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Theda Baratheon

What are your favourite Philip K Dick books?

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Well...I seem to have been on a bit of a, excuse me, Dick binge lately. In the past week or so I’ve read Ubik, Martian Time Slip and have just started The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and have Man in the High Castle to read after that. 

I find his writing kind of inconsistent sometimes, he doesnt have the best characters especially women and yet there’s an undeniable brilliance to his stories; bonkers and wild ideas and although he was writing at the speed of bloody lightning some of the time his imagination and world building is beyond impressive. 

Of course as self proclaimed Giant Blade Runner fan I really, really do love Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A Scannar Darkly is also excellent and from the recent few Ubik was great. 

So what are your favourites and why? 

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I should really read more of his books. I've only read DADOES? and The Man in the High Castle. I thought they were both good, although I agree with you that his writing is a bit inconsistent at times. I probably preferred DADOES? out of the two I've read, I felt High Castle started off compelling but maybe lost its way a bit as it went along.

I do have a copy of Ubik so I should probably read that sometime.

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I've never ever been able to get into Dick's books which is a shame coz based on the ideas behind them I really want to. :( Just can't get on with the prose.

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Can't remember the title, but I think the story that stuck with me the most was a short one about a guy receiving a call from his future self, or selves. It was disturbing.

I read it all translated back then, I should try again in the original, see if it feels different.

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2 hours ago, williamjm said:

I should really read more of his books. I've only read DADOES? and The Man in the High Castle. I thought they were both good, although I agree with you that his writing is a bit inconsistent at times. I probably preferred DADOES? out of the two I've read, I felt High Castle started off compelling but maybe lost its way a bit as it went along.

I do have a copy of Ubik so I should probably read that sometime.

I really, really enjoyed Ubik. It was a fun read - quite addictive. Took me about two days! Definitely give it a read.

1 hour ago, Fellaining Da Bruyne said:

I've never ever been able to get into Dick's books which is a shame coz based on the ideas behind them I really want to. :( Just can't get on with the prose.

He is quite distinctive and I guess if you don’t like the way he writes one book you might not like any of them but at the same time he seems kinda quite different from book to book and probably decade to decade. Interesting man. He has excellent ideas, if you can get past the writing style you don’t enjoy and the thin characters then the ideas are just bonkers and great - worth it. And his books really are pretty short. 

1 hour ago, Errant Bard said:

Can't remember the title, but I think the story that stuck with me the most was a short one about a guy receiving a call from his future self, or selves. It was disturbing.

I read it all translated back then, I should try again in the original, see if it feels different.

I’ve not read any of his short stories yet but I need to. 

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The one thing I’ve found about Dick is that  obviously he was quite a troubled man - and he really captures a very...uncomfortable and visceral disturbing quality in his stories. There are parts of his books sometimes that I can sort of feel in the pit of my stomach.

some of the images in Martian Time Slip are genuinely horrifying. Has anyone read that by the way? I kinda wanna discuss it with people and Ubik as I only just read those. 

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30 minutes ago, Theda Baratheon said:

The one thing I’ve found about Dick is that  obviously he was quite a troubled man



As summarised by the time he responded to a compliment by Stanislaw Lem by freaking out and accusing Lem of being a communist-party front for a collaboration of authors.

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22 minutes ago, Fellaining Da Bruyne said:



As summarised by the time he responded to a compliment by Stanislaw Lem by freaking out and accusing Lem of being a communist-party front for a collaboration of authors.

*thoughtful face* 

Yes

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I like just about every Philip K Dick book I've read, but the ones that I love and that really stick with me are not his very sci-fi books but his books exploring his mental health troubles and drug addiction. VALIS and A Scanner Darkly are my favourite books by him- as @Theda Baratheon says, his writing is excellent at capturing disturbing imagery and uncomfortable points of view.

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41 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

I like just about every Philip K Dick book I've read, but the ones that I love and that really stick with me are not his very sci-fi books but his books exploring his mental health troubles and drug addiction. VALIS and A Scanner Darkly are my favourite books by him- as @Theda Baratheon says, his writing is excellent at capturing disturbing imagery and uncomfortable points of view.

Ive definitely liked everything too - sometimes I think his characters are thin, especially female characters but really I think his bonkers ideas are main stage really aren’t they and characters are secondary and I can live with that. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm on the same wagon with those who liked pretty every Dick book they read. My most favourite are The Divine Invasion, Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Valis and Scanner Darkly, more or less in that order. And the collections of short stories of course, these are a real mine of brilliant ideas, that could't be ruined by a bigger forms thankfully.

