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In addition to his forty-four novels, the legendary Philip K. Dick (1928–82) was a prolific writer of short stories whose fantasies formed the basis for Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and other popular films. This original anthology features eleven of his highly inventive short stories and novellas, which originally appeared in pulp magazines of the early 195 In addition to his forty-four novels, the legendary Philip K. Dick (1928–82) was a prolific writer of short stories whose fantasies formed the basis for Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and other popular films. This original anthology features eleven of his highly inventive short stories and novellas, which originally appeared in pulp magazines of the early 1950s such as Worlds of Science Fiction, Orbit, Beyond Fiction, and Startling Stories. Riveting tales include a satire of the 1950s obsession with bomb shelters, "Foster, You're Dead," which skewers both consumerism and Cold War anxiety; "Prominent Author," concerning a crack in the space/time continuum that allows an ordinary man to achieve a lasting literary legacy; "Upon the Dull Earth," in which a girl begins by conjuring up angelic-seeming creatures and ends by transforming the nature of reality; and "Adjustment Team," the inspiration for the film The Adjustment Bureau. Additional selections include "Human Is," "Progeny," "Meddler," "The Turning Wheel," "Shell Game," "Exhibit Piece," and "Small Town."


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In addition to his forty-four novels, the legendary Philip K. Dick (1928–82) was a prolific writer of short stories whose fantasies formed the basis for Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and other popular films. This original anthology features eleven of his highly inventive short stories and novellas, which originally appeared in pulp magazines of the early 195 In addition to his forty-four novels, the legendary Philip K. Dick (1928–82) was a prolific writer of short stories whose fantasies formed the basis for Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and other popular films. This original anthology features eleven of his highly inventive short stories and novellas, which originally appeared in pulp magazines of the early 1950s such as Worlds of Science Fiction, Orbit, Beyond Fiction, and Startling Stories. Riveting tales include a satire of the 1950s obsession with bomb shelters, "Foster, You're Dead," which skewers both consumerism and Cold War anxiety; "Prominent Author," concerning a crack in the space/time continuum that allows an ordinary man to achieve a lasting literary legacy; "Upon the Dull Earth," in which a girl begins by conjuring up angelic-seeming creatures and ends by transforming the nature of reality; and "Adjustment Team," the inspiration for the film The Adjustment Bureau. Additional selections include "Human Is," "Progeny," "Meddler," "The Turning Wheel," "Shell Game," "Exhibit Piece," and "Small Town."

