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Philip K. Dick




Philip K. Dick was abducted by... his own mind, and wrote about it for as long as SF industry would publish it. Which is extremely lucky for millions of his fans, me included.



Best space/time mind puzzles you're going to enjoy this side of eternity... Unless you are a particle physicist (for whom nothing is as it seems anyway), you're not likely to meet as many convoluted and unpredictable ideas and storylines as in Philip K. Dick's science fiction (the requirement, of course, is that it all still has to make coherent sense, otherwise we could just switch on Douglas Adams' Improbability Drive and publish the outcome).

PKD was a one-man factory of apocalyptic "What-ifs?", staggering in their scope and suggested outcomes. His stories are often dark in tone, but intensely satisfying: crammed with concepts and ideas, tightly written and pretty much unforgettable.

Scroll down for complete reviews and ratings:

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"The Alien Mind"
© F&SF, Oct 1981
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1985
--/ cool sf story

"All We Marsmen"
(exp. into "Martian Time Slip")
© Worlds of Tomorrow, Aug 1963
--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Autofac"
© Galaxy, Nov 1955
The Variable Man, 1957
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


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"Beyond Lies the Wub"
© Planet Stories, Jul 1952
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


Space story, all right, in the good old pulp style, but with Dick's cutting-edge, black humour underneath it all. Cynical explorers eat the poor alien as a gourmet meal, no matter what this creature says; but in the end, in a truly Van Vogt tradition, the alien invades the spacer's mind and survives.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------



"Beyond Lies The Wub" (coll)
(The Collected Stories of
Philip K. Dick; Vol. 1)
(also as "Paycheck" and
"The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford")
© Underwood-Miller, 1987
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

The first bunch of stories penned by PKD already display the cool groove he will maintain in his best work. Some of the stories are not well-known, which adds to interest. Very entertaining experience.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)



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"Blessing in Disguise"
(also as "Strange Memories Of Death")
© Interzone, Sum 1984
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--fiction : 1985 Interzone Poll /5
--/ cool sf story

"Breakfast at Twilight"
© Amazing, Jul 1954
Fantastic, Nov 1966
The Book of Philip K. Dick, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


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"The Builder"
© Amazing Stories, Dec 1953
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ second place apocalyptic sf story
--/ emotion award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

Talking about "subtle" - this story is a definition of it. Walk softly and carry a big stick. Loved the understatement: the sense of total breakdown in our everyday life, echoed by the sense of unease inside the protagonist's heart - all depicted through "perfectly normal" (breakfast, office, etc) scenes. Leaving biblical analogies aside, this is as much a study in psychosis as a science fiction narrative. A confused father is building a boat in the backyard, as a perfect american family and a cold-war society rushes toward extinction.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

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"Burglar"
(also as "The Cosmic Poachers")
© Imagination, Jul 1953
Second Variety, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"Cantata 140"
(also as "Top Stand-By Job")
(also as "Stand-By")
(exp. into "The Crack in Space")
(Jim Briskin Series)
© Amazing Stories, Oct 1963
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Captive Market"
© IF, Apr 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Chains of Air, Web of Aether"
(also as "The Man Who Knew How To Lose")
(exp into "The Divine Invasion")
© Stellar # 5, ed. Del Rey, 1980
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1985
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Colony"
© Galaxy, Jun 1953
A Handful of Darkness, 1955 UK
Beyond Lies the Wub, 1987
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ shock value


"And then there were none..." - a creepy but hilarious set-up. Inhabitants on an alien colony are exterminated one-by-one in a most classic way. Fear and gleeful entertainment shake hands in this one. "A survey team exploring a new colony planet finds that even everyday items can be lethal and that life can take many forms." (understated synopsis) The colonists try to evacuate while naked.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2001)

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"The Commuter"
© Amazing, Aug 1953
The Book of Philip K. Dick, 1973
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"The Cookie Lady"
© Fantasy Fiction, Jun 1953
A Handful Of Darkness, 1955
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award: young / old age transitions
--/ style award
--/ shock value
--/ emotion award
--/ rare find

