Best Posthumous Literary Legend: His unquenchable legacy lives on

Philip K. Dick

He died at 53 in 1982, never knowing how close children born around that time would actually come to experiencing, in real life, the mind control, high-stakes cosmic games, and multiculti metropolises he foresaw in such novels as Martian Time-Slip, The Zap Gun, and Lies, Inc. Or did he? Brought to Berkeley as a youth by the mother he irrationally blamed for the death in infancy of his twin sister, Philip K. Dick attended high school here and did a stint at Cal but didn’t graduate, becoming instead a radio-shop clerk and the husband of five wives between 1948 and 1973. Suffering from vertigo for most of his life and diagnosed as schizophrenic, Dick claimed to experience visions entailing a mysterious pink beam. His works are called speculative fiction now, but he saw them as nothing short of the truth, calling himself “a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist.” Maintaining cult status posthumously, the longtime Berkeleyite is most famous among mainstream minds for the film Blade Runner, released the same year Dick died and based on his 1968 book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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