Philip Kindred Dick, 1928 - 1982

portrait of Philip K. Dick
The Philip K. Dick android, http://www.pkdandroid.org/
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Born: 16 December 1928, Chicago, Illinois
Died: 2 March 1982, Santa Ana, California

Dick and his twin sister Jane Charlotte were born six weeks prematurely. When Dick's father purchased a life insurance policy on the family a nurse was sent by the insurance company; she was appalled by the condition of the infants and rushed them to the hospital but it was too late to save Jane. In his later work, there is a recurrent motif of a "phantom twin" in several books. The family moved first to San Francisco, his parents divorced and Philip and his mother lived at Washington City for several years, then back to the Bay Area where he graduated from Berkeley High School in 1947. They didn't know each other at the time, but Ursula K. Le Guin was in the same class. Dick entered the University of California at Berkeley but immediately left rather than join mandatory ROTC, he never handled authority well. Dick's life was a constant struggle featuring various delusions and paranoid episodes, five marriages, and limited sales of his 44 novels (only 36 published in his lifetime) and over 120 short stories. He won a Hugo Award for best novel in 1963, the Nebula Award for best novel five times, and several other significant awards, but was little known outside of the serious science fiction arena. He would be very wealthy now if he were still alive, Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford was based on his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and was released less than four months after his death. Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise; and six other films based on his novels have been released. Dick suffered a stroke and spent five days in hospital before life support was withdrawn. He was resurrected as an android (see photo), but his luck held true to form — after its last appearance the head of the android was left on a plane and never recovered.

Biography from Wikipedia and The Scriptorium

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