Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern

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Liverpool University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 259 pages
Once solely the 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 analyzes 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, the clash 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.
 

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Contents

Philip K Dick and the Postmodern
23
Complications of Humanism and Postmodernism
30
Static and Kinetic in Dicks Political Unconscious
44
Dicks Realist Novels of the Fifties
67
Philip K Dick and the Nuclear Family
85
The Reasonableness and
109
Dangerous Deities and Depleted
133
Critique and Fantasy in Martian TimeSlip and Clans of the
146
Critical Reason and Romantic Idealism in Martian
162
Postmodern Society and the End of
177
Formal Recourses of
201
Postmodernism and the Birth of the Author in Valis
223
Works Cited
238
Index
249
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About the author (2003)

Chris Palmer is a tutor in the School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry at La Trobe University, Melbourne. His specialist teaching areas include Contemporary Science Fiction, Science Fiction as Narrative and Science Fiction and Postmodernity. He has contributed a number of essays including "Philip K. Dick and the Nuclear Family" for the book Philip K. Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations (Greenwood). Chris Palmer is currently researching the science fiction of Iain M. Banks.

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