I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick
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 Drawing on interviews as well as unpublished sources, Carrère traces Dick’s multiple marriages, paranoid fantasies, and vertiginous encounters with the drug culture of sixties California.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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