The Paris Review

Life After Empathy: On Philip K. Dick and Blade Runner 2049

Still from Blade Runner 2049.

Driving cross-country some years ago, I pulled off Interstate 76, among the arroyos and tumbleweed at Fort Morgan, Colorado. Philip K. Dick lay buried somewhere in the cemetery there. But where? At the public library, a sweet old lady volunteer flipped the pages of a bound burial record until she found the grave’s location. I wrote it down, thanked her, and wandered around until I found a double tombstone, about a foot high, bearing the names Philip and Jane, Dick’s twin sister, dead in infancy. (Before he died in 1982, Dick purchased the plot next to hers.) Standing only a few feet above his moldering corpse gave me the willies. His books produce in me a sort of psychotic break with everyday reality, revealing a hidden life behind

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