[[quoteright:340:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Philip_K_Dick_6713.jpg]]

->''Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.''
-->-- ''Literature/{{VALIS}}'' by Philip K Dick

Philip Kindred Dick (1928-1982) was an American ScienceFiction author who wrote many influential novels. Throughout his life, he suffered from severe hallucinations and a distorted view of reality. His novels reflect this, and his writing made him one of the most beloved and most critically acclaimed writers in the sci-fi genre.

Dick's characters typically spend much of his work wondering who they are, and whether their memories are real or fake. His stories often dealt with [[SchrodingersButterfly reality as illusion]], UsefulNotes/{{Gnosticism}}, [[CloudCuckoolander crazy people]], [[MushroomSamba drugged up people]], [[CuckooNest people who seem crazy but are in fact drugged up]], [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness people who seem drugged up who are in fact crazy]], {{Mad Oracle}}s, [[JunkieProphet drugged up oracles]], [[WorldOfChaos reality going crazy]], [[PhlebotinumPills reality going on drugs]], [[GovernmentConspiracy government conspiracies]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive evil corporations]], [[ArtificialHuman simulacra]], [[CosmicEntity Cosmic Entities]], [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]], and enough combinations of the above that a permanent state of [[MindScrew Mind-Screwed-ness]] becomes an occupational hazard for his readers. Twist endings and world-shattering revelations are also characteristic of his work, reflecting what can only be described as his [[RealitySubtext rich inner life]]. Similarly a common theme in his works is a comparison between an objective "Real" reality and a subjective "Perceived" reality, debating the dividing line between the two and whether it is even worth contemplating the difference; a theme that reflected his own mental state.

He is known for writing some of the first GreyGoo stories and for writing about PostModernism before it caught on in the academic world. He wrote serious existential and theological treatises within the context of futuristic science-fiction stories, when science-fiction novels were still in their infancy and considered as childish and peripheral by the majority of the literary world. He was one of the first authors to use fantasy and science-fiction to discuss taboo and socially risqué subjects, contemplating ideas that wouldn't be discussed in mainstream academia for decades. He mixed, deconstructed, and reconstructed philosophical and psychological ideology from everything from Carl Jung and his theories on collective consciousness through to Jean-Paul Sartre and his theories on individualism, constantly searching to define and challenge reality and the human mind. Some of his stories have been cited by big-name philosophers like Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj Zizek.

He wasn't particularly popular in the United States during most of his lifetime, but he [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff gained a following in France]] among the intellectual set; his bizarre works meshed nicely with the [[PostModernism postmodern philosophy]] then current in French academia.

Around 1974, Dick began to have odd [[http://deoxy.org/pkd_how2build.htm revelations/hallucinations]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophany culminating with direct contact]] with the [[{{God}} entity formerly known as God]]. Many think he suffered from schizophrenia, a possibility Dick himself acknowledged and wrestled with. He became increasingly paranoid, at one point alleging that the KGB or the FBI stole documents from his house (he did, in fact, come home one night to find one of his filing cabinets forced open); later, he suggested that he ''might have broken into his own house'' and then forgotten about it. Many suspect his later novels are so [[MindScrew confusing]] because he was trying to [[CreatorBreakdown work out these problems in his writing]].

He has a strong cult-following pan-globally which has been growing since his death in the early 1980s, encouraged by the relevance that a lot of his works have to modern day society. A lot of his more thought-provoking works continue to be the subject of analysis today.

Many of his stories have been adapted into movies. Some turned out good (''Film/AScannerDarkly'', ''Film/BladeRunner'', ''Film/TotalRecall1990'', ''Film/MinorityReport'', ''Film/TheAdjustmentBureau''') and some received a more mixed reception (''Film/{{Next}}'', ''Film/{{Paycheck}}'', ''Film/{{Impostor}}'', as well as the TV series ''Series/TheManInTheHighCastle''). His largest work is to date unpublished [[http://www.amazon.com/The-Exegesis-Philip-K-Dick/dp/0547549253 save a few excerpts]] - over 7000 pages of notes speculating on Greek philosophy, early Christianity, theology, mental illness, and the implicate structure of the universe itself. This work, titled the "Exegesis," spans thousands of years of metaphysics and occult literature. Written during the final few years of his life, it is either his greatest triumph of skeptical empiricism or a deep descent into incomprehensible insanity.

