Today is the birthday of two very important science-fiction writers.
The first is science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick, who was born in Chicago in 1928. He began to suffer from visions and hallucinations in the 1950s. He once thought he saw a face in the sky, which he described as “a vast visage of evil with empty slots for eyes, metal and cruel, and worst of all, it was God.” He wasn’t sure if his visions were authentic or if they were symptoms of mental illness, and he was fascinated that he could no longer tell what was real and what wasn’t.
He wrote many novels that pushed the edge of science-fiction a little further out, making room for the cyberpunk movement to follow him. Some of his work includes Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Minority Report (which is a collection of short stories), We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (another short story collection), and A Scanner Darkly. Since his death in 1982, many of his novels and short stories have been made into movies, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990) and Minority Report (2002).
It’s also the birthday of the science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke, who was born in Somerset, England in 1917. He’s the author of many science fiction novels, including Childhood’s End, 2001: A Space Odyssey(which was written in the year of my birth!), and Rendevous with Rama. He is also famous for inventing the concept of the communications satellite.