Cover image for Philip K. Dick : exhilaration and terror of the postmodern
Philip K. Dick : exhilaration and terror of the postmodern
Palmer, Christopher, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Liverpool : Liverpool University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 259 pages ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1420 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3554.I3 Z785 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Once the sole possession of fans and buffs, the SF author Philip K. Dick is now finding a much wider audience, as the success of the films Blade Runner and Minority Report shows. The kind of world he predicted in his funny and frightening novels and stories is coming closer to most of us:shifting realities, unstable relations, uncertain moralities. Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern examines a wide range of Dick's work, including his short stories and posthumously published realist novels. Christopher Palmer analyses the puzzling and dazzling effects of Dick's fiction, and argues that at its heart is a clash between exhilarating possibilities of transformation, and a frightening lack of ethical certainties. Dick's work is seen as the inscription of his own historical predicament, theclash between humanism and postmodernism being played out in the complex forms of the fiction. The problem is never resolved, but Dick's ways of imagining it become steadily more ingenious and challenging.

Author Notes

Christopher Palmer teaches English Literature at La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xii
Part I
1. Philip K. Dick and the Postmodernp. 3
2. Complications of Humanism and Postmodernismp. 30
3. Static and Kinetic in Dick's Political Unconsciousp. 44
Part II
4. Mired in the Sex War: Dick's Realist Novels of the Fiftiesp. 67
5. The Short Stories: Philip K. Dick and the Nuclear Familyp. 85
6. The Man in the High Castle: The Reasonableness and Madness of Historyp. 109
7. Eating and Being Eaten: Dangerous Deities and Depleted Consumersp. 133
8. Critique and Fantasy in Martian Time-Slip and Clans of the Alphane Moonp. 146
9. Critical Reason and Romantic Idealism in Martian Time-Slipp. 162
10. A Scanner Darkly: Postmodern Society and the End of Differencep. 177
11. Gestures, Anecdotes, Visions: Formal Recourses of Humanismp. 201
12. Postmodernism and the Birth of the Author in Valisp. 223
Works Citedp. 238
Indexp. 249