Archive for the ‘Philip K. Dick’ Category

Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick (Audio Book)

October 5, 2008

Synopses From Harper:
Viewed by many as the greatest science fiction writer on any planet, Philip K. Dick has written some of the most intriguing, original, and thought-provoking fiction of our time. This collection includes stories that will make you laugh, cringe…and stop and think. In “The Minority Report,” a special unit that employs those with the power of precognition to prevent crimes proves itself less than reliable. This story was the basis of the feature film Minority Report.

In, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” an everyguy’s yearning for more exciting “memories” places him in a danger he never could have imagined. This story was the basis of the feature film Total Recall.

In “Paycheck,” a mechanic who has no memory of the previous two years of his life finds that a bag of seemingly worthless and unrelated objects can actually unlock the secret of his recent past, and insure that he has a future. This story was the basis of the feature film Paycheck.

In “Second Variety,” the UN’s technological advances to win a global war veer out of control, threatening to destroy all of humankind. This story was the basis of the feature film Screamers. And “The Eyes Have It” is a whimsical, laugh-out-loud play on the words of the title.

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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick (Audio Book)

October 5, 2008

Amazon.com Review
Mind- and reality-bending drugs factor again and again in Philip K. Dick’s hugely influential SF stories. A Scanner Darkly cuts closest to the bone, drawing on Dick’s own experience with illicit chemicals and on his many friends who died from drug abuse. Nevertheless, it’s blackly farcical, full of comic-surreal conversations between people whose synapses are partly fried, sudden flights of paranoid logic, and bad trips like the one whose victim spends a subjective eternity having all his sins read to him, in shifts, by compound-eyed aliens. (It takes 11,000 years of this to reach the time when as a boy he discovered masturbation.) The antihero Bob Arctor is forced by his double life into warring double personalities: as futuristic narcotics agent “Fred,” face blurred by a high-tech scrambler, he must spy on and entrap suspected drug dealer Bob Arctor. His disintegration under the influence of the insidious Substance D is genuine tragicomedy. For Arctor there’s no way off the addict’s downward escalator, but what awaits at the bottom is a kind of redemption–there are more wheels within wheels than we suspected, and his life is not entirely wasted.

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Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick (Audio Book)

September 30, 2008

Twenty-five years before we had William Gibson and “cyberpunk,” we had Philip K. Dick, and if nothing else, this work proves that he was way ahead of his time and that his successors in the genre have done little to build upon his ideas or surpass his vision. In Flow My Tears, we are shown a near-future society transformed to a neo-fascistic police state. Jason Taverner, a pop superstar, finds himself one day without an identity: his friends and lovers don’t recognize or remember him and his music and TV shows are unknown. Most significantly, perhaps, he does not have the precious ID cards without which he cannot safely travel more than a few blocks without being waylaid by police and sent into a forced labor camp. Taverner must contend with a rogue’s gallery of bizarre and memorable characters to discover how his identity was lost and attempt to recover it. Sometimes Dick’s writing is clunky – it is as if ten words at random were removed from the paragraph, and the reader is left slightly uneasy, but this may contribute to the book’s strong mood of paranoia. A touch of psychedelia a la Burroughs compounds this effect. Luckily for the reader, unlike in many of Burroughs’s works, there actually is a story here. And the characterizations are excellent. Unfortunately, however, somewhere towards the ending, Dick breaks down. The book ends quickly and crudely, like a field amputation given by a half-trained medic in the middle of a battle. In addition, there are allusions to Jung, Renaissance poetry, and several other thinkers or artistic movements which obviously influenced Dick, but I feel that he could have done more to develop these references and themes. All in all, though it is a prescient and moving work and one that should be enjoyable to any science-fiction fans.

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Audio Book)

September 30, 2008

THE INSPIRATION FOR BLADE RUNNER. . .
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . .
They even built humans.
Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.
“[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from.”
–Paul Williams
Rolling Stone

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