Confessions of a Crap Artist is a 1975 novel by Philip K. Dick, originally written in 1959. Dick wrote about a dozen non-science fiction novels in the period from 1948 to 1960; this is the only one published during his lifetime.
The novel chronicles a bitter and complex marital conflict in suburban 1950s Northern California. Each chapter is written in alternating perspective switching between first person perspective from the main characters as well as chapters written from a third person perspective. The novel contains only small amounts of the complex mystical and science fiction concepts that define much of Dick's work. Rolling Stone called it a "funny, horribly accurate look at life in California in the 1950s."
|Confessions of a Crap Artist|
Cover of first edition (paperback)
|Author||Philip K. Dick|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|ISBN||0-9601428-2-7 (1978 Entwhistle paperback reissue)|
|LC Class||PZ4.D547 Co 1978 PS3554.I3|
The novel’s protagonist, the “crap artist” of the title, is Jack Isidore, a socially awkward, obsessive compulsive tire regroover who has been consumed with amateur scientific inquiry since his teens. He catalogs old science magazines, collects worthless objects, and believes disproved theories, such as the notions that the Earth is hollow or that sunlight has weight.
Broke, Jack eventually moves in with his sister’s family in a luxurious farm house in rural West Marin County, California. On the farm, Jack happily does housework and cares for livestock. He also joins a small apocalyptic religious group, which shares his belief in extra-sensory perception, telepathy and UFOs and believes the world will end on April 23, 1959. However, most of his time is dedicated to a meticulous “scientific journal” of life on the farm, including his sister’s marital difficulties.
Jack’s sister, Fay Hume, is a difficult and subtly controlling woman who makes life miserable for everyone close to her, especially her misogynist husband Charley. Fay has an extramarital affair with a young grad student named Nat Anteil while Charley is in a hospital recovering from a heart attack. After Jack reports this to Charley, the latter plots to kill Fay.
Charley kills Fay's animals and then commits suicide, realising that Fay has led him to do this. However, his will stipulates that Jack is to inherit half the house. Fay must buy her brother out, because Jack does not want to leave. Jack then uses his half of the money he is paid to replace the slaughtered animals. Nat and his wife Gwen divorce, and Nat decides to stay with Fay. When the end of the world doesn't occur on the predicted date, Jack decides to seek psychiatric assistance.
Jack feels compelled to engage with ideas and studies that those around him consider worthless. Although Dick never states directly that Jack is mentally ill, his behavior closely mirrors obsessive compulsive disorder and several characters suggest that he seek psychiatric help.
Despite his possible disorder, Jack is the most productive character in the novel. He runs both the farm and the household when Charley is in the hospital without sacrificing his scientific inquiries. At one point in the book, Jack is offered the opportunity to enter into the same comfortable, suburban lifestyle as his sister. Although circumstances prevent him from doing so, Jack’s meticulous nature allows him to go to impressive lengths to secure a job, and to confront difficult and complex financial and legal situations.
Fay and Charley, on the other hand, are wholly destructive characters. Throughout the novel, it is revealed, or at least implied, that each of them has concocted complex plans to emotionally destroy the other due to long-standing bitterness. They refuse to get a divorce both because of the social taboo against it and because each fears losing their luxurious home to the other. Neither shows much concern for their two children.
At the novel’s end, Jack concludes that his obsessions are healthier than those of his sister and his brother-in-law. However, the novel does not argue explicitly that Jack’s illness is acceptable, or not really an illness. In the end, he does accept suggestions that he requires psychiatric assistance, and finally obtains it.
In 1992, French director Jérôme Boivin released Confessions d'un Barjo (Barjo for the English-language market), based on the novel. The film follows the novel fairly closely, although Jack (played by Hippolyte Girardot) is given the nickname “Barjo” (loosely translated as nutcase) and is referred to by that name throughout the film. Also, the story is shifted to contemporary France.A Little Something for Us Tempunauts
"A Little Something for Us Tempunauts" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in the anthology Final Stage in 1975.Autofac
"Autofac" is a 1955 science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick that features one of the earliest treatments of self-replicating machines (and Dick's second, after his 1953 short story Second Variety). It appeared originally in Galaxy Science Fiction of November 1955, and was reprinted in several collections, including The Variable Man published in 1957, and Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities published in 1984.