38 review for The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    In case you don’t know of him, Philip K. Dick was a prolific science fiction writer, whose career started in the 1950s and continued to his death in 1982. He was never able to achieve financial success as a writer, and starting in the 1970s suffered from mental illness and drug abuse. His body of work has actually become better known in recent decades than during his lifetime; his fame fueled by recent films based on his work – Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, In case you don’t know of him, Philip K. Dick was a prolific science fiction writer, whose career started in the 1950s and continued to his death in 1982. He was never able to achieve financial success as a writer, and starting in the 1970s suffered from mental illness and drug abuse. His body of work has actually become better known in recent decades than during his lifetime; his fame fueled by recent films based on his work – Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, etc. Dover Publications' collection “The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick” included some of his earliest stories, from 1952-1954. This is the second volume of his early stories, these entirely from 1954 and 1955, and all in the public domain. I have read a good number of Philip K. Dick’s novels and stories, most of them during a time when he was still alive. I found a few of them to be great, like The Man in the High Castle, but most seemed mediocre, and now it is a little strange to hear my adult children venerating him. I was born the year these stories were written, had not read them before, and so was curious. Like much of the short science fiction of the 1950s, they appeared in the pulp magazines like Amazing Stories, Galaxy, and Orbit. The formula of the time was to start from a speculative concept, the weirder or more unexpected the better, and then to craft a simple story around it – exposing the concept in its full by the end. These stories conform to that formula, but with an emphasis on the nature of reality. Not just a character’s personal reality, but of the universe itself. The writing style can get turbid, with phrases such as "and after an interminable time of suffering, he would die." – but the ideas are fresh. These existential surprises continue to capture the imagination of readers (or film viewers) today, even when the Eisenhoweresque settings seem distant. Here’s a capsule summary of each of the 11 short stories and novellas contained in Volume 2: "Prominent Author", Worlds of Science Fiction, May 1954. A businessman commutes to work through a consumer wormhole, but there is a leak into history. "Small Town", Amazing Stories, May 1954. A businessman escapes to his model railroad in the basement, a model that is more real than anyone thinks. "The Turning Wheel", Science Fiction Stories, Issue No. 2, 1954. A frankly racist dystopia, where the white "technos" are subjugated to non-white followers of Elron (who I assume to be L. Ron Hubbard). "Exhibit Piece", Worlds of Science Fiction, August 1954. A historical reconstruction of the 20th century becomes a haven of escape for its caretaker. "Shell Game", Galaxy Science Fiction, September 1954. The paranoid survivors of a rocket crash on an alien planet fight non-existent Earthers. "Adjustment Team", Orbit Science Fiction, September-October 1954. A businessman fails to be present at his office, precisely at the time its reality is tweaked by a mysterious agency. This concept became the inspiration for the 2011 film “The Adjustment Bureau”. "Meddler", Future Science Fiction, October 1954. The misuse of observational time travel into the future leads to the horrific alteration of that future. "Progeny", Worlds of Science Fiction, November 1954. In a world of scientific and robotic child-rearing, only frontier worlds still value primitive human contact. "Upon the Dull Earth", Beyond Fiction, November 1954. Angels are an inaccurate cultural interpretation of a living afterlife our own universe. A young woman joins them too soon. "Foster, You're Dead", Star Science Fiction Stories, Issue No. 3, 1955. A young boy lives as a social outcast, because his family is the only one in town that does not keep up with the latest in bomb shelter technology. This is an insightful story of the sociology and economics of managed consumerism. It was my favorite of the collection. "Human Is", Startling Stories, Winter 1955. If a husband’s personality is replaced by a that of an alien, and that alien is a better man, what should the wife do? An utterly predictable story. I read an uncorrected eBook shortly before publication, and it was sent to me at no cost as a reader who writes public reviews. I have to say that the formatting of this eBook on my android-based kindle was terrible, with intrusive line wraps, blank spaces in the middle of words, free-floating page numbers embedded in the text, non-functional links in the table of contents, and a block of unrelated book descriptions instead of a cover. It is easily the worst formatting I have ever been provided through netgalley. I checked the sample download of Dover’s prior Volume 1, and it did not have these problems, so my expectation is that the version to be published in a few days will be better.hI

