Philip K Dick

BookPhilip K Dick

Philip K Dick

Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 27


March 1st, 2003

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Once the sole possession of fans and buffs, the SF author Philip K Dick is now finding a much wider audience, as the success of the films Blade Runner and Minority Report shows. The kind of world he predicted in his funny and frightening novels and stories is coming closer to most of us: shifting realities, unstable relations, uncertain moralities. Philip K Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern examines a wide range of Dick’s work, including his short stories and posthumously published realist novels. Christopher Palmer analyses the puzzling and dazzling effects of Dick’s fiction, and argues that at its heart is a clash between exhilarating possibilities of transformation, and a frightening lack of ethical certainties. Dick’s work is seen as the inscription of his own historical predicament, the clash between humanism and postmodernism being played out in the complex forms of the fiction. The problem is never resolved, but Dick’s ways of imagining it become steadily more ingenious and challenging.

Author Information

Christopher Palmer is a Research Associate in the School of English at La Trobe University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Part I13
1. Philip K. Dick and the Postmodern15
2. Complications of Humanism and Postmodernism42
3. Static and Kinetic in Dick’s Political Unconscious56
Part II77
4. Mired in the Sex War: Dick’s Realist Novels of the Fifties79
5. The Short Stories: Philip K. Dick and the Nuclear Family97
6. The Man in the High Castle: The Reasonableness and Madness of History121
7. Eating and Being Eaten: Dangerous Deities and Depleted Consumers145
8. Critique and Fantasy in Martian Time-Slip and Clans of the Alphane Moon158
9. Critical Reason and Romantic Idealism in Martian Time-Slip174
10. A Scanner Darkly: Postmodern Society and the End of Difference189
11. Gestures, Anecdotes, Visions: Formal Recourses of Humanism213
12. Postmodernism and the Birth of the Author in Valis235
Works Cited250