!!Works with their own pages:
[[index]]
* ''Literature/DoAndroidsDreamOfElectricSheep''
* "Faith of Our Fathers" in ''Literature/DangerousVisions''
* ''Literature/TheGanymedeTakeover''
* ''Literature/TheManInTheHighCastle''
* ''Literature/AScannerDarkly''
* ''Literature/TheThreeStigmataOfPalmerEldritch''
* ''Literature/TimeOutOfJoint''
* ''Literature/{{Ubik}}''
* ''Literature/{{VALIS}}''
[[/index]]

For the newly prospective or particularly insane reader, as a lot of [=PKD's=] works were guided by the RealitySubtext of his life, reading his works in the order they were published (or written) from oldest to most recent gives probably the best overall understanding of the development of his mind and ideas over time [[note]] with the added advantage that it prepares the reader for the continuously escalating levels of MindScrew and paranoia that occur in his later books[[/note]]. However, be warned that trying to read them all in progressive succession ''may'' [[GoMadFromTheRevelation break your mind]]. Literally.[[note]]No, seriously. Have some stuff by Descartes or Kant lying around to help prove to yourself that you exist if you try this.[[/note]] [[labelnote:A note from disgruntled philosopher]]Yeah, the "I think, therefore I am" Descartes whose proof of existence of {{God}} (and world) basically amounts to "well, He wouldn't lie, right?", and ClockKing extraordinaire who reasoned that there are limits to reason. Sure. That will help lots. Not that Dick himself doesn't quote Kant. Grumble...[[/labelnote]]

----
!!This author's works provide examples of:

* AbsurdlyHighStakesGame: ''The Game-Players of Titan'' is concerned with the fictional game "Bluff" where players wager spouses and entire cities among other things.
* AfterTheEnd:
** "Captive Market" dealt with survivors of a nuclear war, trying to build an escape rocket, and buying supplies from a modern day general store owner.
** In "Autofac," a community of people is trying to wrest control of automated production facilities from the machines that run them in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
** In "The Days of Perky Pat," post-nuclear communities of adults sustained by CARE packages from the Martians obsessively play a "Life"-like game with elaborate to-scale game boards and a child's plastic Barbie-like doll named Perky Pat in an effort to relive their civilized lives while their children embrace a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
** In "If There Were No Benny Cemoli" a group of men and women who escaped the nuclear war on Earth by fleeing into space return after years of absence and try to take over, much to the chagrin of the survivors who've built up their own lifestyle in the intervening years.
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: ''The Golden Man'' contains several {{magic realism}} stories (such as a man obsessed with the model town in his basement having it change the town he lives in itself), an [[AuthorTract anti-abortion story]] (where a scientist challenges the abortion requirement that a fetus who cannot do simple math is eligible for abortion, demanding to be aborted because he claims he's forgotten simple math) and, surprisingly, a humorous (somewhat darkly) war against... alien midgets.
** "King of the Elves" is an UrbanFantasy short story.
* ArcWords:
** "The Empire Never Ended", which originally came from a dream he had when he was young.
** Also: The Black Iron Fortress
* ArtificialHuman: ''Second Variety'' and many others
* AuthorAvatar: Nicholas Brady in ''Radio Free Albemuth''. However, he also includes a ''separate'' character [[MindScrew named Philip K. Dick]].
* AuthorTract: The short story "The Pre-Persons" is very blatantly his personal, heavily emotional response to Roe vs. Wade, set in a world where pro-choice activists have legalized "abortion" of children up to age 12. His mouthpiece characters claim abortion is all about powerful people deliberately picking on the helpless, or a certain kind of woman getting off on destroying men and children. He even depicts one woman wanting to get pregnant because she thinks an abortion would be fun and a turn-on.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: In the short story ''Waterspider'' almost all sci-fi authors such as Creator/PoulAnderson, Creator/IsaacAsimov, Creator/RayBradbury and even Dick himself are actually latent psychics; all of their works are in reality based on future events that their precognitive abilities are unknowingly picking up from far off in the future.
* BeneathTheEarth: Common wartime workers in ''The Penultimate Truth'' live and work in underground "ant tanks" while armed robots fight on a fatally irradiated surface. One of them, Nicholas St. James, is sent to the surface and learns that [[spoiler:the war has been over for years and its engineers have kept them below surface in order to take the land for themselves]].
* BewareTheSuperman: Dick [[http://www.philipkdickfans.com/mirror/websites/pkdweb/short_stories/The%20Golden%20Man.htm suggested this]] from time to time, but rarely had the opportunity to write about it, as Creator/JohnWCampbell preferred to compare {{Mutants}} to PersecutedIntellectuals. Dick had [[GodwinsLaw a different opinion]], which resulted in ''[[Film/{{Next}} The Golden Man]]''.
-->'''Dick''': Here I am also saying that mutants are dangerous to us ordinaries, a view which John W. Campbell, Jr. deplored. We were supposed to view them as our leaders. But I always felt uneasy as to how they would view us. I mean, maybe they wouldn't want to lead us. Maybe from their superevolved lofty level we wouldn't seem worth leading. Anyhow, even if they agreed to lead us, I felt uneasy as to where we would wind up going. It might have something to do with buildings marked SHOWERS but which really weren't.
* BlessedWithSuck:
** Floyd Jones, the driving character (though almost never the viewpoint character) of ''The World Jones Made'', can see a year into the future. Too bad his future sight is actually made of memories broadcast by his future self to his past self, essentially [[YouCantFightFate stripping him of free will]].
** Manfred, a boy from ''Martian Time-Slip'', can see into the future. Which means he is almost perpetually stuck in a twisted vision of his future as a paralyzed, dying old man in a decaying hospital. His only, temporary escape is succumbing to his schizophrenia-induced hallucinations, which are just as nightmarish and tainted by his obsession with death.
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: "Rautvaara's Case" was about trying to blend the religious beliefs of a human with that of a race of plasma lifeforms. The results are pretty icky, as the aliens believe that immortality is gained through their savior consuming them (depicted as being the opposite of the Christian belief of Communion), which ends up with the eponymous character watching in horror as Jesus eats her crew members.
