Philip K. Dick

Which science fiction author wrote the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
And the answer: Philip K. Dick.
Photo credit: public domain. 

Over his decades-long writing career, Philip K. Dick published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories. The book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was the basis for the film Blade Runner in 1982.

Prolific science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick investigated many, varied philosophical and social questions throughout his career. From probing the nature of reality and perception, to interrogating human nature and identity, Dick commonly featured characters struggling against alternate realities, illusory environments, monopolistic corporations, drug abuse, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness.

From the moment Dick graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, he took on writing full time. His short story, "Roog," tells the story of a dog paranoid that garbagemen were taking his food, and was the first of Dick's works to be bought by a magazine. His work began appearing in science fiction magazines such as Planet Stories, If, and The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy in 1951.

However, the 1950s were a difficult and impoverished time for Dick, who once lamented: "We couldn't even pay the late fees on a library book." He published almost exclusively within the science fiction genre, but dreamed of a career in mainstream fiction. During the 1950s, he produced a series of non-genre, relatively conventional novels. Ultimately, though, the dream of mainstream success formally died in January 1963, when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency returned all of his unsold mainstream novels. Only one of them, Confessions of a Crap Artist, was published during Dick's lifetime.    

Luckily for Dick, he had found his voice in science fiction. Following his death, he became "widely regarded as a master of imaginative, paranoid fiction in the vein of Franz Kafka and Thomas Pynchon." In 2005, Time magazine named his novel Ubik (1969) one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer included in The Library of America series.

Learn more about Philip K. Dick's life and legacy here.


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