I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick

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From the master chronicler of psychological extremes, an unforgettable portrait of the “Shakespeare of science fiction” whose work has influenced millions

For his many devoted readers, Philip K. Dick is not only one of the “most valiant psychological explorers of the 20th century” (The New York Times) but a source of divine revelation. Dick, whose work inspired such films as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report, dedicated his life to solving one ultimately unanswerable question: What is real?

In the riveting style that won accolades for The Adversary, Emmanuel Carrère follows Dick’s strange odyssey from his traumatic beginnings in 1928, when his twin sister died in infancy, to his lonely end in 1982, beset by mystical visions of swirling pink lights, three-eyed invaders, and messages from the Roman Empire. Drawing on interviews as well as unpublished sources, Carrère traces Dick’s multiple marriages, paranoid fantasies, and vertiginous encounters with the drug culture of sixties California. He vividly conjures the spirit of this restless observer of American postwar malaise whose more than fifty novels subverted the materials of science fiction—parallel universes, intricate time loops, collective delusions—to create classic works of contemporary anxiety.

As disturbing and engrossing as a book by its subject, Carrère’s unconventional work interweaves life and art to reveal the maddening genius whose writing foresaw—from cloning to reality TV—a world that looks ever more like one of his inventions.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ten_floors_up - LibraryThing

Carrère makes a pretty good stab at the journey: Philip K Dick's mind must have been a pretty strange place. I knew he was a complicated man with a paranoid tendency, but there are suggestions of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ElectricRay - LibraryThing

Quarter of a century after his death, Philip K. Dick’s reputation and status is beginning to transcend mere founding fatherhood of modern science fiction and drift towards a more general greatness ... Read full review

Contents

Berkeley
1
Little Green Men
15
George Smith and George Scruggs
22
What He Was Really Doing
35
The Rat in the House
45
Inner Truth
58
Idiocy
75
Crazy Days
88
Among the Living Dead
155
Freaks
174
Flow My Tears
187
The Souls Winter
205
The Empire Never Ended
220
The Tyrants Fall
237
Horselover Fat
253
End of the Line
269

The Real Presence
99
Revolution Molting
119
What Is Human?
130
Portrait of the Artist as a Heretic
140
The One He Had Been Waiting For
290
Penultimate Truths
303
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Emmanuel Carrère, novelist, filmmaker, journalist, and biographer, is the award-winning internationally renowned author of The Adversary (a New York Times Notable Book), Lives Other Than My Own, My Life As A Russian Novel, Class Trip and The Mustache. Carrère lives in Paris.

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