* BrokenMasquerade:
** Mercilessly used, chewed out, and tortured in ''The Game-Players of Titan'' (poor, poor Pete...).
** Hilariously screwed with in ''We Can Remember It For You Wholesale''.
** In ''Cosmic Puppets'' this is played with extensively while the protagonist is gradually having his reality disassembled around him while he desperately tries to grip on to ''anything'' that might sustain his sanity. He is literally pulled to the brink of a nervous breakdown when two people with their eyes closed walk ''straight through'' the people he is trying to talk to before moving through a house wall. It doesn't help when the seemingly OnlySaneMan in the vicinity says (paraphrased), "Of course, it's perfectly normal. You're not mentally ill, are you?"
* CameBackWrong: In the story "Upon The Dull Earth", Silvia sacrifices herself to some angel-like creatures to be among them. When her boyfriend Rick gets them to bring her back, they do so by transforming another living human (her sister) into Silvia. She seems to come back completely unchanged from the experience. Then it turns out that this upset the natural balance, and as a result ''everyone in the world'' is slowly turning into Silvia, both mentally and physically.
* ChekhovsGun: ''Paycheck'' is a {{deconstruction}} of the concept. The hero Jennings has just had his memory erased of the top secret project he was working on, only to discover that before it happened he arranged to substitute his paycheck with several seemingly trivial and useless items, including a small piece of wire. Then he's arrested, whereupon it turns out the wire is just the right size to pick the lock of the squad car's back door. It seems the project was a window into the future, which Jennings used to see what was going to happen to him, and so every single one of the items has some purpose to help him stay alive and out of the bad guys' clutches. Half the fun of the story is just seeing what purpose all of them have.
* ChildSoldiers: Played with in ''The Counter-Clock World'', where aging reversed decades ago, and there's a commando squad of elderly soldiers who are now the size of small children and infants.
* ChurchOfHappyology: "The Turning Wheel" included a religion whose messiah was known as The Bard Elron Hu. [[StealthPun At no point is he ever referred to as Elron Hu, Bard]]. This is a particularly early reference, as it was originally published just a few years after ''Dianetics''.
* CityNoir: ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said''.
* CocaPepsiInc: In ''The Divine Invasion'', the backstory includes a merger between the Catholic Church and the Soviet Union.
* {{Commune}}: ''A Maze Of Death'' opens with several strangers arriving at the "Tekel Upharsin Kibbutz".
* CripplingOverspecialization: In "The Variable Man", the title character is a jack-of-all-trades tinker picked up from the past by scientists in a highly specialized future. They need him to fix something that no one has the specialization for.
* CryonicsFailure: A non-lethal but still devastating failure takes place in "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon". An off-world colonist is woken up from cryonic slumber, but [[AndIMustScream is still immobile]]. The sentient ship tries to keep him sane by putting him back in happy memories. Trouble is, he carries so much guilt and anxiety, no memory will ''stay'' happy. By the time he gets there, his mind is still pretty much shot.
* DarkWorld: In ''Martian Time-Slip'', a powerful Martian colonist named Arnie Kott uses an autistic and/or schizophrenic boy and a Martian ritual to send him back a few weeks into his own past so he can make a business deal, but finds he is in a hallucinatory version of the past tainted by the boy's fearful fixations on entropy and death.
* DemotedMemories: "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". The protagonist's vivid fantasies of being a secret agent on Mars lead him to request that FakeMemories of same be implanted by a company that does this as a sort of virtual vacation. Except that the fantasy turns out to have been actual memories due to an incomplete mind wipe. [[spoiler:Then the company tries layering over the now returned memories with an even more grandiose childhood fantasy he had about saving the world from alien invasion with compassion. Turns out ''that'' really happened too.]]
* DevolutionDevice: In "Strange Eden", an astronaut finds an attractive and immortal female Goddess-like alien on a far-away world. Immediately he wants to sleep with her, but she warns him that in doing so he will magically begin to rapidly evolve. Thinking that this will lead him to become a superior being like her (and for the obvious reason), the astronaut accepts the offer. However, it turns out that humanity's set evolutionary path is that we will evolve into bestial cat-creatures--exactly why is never stated--and so the astronaut is stuck as the alien woman's pet forever.
* DisabilitySuperpower: In ''Dr. Bloodmoney'', Hoppy Harrington was born without limbs, but has powerful telekinetic abilities.
* DoAnythingRobot: ''Sales Pitch'' is about a DoAnythingRobot that serves as its own salesman and touts its ability to do absolutely anything, so you don't have to do anything at all.
* DogFoodDiet: Used as a form of IronicHell in the short story "The Alien Mind", where some animal-loving aliens discover that a visiting Earth astronaut has killed the cat sent along with him on the mission. The aliens steal all his food, leaving him with nothing but sacks of dry cat kibble to eat for his two-year return trip to Earth. Just to twist the knife, they're all the same flavor.
