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I Think I AmPhilip K. Dick$
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Laurence A. Rickels

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816666652

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816666652.001.0001

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Hammers and Things

Hammers and Things

(p.183) Hammers and Things
I Think I Am

Laurence A. Rickels

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter looks at science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s novel Vulcan’s Hammer, about a computer called Vulcan 3 that was able to deduce, from general historic principles, the social conflicts developing in the contemporary world and had imagined things as they actually were. Triumph over human nature doesn’t escape falling victim to human nature. A rational order governed by a computer designed to remain above human irrationalism is introduced as alternative to the devastating wars tagged as humanity’s potential for tagging itself out. Human self-destructiveness is symptomatized as and vouch-safed by belief systems that are uncontained to the extent that they pursue a singular truth. The chapter also analyzes Operators and Things, Barbara O’Brien’s memoirs of her schizophrenia, which sets up computing as the unconscious hub of the operations of consciousness.

Keywords:   science fiction, Philip K. Dick, novel, Vulcan’s Hammer, computer, Operators and Things, Barbara O’Brien, schizophrenia, computing, consciousness

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