Philip K. Dick’s Unlikely Tron Connection

Philip K. Dick pic
Philip K. Dick
Image: amazon.com

Todd Belok has served as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital since July 2015. An avid reader, Todd Belok is especially fond of the late Philip K. Dick’s science fiction works.

Before his untimely death in 1982, author Philip K. Dick had reportedly been working on an ambitious new book. According to an A.V. Club article, the work was titled The Owl in Daylight, and centered on an amusement-park owner who develops artificial intelligence in order to streamline operations. Eventually, the computer becomes sentient and traps the owner inside the park, forcing him to engage in its puzzles in order to get out.

If that sounds familiar, it should. The movie Tron was released in the summer of 1982, some months after Dick’s death, and follows a similar narrative structure. The writer’s widow went so far as to say that The Owl in Daylight was “a clear rip-off of a movie called Tron,” even though it is unlikely Dick had any foreknowledge of the film’s plot.

Atlas Obscura reports that the details of the book were recently uncovered in a letter Dick penned to his agent at the time, which outlined the major plot points.

Dick’s wife went on to publish her own rendition of The Owl in Daylight in 2009 at the behest of Dick’s fans, and even planned a follow-up, The Owl in Twilight, but that work has yet to come to fruition.

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