"The Cosmic Poachers"
(also as "Burglar")
© Imagination, Jul 1953
Second Variety, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"The Crawlers"
© Imagination, Jul 1954
The Preserving Machine, 1969
Second Variety, 1991 UK only
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

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"The Crystal Crypt"
© Planet Stories, Jan 1954
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool sf story

Well, my expectations have not been met here. Even though it is from vintage Planet Stories, it is truly unremarkable. Some terrorists trying to blow up a town on other planet....the only plus is the description of this town, good artwork forming in my head.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

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"The Days of Perky Pat" (coll)
© 1987, Underwood-Miller
--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"The Days of Perky Pat"
(exp. into "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch")
© Amazing, Dec 1963
book: Doubleday, 1964
--novel : 1966 Nebula
--/ third place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


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"The Defenders"
(exp. into "The Penultimate Truth")
© Galaxy, Jan 1953
The Book of Philip K. Dick, 1973
--/ third place apocalyptic sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ wonder award


Read the review for "The Penultimate Truth" novel.

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"Deus Irae" (nv)
(with Roger Zelazny)
(based on story "The Great C")
© Cosmos # 1, Sep 1953
also in - SF Monthly, Jul 1953 (Austr.)
book: Doubleday, 1976
--/ fourth place apocalyptic sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


When I read this book in my youth, I was bewildered by many passages. There is a lot of angst there, there are no answers, and a general depressing feeling. Sulky automatic car repair robots, and a general post-apocalyptic inventiveness are fine, but a lot of times too much is said about too little. Harder to read in general, but worth it for the moments of beauty among the dystopia. The disillusioned man's quest to paint a picture of a higher being in a post-nuclear-war world. Some call it "the flip-side to "Canticle for Leibowitz".
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1986)

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"Diversion"
(also as "War Game")
© Galaxy, Dec 1959
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"Dr. Futurity" (nv)
(based on "Time Pawn")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Sum 1954
book: Ace Books, 1960
--/ cool sf novel
--/ wonder award

"The Electric Ant"
© F&SF, Oct 1969
The Best of Philip K. Dick, 1977
--/ third place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ wonder award


"Exhibit Piece"
© IF, Aug 1954
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ cool sf story

"The Exit Door Leads In"
© 1979, Rolling Stone College Papers
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--short story : 1980 Locus /14
--/ cool sf story

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"Expendable"
(also as "He Who Waits")
© F&SF, Jul 1956
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Various survival scenarios for various species - sometimes a bitter pill for an individual, who can become expendable. Not awfully strong story. Literally full of spiders.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2001)

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"Explorers We"
(rev. into "A Little Something For Us Temponauts")
(Explorers We # 2)
© F&SF, Jan 1959
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--/ fourth place time sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"The Eye of the Sybil": Collected Stories, vol. 5" (coll)
(also as "The Little Black Box")
© Underwood Miller, 1987
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ idea award

"Faith of Our Fathers"
© Dangerous Visions, 1967
The Little Black Box, 1987
--novelette : 1968 Hugo
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /49 (tie)

--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"The Frozen Journey"
(also as "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon")
© 1980, Playboy
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"The Game-Players of Titan" (nv)
© Ace Books, 1963
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"The Ganymede Takeover" (nv)
(with Ray Nelson)
© Ace Books, 1967
--/ cool sf novel
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------



"Globe From Ganymede"
(also as "Prize Ship")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Win 1954
Beyond Lies the Wub, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

Humans capture a highly advanced ship from Ganymede, with only one control lever and no instructions. They are trying to figure out the control and even general idea of the function of this thing, which makes for nice adventure. I like this kind of thing, you know.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2004)

----------------------------------------------

"The Golden Man"
© IF, Apr 1954
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place time sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


