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Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick…

Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (1989)

by Lawrence Sutin

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Showing 4 of 4
DIVINE INVASIONS is a readable, revealing biography of the 20th-century sci-fi titan into whose mind we all most wish we could climb. Philip K. Dick’s brilliance is never in doubt, even as author Lawrence Sutin guides us through the labyrinthine emotional upheavals and relationships of his life. And boy, are they fraught, particularly when it comes to women. From his love/hate vacillations with his mother to a slew of girlfriends to all five of his wives, PKD’s life reads at times like a hormone-filled, drug-addled teen drama. Sutin is clearly a superfan, but he presents his subject’s literary prowess and social prescience in counterpoint to a painful lifelong search for emotional wholeness. His approach feels both balanced and intimate, but isn’t afraid of a little humor now and then.

Tessa B. Dick, PKD’s fifth wife, has criticized Sutin on Amazon for giving the impression that he interviewed her for this book. But Sutin documents his sources in copious endnotes, also making clear in the text when something she says comes from a letter to him or when it comes from her writings, so careful readers shouldn’t be confused. Sutin drew on a vast number of sources throughout, including (but not limited to) extensive interviews with the people who lived and worked most closely with PKD.

Although, as a biography, DIVINE INVASIONS rightfully focuses on life events, Sutin also delves deeply into a number of PKD’s most important works, including VALIS, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, UBIK, and FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID, and also the lengthy EXEGESIS of his final years. For everything else, Sutin provides a comprehensive bibliography of publications and lost works, including synopses and ratings. Despite its wealth of detail, this biography is quick to devour and provides a welcome insight into the man and his prolific output. ( )
1 vote Xiguli | Sep 10, 2015 |
A mildly informative biography on PKD that focuses a bit too much on his marriages and a bit too little on his fiction and a literary analysis thereof. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall I don't think it lives up to my expectations. I enjoyed the background material on the various books that PKD wrote. There are extensive quotes from "Exegesis", which I think is fantastic. Certainly prefrerable to wading through thousands of pages of material to get the highlights. He goes into great detail on the Valis phase of PKD's life, which is fine. Hardly any mention of Electric Sheep though.

My biggest problem is that the rest of the book reads like an oral history of the subjects life. It takes on a soap opera flavor at times, which arguably is unavoidable with this man's life.
Editing was poor, and I think it was hastily thrown together. I also note Tessa Dick's review on Amazon, which was insightful for me.

The summary of all of PKD works at the end was a great addition. It is impossible to separate the man from his books. ( )
1 vote delta351 | Nov 3, 2012 |
Somehow reading this biography of PKD opens up his fictional world of paranoia, hypochondria, anxiety and phobia. He was not a happy man, but he stood firm in the face of life and reality and asked why. ( )
1 vote jayqq1953 | Jul 15, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786716231, Paperback)

Divine Invasions is the definitive biography of one of America's greatest novelists and science fiction's greatest ambassador to literary audiences. Philip K. Dick loosened the bonds of the genre, ultimately making his reputation as a literary writer who happened to write speculative fiction, and profoundly influencing such writers as Pynchon, Delillo, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Lethem. Divine Invasions is being reissued to coincide with the fall 2005 release of "A Scanner Darkly," a film based on Dick's novel of the same name.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:30 -0400)

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