Philip K. Dick

March 04, 2011 | 11:13 a.m.

‘Adjustment Bureau’ review: Philip K. Dick with a difference

Terence Stamp and Matt Damon in "The Adjustment Bureau" (Universal Pictures)
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan says “The Adjustment Bureau” has a date with destiny… Once neglected, now lionized, the legendary science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick speaks more to our time than he ever did to his own. Starting with 1982’s “Blade Runner” and including “Total Recall” and “Minority Report,” close to a dozen features based on Dick’s work have generated more than $1 billion in revenue. Now “The Adjustment Bureau” is poised to add to that total. What makes Dick so appealing to our wary, distrustful state of mind is, in novelist Jonathan Lethem’s words, his “remarkably personal vision of paranoia and dislocation.” Never a great prose stylist, Dick had a visionary’s gift for mind-bending ideas about the nature of reality, a gift “Adjustment Bureau” and its notion of unseen forces stage-managing our lives embraces. This film, however, […]
March 02, 2011 | 2:07 p.m.

‘Adjustment Bureau’ director George Nolfi on his Matt Damon-led sci-fi romance: ‘It’s an unusual movie'[updated]

George Nolfi, left, with Matt Damon (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
Somebody somewhere is looking out for George Nolfi. That’s the only way to explain the friction-free path of “The Adjustment Bureau,” the first-time director’s genre-bending sci-fi romance, which arrives in theaters Friday. “It’s an unusual movie, to say the least,” said Nolfi, who also wrote the screenplay. “It’s not one of those things where the studio is saying, ‘Here’s a genre you know and you’ve seen it a thousand times and it’s a sequel or the start of a franchise.’ This one is a little different.” The $62 million film, which stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, starts as a political thriller, slides into a crackling grown-up romance and then pivots into full-on science fiction with the emergence of the title organization — a bureaucracy of aloof sentinels who tilt world events and personal fortunes to fit a set cosmic […]
Dec. 16, 2010 | 6:12 p.m.

Philip K. Dick, the voice and visions of an outsider

Philip K Dick
It was 72  years ago today that Philip K. Dick was born and though he died in 1982,  his work has never been more alive in pop culture than it is now. To mark the day, we’re revisiting Scott Timberg’s amazing series on the author’s last years, which were spent in Orange County — a place where Dick was like a subversive agent living behind enemy lines in a cultural war only he could completely define. Thanks again to Timberg for his extraordinary work on this project, and be sure to check out his other musings and manias at The Misread City blog. PART 1: Philip K. Dick in O.C., a stranger in a strange land PART 2: Philip K. Dick at work in John Birch territory PART 3: Philip K. Dick, an uneasy spy in ’70s suburbia PART 4: Philip K. Dick finds […]
March 24, 2010 | 4:16 p.m.

Philip K. Dick, a final look back

It was 28 years ago this month that Philip K. Dick died, and, in a blend of the tragic and the wonderful, his acclaim has surged to unexpected heights in the years since his troubled life ended. To mark the anniversary of his death, we’re revisiting Scott Timberg’s amazing series on the author’s last years, which were spent in Orange County, a place where Dick was like a subversive agent living behind enemy lines in a cultural war only he could completely define. Thanks again to Timberg for his extraordinary work on this project, and be sure to check out his other musings and manias at The Misread City blog. PART 1: Philip K. Dick in O.C., a stranger in a strange land PART 2: Philip K. Dick at work in John Birch territory  PART 3: Philip K. Dick, an uneasy spy in ’70s suburbia […]
Feb. 08, 2010 | 3:01 p.m.

Philip K. Dick’s legacy emerges from the maze of death [UPDATED]

PART 6: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE During the last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a stranger in a strange land (to borrow from Robert Heinlein). This is the final installment of a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction. Financial security and widespread acclaim were things Philip K. Dick had spent his career waiting for, always on the verge. He compared himself to the tramps in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” “If it does come for me, will it matter?” Dick wrote in 1976. “Will it make up for 25 years […]
Feb. 04, 2010 | 7:35 p.m.

Philip K. Dick scans the darkness in Disneyland’s shadow

PART 5: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE During the last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a stranger in a strange land (to borrow from Robert Heinlein). This is the fifth of a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction.   Though Philip K. Dick was not, on the surface, a writer of place – he was driven more by sweeping ideas than by locations or even local cultures – his time in Southern California had a profound impact on his work, in sometimes complicated ways. Dick wrote — in a 1973 letter […]
Feb. 01, 2010 | 9:30 p.m.

Philip K. Dick finds God and madness at his doorstep

PART 4: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE During the last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a stranger in a strange land (to borrow from Robert Heinlein). This is the fourth of a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction. Of course, for all the action of Philip K. Dick’s Orange County years — the marriage, the divorce, the birth of his son Christopher, the suicide attempt, the bouts of depression, the new novels, the development of “Blade Runner” — the most significant is surely what the author came to call “2-3-74.” Those months […]
Jan. 27, 2010 | 9:04 p.m.

Philip K. Dick, an uneasy spy inside 1970s suburbia

PART 3: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE During the last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a stranger in a strange land (to borrow from Robert Heinlein). This is the third of a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction. While in Orange County, Dick often fell back on the reflexes of Bay Area types who move to Southern California. He joked often about the artificiality of it all, the local slang. “He kept comparing Southern California to Disneyland,” remembered wife Tessa Dick, “and said it was plastic, wasn’t real. He was […]
Jan. 26, 2010 | 8:25 p.m.

Philip K. Dick in the land of the John Birch Society

PART 2: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE The last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a stranger in a strange land (to borrow from Robert Heinlein). This is the second of a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction. READ PART 1 right here. Philip K. Dick arrived in Orange County in 1972 by flying to LAX, where he showed up in a sport coat he’d outgrown, hauling the Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible and a cardboard box, doubling as a suitcase, tied closed with an extension cord. Dick – who […]
Jan. 25, 2010 | 8:18 p.m.

Philip K. Dick in Orange County, a stranger in a strange land

PART 1: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE The last years of his life, Philip K. Dick lived in, of all places, Orange County, a Southern California setting that made the life-battered sci-fi writer something of a (to borrow from Robert Heinlein) stranger in a strange land. Today, we begin a six-part series looking at those final years. The series is written by Scott Timberg, the L.A. freelance journalist who runs the West Coast culture blog the Misread City. He’s also a longtime (albeit sometimes closeted) fan of science fiction. When author Philip K. Dick called Tim Powers to ask him to come by his Fullerton apartment for a drink one evening, the Cal State student expected the kind of night he and other aspiring writers often spent with the science-fiction titan. That is, a wide-ranging bull session about religion, philosophy and the glories […]
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