Nov 27, 2012 | Atlanta, GA
First-year Brittain Fellow Jason W. Ellis delivered his paper, “Philip K. Dick as Pioneer of the Brain Revolution,” at the first international Philip K. Dick conference held at the Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany on 15-18 November 2012 (http://philipkdickconferencedortmund.com/). The conference brought together scholars from Australia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to discuss their interdisciplinary research focusing on Dick’s fiction and lasting cultural influence across media. In his conference paper, Ellis argues that Dick’s introspective research during the “Brain Revolution” of the 1970s, an era of significant medical and scientific research specifically focused on the human brain that was also popularized in print, television, and film, had a significant effect on the writer’s final four novels: A Scanner Darkly (1977), VALIS (1981), The Divine Invasion (1981), and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982). Drawing on Dick’s Exegesis (2011) and interviews with Dick and his family and friends, Ellis demonstrates that the writer’s exposure to popular neuroscientific findings in popular magazines and nonfiction books turned his Gnostic explanations about his so-called “2-3-74” experiences, a series of unexplained visual and audial hallucinations that began in February 1974 that had a lasting effect on the author’s life and outlook until his death in 1982, toward an explanation infused with the hard sciences.