* DoomAsTestPrize: In the short story "The Hanging Stranger", the protagonist sees a corpse hanging from a lamppost right in the middle of town. He grows more and more confused when no one cares about this incident. It turns out everyone in the town has been killed and replaced by bee people disguised as humans, and the hanging corpse was placed there as a test to get people who haven't been replaced by bees to reveal themselves.
* DownerEnding:
** ''Second Variety'' ends with the main character bleeding out as [[spoiler:the first of many homicidal robots exits the Earth's atmosphere towards humanity's final holdout on the moon, using a rocket and coordinates which he unwittingly provided to it. His only solace comes from noticing that the robot carried an EMP grenade--once they wipe out humankind, they just might avenge our race by killing each other]].
** ''Sales Pitch''.
** ''The Unreconstructed M''.
* DreamApocalypse: "The Electric Ant" plays with this. The main character finds that his reality is simulated by punchholes in a magnetic tape reel in his chest. He wonders whether the world would fade away if he cuts the tape. He cuts the tape. [[spoiler:The next scene is narrated by his wife beside his dead body and she discusses how ridiculous his delusion was. [[DoubleSubversion Then she starts fading away]].]]
* {{Dystopia}}: ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said''.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The unambiguously optimistic ending of ''Eye in the Sky''. Dick's clear-cut idealism and faith in the power of people working collectively would soon desert him, majorly.
* EitherOrTitle: ''Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb''.
* EldritchAbomination: Rachmael ben Applebaum, the protagonist of ''Lies, Inc.'', teleports from Earth to the supposed off-world paradise of Whale's Mouth. Once there he's shot with an LSD dart and sees a giant, angry "cephalopodan cyclops," a pretty clear ShoutOut to Creator/HPLovecraft.
* TheEndOrIsIt: "The Gun". A spacecraft investigating a planet destroyed by nuclear war is shot down by a robot anti-aircraft weapon. Fortunately they're able to approach the weapon on foot and deactivate it, then repair their spacecraft and take off. They plan to return later and remove the contents of the archive that the gun was protecting, unaware that underground robot repair units have already been sent to put the gun back together again.
* EvilSmellsBad: In ''The Divine Invasion'', the protagonist finds a poor, lost, talking baby goat. He slowly becomes aware of a terrible stench surrounding it. It turns out the goat is actually the devil Belial.
* EvolutionPowerUp: Played with in "Strange Eden". It's about an astronaut that finds an attractive and immortal female Goddess-like alien on a far-away world. Immediately he wants to sleep with her, but she warns him that in doing so he will magically begin to rapidly evolve. Thinking that this will lead him to become a superior being like her (and for the obvious reason), the astronaut accepts the offer. However, it turns out that humanity's set evolutionary path is that we will evolve into bestial cat-creatures--exactly why is never stated--and so the astronaut is stuck as the alien woman's pet forever.
* FateWorseThanDeath: In-universe: ''The Unreconstructed M'' has the "Banishment System", wherein perpetrators of heinous/violent crimes are stripped of all their assets and force-teleported to backwater colonies far, far away from Earth, as a replacement and equivalent for the death penalty. Its opponents, as well as the villain of the story who finds himself Banished, consider it this - he no longer has access to his substantial wealth, creature comforts, the hustle and bustle of city life, modern amenities, and relationships, and is surrounded by hardscrabble towns and uneducated hicks, doomed to keep hitchiking towards Sol. It'll take him the rest of his life to get back to the Solar System.
* FisherKingdom: The various worlds of ''Eye in the Sky'' started twisting visitors to match their worldviews. [[spoiler:Because each "world" was in fact inside someone's head in a sort of shared hallucination.]]
* FlatEarthAtheist: In the setting of ''A Maze of Death'', God is openly real, and prayers are a commonly accepted way of solving problems, though they usually have to be carefully composed and transmitted by radio into outer space in order to work. Dr. Babble, however, is an atheist who believes that the "God" in question is just a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien.
* FlockOfWolves:
** In ''The Eyes Have It'' an InspectorJavert character who hunts aliens (indistinguishable from humans except for glow-in-the-dark eyes) and dissects them informs his superiors that there is an [[TheMole alien spy]] among them. It turns out they are all aliens except him.
** ''The Game-Players of Titan'', which involves aliens from Titan that can make themselves appear human, has a scene in which the protagonist discovers that he is the only member of the anti-alien resistance cell he's joined who isn't an alien sleeper agent.
* GenreSavvy: In ''Cosmic Puppets'' the male protagonist returns to his home town to find that what he remembered never existed and the ''first'' thing he thinks of is the possibility that someone implanted false memories into his mind in order to manipulate him for nefarious causes... unfortunately he isn't GenreSavvy ''enough'' to listen to his first instinct that he should leave the town before he gets stuck there.
* GenreShift: Dick used to pull this in a low-key way, because he liked telling stories from the PointOfView of more than one character, and he adapted from Creator/JamesJoyce the technique of shifting the style to reflect the way the character would write, if the character could write. A hilarious example is Surley G. Febbs from ''The Zap Gun'', whose chapters are written as if Febbs's character were the [[HerCodeNameWasMarySue Marty Stu in a story written by himself]]: when Febbs is sent a mysterious parcel, he examines it and the narrative comments "It intrigued his uniquely subtle, agile mind."
