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Voices From the Street

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  545 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Stuart Hadley is a young radio electronics salesman in early 1950s Oakland, California. He has what many would consider the ideal life; a nice house, a pretty wife, a decent job with prospects for advancement, but he still feels unfulfilled; something is missing from his life. Hadley is an angry young man--an artist, a dreamer, a screw-up. He tries to fill his void first w ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Tor Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,064)
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notgettingenough
This is a UFD. Let me explain.

Almost before he could read, Lloyd Spiegel wanted to play blues. As a precocious youngster he went on tour of the US. Bo Diddley came to see him and then went backstage and asked Spiegel what he wanted to be. Lloyd beamed up at him. ‘Don’t you get it, Mr Diddley? I’m a blues man.’ Whereupon Bo Diddley looked down at him and said ‘Son – you’ll be a blues man when I say you’re a blues man’.

Late in life Dick opined that he hadn’t been told early and often enough when h
...more
Phillip
"...it's tempting to read this early book as a Dickian urtext." There is something to this observation from the "Los Angeles Times" at the top of the 'Reader's Guide' in "Voice from the Street" (1952).

The story of Stuart Hadley, a talented 25-year-old television salesman, slated to become store manager, who is not content with his work, and not happy with his marriage looks like it could be Richard Deckard from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (1968) [also titled "Blade Runner"]. The diffe
...more
Kelly
while reading this book, i developed an actual hatred for the main character, stuart hadley. he's an arrogant asshole. a terrible human being. he has a pregnant wife (and later, a little son) and can't get his priorities straight, so he basically ruins his life. he does dumb thing after dumb thing (i won't list them lest i spoil the story), and these things contribute and lead to his eventual descent into a huge mental breakdown/temporary madness.

the reason that i did like this book, though, is
...more
Brian
Up until around page 233 reading about Stuart Hadley, seeing him, was like looking in a mirror. His life was mine. We had different jobs but the same thoughts, questions, and concerns. Luckily after page 233 the mirror shattered. I sometimes think I'm still Stuart stuck in between pages 1 - 233. I've often questioned what we really do. I used to watch suited men carrying briefcases filled with papers and wondered about the necessity of such endeavors. I was one of them. I was a landscape archtit ...more
Nicole
If you're interested in reading this book because you're intending to read all of Philip K. Dick's novels, then I recommend that you do so. If this is going to be your first book by him, I recommend that you read some of his other work, otherwise you might never want to after reading this.

Voices From the Street is one of Dick's earliest works and was just recently published for the first time. Maybe that explains why I found this book to be so terrible. It is not too often that I have to actual
...more
Sean O'Leary
Voices from the street is quite the curious book if you take into account all of PKD's other books as many ideas are explicitly recycled in his later novels. Opening the first few pages anyone whose read Dr. Bloodmoney or Humpty Dumpty in Oakland will instantly have recognized blatant similarities: a boss named Jim Fergusson and an everyday salesman/repairman named Stuart and in all three books the characters Jim and Stuart play similar roles; guilty boss and disgruntled employee. For this reaso ...more
Shob
This is a PKD book unlike any other. Written before he found fame as the "voice" for a dystopian future (but only published posthumously in 2007), this work of fiction starts off rather mundane.

About 50 pages into the story of Stuart Hadley - a TV sales & repairman in the suburb of Oakland in the post-war 50's - i was still searching for the "voice" that i was accustomed to.

Stuart is a young man who has seemingly everything - good looks, a beautiful wife, a new baby on the way and a new mana
...more
Travis
I've seen a lot of people on here bashing this book but it seems that a lot of them are bashing it by comparing it to later PKD novels. I have not yet read any other PKD novels and I do expect some of his other ones to be great but you have to read a book for itself; it's not fair to rate it based on how good the author's other books are. I thought the writing style was enjoyable the story was well put together. As someone who grew up in the 80s, I certainly can't speak to how realistic his char ...more
Gerald Kinro
Dick sets his one in his familiar territory—East Bay, California. This is, however, 1950. Stuart Hadley is and electronics salesman, a decent job with a future, has a lovely wife and seems to have a lot going for him. However, he is unfulfilled and seeks to satisfy himself with alcohol and sex and then religious fanaticism. Nothing works, and his life spirals out of control. Now he must work his way back.

