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Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 6 [Hardcover]

Philip K. Dick

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Book Description

30 Jun 2007
In this sixth entry in the series of Dick's letters, the great sci-fi author continues his metaphysical and religious quest initiated by the Valis visions of 1974. In these letters to friends, fans, agents, and other sci-fi writers, Dick speculates on the visionary and archetypal material that intruded into his novels in the latter part of his life, which marked a turning point in his literary career. These intensely personal letters express Dick's deepest thoughts on science fiction, human nature, philosophy, and more.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final volume of Philip K. Dick letters 14 April 2011
By Kilgore Gagarin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the sixth, and probably last, volume of correspondence by the late science fiction author, Philip K. Dick. Underwood-Miller released The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1974 in 1991 followed by three more volumes of letters: The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1975-1976 in 1993; Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1977-1979 also in 1993; and The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1972-1973 in 1994. Underwood Books (no more Miller) published the final two volumes, The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1938-1971 in 1996 (VERY difficult to find) and 13 long years later, this volume which covers the final three years of his life. If you are lucky enough to have all six volumes (I have three) you'll be able to read letters from him starting at the age of 10 up until his death.

If you are a PKD fan, or a scholar of Dick and/or science fiction, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend purchasing this last volume as one of the few copies covering his correspondence that is a) available, and b) inexpensive (at the time of this review). Dick was apparently a pack rat when it came to keeping files of his letters, and the chance to literally see (at least a little) into the mind of this fascinating artist is ... fascinating. The table of contents and indexes are excellently done and allow easy lookup of specific people with whom he corresponded by name (e.g., Ursula K. Le Guin).

Not a book for a general audiences, but a real joy for me who IS an unabashed fan of the master.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so who did write those catchy story names? 20 Oct 2011
By A. G. Plumb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found reading these letters (and I haven't read any of the earlier volumes) at times tedious, at times revealing, at times surprising, and at times humanising.

To me Philip Dick has been something of an icon from when I first started reading him in the 1970s - initially through the short stories (for one of the less well known that I admire so much consider 'If there were no Benny Cemoli' - which you can find in 'The Preserving Machine' amongst other places). The first of the novels that I read was 'The Man in the High Castle', and, although I don't see it as really typical PKD, it's little surprise I hungrily read them all as they became available (even the ones PKD - in these letters - disparaged, such at 'Puttering around in a Small Land' - Hollywood producers could learn a lot here). One of my favourite PKD novels - not critically admired but I think worth a fresh look, is 'The Penultimate Truth'. And, of course I have absorbed all the extras I can find - the 'Exegesis' extracts, the essays and introductions, the biographies, the film adaptations .....

I did find these letters increasingly emotional to read (when I skimmed the 'endless' speculations on the nature of reality, the structure of the Universe). What he didn't know, but what I did know, is that these were some of his last writings - he didn't know the end was so near.

Because PKD was such a diligent researcher and explorer he introduced me to many concepts, including the concept of empathy. One day I picked up a novel in a bookshop by Rabindranath Tagore and it seemed to me that this was someone PKD may have used partly as a model for a character in one of his novels - my interest was immediately stimulated and started a love of Tagore's writing. But I was mistaken! The character PKD had wriiten, and I had confused with Tagore, was Mr Tagomi in 'The Man in the High Castle'. How surprised was I when I read in his letters that late in his life PKD had a revelation of a Christ-like figure dying at the time in Sri Lanka, a saint called Tagore!! PKD probably did know of Rabrindranath Tagore but there is no apparent connection with the revelation of the saint in Sri Lanka.

I was dismayed to read of the bullying PKD got from his publishers late in his life even though by then he was a demonstrably successful writer. In reading a biography of Joseph Conrad I read of the same stress that Conrad had experienced. I'm sure this pressure does at times compromise a writer's output. (Conrad rewrote the second half of 'The Secret Agent' after a rushed first writing to satisfy the publisher - I think it shows so clearly.)

But, perhaps the most surprising aspect of these letters is PKD's repeated complaint that he was hopeless at dreaming up titles for his novels, short stories. For me, a title such as 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' or 'The Man whose Teeth were all Exactly Alike' are such seminal PKD titles. They totally capture the author's humour with its dark (but never blue) side. If PKD didn't write these, who did??

The only negative I have about these letters is that they are rather like overhearing a mobile phone 'conversation' - a half-a-logue. I would have loved to read some of the responses PKD got - including from the CIA, and from Ronald Reagan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars glad i got this while i could 8 Dec 2011
By Anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this will be a future collectors item i am sure. this is a beautiful book.
as i was reading, it had stuffed in a page a card from the publisher. the card reads

"This clothbound edition of The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1980-82 is limited to 1365 copies, of which 150 copies are numbered, in slipcase.

"Dust jackets for this edition were printed a decade ago. In the meantime, the price and ISBN number have changed, and the information on the back jacket flap is out of date (earlier volumes in this series are sold out). Softcover editions of the entire series will become available during the next few years, in bookstores and online.

"This book was a long time coming. I hope you enjoy it.

"Tim Underwood, Publisher"

So I am excited with anticipation for the softcover re pressings, as i can not afford the high prices for used edition of previous volumes in this series. i am a recent consumer of dick's work and find these letters to be very insightful.

get em while you can,
5.0 out of 5 stars The last of the series... 10 Dec 2013
By Luc Andre Mandeville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the most worthwile of his six Selected Letters books. Discussions on his ever-ongoing research on gnosticism and his own mystical views and experiences. Some insights about the Blade Runner movie, which he never got to see in its entirety. Interesting reading of you are familiar with PKD's body of work. The first five volumes of his letters are rather hard to find today. They must have had a very small print run, like this one probably. Get it while you can.
5.0 out of 5 stars Now available: An Index To THE SELECTED LETTERS OF PHILIP K. DICK: 1974 (Wide Books 2013) by David Hyde 20 May 2012
By Lord Running Clam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
THE SELECTED LETTERS OF PHILIP K. DICK: 1974 was the first volume of PKD's letters to be published. This book is now a scarce collector's item. Recently as part of an ongoing Philip K. Dick indexing project I read this book closely and extracted much information for the Index. These 1974 letters deal mostly with FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID, the first edition of which came out from Doubleday in February 1974. Of course, there's lots of fascinating information and comments on other novels and stories but FLOW MY TEARS dominates the content novel-wise. It is in this volume that we find the first of Dick's letters to the FBI and his visionary experiences of February and March 1974 are revealed in his many letters to fans, friends, editors and other writers.
For readers interested in background information on PKD's later novels this volume, although heavy going at times, is essential.
"An Index To THE SELECTED LETTERS OF PHILIP K. DICK: 1974" by David Hyde (Wide Books 2013, tpb, 139pp,$11.95 ISBN 1482767368) is now available from Wide Books Publishers.
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