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Radical Detours: A Situationist Reading of Philip K. Dick

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posted on 2021-11-15, 22:46 authored by Raba, Andrew

In this project I read four Philip K. Dick novels against the writing of the Situationist International (SI). In doing so, I seek to disrupt two critical trends that arguably impede Dick criticism: the depoliticization of Dick and the lack of focus on his style. Through reading his work against the politics of the SI, Dick’s own radical politics can be defined and reaffirmed. I make the case that Dick is a writer predominantly concerned with politics and ideology over and above philosophy and ontology. Secondly, I argue that the political power of Dick’s work is inseparable from his avant-garde style; in particular, his frequent use of what the Situationists termed détournement. With revolutionary politics and avant-garde aesthetics in mind, I re-examine the canonical novels Martian Time-Slip and Ubik, and redeem two of Dick’s neglected novels, The Game-Players of Titan and Galactic Pot-Healer.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

English Literature

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

910103 Economic Growth

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


McNeill, Dougal; Jones, Tim