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TagPhillip K. Dick

Writing Phillip K. Dick Science Fiction The Future Cloud Services


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I'm in the midst of reading Ubik by Phillip K. Dick.

Here is an interesting theme from the book: people pay for a great many things as a service, instead of owning the use of those things outright. Many of the instances in the book are a bit silly for us in 2016 - a coin operated door to an apartment, for instance. But we have the benefit of an additional 45 years of history and science that PKD did not have in 1969, when Ubik was published.

Today there are a lot of things that we pay for in an ongoing way (albeit not with coins) - phones, books, music, computing power, automobiles, genealogy information, etc.

Phillip K. Dick was able to imagine a version of our electronic, service-based, cloud technology world well before any of it existed.

That he got some of the implementation details wrong is hardly surprising, given when he was writing.

A lot of old science fiction gets those sort of details wrong. It can be hard to look past those limitations sometimes - it's easy to focus on coin-operated doors or old special-effects technologies. But if you do, really good sci-fi gets a lot of things right. Heck, sometimes even bad sci-fi gets a few things right.

It's a healthy exercise in ignoring details when the details aren't the thing that matters - what mattered then (as now) was imagination and storytelling. PKD got those things very right a lot of the time.

Also, if you are ever in Ft. Morgan, CO, USA, you can visit Phillip K. Dick's grave. It is located in Riverside Cemetery. The people there are happy to help show you where his grave is located. He is buried with his twin sister who died when she was an infant.