|Generally regarded as one of the most important American science fiction writers, Philip Kindred Dick was one of a pair of twins born on December 16, 1928; both suffered from a series of physical and mental problems, which would kill Dick's sister, Jane Kindred, 41 days later, and would continue to plague him for the rest of his life. Exacerbated by a voluminous intake of amphetamines, his health continued to worsen as he produced an enormous body of work--nearly 50 novels and 115 short stories in the 29 years following his first published story at the age of 24 to his death from a stroke at the age of 53. Characterized by feelings of paranoia and underlying pessimism, his work includes the 1963 Hugo Award-winning THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE--an alternate history account of the post-World War II United States--THE CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST, loosely based on the breakup of his second marriage, and DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, which became the basis for the movie BLADE RUNNER. In 1974 he experienced what he referred to as a "mystical experience," which he spent the last nine years of his life exploring in an unfinished book called EXEGESIS. By the time he died, it had swollen to 8,000 pages. Though he is best known outside the science fiction community as having written the sources for the movies BLADE RUNNER and TOTAL RECALL, his work was instrumental in bringing about a radical shift in American science fiction, moving it away from the stereotypical space adventure, infusing it with explicit political content, and introducing psychological depth to the characters.