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Philip K. Dick’s. Paycheck. Presentation By Ryan Clement Background Art: Neutron Spark by “ Neutrix ” “. Quote. “.

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Philip K. Dick’s



By Ryan Clement

Background Art:

Neutron Spark by “Neutrix”


Two years! Two years of his life, gone forever. It didn’t seem possible. He had still been considering, debating, when he stepped into the elevator. Should he change his mind?

-Dick 355-356

-Dick 355-356

-Dick 355-356


Background on Philip K. Dick

Comparison to other Science Fiction

Relation with other Class Readings


Discussion Questions

-Dick 355-356


Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)

Family Life

Mental Health Issues

Science Fiction Author


Popular Culture Legacy

On Sci-Fi

I have never yielded to reality. That's what SF is all about. If you wish to yield to reality, go read Philip Roth; read the New York literary establishment mainstream bestselling writers….This is why I love SF. I love to read it; I love to write it. The SF writer sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It's not just 'What if' - it's 'My God; what if' - in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming.


On Philosophy

I am a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist; my novel & story-writing ability is employed as a means to formulate my perception. The core of my writing is not art but truth. Thus what I tell is the truth, yet I can do nothing to alleviate it, either by deed or explanation.


-Dick 355-356


-Dick 355-356



Identity Conflict

Memory loss




Jennings smiled. ‘I had no idea he did anything. I underestimated him. His protection was even-’‘Who are you talking about?’‘Myself. During the two years. I use the objective. It’s easier.’

-Dick 379

Identity Conflict

‘I can’t believe it. Even if it is my own writing.’ He folded up the paper, his jaw set. ‘Something was done to me while I was back there. I never would have agreed to this.’

-Dick 357

Memory Loss

The he of those years had known things that he did not know now, things that had been washed away when the company cleaned his mind. Like an adding machine which had been cleared. Everything was slate-clean. What he had known was gone, now.

-Dick 361


’Fifty thousand credits.’ Jennings smiled. He felt a little better, now that the sum had been spoken aloud. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all. Almost like being paid to sleep. But he was two years older; he had just that much less to live. It was like selling part of himself, part of his life.

-Dick 356


The big economic forces had managed to remain free, although virtually everything else had been absorbed by the Government. Laws that had been eased away from the private person still protected property and industry. The SP could pick up any given person, but they could not enter and seize a company, a business.

-Dick 362

-Dick 355-356

Other Sci-Fi

-Dick 355-356

Johnny Mnemonic

Similar themes

Jennings has vacuum of memories versus Johnny’s excess of memories

Jennings knows less dolphins

-Dick 355-356

Other Readings

The Bag of Trinkets

Memory Wiping

The Time Scoop

-Dick 355-356

Bag of Trinkets

“a pocket full of miracles from someone who knows the future (Dick 366).”

Mnemonic device



-Dick 355-356

Memory Wipes



Jennings identity is a product of techne


-Dick 355-356

The Time Scoop


Mediated Memories


Never forgets

Doomsday Weapon

-Dick 355-356


The Individual vs. The Collective

Memory as Time

Memory as Self

Memory as Techne

-Dick 355-356

-Dick 355-356


How is Dick’s equation of memory to self-identity problematic? How does it relate to patients with dementia?

Why are questions regarding memory and technology so prevalent in science fiction? What does popular discourse tell us about their relationship versus what we have read in class?

How does Jennings’ bag of trinkets function or not as a mnemonic device? How does it function as hyponesis?

Is the “original” Jennings destroyed by the process of the Memory Wipe? Is he merely altered or did he even exist in the first place?

How does memory operate as a commodity in Paycheck? Is this simply the knowledge economy gone to its logical extreme?

Would you sacrifice years of your life to achieve an uncertain goal? If not, why are you in Grad School?

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