----------------------------------------------



"The Great C"
(novel: with Roger Zelazny)
(exp into "Deus Irae")
© Cosmos, Sep 1953
SF Monthly, Jul 1957 (Australian)
book: Doubleday, 1976
--/ fourth place apocalyptic sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


A supercomputer rules the earth after a nuclear holocaust and demands a yearly human sacrifice. Could be depressing, you know.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1990)

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"The Gun"
© Planet Stories, Sep 1952
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Nice pulpish adventure, with a space expedition (could be humans, could be not) exploring a ruined planet with gun-guarding machinery. Routine, but I liked the general scale and atmosphere.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------



"He Who Waits"
(also as "Expendable")
© F&SF, Jul 1956
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Various survival scenarios for various species - sometimes a bitter pill for an individual, who can become expendable. Not awfully strong story. Literally full of spiders.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2001)

----------------------------------------------

"Holy Quarrel"
© Worlds of Tomorrow, May 1966
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" (coll)
© Doubleday, 1985
--collection : 1986 Locus /10
--/ cool sf collection

"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon"
(also as "Frozen Journey")
© 1980, Playboy
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"If There Were No Benny Cemoli"
© Galaxy, Dec 1963
The Preserving Machine, 1965
--/ cool sf story

"The Impossible Planet"
© Imagination, Oct 1953
A Handful of Darkness, 1955

"Impostor"
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1953
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------



"The Indefatigable Frog"
© Fantastic Story, Jul 1953
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award
--/ adventure award


Special-effects story: radical changes in size plus entertaining dispute on Zeno's paradox - about whether a frog can escape from a tunnel if each step it takes is half the length of the previous one... Entertaining and deft.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

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"The Infinites"
© Planet Stories, May 1953
Beyond Lies the Wub, 1987
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: runaway evolution
--/ adventure award
--/ awesome scale
--/ style award
--/ rare find

A ship's crew begins to evolve (suddenly and rapidly) into a more advanced form of life, one member slightly faster than the other two. Nothing better than PKD writing in the best of Sheckley's hilarious style. I am afraid, I can eat such candies for a looong time - a guilty pleasure. This story has a breathtaking idea and great pacing, a little skewed humor and a general feeling of cosmic fun.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

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"Jon's World"
© Time to Come, ed. A. Derleth, 1954
Second Variety, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


----------------------------------------------



"The King Of The Elves"
(also as "Shadrach Jones and the Elves")
© Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Sep 1953
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award

Oh yes, very special - Philip K. Dick fantasy. Starts with a mundane scene at a gas station, and grows into something apocalyptic, in fact, the wars with trolls. Sense of profound change in the life of Shadrach Jones. From gas station attendant - to the Elf King... this is whimsical, I admit, but also quite funny. You never are sure at the end whether the elves were real or not.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2005)

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"Lies, Inc."
(also as "The Unteleported Man")
© Fantastic, Dec 1964
--/ third place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Little Black Box: Collected Stories, vol. 5" (coll)
(also as "The Eye of the Sybil")
© Underwood Miller, 1987
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ idea award

----------------------------------------------



"The Little Movement"
© F&SF, Nov 1952
A Handful Of Darkness, 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award: live toys
--/ shock value


The basis for "Toy Story" movie? Surprising to learn that PKD had this idea first - but then should I really be surprised? Well, here the toys are having their own "little movement" and organize against a sadistic child owner.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2003)

----------------------------------------------

"A Little Something For Us Temponauts"
(Explorers We # 2)
© Final Stage, 1974
The Best of Philip K. Dick, 1977
--novelette : 1975 Locus /18
--/ fourth place time sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Man Who Knew How To Lose"
(also as "Chains of Air, Web of Aether")
(exp. into "The Divine Invasion")
© Stellar # 5, ed. Del Rey, 1980
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1985
--/ cool sf story

"Martian Time-Slip" (nv)
(also as "All We Marsmen")
© Worlds Of Tomorrow, Aug 1963
book: Ballantine, 1964
--/ third place sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


----------------------------------------------



"Meddler"
© Future Science Fiction, Oct 1954
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool time sf story
--/ wonder award

