The writer Philip K. Dick has returned to the public eye recently, as the pilot for a show based on his The Man in the High Castle — an alternate history in which the Axis triumphed in World War II — is streaming on Amazon.
When the Minority Report author and longtime Berkeley resident first made the pages of TIME Magazine, it was for a very different reason. In the fall of 1955, the magazine had put the writer Herman Wouk (of the mega-bestseller The Caine Mutiny) on the cover. As the story inside noted, Caine had won the author a Pulitzer Prize, extreme wealth and media attention, particularly to the surprisingly conservative take-aways of the story. “His chief significance is that he spearheads a mutiny against the literary stereotypes of rebellion—against three decades of U.S. fiction dominated by skeptical criticism, sexual emancipation, social protest and psychoanalytic sermonizing,” the story continued.
But not everyone was a fan. This letter to the editor appeared in the magazine as few weeks later:
Dick did not appear in TIME again until his death in 1982, mere months before Blade Runner would propel his work into the mainstream, a trend that has continued for decades as his visions of tech-inflected dystopia grew more and more relevant.
As Richard Corliss noted of Dick in 2002, “his dark vision of the future is now.”