The Other Side. Alternative Realities, Virtuality and Fiction in the Work of P. K. Dick

Andrea Chiurato

Abstract


The comparison between two worlds separated by a clear ontological or ideological gap has been one of the favourite themes of science fiction since the dawn of modernity, re-proposing itself in various forms and modes.
This “differential gap”, as rightly pointed out by D. Suvin, can only be understood in historical and dialectical terms, since it invariably implies a subject, or rather an autoimage with respect to which the Other is perceived as dissimilar or opposite to us. From this point of view, the estrangement technique takes on a critical function of reflecting on the ways of constructing the Self and, more generally, on the episteme within which the individual finds himself acting and with respect to which he defines his own identity.
This contribution aims to investigate this evocative theme starting from two particularly significant texts: “Exhibit Piece” (1954), one of the first stories in which P. K. Dick experiments with the concept of alternative reality, a key element in his original reinterpretation of the canons of sci fi of the Golden Age; and his recent television adaptation “Real Life”, the fifth of ten episodes of the series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams(2017-2018).


Keywords


Philip K. Dick; Science Fiction; Locus; Horizon; Possible Worlds; Virtual Reality; Adaptation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3673

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