The story was adapted by Travis Beacham for an episode of the 2017 TV series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams.Confessions d'un Barjo
Confessions d'un Barjo (known as Barjo for the English-language market) is a 1992 French film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's non-science fiction novel Confessions of a Crap Artist, originally written in 1959 and published in 1975, the only non-science fiction novel of Dick's to be published in his lifetime. The film was directed by Jérôme Boivin and written by Jacques Audiard and Jérôme Boivin, and stars Anne Brochet, Richard Bohringer and Hippolyte Girardot. "Barjo" translates as "nutcase" or "nut job".I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" is a short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. The short story was first published in Playboy in December 1980, under the title "Frozen Journey".List of adaptations of works by Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick was an American author known for his science fiction works, often with dystopian and drug related themes. Some of his works have gone on to be adapted to films and series garnering much acclaim, such as the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, which was an adaptation of Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, released three months posthumously to Dick's passing. The only adaptation released in his lifetime was a 1962 episode of the UK TV series Out of This World, based on Dick's 1953 short story Impostor. Other works such as the films Total Recall, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly have also gone on to critical or commercial success, while television adaptations such as The Man in the High Castle has gone on to long-form television adaptation successfully. In 2017, following the success of Netflix's science fiction short story series Black Mirror, and its own success with The Man in the High Castle, streaming service Amazon Prime Video paired up with Channel 4 to produce a series of short stories originally released between 1953 to 1955 under the series title Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, the only adaptation bearing the author's own name. The following is a list of film and television adaptations of his writings.Mary and the Giant
Mary and the Giant is an early, non-science fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick in the years between 1953 and 1955, but not published until 1987.Nick and the Glimmung
Nick and the Glimmung is a children's science fiction novel originally written by American author Philip K. Dick in 1966. It was first published by Gollancz in 1988. It is set on "Plowman's Planet" (Sirius Five), in the same continuity as his adult science fiction novel Galactic Pot-Healer.Novelty Act
"Novelty Act" is a short story by Philip K. Dick. It involves a dystopian future in which the characters' lives are based on entertaining the First Lady of the United States with "novelty acts".Second Variety (1991 collection)
Second Variety is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Citadel Twilight in 1991 and reprints Volume III of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick with the addition of the story "Second Variety". Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines If, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, Future, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Satellite, Science Fiction Quarterly, Imaginative Tales and Space Science Fiction.Strange Eden
"Strange Eden" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Imagination magazine, December 1954.The Best of Philip K. Dick
The Best of Philip K. Dick is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Del Rey Books in 1977. Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Planet Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Space Science Fiction, Imagination, Astounding Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Stories and Startling Stories, as well as the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Star Science Fiction Stories No.3.The Days of Perky Pat
"The Days of Perky Pat" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1963 in Amazing magazine.The Days of Perky Pat (collection)
The Days of Perky Pat is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Gollancz in 1990 and reprints Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. It had not previously been published as a stand-alone volume. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.The Gun (short story)
For the collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick, see Beyond Lies the Wub (collection).
"The Gun" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1952 September issue of Planet Stories, and later published in Beyond Lies the Wub in 1984. "The Gun" has been published in Italian, German, French and Polish translations.The Minority Report (1991 collection)
The Minority Report is a re-titled collection of science fiction stories by Philip K. Dick. It was published by Gollancz and Citadel Twilight in 1991, being a reprint of Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick: The Days of Perky Pat (1987). The collection The Days of Perky Pat (collection) was published in Britain in hardback by Golancz in 1990 and in paperback by Grafton in 1991. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.The Pre-persons
"The Pre-persons" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, October 1974.
The story was a pro-life response to Roe v. Wade. Dick imagines a future where the United States Congress has decided that abortion is legal until the soul enters the body. The specific instant is defined by the administration, at present the moment a person has the ability to perform simple algebraic calculations (around the age of 12).
The main protester — a former Stanford mathematics major — demands to be taken to the abortion center, since he claims to have forgotten all his algebra.The Skull (short story)
"The Skull" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1952 in If, and later in The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. It has since been republished several times, including in Beyond Lies the Wub in 1988.Vintage PKD
Vintage PKD is a collection of science fiction stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction by Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Vintage Books in 2006.War Veteran
"War Veteran" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was first published in If magazine in March 1955.