Have you heard of the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Well maybe you’ve heard of Blade Runner the film inspired by the book…, How about "Minority Report"? "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale" (better known as Total Recall to cinema goers)? Or perhaps even, The Man in the High Castle. If you’ve answered 'yes' to any of these titles, then you’re certainly aware of their creator Philip K. Dick, whose unique style of science fiction explored humanity at its best and its worst.
Philip Kindred Dick was born in 1928 in Chicago and made his writing debut in the later period of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Along with his contemporaries such as Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke, the writing styles and themes of the Golden Age of Science Fiction evolved into what became known as the New Wave of Science Fiction (1950s to 1970s) where the earlier fantasy themes of the genre began to merge with real life technological advancements overshadowed by war. It is during this New Wave that PKD, gained notoriety with his speculative (and sometimes cautionary) works centering around humanity’s relationship with new and ever-advancing technology of the times, while often providing a political subtext alluding to the environment of the Cold War era.
Below you will find an online anthology of 10 of PKD's better known short stories that were published in various Science Fiction magazines of the times. The works are provided in PDF, Audio, and Ebook formats for you to enjoy anytime and anywhere.
|Beyond Lies the Wub||The Crystal Crypt||The Defenders||The Eyes Have It||The Gun|
|Piper in the Woods||Mr. Spaceship||Second Variety||The Skull||Variable Man|
(1953) War is infamous as the inspiration of invention, and the merging of man and machine is something currently developing especially in drone technology. In order to a decades long war against a species that uses life-form based ships and weaponry, mechanics is no longer the answer, and we must develop a technology that will allow the very organ that defines us to merge with machine.
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(1953) Definitely the highlight of this anthology and one of PKD's most compelling works. It's post nuclear war and both the Soviet and the United Nation forces have developed automated war machines to continue the fighting on a devastated Earth. However one faction's development of self-replicating robots far outweighs the other's and proves to be too cunning for both sides to handle.
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(1953) The main character is let out of prison if he agrees to go travel back in time to assassinate the leader of a religious movement and is given a skull in which to identify his target . Of course it's not that straightforward. There's a twist ;), there's always a twist lol.
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(1953) Earth is at war with the Centaurian Empire which has hemmed Earth in and will not allow it to expand. However, there is no actual fighting going on, Earth continuously develops new ever-advancing weaponry, and the Centaurians do the same with their defense systems. Both sides monitor who's "winning" using a probability computer. This could seemingly go on forever, until Earth finds a way to tip the odds in their favor...
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If you've enjoyed these stories, why not turn it into a project. Simply print out the log booklet, and fill it in. NB. If you're studying English in a CRL at UdS, this will make a good project for your English Dossier/Journal.