- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 126 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick Hardcover – November 5, 2002
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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.
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
Top customer reviews
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He has a talent for creating worlds and writing characters that are engaging and fully fleshed out. This will be one book I will read more than once.
It's those people, though, who would get the most out of Philip K. Dick. Dick falls into almost none of the pitfalls that I mentioned previously. His short stories are excellent examples of the form, with strong ideas and surprisingly rich themes to boot. Dick's work has obviously been adapted to the screen many times, and a good handful of stories from the book are recognizable from their film adaptations, but the original stories are frequently more interesting and more substantive than the feature films they inspired! So, the average-ish Ben Affleck thriller Paycheck turns out to have been inspired by a story not only about seeing the future, but also about commercial-government tensions and its character turns out to be an anti-hero, motivated by corporate greed. Minority Report was a more successful (and much better) film than Paycheck, and it too is vastly different from its film. The basic ideas (precogs, arresting murderers before they commit their crimes) but in the story, the protagonist has to stop a military coup in Washington (and it lacks the film's sappy ending, too, which is a plus). There are, of course, lots of cool stories here that have not been made into movies, like the post-apocalyptic "Second Variety", in which a few remnants of humanity have to fight against an army of rebellious androids that come in three varieties, as well as some of Dick's more trippy writing, like a story in which an elderly man is asked to become the "king of the dwarves" in their battle against the gnomes, in which it certainly seems like he's going crazy, but the story is told from his perspective and it leaves some ambiguity. It's scary, fascinating, sad, and brainy, but also a little funny in a darkly comic way: that's the Dick trademark, I suppose.
Most science fiction writers who become successful are good at coming up with nifty concepts and cool ideas, and Dick obviously has those, but even more impressive to me is the emotional component that Dick brings to his writing. This is a lot harder for me to deconstruct, but suffice it to say that Dick has that little extra something that turns a good story into a great one. When a story is supposed to be tragic, it almost always is. When the writing is supposed to be exciting, Dick pulls it off. His ability to define characters briefly and thoroughly certainly helps here, but Dick simply just knows how to engage the heart as well as the head, which is likely what has won him such an exalted place among science fiction writers over the years. That place is well-merited. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Anyway, I'm reviewing the book, not the movies. The book itself was great. There's so many more of his stories that I think would make great movies or at least great episodes in a sci-fi Outer Limits kind of show (such as "Autofac"). His stories are both captivating and unique, while at the same time teaching a moral in one way or another. Although a lot of his themes seem commonplace in sci-fi today, the reader must keep in mind that a lot of these stories were written many years ago and that Dick was in fact the first author to put forth some of them. I'm not sure, but I think he was the first sci-fi author to talk about nanites.
I would suggest this books to anyone who loves sci-fi. If you buy it you will certainly not be disappointed.
While Dick's stories are entertaining, what really keeps bringing me back to his work is the challenge of figuring out what is going on in the mind of this author. Much of his life and many of his neuroses leak into his work; more so as his career progresses.