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The Philip K. Dick Reader

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,322 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Many thousands of readers consider Philip K. Dick the greatest science fiction mind on any planet. Since his untimely death in 1982, interest in Dick's works has continued to mount, and his reputation has been further enhanced by a growing body of critical attention. The Philip K. Dick Award is now given annually to a distinguished work of science fiction, and the Philip K ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Citadel (first published 1997)
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Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
184th out of 2,128 books — 1,589 voters
Ubik by Philip K. DickDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickA Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickThe Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
Best of Philip K. Dick
33rd out of 53 books — 317 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 07, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it
I became intrigued with Philip K. Dick's work ever since I realized that a bunch of movies I enjoyed, namely Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, The Minority Report, and Paycheck, were all based on stories he wrote. So after picking up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and loving that, I bought the Reader to get a better taste of his writing style.

Most of the stories here share a common theme of during or post Cold War tension. Usually there's a threat of impending nuclear war or the war has alre
Joseph Adelizzi, Jr.
If you could read my thoughts like the authorities in the short story “We Can Remember It for you Wholesale” in The Philip K. Dick Reader you know by now that I feel I've rated this “Reader” collection unfairly low. You'll know I don't feel quite comfortable judging the quality of this collection by the accuracy of its predictions, but you are also aware of my inability to overlook certain mainstays in Dick's collection. Hence my (for me) low rating.

I could easily overlook some failed prediction
Aug 24, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing
This book made me into, well, a Philip K. Dick Reader. I knew the man's name by the movies he's responsible for, but I never looked into his works or researched him. For me, this was just a book by an author I've heard of that wound up in an armful of books I acquired at a Barnes & Noble. All of these short stories are fairly (dare I say) "normal", and well... they're scifi. Good scifi. The image I had in my mind of PKD after finishing this was worlds apart from what it became after I read m ...more
Crystal Lee
Aug 05, 2012 Crystal Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went and saw the new Collin Ferrell Total Recall film, and hadn't realized it was based on the short story: We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Phillip K. Dick.

Once I found that out, I looked Phillip up, and to my delight discovered other science fiction films I've loved were based off his stories too. I had started Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep months ago, which Blade Runner was based off of, and I just couldn't get through it. I didn't care for the main character, but I was told th
Mar 09, 2008 Liv rated it really liked it
I love, love, love Philip K. Dick. I am no avid science fiction reader, but I got a huge kick out of Philip K. Dick's world. My only complaint about this collection of short stories is that about halfway through the book you begin to be able to anticipate the twist, but the twist is always good, always satisfying.
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 06, 2011 Bojan Tunguz rated it really liked it
Philip K. Dick is one of the most recognizable names in Sci Fi, and this compilation of his short stories would be a good first exposure to his writings. The stories are, however, somewhat uneven in their quality, but this has been the characteristic of PKD in much of his oeuvre. The earlier ones seem rather amateurish, both in terms of the writing style and the ideas that they deal with, but the later longer ones are true gems of the genre. Among stories included here are 'The Minority Report', ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Leigh-ann rated it really liked it
I picked this up and couldn't put it down until I'd finished every story, and then I promptly went to the library to check out a few of Dick's novels. I loved the originality of Dick's visions, plus the unintentional "campiness" of the future often envisioned by sci-fi writers. I was also struck by how even a man of great imagination has his limits, so that a powerful computer five hundred years in the future is still the size of a entire room and stores information on magnetic tape while spitti ...more
Feb 22, 2009 Ben rated it liked it
The main problem with this anthology is that too many of the stories are not especially interesting. They're not necessarily bad, just not very interesting. Some of the stories are excellent, though, and, for the most part they make up for the weak spots. Also, several of the stories have gone on to be movies (though you might not recognize them...) and will probably be of interest to many people irrespective of quality.

Most of the best stories are the ones that made it as films. They're often g
Jan 25, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing
“It’s like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone,” my dad said after I asked him what he thought after reading some of the stories. And that’s probably the most apt means of describing this collection of 24 stories by Philip K. Dick. Simmering paranoia boils over into worlds where everything seen is misperceived and can no longer be trusted. Dick is at his best with the short story pacing and the sudden revelation. It’s all great stuff. He’s got the key if you are willing to unlock the door to “another di ...more
May 23, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
If it's not obvious, this is a book of sci-fi short stories--the far-future/space-exploring kind of science fiction. Dick has a seemingly endless supply of new universes and new plot twists. He manages to draw you into each setting without needing to do much explaining; just drops you in the middle of the story and does an excellent job of allowing things to become clear on their own.

