Some authors you just love reading because they transport you away into another real world. As a writer, you need imagination and creativity to create a completely new world, and it usually ends up being something that is entirely invented – the more bizarre, the better. Take Tolkien, for example, or even Calvino.
Not so for Philip K. Dick. His science fiction novels mostly entail worlds that are "real" – they play in some distant future, but they have all the ugliness and baseness of our own world. Usually it is a catastrophe that forms the background of the story, something that humans have done to themselves. And on this background, Dick paints a subtle portrait of people just trying to survive, struggling to make ends meet, and somehow they always manage to touch the sublime with a fingertip, before they have to let go again.