Do not meddle with the past...plus idea of a Time Scoop (dredging the future for valuable artifacts), some interesting future scenery and a human downfall from ...poisonous butterflies.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------

"The Minority Report"
© 1956, Fantastic Universe
The Variable Man and Other Stories, 1957
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"The Mold of Yancy"
(basis for "the Penultimate Truth")
© IF, Aug 1955
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


----------------------------------------------



"Mr. Spaceship"
© Imagination, Jan 1953
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool space sf story
--/ wonder award

Disembodied mind in control of the spaceship...Not a new idea, but it is just plain "nice" to read something by vintage PKD. I remember the time, when you glimpsed his name among the contents of the pulp, it was a wondrous thing. Nowadays all of his stories are reprinted. This is still a less known piece.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------



"Nanny"
© Startling Stories, Spr 1955
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: how to sell new robot model
--/ humour award

A quite penetrating commentary on today's practice of marketing a new product to get rid (here - literally destroy/kill) of an older product to make more profit in sales. Did I say today's? - That's right! These practices apparently have not changed since 1955. It's called "Planned obsolescence". When did you last bring something to "repair" instead of getting a newer model? In the story the products are robot "Nannies", but in our life - no electronics ever get a second chance once broken. (can you sense my increasing frustration with consumerism?)
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

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"Not By Its Cover"
© Famous Science Fiction, Sum 1968
The Little Black Box, 1987
--/ cool sf story
--/ rare find

"Novelty Act"
(exp. into "The Simulacra")
© Fantastic Stories, Feb 1964
The Days of Perky Pat, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


----------------------------------------------




"Now Wait For Last Year" (nv)
© 1966, Doubleday Books
--/ third place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"When his wife takes a strange new narcotic and then maliciously slips some into his drink, the main character finds himself slipping back and forth through time." Against the backdrop of a pointless war being waged between planets (as a reason for a certain government to control population - typically Dickian stand-in for the Cold War), the main character (while unable to control his place in time) tries to maintain the balance of power by keeping Earth's eccentric and ailing leader in good health, (remember Brezhnev?) Plus there is the disturbing relationship between the submissive main character and his destructive, manipulative wife" (wikipedia).

But wait, there is more: collecting rare artifacts from 1935 to furnish some tycoon's Mars-based recreation of his Washington childhood. A number of live copies of certain Government Leader - any, or none of which could be the real one. Small starship-controlling devices/creatures (mechanical hamsters?) manufactured by a large corporation become the centerpiece of an employee's secret obsession - to give them a kind of intelligence and send them scuttling off around the plant on tiny metal carts. A sort of "creation/ liberation" kick. Well, never mind - there are twelve different layers to this novel ("Nothing what you know is true") - in Dick's typical paranoid fashion.

At the end of the book, the multiple past-lines and clones of main personalities will spiral out of control in a barely cohesive plot, but then even the plot itself, like a crazed centipede, will trip over its hallucinogenic legs, curl up in despair and die, unable to resolve the complexities of its existence.
review: 21-Jul-06 (read in 1987)

----------------------------------------------

"Oh, to Be a Blobel!"
© Galaxy, Feb 1964
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Orpheus with Clay Feet"
© 1963, original
The Days Of Perky Pat, 1984

----------------------------------------------



"Out In The Garden"
© Fantasy Fiction, Aug 1953
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987

----------------------------------------------

"Pay for the Printer"
© Satellite, Oct 1956
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


--------------------------------------



"Paycheck"
© Imagination, Jun 1953
The Best of P. K. Dick, 1977
--/ fourth place time sf story
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


Lots of people have seen the film, but not everyone read the story. It's a real thriller, with intense (though quite dry) dialogue and manic-paced action. It has a winner of an idea - cheap little things acquire a huge value because of time-travel/memory loss combination. + very nice urban NY environment, & vintage Dick "detached-cool" mood.
(30-Jun-06)


(artwork courtesy Tim Warnock)

