One of the most provocative science fiction writers that ever lived, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982; hereafter referred to as PKD) has managed to become even more popular after his death some 27 years ago.
Sarcastic, ironic, and not always linear (or sometimes even lucid), PKD's body of work always took their protagonists, and their readers, into bizarre, outrageous and exciting metaphysical rides into the unknown. Often, when not battling themselves, the typical PKD hero is often questioning his or her surroundings and identity. Politicians, Big Business and authoritarian governments are often the usual antagonists.
Recently, the Library of America began reprinting PKD's novels, with a third collection due later this month. The first of these volumes, Four Novels of the 1960s (2007), includes 1962's The Man in the High Castle, one of PKD's earliest books. The story uses that old "What if the Nazis Won World War II" parallel universe setting, but manages to avoid the usual cliches by focusing on the impact the social enviroment of this world (circa 1962) has on its characters. PKD creates a fully believable world through the eyes and reactions of his protagonists.
To say more about this work would ruin the surprises that await the first time reader of this (or any other) work by PKD. You can reserve online The Man in the High Castle from the library here and here. In future posts, I'll be discussing other works by PKD, so check back at this blog for updates.
Related links: The Official Philip K. Dick Site .