Edited by JapaneseApache

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35 minutes ago, JapaneseApache said:

I'm on the same wagon with those who liked pretty every Dick book they read. My most favourite are The Divine Invasion, Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Valis and Scanner Darkly, more or less in that order. And the collections of short stories of course, these are a real mine of brilliant ideas, that could't be ruined by a bigger forms thankfully.

I really, really did like Ubik. It was a lit of fun. That ending was great! I really enjoyed it. 

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3 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I really, really did like Ubik. It was a lit of fun. That ending was great! I really enjoyed it. 

Theda I have been a fan of Phil Dick since my teenage years. Yeah he was a bit different but the ideas he came up with!! I have thought of going back to reread his stuff but it is hard to find here. His short stories were the most fun for me. I am glad you are enjoying them. 

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7 hours ago, maarsen said:

Theda I have been a fan of Phil Dick since my teenage years. Yeah he was a bit different but the ideas he came up with!! I have thought of going back to reread his stuff but it is hard to find here. His short stories were the most fun for me. I am glad you are enjoying them. 

I bought three books for £6 Ubik, Martian Time Slip and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch 

and I own quite a few anyway 

i always loved Do Androids obviously lol. 

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I have read a bunch several to many years ago, but do not remember so many details. Without exception all have brilliant ideas in them, many are powerful, disturbing and moving but often they somehow peter out without a good ending. (Some people say this was because he ran out of amphetamines...) Man in the High Castle is an example for this, I think. It has far more brilliant ideas than could be developed in rather brief book and thus it comes to strange and unsatisfactory ending.

Others, like three stigmata or the one with the future/parallel selves of a politician? were simply too bizarre for me.

Again, without having read anything, I think the short stories (like Minority Report) and shorter novellas (like Do androids...) are overall more successful. Of the novels, I think I liked "A scanner, darkly", "Flow my tears, the policeman said" and "Martian Timeslip". The last two are quite strange, though. "A scanner" has comparably "down to earth" themes like addiction and surveillance.

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I remember really liking Now Wait For Last Year when I read it some years ago, but it's been long enough that I can't really remember much of the plot.

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3 hours ago, Plessiez said:

I remember really liking Now Wait For Last Year when I read it some years ago, but it's been long enough that I can't really remember much of the plot.

I think this is the one I meant above with the future selves and had forgotten the title.

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On 6/30/2018 at 9:02 AM, Jo498 said:

I have read a bunch several to many years ago, but do not remember so many details. Without exception all have brilliant ideas in them, many are powerful, disturbing and moving but often they somehow peter out without a good ending. (Some people say this was because he ran out of amphetamines...) Man in the High Castle is an example for this, I think. It has far more brilliant ideas than could be developed in rather brief book and thus it comes to strange and unsatisfactory ending.

Others, like three stigmata or the one with the future/parallel selves of a politician? were simply too bizarre for me.

Again, without having read anything, I think the short stories (like Minority Report) and shorter novellas (like Do androids...) are overall more successful. Of the novels, I think I liked "A scanner, darkly", "Flow my tears, the policeman said" and "Martian Timeslip". The last two are quite strange, though. "A scanner" has comparably "down to earth" themes like addiction and surveillance.

The strangeness doesn’t bother me at all - I quite like, in fact, I love strange things but I absolutely agree with you on some of the novels being filed with excellent ideas but then petering out by the end. I loved the ending of Ubik and the ending of Martian Time Slip was disturbing and effective but also kind of...just there. Not...satisfying, I’d say.

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On 6/30/2018 at 10:53 AM, Plessiez said:

I remember really liking Now Wait For Last Year when I read it some years ago, but it's been long enough that I can't really remember much of the plot.

Hadn’t heard of that one. Is it a novel or short story? I should have worded the topic differently because I’m absolutely including short stories. I haven’t read any of his - just the novels so far. 

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Now wait for last year is a novel although it is fairly short like most of them. As I recall it, it was one of those slightly to bizarre for me and I probably didn't really get the point. But I don't remember much, only the multiple selves/histories and being generally somewhat disappointed.

For the short stories, I think you could start with almost any anthology, often they are a mix of well known ones like "Minority Report" and lesser known ones. The "petering out" problem is usually not an issue there.

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