----------------------------------------------



"Paycheck & Other Stories" (coll)
(The Collected Stories; Vol. 1)
(also as "Beyond Lies The Wub" and
"The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford")
© Underwood-Miller, 1987
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

The first bunch of stories penned by PKD already displays the cool groove he will maintain in his best work. Some of the stories are not well-known, which adds to the interest. Very entertaining experience.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------




"The Penultimate Truth" (nv)
(exp. from "The Defenders")
(based on "Mold For Yancy")
© Galaxy, Jan 1953
novel: Belmont, 1964
--/ third place apocalyptic sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ emotion award


"The Penultimate Truth" is the ultimate Cold War nightmare with a quintessential paranoia premise: the world's population lives underground in small factories called 'Tanks'. They are making complex robots to fight World War III above, but get all information about the war... also from robots. So, almost predictably, it turns out that the war had been finished ten years ago and the ruling elite (with attendant robots) is enjoying country estates on the Earth's surface, in the meantime keeping humanity locked up "for its own good". The novel has a dark, brooding tone, somewhat similar to another creepy Cold War masterpiece, "Level 7" by Mordecai Roshwald.

The original story "The Defenders" starts with Philip K. Dick's patented "mundane breakfast and a strangely sinister dialog in the kitchen", and then quickly advances along paranoia scale into a sheer propaganda lunacy territory. Not everything is logical and believable in the plot, but for all of us "Dr. Strangelove" junkies, it does not need to be. All-too-trusting humans and over-the-top conspiracy plot are forgivable, being a vehicle for a strange apocalyptic environment and atmosphere - all too enjoyable in the capable PKD hands.



----------------------------------------------



"Piper in the Woods"
© Imagination, Feb 1953
Beyond Lies the Wub, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


Exploring personal identity, combining cool planetary colony background with psychological twists, very competent "inner-mind" story.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2004)

----------------------------------------------

"The Pre-Persons"
© F&SF, Oct 1974
The Golden Man, 1980
--novelette : 1975 Locus /2
--/ third place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


----------------------------------------------



"The Preserving Machine"
(Doc Labyrinth series)
© F&SF, Jun 1953
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


Wow, a really wild idea: to synthesize monsters as spawns and "representations" of classical music compositions - various characters for various composers - seems like PKD had to bring his classical music radio background into the story sooner or later. But this is a blast.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------



"Prize Ship"
(also as "Globe From Ganymede")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Win 1954
Beyond Lies the Wub, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

Humans capture a highly advanced ship from Ganymede, with only one control lever and no instructions. They are trying to figure out the control and even general idea of the function of this thing, which makes for nice adventure. I like this kind of thing, you know.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2004)

----------------------------------------------

"Project Plowshare"
(exp. into "The Zap Gun")
© Worlds Of Tomorrow, Nov 1965
book: Pyramid Books, 1967
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Rautavaara's Case"
© OMNI, Oct 1980
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--short story : 1981 Locus /14
--short fiction : 1981 British SF
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Recall Mechanism"
© IF, Jul 1959
The Days of Perky Pat, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Retreat Syndrome"
© Worlds of Tomorrow, Jan 1965
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Return Match"
© Galaxy, Feb 1967
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


----------------------------------------------



"Roog"
© F&SF, Feb 1953
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

Kinda funny little dittie about "what the dog is barking at". Perhaps the dog sees something that we don't. Entirely different class of monster.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2003)

----------------------------------------------

"Sales Pitch"
© Future Science Fiction, Jun 1954
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: space highways
--/ humour award
--/ style award

"A Scanner Darkly" (nv)
© Doubleday, 1977
--third place : 1978 Campbell /3
--sf novel : 1978 Locus /6
--novel : 1979 British SF W

--/ cool sf novel

"Second Variety"
© Space Science Fiction, May 1953
The Variable Man, 1954
--/ third place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"Service Call"
© Science Fiction Stories, July 1955
The Best of Philip K. Dick, 1977
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


