Thursday, April 23, 2015

Philip K. Dick's Orange County Years: a Timeline

On Friday May 1, at Hibbleton Gallery, we will have the opening reception for a big art show/zine release called "Philip K. Dick in Orange County"   Philip K. Dick is known for his trippy/dystopian stories and novels, many of which have been made into films—like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, etc. What is less well-known is the fact that he spent the last years of his life living in Orange County. He had an apartment in Fullerton! Dick’s last six novels (written roughly between 1970-1982) are set mainly in Orange County, and they offer an insightful and disturbing portrait of an ultra-conservative, paranoid, Nixon-era 1970s OC and America.  

Philip K. Dick in Orange County with his cat.

Our show will focus on PKD's Orange County years.  There will be artwork as well as information about this famous Orange County resident.  To put things in context, here is a brief timeline of his life in Orange County...

1972: Dick moves to Fullerton, invited by CSUF professor Willis McNelly.  He rents an apartment on Quartz Lane.  It is in Fullerton that Philip K. Dick befriends budding science-fiction writers K.W. Jeter, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers. 


1973: Dick marries his fifth (and final) wife, Leslie (Tessa) Busby.  Dick’s third child (Christopher) is born.

1974: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is published.  PKD begins receiving revelations and visions which prompts a long spiritual/intellectual search.  He refers to this time period as 2/3/74 throughout his extensive Exegesis.


1975:  Dick continues research into Orphic, Gnostic, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhist thought to explain his strange visions.

1976: Dick and wife Tessa split up, which prompts him to attempt suicide.  After a stay at the Orange County Medical Center, he moves into an apartment in Santa Ana with a woman named Doris, who has cancer.

1977: Dick spends a few months in Sonoma, California with friends, then heads back to Santa Ana.  

1980: Dick becomes the chairperson of the Rules and Grievances Committee of his condominium complex in Santa Ana.

1981: Both VALIS and The Divine Invasion are published.  



1982: PKD dies in Santa Ana from a series of strokes and heart failure, at age 53.  He is buried in Fort Morgan, Colorado beside his sister Jane. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Dick’s final novel) is published.

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