These stories tend toward the deliciously creepy, and many have twists that I couldn't predict. And you can tell
Sep 29, 2015 Amory rated it liked it
Shelves: 75-in-2015-maybe
So... after years of build-up, and much 'based-on' movie watching, I was super excited to finally sit down and read these seminal SF stories. And then... for most of (say 3/4) of the way through this collection I thought... (1) all those screenwriters over the years, for Paycheck, Total Recall, Minority Report really earned their money.. the rarest of times when the movies were really much better than their printed source material. (2) A number of these read like old Twilight Zone episodes, and/ ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Andre rated it it was amazing
I read most of the short short stories when they first came out years ago, but it was wonderful to read them again, especially "We can Remember it for you Wholesale" on which the movie "Total Recall" was based and "The Minority Report". It is a shame this compilation was published during Dick's lifetime so we could have had his comments on each of these stories. It would be enlightening to learn where he came up with such fantastic ideas.
A.A. Anderfuren
Jun 08, 2015 A.A. Anderfuren rated it it was amazing
This is a great collection of short stories that includes such must read classics as the stories that inspired Total Recall and Minority Report. Also includes the story that inspired the movie Screamers - which should be remade (ala Terminator style) - following the spirit of the story, which is top notch while the film sucked. Anyone who enjoys scifi should read this collection. It also includes my favorite from the collection, Paycheck, which should be made into a film ASAP for mass audiences ...more
Jack Dinkel
Feb 17, 2016 Jack Dinkel rated it really liked it
I read We Can Remember It For You Wholesale for a Sci-Fi and Philosophy class. Here were some of my thoughts related to the following prompt:
Rekal, Incorporated has quite a sales pitch: vacation memories that are better, more real and more lasting than the real thing---in fact, regular human memory is "second best." How do you react to this technology? Would you use it? Why or why not? Do you have any philosophical issues with this technology?

Well this is another terrifying technology! It has su
Stephen Acton
May 30, 2008 Stephen Acton rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of Philip K Dick's short stories, including The Minority Report and Total Recall (actually called "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" - can't imagine why they changed the name for the movie :).

PKD is classic Sci-Fi and he has a great knack for twisting a story around in the last sentence.
Jared Bird
Oct 08, 2014 Jared Bird rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I came away from this book with a greater appreciation for this writer. I understood that he was a classic sci-fi writer, and I was impressed by some of his stories and their depth, particularly the famous ones like Minority Report and We Can Remember it For You Wholesale (the inspiration for Total Recall). These stories are imaginative and clearly outstanding. However, at the same time, I feel like this compilation has some filler in it that isn't so impressive. For example, there are a handful ...more
Dorothy Hermary
May 24, 2016 Dorothy Hermary rated it really liked it
As a compilation of some of Dick's short stories, this book is a marvelous read.

It includes the stories that provided the basis for such movies as "Total Recall", "Minority Report", and "Screamers" as well as many other stories that contain numerous ideas that could influence a movie, even if they haven't already been utilized.

I enjoyed watching the movies and comparing them to the stories that inspired them. There are some large discrepancies. One example is the ending for "Screamers" in comp
Nolan Morris
Jan 28, 2009 Nolan Morris rated it really liked it
Always good for some weirdness. The short stories prevent Dick from getting too into his own head, so this makes for some great reading at the pool or before bed.
May 23, 2016 Alexb rated it really liked it
This is essential reading for any fan of the science-fiction genre and Philip K. Dick. I became familiar with Dick's work as I made my way through the Sci-Fi masterworks series and the reader seemed an excellent way to build on what I had read. So many of these short works in the reader became blockbuster hits, but it nevertheless remains worthwhile to read the tales that led to those films (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report) and spot how Hollywood deviated from the original work. Alth ...more
Jessica McFarland
In my dreams, I am running. Always trying to escape something. This wildly imaginative series of short stories read like nightmares come to life - not overlong or too short, perfectly chilling while remaining unique. 60's themes such as the death of the American dream, paranoia, xenophobia, and the inability to tell friend from foe are here in spades. The thing I find most unusual is that there isn't a single dud in the mix. Whether fascinating, tense, or just plain thought provoking, Dick is tr ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
Philip K. Dick had an amazing mind for science fiction scenarios--the stories in this book almost all have a fascinating (or at least entertaining) premise. He's definitely a master of the "What if?" But I don't actually think his writing is particularly good, and his characters are almost all completely interchangeable. The ideas are interesting enough that this is still very much worth a read, and you can definitely see why he's been so influential, but don't come to this expecting great liter ...more
Greg Talbot
Dec 19, 2015 Greg Talbot rated it really liked it
Wonder, awe and dread. Philip K. dick is more a visionary than a writer at times. His works have been adapted as some of the most compelling and futuristic sci-fi works of our time (among them "Minority Report", "A Scanner Darkly", "BladeRunner").

