Philip K. Dick
In conjunction with the release of Richard Linklater’s cinematic adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, the folks at Vintage offer up this sampler of writings from the story’s author, Philip K. Dick. Along with three short stories, an essay and an excerpt from the fifth volume of his collected letters, the anonymous editor has chosen to anthologize the opening chapters of four of Dick’s best-known and most respected novels including A Scanner Darkly, his black humor-laced vision of drug addiction and government surveillance set in a near-future Southern California. Most intriguing for Dick initiates is The Zebra Papers, taken from Dick’s letter to his editor, Mark Hurst, which discusses at length his exploration of the theme of seemingly divine communication and its implications for characters confined to a mundane reality. I’d recommend this book to readers who have only encountered Dick through the movies adapted from his work: Bladerunner, Paycheck, Minority Report and Total Recall, to name a few. Just be forewarned that while the settings are often deliberately outlandish, the characters are as human as you or I.