Philip K. Dick Reading Club – The Beginning of the Adventure

[Update – February 17, 2013 – There is now a Philip K. Dick Reading Club website for all my PKD postings]

PKD-reading-club-2-2013It started with a post on Facebook on Saturday morning (February 2, 2013):

“I have never read any work by Philip K Dick, even though he’s considered by some to be one of the greatest novelists of the Twentieth Century. This month I’m launching into a marathon reading project to try and read all 45 of his novels (not all in one month, but I’m starting now…)

My dilemma is that I’m not quite sure how to approach this body of work, which includes the story that became Blade Runner (many of his novels have been turned into major films).

Should I start with his first novel (Solar Lottery) and read them in order of publishing – the linear approach – or should I read certain books first to understand the Philip K. Dick world before I read his more obscure works?

Feedback from PKD fans would really be appreciated! Thanks…”

There were some comments that went back a forth and by the evening time we had a small book club started :)

We begin our reading journey on Saturday, February 9th with PKD’s first novel – Solar Lottery

Our official Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/PhilipKDickReadingClub

Who is Philip K. Dick?

From Wikipedia:

200px-PhilipDickPhilip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick’s thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS.

The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. “I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,” Dick wrote of these stories. “In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.”

In addition to 45 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

Here’s a documentary on PKD (it’s an okay documentary) for more background information:

Why Start A Reading Club?

I’ve been planning to start a PKD reading marathon for several months. I kind of had the idea roaming around my brain ever since seeing a show about him on the Science Channel last year called “The Prophets of Science Fiction“, hosted by Ridley Scott.

Like I mentioned, I’ve never read any of his work before this week (when I started reading his short stories to make sure I like his writing before committing to a 90 week reading project). I was planning on taking this adventure into the world of PKD on my own, but once I mentioned it on Facebook a couple of friend (Louie Hebert and Michael Whyte) wanted to join the reading marathon, and with three people you have a reading club!

How To Participate In The Reading Club

There are several ways to participate in the Philip K. Dick Reading Club:

1. Join in on the reading marathon – try and read all 45 novels over the next 90 weeks…

2. Join us on this adventure and jump in when you have time. Just read the novels that seem most interesting to you…

3. Follow the project as it moves along, enjoy the information we’re posting, and learn a heck of a lot about PKD between now and November 2014…

Everyone is invited to come along on this adventure, so “Like” our page on Facebook and share it with your friends…

Reading List

PKD-early_novels

Here’s the reading list with the date we start reading each book (in parenthesis is the published date):

1. Solar Lottery (1955) – February 9, 2013
2. The World Jones Made (1956) – February 23, 2013
3. The Man Who Japed (1956) – March 9, 2013
4. Eye In The Sky (1957) – March 23, 2013
5. The Cosmic Puppet (1957) – April 6, 2013
6. Time Out Of Joint (1959) – April 20, 2013
7. Dr. Futurity (1960) – May 4, 2013
8. Vulcan’s Hammer (1960) – May 18, 2013
9. The Man In The High Castle (1962) – June 1, 2013
10. The Game-Players Of Titan (1963) – June 15, 2013
11. The Penultimate Truth (1964) – June 29, 2013
12. Martian Time Slip (1964) – July 13, 2013
13. The Simulacra (1964) – July 27, 2013
14. Clans of the Alphane Moon (1965) – August 10, 2013
15. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) – August 24, 2013
16. Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After The Bomb (1965) – September 7, 2013
17. Now Wait For Last Year (1966) – September 21, 2013
18. The Crack in Space (1966) – October 5, 2013
19. The Unteleported Man (1966) – October 19, 2013
20. The Zap Gun (1967) – November 2, 2013
21. Counter-Clock World (1967) – November 16, 2013
22. The Ganymede Takeover (with Ray Nelson) (1967) – November 30, 2013
23. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) – December 14, 2013

Halfway through the reading list, and we celebrate the 85th anniversary of PKD’s birth on Dec 16th…

24. Galactic Pot-Healer (1969) – December 28, 2013
25. Ubik (1969) – January 11, 2014
26. A Maze of Death (1970) – January 25, 2014
27. Our Friends From Frolix 8 (1970) – February 8, 2014

One Year Anniversary of the Reading Club…

28. We Can Build You (1972) – February 22, 2014
29. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974) – March 8, 2014
30. Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975) – March 22, 2014
31. Deus Irae (with Roger Zelazny) (1976) – April 5, 2014
32. A Scanner Darkly (1977) – April 19, 2014
33. VALIS (1981) – May 3, 2014
34. The Divine Invasion (1981) – May 17, 2014
35. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982) – May 31, 2014
36. The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike (1984) – June 14, 2014
37. Radio Free Albermuth (1985) – June 28, 2014
38. Puttering About in a Small Land (1985) – July 12, 2014
39. In Milton Lumky Territory (1985) – July 26, 2014
40. Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (1986) – August 9, 2014
41. Mary and the Giant (1987) – August 23, 2014
42. The Broken Bubble (1988) – September 6, 2014
43. Gather Yourselves Together (written 1950, published 1994) – September 20, 2014
44. Lie, Inc. (written 1964, published 2004) – October 4, 2014
45. Voices From The Street (written 1953, published 2007) – October 18, 2014

…Reading completed by November 1, 2014


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