* GiftOfTheMagiPlot: "Oh to Be a Blobel!" happens in the aftermath of a war between Earth and Titan. Earth has humans, Titan has Blobels, and spies in the war are made Involuntary Shapeshifters. After the war a human and Blobel spy decide to get married as they are able to spend most of the day in the same form. Their nature causes them a lot of anguish and problems which eventually leads to them filing for divorce. The Blobel wife, in order to save their marriage, decides to undergo a new medical treatment which turns her permanently human. But the human husband has already left to pursue business opportunity on another planet, and in accordance with the local laws had himself turned permanently into a Blobel...
* GoalOrientedEvolution: In "Strange Eden", a man falls in love with godlike alien woman who warns him to stay away, as merely being in her presence too long will shoot him to the highest levels of human evolution. He is not dissuaded by this, sticks around and becomes the very highly evolved [[spoiler:large cat]].
* GodInHumanForm: Emmanuel, the main character in the novel ''The Divine Invasion'', is, in actuality, the Judeo-Christian God--and he lost his memories in a car accident.
* GrandTheftMe: "Beyond Lies the Wub". An Earthbound rocketship stops on Mars to take on food animals, including a wub--a large, slovenly Martian pig. It turns out the wub is a sapient telepathic alien interested mainly in eating and philosophical discussion. The captain is determined to kill and eat the wub regardless, believing it to be a threat, and blows the wub's brains out despite the objections of his crew. The story ends with the captain enthusiastically tucking into cooked wub, watched glumly by the crew, who are further shocked when their 'captain' continues the philosophical discussion the wub was having "before we were interrupted".
* GroundhogDayLoop: ''Martian Time Slip'' involves the protagonist reliving the same day over and over again, each time more bizarre than the last. After the day is over, he can't even remember it.
* GuardianAngel: ''Eye in the Sky''. At one point the protagonists end up in a world [[spoiler:(actually a fundamentalist's personal mental world)]] where religious concepts are physically manifest and obvious. One of these are guardian angels, who can manifest as small mouths that whisper advice into a person's ears.
* HumansAreBastards: This is part of The Golden Man's motivation - it knows humanity will always try to kill things like it, so it decides on the path that ensures it - and his progeny - survive.
* IAmNotAGun: "The Defenders". When WorldWarIII broke out, both sides retreated into bunkers and let their robots, referred to as "leadies", do the fighting. The leadies promptly made peace and set about repairing the damage that had been done before they took charge. They kept sending their human masters false reports of what a horrific radioactive wasteland the surface had become ... but eventually revealed this was intended to make humans so sick and tired of the war that they'd accept the peace (and world unity) their leadies had negotiated.
* IntangibleTimeTravel: ''Literature/{{Paycheck}}'', with its "timescope".
* InTheFutureHumansWillBeOneRace: In one time travel story by Philip K. Dick, the future was populated entirely by brown people. Part of this is due to the fact that they reproduce through a soft form of cloning, part of it is due to inferior members of families being pressured to kill themselves, and part of this is due to race wars.
* InWhichATropeIsDescribed: ''A Maze of Death'' {{subvert|edTrope}}s this; the table of contents contains a brief summary-like name for each chapter, but every such "summary" is about one of the fourteen characters doing something that has nothing at all to do with the chapter contents, or the novel at all. [[spoiler:It might be symbolic of how all the events and backstories in the book are just part of a virtual simulation, one of the hundreds of different ones that the characters have already experienced.]]
* KarmaHoudini: "The Unreconstructed Man" frames an innocent man for a murder. The murder was committed via a killer drone that climbed a wall, snuck into an apartment very quietly, fired an explosive pellet into a man, left enough incriminating forensic evidence to convict said man, and folded neatly into an inconspicuous television.
* KillAndReplace: "The Hanging Stranger" featured a man who had been working in his basement for days emerging and heading into town, only to spot a body hanging by a noose from a lamppost in the middle of the town square. He starts freaking out, mainly because nobody else seems to notice or care. It quickly becomes apparent that something has infected or replaced almost everyone else in town as the opening of a secret invasion.
* LensmanArmsRace: Played with in ''The Zap Gun'', where a pair of weapons designers, one on each side of the Cold War, are continually coming up with what are ostensibly new weapons. In reality, though, everything they come up with is immediately repurposed into harmless knick-knacks. This helps keep the Cold War cold, but proves disastrous once aliens invade, and the world is defenseless. They end up getting the aliens to leave by [[spoiler:getting them addicted to a video game.]]
* LetsMeetTheMeat: "Beyond Lies the Wub". Some people go to an alien world and find a pig-like creature. That talks. The captain orders it killed and cooked, despite protests from the crew. [[spoiler:After eating the Wub's body, the captain turns to the protagonist and resumes a conversation that the protagonist had been having with the Wub before it was slaughtered. "Now, as I was saying before we were interrupted..."]]
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: Played with in "Waterspider". The protagonists decide to fix a technological problem of their era by time-travelling into the past, the golden age of precognatives, and consulting with the precog whose paper "Night Flight" foresaw their very predicament: Creator/PoulAnderson. The reader eventually realizes that the "precog society meeting" is actually a science fiction convention--it turns out that all the major SF authors were precogs without realizing it, and were accurately predicting the future in their writings.
