Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his influential work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendentalexperiences.
Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success. His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle earned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel. He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel. Following a series of religious experiences in February–March 1974, Dick’s work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981). A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.