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I've been reading some works of Philip K. Dick recently and, as I aim on reading them all, I was wondering if there is some sort of suggested order.

Given the few novels I have read, I expect most of the works to be largely disjoint, but if there are collections or short lists of works that explore similar themes it might be interesting to read them close to each other.

Is a suggested order list or a grouping by theme available for all the works from Philip K. Dick?

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  • care the downvoter explain? what's wrong with the question?
    – Federico
    May 9, 2017 at 17:24

1 Answer 1

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I do not believe there has ever been an official suggested order. The most common advice I have seen, which I agree with, is that chronologically may be your best bet (with some suggesting to avoid recent releases of very early work, where he had not yet found his voice). As time progressed, the combination of drug use and his growing paranoia led to his works become less about science fiction and more about philosophy. By reading chronologically, you're likely to find the work more accessible. By the time you get to Valis or The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, you will have a better chance of understanding where he is coming from and therefore finishing the stories.

The other decision to be made is whether to start with the novels or the short stories. Again, my personal opinion, but I think that the stories provide an easier entrance into his oeuvre. Ultimately, there is not much continuity between his works, so you're pretty safe starting anywhere.

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    Agree with the stories being the best starting point. Dick was, above all else, a Big Idea writer, and ideas come over better in short stories than novels IMO. Sep 16, 2016 at 15:08
  • This is pretty bang-on I think. From personal experience I'd definitely encourage folks to try his short story collections. "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" is a great one, and introduces readers to some of his weirder ideas without being overwhelming. Ultimately, I think the best way to read Dick is chronologically; follow his descent into madness and revelation. Go on the journey with him. It'll all make more sense and feel easier. Apr 13, 2023 at 8:39

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