* LivingIsMoreThanSurviving: In "The Day Mr. Computer Fell Out of Its Tree", Joe Contemptible is driven to despair by his unfulfilling life:
-->"I'm not married. I've got no wife. Nothing. Just my damn job at the record store. All those damn German songs and those bubblegum rock lyrics; they go through my head night and day, constantly, mixtures of Goethe and Heine and Neil Diamond. ... So why should I live on? Call that living? It's existence, not living."
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: In "The World She Wanted", the protagonist is swept along in the wake of a of a young and beautiful woman who introduces herself by announcing that the two of them are getting married. Subverted in that [[spoiler:she annoys the hell out of him and he rejects her]].
* {{Masquerade}}: In "Adjustment Team", the story's protagonist stumbles into a world that is in effect behind the scenes of the observable world where omnipotent beings alter the flow of reality to fit some kind of ineffable design. He opts to subject himself to LaserGuidedAmnesia at the end of the story.
* MeaningfulName:
** Felix Buckman in ''Flow My Tears''.
** In ''A Maze of Death'', you have the subverted dumb-blonde "Susie Smart", the lying hypochondriac "Dr. Babble", and the JerkAss bully "Ignatz Thugg". In a humorous moment, Ignatz Thugg makes a snarky comment about how fitting Dr. Babble's name is without ever noticing he has a MeaningfulName himself.
* MechanicalEvolution: In "Second Variety," when the United Nations is losing a war with the Soviet Union, they create automated factories to produce robotic "claws" to fight back. The claws later self-produce more effective designs which mimic human beings and infiltrate the human ranks.
* MegaCorp: Trails of Hoffman Inc. appeared in ''Lies Inc.'' The company offered teleport services to a far-off world. It was a one-way ticket, no way home. But the company definitely had its fingers in other pursuits, and whatever they were doing on Whale Mouth was not what they claimed.
* MentalStory: ''Eye in the Sky'' takes place in a sort of shared mental world, with the current most-dominant personality warping it to their prejudices and worldview.
* MesACrowd: In "Upon the Dull Earth", protagonist Rick watches his girlfriend Silvia [[spoiler:get killed by giant supernatural angel-like creatures whom she has previously been able to summon through animal sacrifice. Rick is able to contact these creatures and bring Silvia back to life, despite their warnings that something might go wrong. Gradually, everyone Rick encounters turns into Silvia, including Rick himself by the end of the story]].
* MindScrew: At the end of Radio Free Albemuth, Philip K Dick's self-insert (by the same name) is told that [[spoiler: the government]] will be releasing [[spoiler: pro-government propaganda]] science-fiction under his name. The first working title was to be ''The Mind Screwers''.
* MissingEpisode: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick_bibliography In his bibliography]], A Time for George Stavros, Pilgrim on the Hill, Nicholas and the Higgs, etc. were (the manuscripts) lost before publishing.
* MyLittlePanzer: In "War Games", Earth has a safety board inspecting toys from Titan, with whom they are having a political Cold War, but whose goods are still popular. We see at least one dangerous toy--a VR costume-suit which causes the wearer to lose contact with reality. The safety board is afraid everything could be like this, so they have a paranoid eye on everything--[[spoiler:excepting a board game that looks like a Monopoly variation, but isn't. (No, the board game doesn't count unless you consider undermining capitalism dangerous.)]]
* NamingYourColonyWorld: ''The Unteleported Man''. Whale's Mouth, a reference to the location of Fomalhaut in the constellation Piscis Austrinus.
* NippleAndDimed: Played with in ''The Zap Gun''. It's mentioned that in the future society, family-friendly media may freely display naked female breasts (and even animate them in titillating ways), as long as no more than one breast is visible at a time.
* NumberedHomeworld: ''Shell Game'' is set on Betelgeuse II.
* OurHeroIsDead: Deliberately and effectively subverted in ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said'', where [[spoiler:the main character is killed halfway through and the plot basically falls apart for the rest of the novel]].
* PatrioticFervor: In ''The Simulacra'' he lampooned parochialism by having people swear allegiance to their ''apartment buildings'', each of which naturally views the others with disdain and suspicion. The book opens with a heated discussion over whether to abolish an apartment building's school and send its children to a public school, where they might, to the horror of the conservative faction of the community council, meet children from other schools and learn they're not so different after all.
* PhysicalReligion: ''A Maze of Death''.
* PlayingDoctor: In ''Eye in the Sky'', a little boy is disappointed when he finally convinces the neighbor girl to show him hers -- and there's nothing there. Which turns out to be the same thing he's got down there! They're in a FisherKingdom run by someone who finds genitalia icky.
* PrecrimeArrest: In "The Minority Report".
* PrestigePeril: In ''Solar Lottery'', the highest position in the solar system, the Quizmaster, is chosen by a completely random lottery. And the previous Quizmaster can legally retake the position by hiring an endless stream of assassins to kill the new Quizmaster.
* PsychicPowers: [[SpiderSense Precogs]] in "The Minority Report".
* PublicSecretMessage: In ''Radio Free Albemuth'', a subliminal message is sent to the public in the form of song lyrics so that the government won't intercept it but those who know the truth will be able to spread the message.