According to his publisher, this is one of his earlier works that was not published until 2
...more
Eric Secrist
I had high expectations for this book, simply because of the author. I really like PKD, but you can tell this was only his second book. The book has a couple of sections which feature the main character (Stuart Hadley) interacting with Marsha, his mistress, that are really quite base and leave you feeling like you need to take a shower. It's these sections that were probably the reason that this book wasn't published until 2007, though the book was actually written in 1952, a period of 55 years. ...more
Contrarian Person
I was a big fan of Blade Runner long before I knew who PKD was. I've seen other PKD novels/short stories based movies since and have a healthy respect for the man as a SciFi writer though I haven't actually read any of his works, until now. I knew this wasn't one of his SciFi/metaphysics explorations going in but still was surprised by the contents and style. He's obviously trying to establish his fiction credentials and it does feel raw and unfinished. Stuart's descent into psychosis is somewha ...more
Claire
I am most fond of science fiction, and Philip K. Dick does not fail to disappoint with Voices From the Street. It is not the kind of sci-fi set in outer space, but rather the kind of sci-fi that is Other.

This is a period piece, of the 1950's. One can clearly tell this through the gender and racial relations depicted throughout the novel. I liked the portrayal for its honesty.

What should I say about Communism and the Succubus magazine...? I remarked as reading that I thought this probably should
...more
Spotsalots
One of the author's non-science fiction titles, and one of his first, which presumably explains why it remained unpublished until well after his death. Set in the Bay Area during the early 1950s (the Korean War is underway), its protagonist is a dissatisfied young TV and radio salesman. Stuart Hadley in some ways catches the reader's sympathy--he's intelligent and wanted to be an artist but feels trapped in his job and marriage while feeling there must be more to life--but we soon see that he's ...more
Cameron
Like all of my other reviews of Dick's main stream fiction - he really was a head of his time, but it is easy to see why it didn't get published. It is not comfortable reading and would have been even less so in 1952. This book is particularly raw in its disregard for the wider public of the days sensibilities.



Predating the publishing of both "On the Road" and "The Catcher in the Rye" it takes us through similar territories; mental breakdown and a raw glimpse (probably scource from life) of the
...more
Fiona Robson
“Stuart Hadley is a young radio electronics salesman in early 1950s Oakland, California. He has what many would consider the ideal life; a nice house, a pretty wife, a decent job with prospects for advancement, but he still feels unfulfilled; something is missing from his life. Hadley is an angry young man--an artist, a dreamer, a screw-up. He tries to fill his void first with drinking, and sex, and then with religious fanaticism, but nothing seems to be working, and it is driving him crazy. He ...more
Sean
Feb 06, 2008 Sean rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Very hardcore PKD fans
This isn't one of PKD's best. It's a book he wrote in the 1950s, ahead of his pulp sci-fi, and while it deals with many of the same themes he explores in his speculative fiction it does it in a rather ham-handed way. Some of the scenes are straight out of B-movie dramas, women wringing their hands while the man stands threateningly above them. Others are very strong and are such surprises that they kept me reading. In short, this reads like an early novel of a man of ideas unsure of how to say w ...more
Chris Morton
There were times when I liked it, times when I didn't. The way Hadley was drawn to the religious cult, to fill the emptiness in his life, the search for a purpose and all that: it was well written and clever, but painful to read. The stale life of his boss, Fergusson, was also cleverly drawn. And there's a real bastard of a character in there in the form of Hadley's brother-in-law. So yeah, parts were good. But there's a lot wrong with it too. It could do with a bit of tightening up for a start. ...more
Luis Guillermo
Por acelerado había escrito que se trataba de la "primera obra del autor". Es apenas otro manuscrito más, no publicado sino hasta 2007, 25 años después de su muerte.
Nada de ciencia ficción; una novela realista, ambientada en los años 50, en la que el protagonista, descontento por la vida que lleva -aquella que otros llamarían "perfecta", se carga emocionalmente hasta no poder resistir más.
Si bien los personajes -algunos- muestran una particular profundidad, los acontecimientos son más bien triv
...more
Jack Stovold
This is written from my perspective as a newcomer to PKD. This is my first novel, all I have read is the first volume of the short stories.

