a man whose books sold poorly during most of his own lifetime. There are some bitter ironies at work here: as Dick's reputation slowly grows outside of the science fiction ghetto, he gets new editions of his books and more biographies and more critical attention. When these kinds of things would have mattered to Dick himself, they were, for the most part, not there. Granted, Dick gained some financial security during the last few years of his life (in the late seventies), but thirty years of hard times had taken a tough toll by that point.

And that's why a revisionist fantasy like Bishop's Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas is so satisfying. Is there any justice in the universe when a person can suffer the things that Dick did in his lifetime? I don't know the answer to that, and Bishop's book is slight recompense to Dick, who is dead, as the title indicates. But in the Dickian universe postulated by Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas, reality doesn't have to be the final arbiter of the state of affairs for us humans. The metaphorical implications of the book, about which I'll say more in a minute, sometimes undercut this well-meaning homage: if reality is what we make it, then Dick made an unjust, unstable reality for himself? However, this kind of complicated irony is what Dick himself thrived on and could fit into the speculations of VALIS and Dick's Exegesis with little fuss.

Philip K. Dick dies, but this Dick has lived in a somewhat different world than ours. Nixon never left office: he won the war in Vietnam and controls America with an iron grip and the secret police known as "no-knocks". Dick himself is mildly famous for some mainstream novels written in the fifties, after which he wrote a number of self-published, now-banned science fiction novels with odd titles like Do Androids Dream of Electric Veeps? and They Scan Us Darkly, Don't They? . After his death, his spirit becomes a "tangible ghost" (2), and enters the lives of two normal Americans, Cal and Lia Pickford. The cast of characters gradually grows, until a group of seven metaphysical warriors confront Richard Milrose Nixon on Von Braunville (America's permanent moonbase) in a desperate attempt to create a better reality. This all sounds gloriously Dickian, does it not?

I liked the characters of the novel. Cal and Lia are both portrayed with sympathy and care, and the same attention extends to minor characters, even if they don't have the same amount of time on stage. Cal's boss, Mr. Kemmings, is a lonely old man and a nicer boss than Cal thinks. Le Boi Loan is an immigrant from Vietnam, whose difficulties with the Americulturation program are hilarious and disturbing. This is the melting pot with a vengeance -- Le Boi Loan is forced into spying (on Cal, as it turns out) because of his slow progress in eradicating his own cultural roots. I found one particular line to be unerring in its satire: one Vietnamese man says to another in Americulturation group therapy set in a mock subway car: "'... and so I have overcome my natural aversion to tossing beer or soda cans from the windows of moving vehicles.' Every member of the man's support group, whether sitting or clinging to a pole, applauded him for his accomplishment." (169). Miss Grace Rinehart, once a famous actress, is in charge of Americulturation centres across the country. She insinuates herself in the lives of Cal and Lia, mainly in order to destroy them. The escape of Cal and Lia from the clutches of Miss Grace is the escape of this entire reality from the Nixonian repression.

Bishop's homage works at many levels. The plot of the book is a canny variation on Dick's belief that the divine intervened in our history in 1974 to remove Nixon from office. What would happen if the divine had not intervened? Would it have to try again? Bishop's writing adapts many of Dick's stylizations, but without surrendering too much of its own unique tone. I only noticed excessive Dickisms once or twice, as with a few passages in chapter 7. In chapter 7, the viewpoint switches back and forth between Cal and Lia several times, and the interior monologues from both characters could have been written by Dick himself. As I stated earlier, the twists in reality are typically Dickian. Dick would have appreciated the ending of the book (a quick spoiler warning here) where the reality that the group dreams into being has its own problems. Bishop uses Dick's tenets about the irrationality of the universe as a starting point, and it follows that removing the occlusion from reality will not be easy. If Dick managed any triumphs among the griefs and the heartaches of his life, they are best represented in the wild realities of his own books and the way they inspired such novels as Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas.

James Schellenberg lives in southern Ontario near the small town of Tintern, an area that may or may not have the same problems with reality as Dick's home state of California.

Last modified: March 3, 1999

Copyright © 1999 by James Schellenberg (

Crystalline Sphere | Challenging Destiny | Issue #6 | Reviews | Columns | Philip K. Dick

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