* RealityWarper: Emmanuel and Zina in ''The Divine Invasion''. Either that or everyone's crazy, which is equally possible. The two characters have a disagreement over how the world should be run, reflecting perennial mystical themes and Kabbalah. Actually, Manny and Zina are [[spoiler:(aspects of?) God]]. So reality warping comes naturally, kinda.
* RecursiveCreators: In "Second Variety", the deadly robots built to fight off the new URSS are given the capability to reproduce simply because they were so dangerous nobody wanted to work on them anymore. The results are not pleasant.
* ReplicantSnatching: "The Father-Thing". When an alien takes the place of the protagonist's father, he eats his insides, leaving only a dry, dead skin behind.
* RepressedMemories: In "Recall Mechanism," the protagonist suffers a fear of falling, which his psychiatrist believes is caused by a repressed memory. Subverted when [[spoiler: the "memory" turns out to be a psychic vision of the protagonist's ''future'' death, which he can [[YouCantFightFate do nothing to avoid]].]]
* RetroactivePreparation: The premise of "Paycheck".
* RobotWar:
** In the short story "Second Variety", mankind is in an eternal war with highly intelligent machines. The story ends with a touch of irony: [[spoiler:the robots are about to win, but as the hero notes with grim amusement, the Second Variety has developed a weapon that only hurts the other varieties - the robots are preparing to make war against ''each other'']].
** In the short story "The Defenders", the Eastern and Western Blocs had built robots called "leadies" to carry out WorldWarIII as proxies while humanity waited out the nuclear holocaust in underground shelters. [[spoiler:As soon as humanity went underground, the leadies stopped fighting and began repairing the damage already done, eventually presenting both sides with peace as a ''fait accompli'' and predicting that the accomplishments of a united humanity would be "unimaginably great."]]
* SapientShip: The spaceship in "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon".
* SecretTestOfCharacter: In "The Exit Door Leads In", the protagonist turns out to be in a Secret Test Of Character. The title would give this away, but Dick cleverly includes a TitleDrop early on that appears to explain it.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: [[spoiler:''Minority Report'', both versions.]] In [[spoiler:''Paycheck'']] the government's discovery of a future-seeing device causes it to bring about the disasters the machine prophecies.
* SettlingTheFrontier:
** ''Martian Time-Slip''.
** ''The Unteleported Man'', aka ''Lies, Inc.''
** ''A Maze of Death''.
* SlidingScaleOfLibertarianismAndAuthoritarianism: Dick himself had borderline anarchist views (to the point where many anarchists have acknowledged his influence), but many of his settings are authoritarian dystopias. "The Last of the Masters", meanwhile, is set two hundred years after an anarchist revolution and depicts [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the last surviving government]].
* SpaceAgeStasis: In "Pay for the Printer", humans have stopped building or researching anything and instead choose to rely on alien replicators to make copies of items they already possess.
* SpaceJews: ''Martian Time Slip'' has Martian Bleekmen, who resemble and are thought to be genetically similar to Earth's African Aboriginals.
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''The Divine Invasion'' to ''Literature/{{VALIS}}''. Valis appears in both books, the fictional film "Valis" exists in both, and they have similar Gnostic themes, but ''The Divine Invasion'' is not, strictly speaking, a sequel.
* StrawHypocrite: ''Radio Free Albemuth''. The distant, unseen antagonist, [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent president Ferris F. Fremont]], uses a UsefulNotes/JosephMcCarthy-esque Communist hunt to distract America from the fact that he is--in fact--a secret member of the Russian Communist party, and is selling U.S.-produced food and goods to the USSR dirt cheap.
* SuperReflexes: Appears in ''The Counter-Clock World''.
* {{Terraform}}: In one of Philip K. Dick's stories, Earth and Titan were in an uneasy peace because of a war that was held because humans terraformed Mars. There were already people of Titan on Mars, but they couldn't breathe oxygen. By the time the humans learned of the Titanians, the terraforming had already begun, and "you can't terraform just part of an atmosphere..."
* TheyLookLikeUsNow:
** ''Second Variety'' with human looking robots. As well as many stories with artificial human-looking robots or aliens, some who have no idea that they are not human - and [[ParanoiaFuel some who are terrified that they are]].
** "The War with the Fnools" ''almost'' goes this way - the eponymous fnools, who resemble human midgets, get taller and taller when exposed to human vice (more specifically, tobacco and alcohol, which seems to alter their genes). The protagonists despair after an attempted act of prisoner kindness (giving two captured fnools a smoke) makes them average-size, and thus easier to blend in - until the last fnool gets drunk and keeps drinking, making them inhumanly tall and easier to pick out of a crowd once more. This is all played for laughs.
* TheyWouldCutYouUp: In "The Golden Man", this is why Cris never stays in one place too long.
* TimeTravelForFunAndProfit: In "Captive Market," an old lady discovers her ability to travel into a variety of branching timelines. She uses this power to [[spoiler:sell supplies to future survivors of a nuclear holocaust at huge mark-ups.]]