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    "Early," in this context, means the 1950s, and here are much the same concerns and ideas as you'll find in, say, Sheckley: consumerism, the Cold War--memorably mashed together in one story, in which social pressure makes everyone into nuclear doomsday preppers, because fear of your family's destruction has proved the best way to stimulate the economy--commuting from the suburbs to a job you hate, working with technology you don't understand. Women are housewives or secretaries (even in the stori "Early," in this context, means the 1950s, and here are much the same concerns and ideas as you'll find in, say, Sheckley: consumerism, the Cold War--memorably mashed together in one story, in which social pressure makes everyone into nuclear doomsday preppers, because fear of your family's destruction has proved the best way to stimulate the economy--commuting from the suburbs to a job you hate, working with technology you don't understand. Women are housewives or secretaries (even in the stories set in the future), and are not protagonists. Because this is PKD, there's also a strong thread running through all of this of uncertainty about one's identity or what is real. In the best stories, this culminates in a powerful moment of existential horror at the end. A number of successful Hollywood movies have been based on PKD's stories, but not on these ones, which are so much of their time that they wouldn't translate well into another decade. (The exception is "The Adjustment Bureau," which apparently did have a film based on it--but I have to say I've never heard of that movie prior to reading this book.) That isn't to say they're bad stories. Some of them are excellent. What they are, though, is limited by the viewpoint of their time, and littered with unexamined assumptions about that time--most of which would come up for examination in the 1960s, by PKD and other SF writers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    NetGalley was kind enough to give me this as an ebook in the exchange for an honest review. So, I am a new PKD fan. I have recently read Ubik. I was instantly hooked with his writing. I immediately purchased some of his other works as well. When I saw this available on Netgalley, I just had to request it! I am so glad that I got the chance to read this amazing little book full of short stories. Those that have read anything by PKD know how strange his stories are. PKD is definitely one of my all NetGalley was kind enough to give me this as an ebook in the exchange for an honest review. So, I am a new PKD fan. I have recently read Ubik. I was instantly hooked with his writing. I immediately purchased some of his other works as well. When I saw this available on Netgalley, I just had to request it! I am so glad that I got the chance to read this amazing little book full of short stories. Those that have read anything by PKD know how strange his stories are. PKD is definitely one of my all time favorite authors now. I should have been reading his book sooner!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5 It's not often that you can return to the early works of an author whom you enjoy reading, and find worthwhile efforts or the clear beginnings of talent. Too often I've found these early work collections to be embarrassing and a sad excuse to pull money from my pocket. Not so, with this volume. These stories, published in the 1950's clearly show why the pulps had such a strong readership and are still looked back upon wit This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5 It's not often that you can return to the early works of an author whom you enjoy reading, and find worthwhile efforts or the clear beginnings of talent. Too often I've found these early work collections to be embarrassing and a sad excuse to pull money from my pocket. Not so, with this volume. These stories, published in the 1950's clearly show why the pulps had such a strong readership and are still looked back upon with fondness by so many. At the same time, it's easy to see some very dated ideology. One of the things that makes Philip K. Dick's work so unique and often appreciated by the Hollywood studios is his sense of never known what's real and what's on the fringe of being real. Dick's early story "Shell Game" is a great example of this and shows the sort of fun he will have in some of his later books and stories. It was nice to read "Adjustment Team" again ... this was the basis for the film The Adjustment Bureau. Again...we see the classic Phil Dick at work, even in this early stage. If you've never read a Philip K. Dick book or story before, this is still a fine collection to read to get a feel for his style and themes. If you're already a fan of his novels, you'll enjoy this peek back. These stories have all been in collections before, but it's still nice to see them again. This collection contains: "Prominent Author" "Small Town" "The Turning Wheel" "Exhibit Piece" "Shell Game" "Adjustment Team" "Meddler" "Progeny" "Upon the Dull Earth" "Foster, You're Dead" "Human Is" Looking for a good book? You really can't go wrong with Philip K. Dick and this collection of short stories, The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2 is a delightful read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. Philip K Dick (PKD) was a prolific writer, underappreciated in his own time, and probably still so despite his stories, novellas, and novels inspiring Hollywood movies and television programs. The Early Science Fiction of Philip K Dick, Volume 2, brings together stories written between 1954 and 1955. His work generally uses themes of humanity, mental illness, and drug use. But I also find it useful to categorize them by where they Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. Philip K Dick (PKD) was a prolific writer, underappreciated in his own time, and probably still so despite his stories, novellas, and novels inspiring Hollywood movies and television programs. The Early Science Fiction of Philip K Dick, Volume 2, brings together stories written between 1954 and 1955. His work generally uses themes of humanity, mental illness, and drug use. But I also find it useful to categorize them by where they fit in relation to American history. Early stories, such as these, I've always found fit in the category of Cold War paranoia. Like 50s sci-fi films, PKD's early stories seem to dwell on the eventual destruction of the planet--and what comes after. When the 1960s hit, PKD changes with the times. He shifts to domestic paranoia, where analogs of Goldwater or Nixon rule, manipulating reality, often with the aid of drugs. A real life event then changed PKD's focus. He believed that images were being beamed into his mind by a pink light emanating from a spy satellite. Seriously. From this, he turned highly religious, identifying with Gnostic sects which were forced underground by Roman authority. The modern world, embodied by Nixon, is an illusion and Rome never fell. His last books explore this mystery. This collection, as implied by the title and dates of publication, falls early in PKD's career as a writer, and were mostly found in pulp magazines. The most famous story in it is "The Adjustment Team", which was made into a mediocre movie, "The Adjustment Bureau". But it shouldn't be viewed as the highlight of the collection. Rather, some of the other stories are much better. For instance, "Prominent Author" asks us to reassess time, "Small Town" and "Exhibit Piece" have characters who seek a better world with varying results. "Foster, You're Dead" taps right into PKD's contemporary fears, and "Human Is" might be the most direct questioning of humanity. The Early Science Fiction of Philip K Dick, Volume 2, is an important book to have on the shelf for any PKD or sci-fi fan. It is recommended wholeheartedly.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Originally reviewed at West Coast Book Reviews. "Silvia ran laughing through the night brightness, between the roses and cosmos and Shasta daisies..." leads us into Upon the Dull Earth. Upon the Dull Earth was by far my favourite story in this collection. The first paragraph pulled me in and drew me along into the story. I had no choice but to follow Sylvia past the cedars supporting the sky as they ignored her slim shape. I loved the first book in this collection, The Early Science Fiction of Phil Originally reviewed at West Coast Book Reviews. "Silvia ran laughing through the night brightness, between the roses and cosmos and Shasta daisies..." leads us into Upon the Dull Earth. Upon the Dull Earth was by far my favourite story in this collection. The first paragraph pulled me in and drew me along into the story. I had no choice but to follow Sylvia past the cedars supporting the sky as they ignored her slim shape. I loved the first book in this collection, The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, as much as this one. Each story lured me in and along until I ran headlong into the dark twist at the end. Even though I knew something disturbing waited at the end, more often than not, I found myself knocked off kilter by what I found. The other thing I enjoy about these stories is the interpersonal relationships: families, couples, coworkers and friends. Nobody is immune to finding themselves in a strange Philip K. Dick situation and having the bottom pulled out of their universe at the end. I highly recommend you check out both volumes. I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Blackburn

