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Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick Hardcover – November 5, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem, should help persuade mainstream readers that the late SF author was no "mere" genre writer. Fans of the Spielberg film Minority Report will find Dick's original, "The Minority Report," along with 20 other masterful tales.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This volume is another consequence of the respectability Dick won posthumously with the classy movie Blade Runner, based on a novel of his. Besides the source of the new movie Minority Report, two more of his stories that were filmed--"Second Variety," lensed as Screamers, and "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," which became Total Recall --appear here. Also on hand are the very early "Beyond Lies the Wub" and "Roog"; "The King of the Elves," a rare excursion into fantasy, more Borges than Tolkien; "The Days of Perky Pat" and "Faith of Our Fathers," which explore themes later developed in novels; and 13 others. The stories show him reaching out to the dark sides of American society--and of himself. When he was alive, his work fell between the stools of mainstream disdain for any science fiction and the sf subculture's disdain for anybody who tried to "write mainstream." Justice done a dead man is better than no justice at all, especially when it involves giving such distinctive short fiction renewed currency. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1st edition (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375421513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375421518
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Austin, here are the stories in this book:
1. Beyond Lies the Wub
2. Roog
3. Paycheck
4. Second Variety
5. Imposter
6. The King of the Elves
7. Adjustment Team
8. Foster, You're Dead
9. Upon the Dull Earth
10. Autofac
11. The Minority Report
12. The Days of Perky Pat
13. Precious Artifact
14. A Game of Unchance
15. We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
16. Faith of Our Fathers
17. The Electric Ant
18. A Little Something For Us Tempunauts
19. The Exit Door Leads In
20. Rautavaara's Case
21. I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
A great collection.
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Format: Hardcover
Philip K. Dick has become the most filmed author in science fiction. That's a mixed blessing. The films made from his novels vary from flawed but great ("Blade Runner", "Minority Report") to fun dreck that wastes the potential of the story ("Paycheck"). First time fans will discover some great, unusual stories with a unique wit, touch of irony and fierce intelligence that rivals the late Kurt Vonnegut (a fellow traveler with his use of disjointed narratives and the use of irony in science fiction).

As with a couple of other reviewers here, I'd suggest skipping "Roog". Many of the stories included here were later made into films but skip those first. Go for the gothic science fiction story "Upon the Dull Earth" a gem that even I hadn't seen and I've been a fan of Dick's since 1969. Then dig into some of his less familiar but no less trippy (and powerful) stories such as "I Hope I Will Arrive Soon" and "The Days of Perky Pat".

This is a very good collection for first time readers of Dick and, quite honestly, despite his talent he was churning out stories at a furious pace to make ends meet so not all of his novels and short stories are great but those that are continue to be outstanding. Dick was a novelist and writer first and foremost. The fact that he was consigned to the literary ghetto of "science fiction" is a shame because it suggested that he was writing just pulp fiction that others wouldn't appreciate. That's just not the case. At his best he could be dazzling, at his worst he could be merely entertaining but always interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
This collection of PKD's work is a great introduction into the vast depth with which PDK writes. Each story is told within 20 pages and gives great character, plot and emotional development that each story takes you down a different perspective. I found myself throughout the collection saying there was nothing new he could write about, yet each story brought forward a sci-fi concept that I had not thought of.
I do question one of the lead-in stories "Roog" which is short and at times pretty pointless. If you are new to sci-fi, a story such as that, could lead you to stop reading further, as "Beyond lies the Wub" is not one of the best stories in this collection as well. After you make it beyond these two, the stories, plot twists and characters are more refined and much more enjoyable.
Paycheck was my favorite in this collection, and has me anxious to see the movie, even though John Woo will twist this masterpiece around. Interesting note, four of the stories inspired films, Second Variety - "Screamers"; Paycheck - "Paycheck"; We can remember it for you wholesale - "Total Recall"; and The Minority Report - "Minority Report"
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Format: Hardcover
The short stories of Philip Dick perhaps do not reach the levels that the best of his novels do. However they are just as inventive, just as challenging, just as stimulating. For those readers who claim his characterisation is poor, and his descriptions are insufficiently well formed I suggest you let your own mind fill in the details - it is not necessary to have every detail spelled out by the author. In fact, I find it a far graver insult to go the other way and describe, describe, describe - as Henry James sometimes does.

As an example of writing that approaches genius there is a description of the aftermath of a nuclear explosion - 'The World Jones Made'? - in which he doesn't say of the character who climbs out of the basement that has protected him 'he could hear in the far distance a car horn blaring continuously in the uncanny stillness'. What he does say is that everything is quiet and suddenly a car horn sounds (there are other living people?), far in the distance (are they reachable?), continuously (and we see in our mind someone slumped dead over the steering wheel). Of course the bracketed comments are mine - but what a journey we are so quickly taken on - hope, doubt, despair. All without the author 'explaining' anything. Compare that to the bland alternative description and you can see that this man is using writing in a very evocative way.

When you sit down with these stories, please forget the movies - even the good ones - let your mind go on its own adventure!
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