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The Essential Philip K. Dick

Perhaps you’ve nurtured a suspicion that you have the makings of a Dick fan. The writer’s influence is everywhere, though mainstream acknowledgment of his talents arrived belatedly. (His obituary in this newspaper is under 200 words and lists his age of death incorrectly. He was 53, not 54.) The question is where to start. Dick’s published output — at least 35 novels and countless short stories — ranges from sublime to inscrutable, which is partly a result of volume. His book advances were skimpy and there was a family to support, so he wrote quickly, often fueled by amphetamine tablets. (Dick’s typing speed: 120 words per minute.) If you’re a stickler for prose style and hold a zero-tolerance policy toward the word “boobies,” this is not your fellow. Read more

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