Dick's work jabs at the notion that progress and freedom go hand and hand. Many of his work shows the shallow motives, animal instincts and limitations of us. All of this is cloaked in the 1950s/1960s paranoia - the atom bomb, the Soviet threat, the unc
Feb 25, 2016 Cait rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cait by: Max Treboni
I loved this. Obviously there are some that I liked more than others (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, wow!), but I found the resounding theme of a post-apocalyptic world to be interesting, especially because we are discussing major extinctions in my Organismal Diversity class. We as humans are currently in the sixth extinction, which will be the first major extinction ever caused by a species. It's just intriguing to me because most of the stories seemed to have characters that had been pa ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Betty rated it liked it
Shelves: re-read, 2011, 2013
This is a pretty uneven collection of stories. There are a few good ones but the majority end up having groan-worthy Twilight Zone style ironic twist endings, which was pretty disappointing after how much I loved A Scanner Darkly. Still worth reading for the original versions of Total Recall (We Can Remember it For You Wholesale), The Minority Report, and Paycheck (that classic Ben Affleck film). In every case the original story is much tighter and smarter than the resulting film, and definitely ...more
Oct 08, 2014 Ricky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I wasn't very familiar with Philip K. Dick's works, having only read "A Scanner Darkly" prior to reading this collection of his short stories. I'm definitely glad I picked this book up. While I didn't like all of the stories in the book, I did enjoy a large majority of them. It was nice to see the source material behind "Total Recall" and "Minority Report" (I also felt that these stories were vastly superior to the movies based on them).

I also enjoyed how, even though the technology was dated, t
Stephen Gallup
May 30, 2013 Stephen Gallup rated it really liked it
I first learned of this author’s existence when his name appeared in the credits for Blade Runner, way back in 1982. But in all the years since then I hadn’t read any of his work. That was a box I had to check off at some point.

Well, now I’ve gotten round to this collection of his stories. One, near the beginning (“The Eyes Have It”) is delightfully clever and amusing. I read it aloud to my appreciative daughter. It’s the kind of thing I wish I’d written. Another, at the end (“Second Variety”) i
David Ober
Apr 28, 2013 David Ober rated it really liked it
One of the great tragedies of Philip K. Dick’s life is that he died shortly before Hollywood started pumping out adaptations of his work. This means that he has become far more popular posthumously than when he was alive. For most of his time as a sci-fi author, Philip K. Dick both lived to write and wrote to live. He was an incredibly prolific artist who, at times, seemed to have an unending supply of ideas, but at the same time he also had to write in order to provide himself shelter and food. ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Adam rated it liked it
Every Philip K. Dick story is about humans getting beat up by forces man-made or otherworldly, as punishment for the hubris of the species or the bad attitude of an individual. All efforts toward avoiding a kicked-to-the-curb outcome are futile. It's like the Twilight Zone meets Groundhog Day. He uses awful cliches without noticing them ("Weren't you saying last night old man Davidson was shouting about employees being late for work and standing around the water cooler talking and having a good ...more
Mar 15, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it
A good starting place before going into the novels. It also allows the reader to immediately satisfy any curiosity about the source materials of the mainstream movies that had been made from Dick's short stories up to this time and that is why I started with it. (I have since also finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and the new set The Early Work of Philip K. Dick (v1 and v2). Volume 2 overlaps heavily with this book (The Philip K. Dick Reader), V1 has no stories in common at all.)

Jun 10, 2008 Zach rated it liked it
Recommended to Zach by: Joe Garwood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Philip K. Dick didn't edit his books. Do you think he should have? 2 7 Oct 03, 2014 07:32PM  
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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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