600+ Covers of Philip K. Dick Novels from Around the World: Greece, Japan, Poland & Beyond

Radio Free Albemuth-gr

I envy book design­ers tasked with putting togeth­er cov­ers for Philip K. Dick nov­els, and yet I don’t envy them. On one hand, they get the chance to visu­al­ly inter­pret some of the most unusu­al, inde­scrib­able genre fic­tion ever writ­ten; on the oth­er hand, they bear the bur­den of visu­al­ly rep­re­sent­ing some of the most unusu­al, inde­scrib­able genre fic­tion ever writ­ten.


Dick wrote inter­est­ing books, to put it mild­ly, and as book-lovers know, cer­tain coun­tries’ pub­lish­ing indus­tries tend to put out more inter­est­ing book cov­ers than oth­ers. So what hap­pens at the inter­sec­tion? Here we present to you a selec­tion of Philip K. Dick cov­ers from around the world, begin­ning with a Greek cov­er of his posthu­mous­ly pub­lished nov­el Radio Free Albe­muth that fea­tures the man him­self, relax­ing in his nat­ur­al inter­plan­e­tary envi­ron­ment beside his vin­tage radio.


That book put a bare­ly fic­tion­al gloss on Dick­’s own psy­cho­log­i­cal expe­ri­ences, as did Valis, whose Ital­ian edi­tion you also see pic­tured here. But his more fan­tas­ti­cal nov­els, such as the I Ching-dri­ven sto­ry of an Amer­i­ca that lost the Sec­ond World War, have received equal­ly com­pelling inter­na­tion­al cov­ers, such as the one from Chile just above.


You can usu­al­ly trust Japan­ese pub­lish­ers to come up with book designs nei­ther too abstract nor too lit­er­al for the con­tents with­in, as one of their edi­tions of Flow My Tears, the Police­man Said quite lit­er­al­ly illus­trates just above. And if you can rely on Japan for that sort of cov­er, you can rely on France for under­state­ment; half the French nov­els I’ve seen have noth­ing on the front but the name of the work, the author, and the pub­lish­er, but behold how Dick­’s untamed exper­i­men­tal spir­it allowed Robert Laf­font to cut loose:


But if you real­ly want to see an unusu­al graph­ic design cul­ture, you’ve got to look to Poland. We fea­tured that coun­try’s dis­tinc­tive movie posters a few years ago, but their books also par­take of the very same delight­ful­ly askew visu­al tra­di­tion, one I imag­ine that would have done Dick him­self proud­est. Below we have Pol­ish cov­er art for Con­fes­sions of a Crap Artist, his nov­el of mid­cen­tu­ry sub­ur­ban strife, com­posed with mate­ri­als few of us would have thought to use:


You can see 600+ inter­na­tion­al Philip K. Dick cov­ers at philipkdick.com’s cov­er gallery, which has for some rea­son gone offline, but which most­ly sur­vives through the mag­ic of the Inter­net Way­back Machine — a device Dick nev­er imag­ined even in his far­thest-out, trick­i­est-to-rep­re­sent fan­tasies.

Relat­ed Content:

Philip K. Dick Takes You Inside His Life-Chang­ing Mys­ti­cal Expe­ri­ence

Robert Crumb Illus­trates Philip K. Dick’s Infa­mous, Hal­lu­ci­na­to­ry Meet­ing with God (1974)

Down­load 14 Great Sci-Fi Sto­ries by Philip K. Dick as Free Audio Books and Free eBooks

Philip K. Dick Pre­views Blade Run­ner: “The Impact of the Film is Going to be Over­whelm­ing” (1981)

50 Film Posters From Poland: From The Empire Strikes Back to Raiders of the Lost Ark

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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