A Brief Overview of the Life and Work of Phillip K. Dick

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

An experienced health care professional with a background in emergency medicine, Todd Belok serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys a range of activities, including reading. He particularly enjoys the work of author Phillip K. Dick.

Born in Chicago in 1928, Dick was a prolific science-fiction writer who penned 44 novels and more than 120 short stories during a literary career spanning three decades. In his novels, Dick explored a range of philosophical, sociological, and political themes through plots that focused on monopolistic corporate greed, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness.

Dick’s work was heavily influenced by the paranoia and drug use that he dealt with for much of his adult life. Many of his stories feature an intermingling of the real and the imagined, a phenomenon that Dick himself experienced on many occasions. Although he underwent what some would call a psychotic breakdown in 1974, Dick continued to produce highly creative work up until his death in 1982.

During his lifetime, Dick lived in near-poverty, despite the fact that his work was quite respected in the science-fiction community. He received the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1962 and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel in 1974. Since Dick’s death, the popularity of his work has grown considerably. Many of his stories and novels were adapted into popular films that include Minority Report, Scanner Darkly, and Blade Runner.


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.