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness:
** ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said''.
** ''The Game Players of Titan''.
** ''A Maze of Death''.
* TomatoInTheMirror: "Impostor" deals with a war between Earth and aliens from Alpha Centauri, and a man that is accused of being a robot, planted by the enemy and which carries a bomb inside, set to explode when a trigger is activated. The man escapes and tries to find the robot, to attempt to prove he is actually human. He isn't. [[spoiler:And the bomb inside him explodes right after discovering the truth, laying waste to good part of the Earth]].
* TomesOfProphecyAndFate: ''The Galactic Pot-healer'' has the Book of Kalends, telling (in many languages) what shall be. Do Kalends make things happen in writing their book? is a [[MindScrew major question]] for the characters.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: Played with in "The Defenders". The Eastern and Western Blocs built robots called "leadies" to carry out World War III as proxies while humanity waited out the nuclear holocaust in underground shelters. The leadies promptly turned against their masters' wishes by stopping the war--although they didn't tell the humans it was over until they judged humanity was sick enough of living underground to be willing to accept peace.
* TwoHalvesMakeAPlot: In "Paycheck", one of the random bits of junk the protagonist has in his position after a Laser-Guided Amnesia treatment is half a poker chip, which grants him entry to a gambling den where he can escape his pursuers.
* UnPerson: In ''Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said'', Jason Taverner is a genetically engineered singer and TV star who goes from global celebrity to un-person literally overnight.
* UnstuckInTime: ''Now Wait For Last Year''. The main character's wife obtains an illegal drug from an alien society. The aliens supposedly use the drug to hallucinate, re-living past happy experiences. When she takes the drug she finds out that the drug works as described, except that you aren't hallucinating... You should probably stop taking the drug so that you don't mess with the timeline, but [[spoiler:the drug is highly addictive so no matter how hard you try to stop you'll keep feeling compelled to go back to further mess up your own past]].
* TheVirus: "Upon the Dull Earth": A weird necrophiliac woman attempts a bizarre experiment to speak to the "angels" who supernaturally rule the Earth, which fails and claims her life. Her grieving boyfriend bargains with the angels to bring her back in a DealWithTheDevil. Unfortunately the angels screw up when doing so--the girl comes back, but only by hijacking another person's body, taking over her sister's body and physically transforming it into her own. The angels seem unable to stop this process, either--soon everyone in the world begins spontaneously transforming into a duplicate of the girl. Madness and horror ensues.
* WateringDown: One of the minor characters in ''Eye in the Sky'' is a hostess at a club who waters down her own alcoholic drinks (as a large amount of her job is drinking with customers) so as to not get drunk herself.
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: Messed with in ''We Can Build You''. Pris Frauenzimmer's absolute, pathological lack of empathy is hinted to be cracking under growing feelings for the lead in her last line in the book. But then ''the'' last line in the book is the lead [[DownerEnding writing off that possibility in his mind]].
* WhyAmITicking: "Impostor" revolves around the search for an android sent to Earth by hostile aliens as a walking bomb. The android itself is unaware of the fact, believing itself to be a normal human being, and [[spoiler:being convinced of the truth is what triggers the bomb]].
* WithThisHerring: Subverted in "Paycheck". The hero has just had his memory of the last two years of working on a top secret project erased, and when he picks up his paycheck he discovers that, for some reason, during those two years he decided to ask to be paid not in money but several weird and almost worthless items like a small piece of wire and a bus token. However, it soon turns out that the project was a window into the future, and he picked each of these items for some specific purpose to help him survive the dangerous situations he will shortly find himself in.
* XanatosSpeedChess: In ''Solar Lottery'', the titular government lottery is designed to make everybody randomize their actions. The antagonist, Reese Verrick, instead elects to play some speed chess as he plots to assassinate the head of government.
* YouAlreadyChangedThePast: "The Skull". An assassin is sent back in time to kill the founder of a subversive religion before he gives a famous speech, only to realize that the Founder is himself--the 'miracle' that inspired the religion's creation was him appearing after he'd been killed (he'd arrived at the wrong point in time) thus 'coming back from the dead'. The RousingSpeech supposedly given by the Founder never actually happened, but was a result of history being embellished after his death.
* YouCanKeepHer: In "Human Is", Jill's husband Lester gets his body stolen by an alien while on a business trip to the dying planet Rexor IV. About a week later, the Rexorian is tracked down by the FBI, who tell Jill that they can apprehend the Rexorian culprit and even get her real husband back--all she has to do is testify on tape to the (incredibly obvious) change in her "husband"'s behavior. Jill, however, decides to play dumb, as Lester was a tremendous {{Jerkass}} whereas the Rexorian's only noticeable flaw appears to be his outdated grasp of English.
* YouCantFightFate:
** In "Recall Mechanism," a nuclear war has created mutant humans with precog abilities, but the future they see is immovable. [[spoiler:The hero is one such precog whose debilitating fear of falling is caused by his subconscious visions of his future death. The man who causes his death turns out to be one as well, whose recent attitude of literally pushing people around are from visions of how he kills the protagonist.]]
** In ''The World Jones Made'', Floyd Jones has the power to see one year into the future. Unfortunately, after he sees the future, he loses the ability to change the decisions he makes in that future--possibly because he's actually sending his memories back through time to his younger self.
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