----------------------------------------------



"Shadrach Jones and the Elves"
(also as "The King Of The Elves")
© Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Sep 1953
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award

Oh yes, very special - Philip K. Dick fantasy. Starts with a mundane scene on a gas station, and grows into something apocalyptic, in fact, the wars with the Trolls. Sense of profound change in the life of Shadrach Jones. From gas station - to the Elf King... this is whimsical, I admit, but also quite funny. You never are sure at the end whether the elves were real or not.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2005)

----------------------------------------------



"The Short, Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford"
(Doc Labyrinth series)
© F&SF, Jan 1954
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ humour award


An amusing story about a scientist who brings to life various inanimate objects...would make an excellent cartoon. Rare example of a good sf humor.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------



"The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford" (coll)
(The Collected Stories; Vol. 1)
(also as "Paycheck" and
"Beyond Lies The Wub")
© Underwood-Miller, 1987
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

The first bunch of stories penned by PKD already display the cool groove he will maintain in his best work. Some of the stories are not well-known, which adds to interest. Very entertaining experience.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------

"The Simulacra" (nv)
(based on "Novelty Act")
© Ace Books, 1964
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


----------------------------------------------



"The Skull"
© IF, Sep 1952
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool time sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award

Great romp through time to seek (and weed out) a "religious" figure, who is going to become a founder of a dangerous cult. Nice twist in the end, when the "hunted" becomes "the hunter" due to time paradoxes.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

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"Stability"
© written in 1947
Beyond Lies The Wub, 1987
--/ cool sf story

First, unpublished story - quite rough around the edges, of course. Ideas of man against the government, machines, flying free, talking cars - elements used in future stories.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2006)

----------------------------------------------

"Stand-By"
(also as "Top Stand-By Job")
(also as "Cantata 140")
(exp into "The Crack in Space")
(Jim Briskin Series)
© Amazing Stories, Oct 1963
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Strange Eden"
© Imagination, Dec 1954
Second Variety, 1987
--/ cool sf story

"Strange Memories Of Death"
(also as "Blessing in Disguise")
© Interzone, Sum 1984
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1987
--fiction : 1985 Interzone Poll /5
--/ cool sf story

"A Terran Odyssey"
(part of unpubl. "Dr. Bloodmoney" version)
© The Little Black Box, 1987
--/ rare find

"The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" (nv)
(exp. from "The Days of Perky Pat")
© Amazing, Dec 1963
book: Doubleday, 1964
--novel : 1966 Nebula
--/ third place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Time Out of Joint" (nv)
© New Worlds, Dec 1959
novel: Lippincott, 1960
--/ second place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"Time Pawn"
(exp. to "Dr. Futurity")
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Sum 1954
--/ cool sf novella
--/ wonder award

"Top Stand-By Job"
(also as "Stand-By")
(also as "Cantata 140")
(exp. into "The Crack in Space")
(Jim Briskin Series)
© Amazing Stories, Oct 1963
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"The Turning Wheel"
© Science Fiction Stories, Feb 1954
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ cool sf story

"The Unreconstructed M"
© Science Fiction Stories, Jan 1957
The Golden Man, 1980
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"The Unteleported Man" (nv)
(also as "Lies, Inc." - revised, UK)
© Fantastic, Dec 1964
book: Ace, 1966
Berkley, 1983 - uncut version
--/ third place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"Upon the Dull Earth"
© Beyond Fiction, Sep 1954
A Handful of Darkness, 1955
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------




"UBIK" (nv)
(based on "What the Dead Men Say")
© Worlds of Tomorrow, Jun 1964
story: The Preserving Machine, 1969
novel: Doubleday, 1969
--all time sf novel : 1987 Locus /37
--sf novel : 1998 Locus /43 (tie)
--/ second place sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award
--/ shock value

Philip K. Dick loved to play with reality: what it might be, what it could be, and how it could be twisted and warped. Ubik, which was published in 1969, is a perfect example of Dick at his most playful, wild, and enjoyable – all the while having an obvious blast playing his might be, could be, and twisted and warped reality games.

