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Piper in the Woods

3.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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About the Author

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was an American science-fiction novelist, short-story writer and essayist. A contemporary of Ursula K. Le Guin, Dick's first short story, "Beyond Lies the Wub," was published shortly after his high-school graduation. Many of Dick's works drew upon his personal experiences with drug abuse, addressing topics such as paranoia and schizophrenia, transcendental experiences and alternate reality, and the childhood death of his twin sister is reflected through the recurring theme of the "phantom twin" in many of his novels. Despite ongoing financial troubles and issues with the IRS, Dick had a prolific writing career, winning both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award multiple times. Some of his most famous novels and stories--A Scanner Darkly, "The Minority Report," "Paycheck," and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (adapted into the film Blade Runner)--have been adapted for film. Dick died in 1982. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484152484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484152485
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,529,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Science fiction short story. Terra-forming soldiers garrisoned on asteroid Y3 are slipping into a state of uselessness. One by one and at an ever increasing rate, the workers are turning into plants. This isn't a physical transformation; rather, the mind is slipping into a 'vegetative' state. Result: refusal to work, abandoning their responsibilities, putting the entire garrison and its mission at jeopardy.

Back on Terra, Dr. Henry Harris is charged with finding the cause of, and solution to this problem. After submitting the vegetative subjects to shock treatment, Dr. Harris was able to learn the source of the problem; and, upon visiting the garrison he is able to confirm that source - Pipers. Dr. Harris further diagnoses the Pipers as imaginative entities upon which the subjects are projecting blame for their desire to revert to useless social subjects.

Solution: psychotherapy - cause the subjects to become self-aware. Once the subjects become self-aware, the Pipers will vanish.

Read on to see what happens next.

Nice commentary on social entitlements which give rise to laziness, despondence, and dependence upon others. In actuality, it is this readers firm belief that the teaching and glorification of evolutionary theory has done much to destroy humanities self-awareness. Creatures that are created in the image of God, as taught in Christian scripture, ought not be led to believe that they are nothing more than the latest step on a never ending chain of happenstance. How does that breed self-awareness? How does that spark hope and desire? How is that ever good for a society, let alone an individual.

Great read.
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Philip K. Dick never disappoints. While Piper in the Woods is far from his best work, it is a worthy addition to the kindle of a life long fan like me. Pure enjoyment and thoughtful short fiction writing by a true master.
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As with all short stories, sometimes you wish it were more fleshed out... but then it would be a whole novel. I think when Phillip K Dick writes these shorter stories he's aware they wouldn't do well as a novel, but as a short story they give you just enough. Not so much detail as a novel would because then the story would fall flat, but enough to make you interested and it gives you a little twist at the end as all his short stories do.
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This was one of Philip K. Dick's earliest published stories, from 1953. On its own, it is an OK science fiction story, cleverly written but with a rather predictable ending. If you had read it in 1953, you would not have expected that Dick would go on to become one of the towering figures of SF. In hindsight, this story (about astronauts sent to an asteroid base who start believing they are plants) is an early example of a theme that Dick would later use in some of his most famous works: what does it mean to be "human"?
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This short story has a really quirky and neat idea - humans suddenly become plants. There are several great one liners such as “Corporal, you must realize that there are very few men who become plants, especially on such short notice.” , but it gets bogged in unnecessary details and just poor writing style. Overall I had the feeling I am reading some draft version. Still this is one of the earliest P. Dick stuff and his original style is evident. It is mostly for fans of P. Dick, the rest will hardly appreciate it.
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I've gone through a ton of PKD's short stories and while this one was memorable it was not the best he's done. The 'twist' is a bit obvious and the ending isn't as satisfying as I would've liked. But, if you are a PKD fan you'll probably read this anyway and enjoy it for what it is. Nice time killer at around 20-30 minutes reading time.
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A staff of stressed out space workers have delusions of turning into plants. A fun sci-fi story about making an escape from modern life.
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By Paul on October 13, 2013
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This is a relatively quick read and takes about a half hour to an hour depending on how fast you read. It's a quick little tale involving an isolated garrison on an asteroid. Some people who work there get sent back to Terra claiming that they're pants and it's up to doctor Harris to figure out what's going on. It sort of hurries to its conclusion leaving a lot to the imagination, but the ambiguity lends itself well to a Twilight Zone-esque conclusion. 3 stars because I would've liked to read more and maybe had not such a predictable ending.
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