And now for something completely different. This was quite a surprise after having read the first volume of the short stories. This is Dick’s second novel (the first, Gather Yourselves Together, is out of print until July, so I won’t be reading it until then). Dick initially aspired to be a mainstream literary author, publishing his SF short stories to suppor
...more
Edward
May 02, 2008 Edward rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Frustrated minimum wage slaves as a cautionary tale.
Shelves: fiction
The situation of the main character should be recognizable to many in our service-based economy. He is a salesman in a small TV shop in southern California in the early 1950s. Like so many of our minimum wage, or slightly higher paid, store employees today, he is barely scrapping by. His wife is pregnant, he has no car, and he feels he has lost his opportunity to make something of himself.

His father is a doctor. He is a talented artist. The war everyone worries about is in Korea. A nuclear holo
...more
Leigh-ann
This is probably one of PKD's best-written books... he finally managed to flesh-out all of his characters, male and female, but they're all so horribly self-centered and cruel and moody and insane that it wasn't enjoyable to read. I know some people enjoy reading about angst, but I'm not one of them. It was hard to decide how to rate this book -- I settled on 3 stars because I can tell it's impressive work, but I can't give it any more stars because of the violence, the racism, etc. I've complai ...more
Scott Holstad
For my review of Humpty Dumpty in Oakland, one of Dick's mainstream novels, I wrote "I feel like a total traitor, because I got through the first six chapters — to page 94 — and finally gave up. Philip K. Dick is one of my two favorite writers, the other being Charles Bukowski. I’ve ALWAYS loved his books, even if some are imperfect. This one, though, was simply dull.

It’s a well known fact that Dick hated being considered a sci fi hack and wanted to be considered a mainstream novelist."

Well, Voi
...more
James
Everybody's wagging their tails about how this is "Philip K. Dick writing straight fiction," not science fiction in other words. Yet, to me, it retained a slightly fabulist or science fictional flavor the whole way through, especially in the scenes that have to do with Theodore Beckheim and his cult. I think it's just Dick's way of looking at things, at finding the strangely epic little details in everyday life and them somehow bringing those to the center of the story. I think that's most of hi ...more
This is Me Equivocally
If you're interested in reading this book because you're intending to read all of Philip K. Dick's novels, then I recommend that you do so. If this is going to be your first book by him, I recommend that you read some of his other work, otherwise you might never want to after reading this.

Voices From the Street is one of Dick's earliest works and was just recently published for the first time. Maybe that explains why I found this book to be so terrible. It is not too often that I have to actual
...more
Ben
I really wanted to like this book more. It had me going at various points, but throughout a significant portion of it I was just frustrated or a bit bored. As with most of Dick's works, sci fi and non, this isn't really a happy book. The core of the book, to me, is about the struggle by the main character to find meaning for himself within the world. He's got a pretty wife, a child on the way, and is up for a promotion to store manager at work; ostensibly the perfect 1950s life. But he feels he ...more
Anders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel
I admit that I am one of those readers who generally can't get enough of Philip K Dick's sci-fi work. I'm well aware that the man wrote some non-sci-fi works, though I haven't gobbled them up like some of his fans have.

This particular book was a struggle. It was hard to get in to this and harder to stay with it. The characters had incredible depth (perhaps unusual for a book of this sort written at this time) but they were all, to an individual, unlikeable. I've said it in many reviews, but if y
...more
Chris Harris
I really wanted to hate the characters in this book. But in the end I really couldn't, there is just too much I have had in common with Stuart Hadley. And I've known my share of Fergusson's and this book serves as a great balancing act between those character types. It is amazing to me that this book was written in the 50s about life then and that despite all of our modern technologies and increased "awareness" you could transplant the plot of this book into the modern world and have it not lose ...more
Alan Marchant
gutter noise

A reader who is not already a Philip K. Dick fan is unlikely to enjoy Voices From the Street. Publishers had plenty of good reasons to avoid this manuscript for the past 50 years. More than most of his work, Voices reeks of Dickian narcissism. Thoughts, emotions, motives, dialog, and descriptions are dominated by the trite and trivial. The humor, inventiveness, and free association that justify Dick's science fiction are totally lacking.

Dick fans will recognize many autobiographical
...more
Chris
Another Philip K. Dick novel that seems so different from the body of work characterized by his quirky and yet somehow paranoid worldview. This novel chronicles a period in the life of Stuart Hadley, a young television salesman, who feels dissatisfied with his life and searches for something more. After a series of personal disasters, he is reduced to a very simple life living in a threadbare basement with his wife and young son. Not a great read by any means, but Hadley's descent from normalcy ...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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