1. Philip K. Dick
Most celebrated books: The Man In The High Castle (1961), Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1966), A Scanner Darkly (1973), Minority Report (2002, short story collection)
Life story: You can’t write the kinds of ambitious and heady science fiction that Philip K. Dick produced and not be a little batty. But here’s the thing: Dick was a whole lot of batty.
Hailed as one of sci-fi’s most influential writers of all time (arguably the most influential), the late Chicago native is responsible for the novels and stories that spawned such genre masterworks as Blade Runner (based on Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep) and Minority Report, as well as slightly inferior, though still commendable, flicks like Total Recall (“We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”) and The Adjustment Bureau.
All of which are works of incredible imagination, something that Dick possessed so greatly that it even seeped into his daily life. He suffered intense hallucinations, some triggered by prescription drug use (he once thought his medicine delivery woman’s stylish pendant was an otherworld religious symbol). Other times, he saw laser beams flashing all around him and assumed the identity of “Thomas,” an alter-ego he claimed was persecuted by Romans centuries prior.
Here’s one theory why we’ve yet to see a Philip K. Dick biopic: There’s no screenwriter out there who’d do such a bonkers life-story justice quite like the man himself would, were he still alive today.