Archive for the ‘reviews’ Tag

Losing the Head of Philip K. Dick: Three reviews

Three reviews of Losing the Head of Philip K Dick have come out in the past 24 hours or so.

The Guardian: “This compelling tale of androids, paranoid authors and research into AI has a suitably strange twist at the end”

We Love This Book: “Beneath the levels of recursion and irony in the story of the Philip K. Dick android was another, more human, and equally compelling story: the tale of a small group of dedicated young people with limited funds but who had know-how and an audacious vision.”

…and in the US…
Publishers Weekly : “Dufty’s narrative is a fun read that captures the researchers’ excitement about creating Phil, but doesn’t quite address whether the initiative was worth the effort.”

(note that when the book is released in the US in June, it will be titled “How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick’s Robotic Resurrection”, which is different to its UK title, “Losing the Head of Philip K. Dick”)

Go here to read the earlier Spectator review.

Review in New Scientist

Sally Adee, writing in the New Scientist magazine, has reviewed “Losing the Head of Philip K Dick”.

I think it’s fair to describe this as a ‘mixed review,’ in contrast to the Spectator review last month, which was uniformly positive. Adee found the details about people and events overdone and complained that it was a “meandering, sometimes frustrating read.” On the other hand, it seems that she found the core idea of the book – the story of the android itself – compelling and interesting. My overall impression is that she wanted to read more about robots and less about everything else. And that’s okay. People read for different reasons, and are interested in different things.

Incidentally, the complex, sometimes digressive narrative style is by design. I decided that I had a strong enough central idea that I could afford to slow down from time to time and explore the context. By that I mean not just the physical environs but the people, their influences, and the context of thinkers behind them ranging from Marvin Minsky through to Philip K Dick himself.

Adee closes her review with this line:

The story of the head of Philip K. Dick couldn’t be a more apt metaphor for the state of humanoid robotics.

I agree.

(Update: Three more reviews here.)

Review in the Spectator

Mark Mason, writing in the Spectator, has reviewed of my book “Losing the Head of Philip K Dick” here.

Mason’s review is very favourable, and it’s clear that he enjoyed the book. Moreover, it stimulated his thinking on questions such as ‘what does it mean to be human?’. If the book has that effect on a reader then writing it was worthwhile.

Update: More reviews here.

Review in Specusphere

There is a review of Lost In Transit in Specusphere here.

Review in The Age

The Age is Melbourne’s major metropolitan daily newspaper, so a positive review like this for Lost In Transit is a good thing, to say the least.

For the most part… especially when the android itself comes “alive”, the book sustains interest by virtue of its literally incredible subject and Dufty’s friendly tone.