Responsible for the stories behind some of Hollywood’s greatest sci-fi offerings such as Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau and the winner of a number of prolific science fiction awards including the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, Philip K Dick is noted as one of the most influential authors in the genre to date.
Dick’s career in science fiction began in 1951 when he would sell short stories to pulp magazines. His first novel was The Man in the High Castle (1962) for which he won the Hugo Award.
Thematically, his work focuses on considerations of reality and personal perceptions of identity and what it means to be human. Although alternate universes and realities were the common set-ting in his novels and short stories, what set them apart in a market rich with works set beyond Earth was his choice to place ‘real people’ in strange and unknowable worlds and focus on how they interacted with each other and the extra terrestrial and ‘android’ figures they encountered. Within the genre, critics have recognised the duality which is present in his work which can be read simultaneously as science fiction adventures and as complex commentaries on human existence and relationships. These wider themes and considerations are seen to be the reason for his continued success today.
His thematic and stylistic choices are perhaps most notably present in the novel attributed as being the seminal work in Dick’s career: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This novel’s lasting impact is attributed to its blending of science fiction with a more speculative approach which introduced ideas of social commentary within sci-fi and phenomenally philosophical suggestions about the meaning of life and human beings which extended the reach and readership of the genre for future generations of science fiction writers.