English 173 - Summer Sessions II, 2019

Science Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 74154
Time: MTW 10:00-11:40
Location: 290 Hickey Gym


    PKD: The Life, Writing, and Legacy of Philip K. Dick

    “What Kafka was to the first half of the twentieth century, Philip K. Dick is to the second half.”

    --Art Spiegelman

    Philip K. Dick was the strangest and most sublime science fiction writer to come out of what many consider to be the most accomplished era in the history of the genre (PKD wrote from 1950-1982). His novels and short stories have been turned into films and television series more than a dozen times, leaving a cultural imprint on the contemporary world as large or larger than any of the other SF masters. In this 6-week summer course we will marinate ourselves in PKD’s challenging imaginative universe, following him through his various careers as a pulp writer, a realist novelist, and an esoteric theologian, and exploring his ideas and their connection to his time (postwar), place (California), and literary peers (SF and otherwise). We will also spend time screening films and other media based on his work, and part of our joint inquiry will involve imagining new media destinations for his writing. Come take an intensive but enjoyable trip down the kaleidoscopic, psychedelic, paranoiac, and hierophantic path blazed by this distinctive author.

    Note on the texts: PKD’s books are widely available in various formats, and you are welcome to locate them for yourselves in any edition. I am ordering the trilogy of PKD volumes from Library of America, since this edition provides 13 novels for about $75 (about $6/title) in very high quality, compact packages. If you can find the needed titles more cheaply, that can be a good option as well.


    P/NP welcome

    10% Attendance
    10% Daily Participation
    10% In-class Presentation
    20% Weekly Quizzes
    25% First Paper/Project (5pp; creative responses encouraged)
    25% Second Paper/Project (5pp; creative responses encouraged)


    Divine Invasions, Sutin
    The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick, Sutin, ed.
    The Man in the High Castle, PKD
    The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, PKD
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, PKD
    Ubik , PKD
    Martian Time-Slip, PKD
    Dr. Bloodmoney, PKD
    Now Wait for Last Year , PKD
    Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, PKD
    A Scanner Darkly, PKD
    A Maze of Death , PKD
    The Divine Invasion , PKD
    The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, PKD