    The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2- Philip K. Dick started out as a very prolific short story writer for the pulp trade in the early 50's before moving on to novels later in his career, a path many authors of various genres took. These stories appeared in 1954-55 when there were dozens upon dozens of outlets for a decent writer. They pretty much all hold to Dick's tried and true concept of alternate realities and ask the question, what is reality and would we be able to recogn The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2- Philip K. Dick started out as a very prolific short story writer for the pulp trade in the early 50's before moving on to novels later in his career, a path many authors of various genres took. These stories appeared in 1954-55 when there were dozens upon dozens of outlets for a decent writer. They pretty much all hold to Dick's tried and true concept of alternate realities and ask the question, what is reality and would we be able to recognize it. This collection is a mixed bag as most story collections are with some gems and some also-rans. They are all in public domain, but Dover has made it easy to track down these older stories in their handy collection. One of the stories, "Adjustment Team" was made into a movie with Matt Damon, while another "Prominent Author", tells of a business man who ends up inadvertently becoming the author of the Holy Bible. Much new interest in Philip K. Dick's work has been generated by the recent TV series of his Hugo winning novel "The Man in the High Castle", and this new release allows one to see how even from the beginning, he was a master craftsman.

  8. 4 out of 5

    tyto

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am a huge fan of Philip K. Dick, so I was thrilled to get this, and it did not disappoint. It's a great collection of stories; I enjoyed all of them and was disappointed when the collection was over. PKD just has a way of twisting things and getting you in the end, and these are no exception. Highly recommended for devoted fans and newcomers alike. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am a huge fan of Philip K. Dick, so I was thrilled to get this, and it did not disappoint. It's a great collection of stories; I enjoyed all of them and was disappointed when the collection was over. PKD just has a way of twisting things and getting you in the end, and these are no exception. Highly recommended for devoted fans and newcomers alike.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Hall

    I hadn't read anything by this author previously, but I had heard of him. I was pleasantly surprised in how much I enjoyed the stories, especially "Faster, You're Dead", so evocative of the time of paranoia the story was set in. The author writes vividly of life in the 50's albeit in a SciFi setting. I look forward to reading more from him. I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Dover Publications via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review. I hadn't read anything by this author previously, but I had heard of him. I was pleasantly surprised in how much I enjoyed the stories, especially "Faster, You're Dead", so evocative of the time of paranoia the story was set in. The author writes vividly of life in the 50's albeit in a SciFi setting. I look forward to reading more from him. I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Dover Publications via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    A collection of some of Philip K Dick’s earliest stories, the 11 tales included here aren’t perhaps some of Dick’s best and most acclaimed writings but I found them very readable and enjoyable nonetheless.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Having completed both Dover volumes of these short stories makes me want to read all of them. While some of the references may feel dated, the topics do not.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve Visel

    Interesting from an historical perspective. His stories were visionary and a touch out there for his day, but they seem dated now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jake Strickler

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Brown

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Pearson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steven Kirk

  20. 5 out of 5

    Q Barry

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heena Rathore Pardeshi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Druce

  29. 5 out of 5

    nathalie pålsson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachelmarie

  31. 5 out of 5

    Cyberpunk

  32. 5 out of 5

    Mark Gaulton

  33. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  34. 4 out of 5

    Catarina Trancoso

  35. 4 out of 5

    Michael Joseph Schumann

  36. 5 out of 5

    Rayjan Koehler

  37. 5 out of 5

    Fullcycle

  38. 4 out of 5

    João Pedro

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