If you remember that childhood buddy I told you about a few blogs ago, the one that got me to read Larry Niven, well, I warned you he would play a role later on down the line.
Philip K. Dick would not have been my first choice of writers to read. Actually, I might never have picked up one of his books, if not for my buddy.
It’s not that PKD didn’t have a sterling reputation and a legion of avid fans, it’s just I didn’t “get” his writing. If Niven was “hard” science fiction, Dick seemed like “psychotic” science fiction to me. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.
My friend’s recommendations carried great weight with me, though, so I struggled with some of the titles he suggested. I wasn’t making much progress until I hit on one that was not on his initial “reading list”. The book, “Eye in the Sky”, for some reason just resonated with me. In an almost Dickian way, the book seemed to be a Rosetta stone for me, unlocking my mind to the mind-bending thought process necessary to fully appreciate the genius of its creator’s writing.
While there are other authors’ works that I still enjoy more than Philip K. Dick, I can think of none that influenced me so subtly that I realize some of the constructs within my series must surely have been subconsciously (for it has been years since I visited a PKD story) created from themes that recurred within his tales.
I am no academician, dissecting and analyzing other works to “divine” the motivations and intent of what I read. Any presence in my work of ideas similar to those I’ve read is certainly from the impact the stories had upon me. The testament to the power of Philip K. Dick’s work is that I can see that conceptual influence in retrospect, despite the decades between my writing and my reading.
For sheer mind-boggling, self-questioning and existence-exploring ideas, you will not find a more challenging and rewarding read than Philip K. Dick. Now that I have reminded myself of his mastery, I can show you a few of my favorites on my Facebook page: