Philip K. Dick's resilience as a source of inspiration to the Hollywood content machine is like something out of a Philip K. Dick story. As a thinker, the Chicago-born writer was often at odds with society's rigged codes, dusty norms, and its understanding of reality itself. Even within the often outlandish world of science-fiction, where he made his name as a writer of hallucinatory short stories and mind-bending novels in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, he was considered an outsider. There's a reason the author Jonathan Lethem has called him "science fiction’s answer to the Beat generation."
Now, more than 30 years after his death, he looks like the consummate insider.
What else would you call a man whose work has inspired classic genre films like Minority Report, Total Recall, and Blade Runner? Earlier this year, the monolithic blockbuster Blade Runner 2049 again introduced curious audiences to concepts he pioneered with 1968's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, while Amazon's The Man in the High Castle has unnerved viewers for two seasons with its alternative vision of history, becoming one of the streaming platform's signature shows. Undoubtedly inspired by that show's success, Amazon has placed an even bigger bet on Dick as a recognizable entity, launching a 10-episode anthology series called Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams that turns his short stories into Black Mirror-like tales. Though he was always skeptical of advertising, Dick has become a brand.