The Esoteric Theology of Philip K. Dick
Call for Abstracts: The Esoteric Theology of Philip K. Dick
Editors: Dr. George Sieg & Michael Barros
Philip K. Dick was one of the most influential science fiction authors of the 20th century, and he remains the most adapted.His work has exemplified qualities and features that have become increasingly significant within the science fiction genre, anticipating its exploration of artificial intelligence, alternate and parallel realities, and the problems of identity. Dick’s work is most popularly known through its adaptation to films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, and Paycheck, as well as Amazon’s streaming adaptation of The Man in the High Castle, followed by its recent anthology homage to Dick, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. His work is pervaded by the uncanny intersection of derealization with the hyper-real, with protagonists and readers embarking on a journey of uncertainty together.
Later in his life, Dick retrospectively viewed his work as expressing spiritual truths. He believed in unconventional concepts like “retrograde time,” he communed with and channeled a deceased Episcopalian Bishop, and he was immensely interested in both the Essenes and the Gnostics. In February and March of 1974, he had his most important spiritual experiences, launched by his encounter with a a delivery girl with an ichthysnecklace.
With a goal of publication on the 50th anniversary of those formative experiences, the editors invite submissions exploring theological, religious, and esoteric themes within the work and life of Philip K. Dick. Some possible topics are (and are certainly not limited to):
- The relationship between Dick's gnostic vision and his portrayal of religion and spirituality in his works.
- The postmodern themes and motifs in Dick's writing and how they relate to his theological perspective.
- The ways in which Dick's works engage with questions of epistemology and uncertainty and how this relates to larger theological and philosophical themes.
- Dick's use of dystopian and apocalyptic imagery and how this relates to his understanding of human nature and the divine.
- The relationship between science fiction and theology in Dick's writing and how he uses the genre to explore religious and spiritual themes.
- The role of technology in Dick's works and how it relates to his larger theological and philosophical vision.
- The relationship between ethics and theology in Dick's writing and how he uses his works to explore questions of morality and the divine.
- The reception of Dick's works within the context of contemporary theology and religious studies and the ways in which his works continue to shape theological and philosophical discourse today.
- The impact of Dick’s theology on the sci-fi genre.
- Dick’s engagement with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- Dick’s eschatology.
- Dick’s Apocalyptic Dualism.
- The role of conspiracism in Dick’s work: secularized theology & demonology
- Mysticism in Dick’s work.
- Augustine & Dick on the concept of time.
Interested authors should send chapter abstracts of 300-700 words and a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The call for chapters ends May 15, 2023. Authors will be notified of accepted proposals after June 1st, 2023, with the first drafts of chapters (6,000-8,000 words) being due by November 1st, 2023. Final manuscript is to be delivered to the publisher in January 2024.