At first Ubik is a science fiction drama, with Dick’s signature surreal details and devices: a Machiavellian fight between two powerful organizations in a technologically advanced North America.

Then, as they say, things get weird – as weird as only Dick can make them. Escaping a bomb blast on the moon, the main characters soon begin to see the world -- their reality -- fracture and break. It takes them a while, but eventually they figure out that they are all in suspended animation, in half-life, and that they are being snuffed out one by one by a powerful being – and that the only thing that might save them is a weird, and ubiquitous, substance called UBIK.

But even though UBIK is a very strange book it still is immensely readable, which demonstrates Dick’s tremendous talent. All too often bizarre is simply an author’s excuse for chaos, where meaning and characterization gets tossed for cheap surreal details. But that’s never true for Dick and absolutely not true with UBIK: things get very bizarre in the book but never as the expense of the core principles of a great book: characters, story, description, and so forth.

Ubik is pure Dick, and a must-read: a wonderfully bizarre adventure that’ll make you stare at the wall for hours and wonder, as Dick surely did, about what’s really on the other side of it.
Review by author M. Christian

----------------------------------------------



"The Variable Man"
© Space Science Fiction, Sep 1953
The Variable Man and Oth Stories, 1957
--/ third place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


A happy chunk of PKD vintage writing deals with the usual stuff: unrealistically lethal weapons, never-ending wars with paranoid aliens, time paradoxes and a fight of individual against "the amoeba-like whole". I loved it when I read it, but have to confess that I do not remember what it's about after a few years. So for those who are interested, here is a link to a synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Variable_Man
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1999)

----------------------------------------------

"The Variable Man" (coll)
© Ace Books, 1957
--/ third place sf collection
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"War Game"
(also as "Diversion")
© Galaxy, Dec 1959
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"War Veteran"
© IF, Mar 1955
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ fourth place sf story

"The War with the Fnools"
© Galaxy, Feb 1969
Galactic Outpost magazine, 1964
The Little Black Box, 1987
--/ cool sf story
--/ humour award

"The Waterspider"
© IF, Jan 1964
The Days of Perky Pat, 1987
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"
© F&SF, Apr 1966
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /32 (tie)
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"What the Dead Men Say"
(expanded into "UBIK")
© Worlds of Tomorrow, Jun 1964
The Preserving Machine, 1969
--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"What'll We Do With Ragland Park?"
© Amazing, Nov 1963
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, 1985

----------------------------------------------



"Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday"
(exp. into "Counter-Clock World")
© Amazing Stories, Aug 1966
The Little Black Box, 1987
--/ third place time sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


"The story to end all stories" - for the simple reason that it's based on the idea of time running backwards, therefore people doing everything backwards, including reading from finish to start. I can think of so many inherent problems and reasons that this can not work, in principle, but in Dick's story it does - with very entertaining effects. Mind you, Dick is even able to turn birth/death backwards (remember "UBIK", where his characters are stranded in time running backwards (deteriorating) after they died - in a death realm) Nothing I could mention here would approach the wild premise and intensity of its realization in this story, so go read it.
review: 21-Jul-06 (read in 1995)

----------------------------------------------

"The Zap Gun" (nv)
(also as "Project Plowshare")
© Worlds Of Tomorrow, Nov 1965
book: 1967, Pyramid Books
--/ cool sf novel
--/ idea award


Artwork courtesy Tim Warnock

----------------------------------------------

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COMMENTS:

1 Comments:

Anonymous Miker71 said...

It's such a pity PKD was not recognised as a "proper" author during his lifetime. His work leaves an indelible impression in my mind even today (I read the vast majority of his work in my early twenties). VALIS is genius, a memorable favourite of mine, though I often found his short stories easier to understand than his novels. It's like he'd craft every paragraph, design a mood for every page and totally get you with a mindphuck. Great stuff!

12:08 AM  

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