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The Philip K. Dick Reader

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  2,110 ratings  ·  120 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
173rd out of 1,898 books — 1,449 voters
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickUbik 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
32nd out of 52 books — 283 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrew
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
...more
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
...more
Josh
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
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
...more
Liv
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
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
Leigh-ann
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
Ben
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
...more
Matt
“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
Laura
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
...more
Greg Talbot
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 unce
...more
Andre
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
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
Stephen Acton
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
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
Nolan Morris
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.
Cait
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
Betty
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
Ricky
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
...more
Stephen Gallup
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
...more
David Ober
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
Adam
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
Robert
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.)

Thi
...more
Zach
Jun 10, 2008 Zach rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Zach by: Joe Garwood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zachary
"My dad says they sold people as many cars and washing machines and television sets as they could use. He says bomb shelters aren't good for anything, so people never get all they can use. He says factories can keep turning guns and gas masks forever, and as long as people are afraid they'll keep paying for them because they think if they don't they might get killed, and maybe a man gets tired of paying for a new car every year and stops, but he's never going to stop buying shelters to protect h ...more
Seth
Yes I like most human beings love Dick, Philip K Dick that is... There are 24 ironicly humerous short stories in this collection. I enjoyed reading one or two of them here and there over the course of over five years while taking a break between other authors. Some of my favorite stories in this book were "Sales Pitch" "Second Variety" "Foster, your dead" and "Tony and the beetles". More recently I enjoyed reading "War Veteran and Paycheck". I highly recommend this collection if your interested ...more
Traummachine
This was actually my introduction to the writings of PKD; I read Three Stigmata afterward. With the exceptions of Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly, all of the movies I'm aware of that were based on PKD stories were collected in this book of short stories (The Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and Total Recall). And in all cases, I loved the short story, and always thought it was better than the film.

Unfortunately, that only covers 5 of the 24 stories in this collection. Only 1 or two
...more
Kory
I found this to be a really good book, I've known a decent amount about Philip K. Dick and seen most of the films adapted from his works, but until now I had never read anything by him. His writing style is enjoyable and held my interest while reading, though some people might find the sameness, themes and terminology, through all his stories boring, I instead felt that it linked all of them in such a way that there could be a chronological order to them or that some occurred roughly around the ...more
Zeljka
Wonderful, must-have collection of classic sf stories. The size of the book might scare you, but the stories are really readable, and from the choice of them you may clearly see why this author was - and still is despite a little bit of "outdateness" - such an inspiration to generations and generations of sf writers and filmmakers.
The top of the cream were, at least for me, stories that were made into more or less memorable movies (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, Minority Report, Paycheck,
...more
T'leah
I skipped about 60 pages of it, but I got what I wanted out of it. Out of the first short stories I read until the end of "Foster, you're dead" and then went and read all the stories that have movies based on them. Those were pretty interesting. Really loved "Second Variety." The last line was pretty epic and had a great point to it, the overall theme of the story was really great. Paycheck was sort of meh. Same as Minority report. They did have good foundations for movies. We can Remember it fo ...more
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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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