He was one strange cat.
I don’t always love his literature, but I love his individuality, his originality, his inexhaustible ingenuity, his arrant hatred of authoritarianism, his mad genius: Philip Kindred Dick (nom-de-guerres Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland), philosophical novelist who bridged the science-fictional and the historical, drug-user, drug-abuser, paranoiac, self-described “acosmic panentheist,” twin brother to Jane Charlotte Dick, both born six weeks premature (December 16, 1928), Jane Charlotte Dick who died six weeks later and whom he would forever after in his stories call his “phantom twin,” Philip Kindred Dick, who twice won the coveted Hugo, who battled hallucinations and money all his life, and who, in his 1980 short-story collection The Golden Man, so touchingly said of fellow science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein:
Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don’t agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn’t raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I’m a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love.
Also, of course, the author of the book that was made into perhaps the best movie of all time — a man, in short, who was a true original.
Philip K. Dick — December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982 — RIP.