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The Philip K. Dick Reader

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,911 ratings  ·  176 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, 422 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Citadel (first published 1997)
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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
Andrew Bulthaupt
Jan 07, 2009 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
...more
Josh
Aug 10, 2011 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 my fi ...more
Crystal Lee
Aug 05, 2012 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
...more
Leigh-ann
Apr 07, 2010 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
Liv
Mar 09, 2008 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.
Stevie
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorie-authors
I enjoy several short Dicks every bit as much as one long Dick.
Jack Dinkel
Feb 06, 2016 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
...more
Mark Gonzalez
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-fiction
Earlier works more Serling, less Gibson.

The themes can be divided into three or four categories which include: ignorant protagonists whom act as the ill-fated subjects of karma ("Fair Game" "Turning Wheel" "Strange Eden" "Exhibit Piece" "Shell Game"), allegories for racism, tribalism, and McCarthyism in America ("Tony and the Beetles" "The Hanging Stranger" "The Chromium Fence"), rebellion against/critique of totalitarian regimes and agents of the Cold War ("Last of the Masters" "To Serve Maste
...more
Raima Larter
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although I was a big-time reader of classic science fiction decades ago, I am only now, in 2018, getting around to finally reading Philip K. Dick. The pieces in this collection are some of his earliest short stories, many originally published before he became well-known. At the time I was reading classic scifi (in the 1960s and early 1970s) Dick was an emerging writer, and I was still stuck on Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury and the other more established scifi writers - so the only way I knew of Dick' ...more
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 06, 2011 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
Dorothy Hermary
Apr 24, 2016 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
...more
Laura
May 13, 2010 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
...more
Matt
Dec 04, 2013 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
Andre
Jan 20, 2010 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.
Kayleigh
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
If it wasn't for the rampant sexism and personality traits assigned to breasts, I'd give it five stars. Each story was structured like a good joke. I liked the one with the angels, and the exhibit story also, war veteran was mad.
Stephen Acton
May 30, 2008 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.
Nolan Morris
Jan 17, 2009 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.
Grant Johnson
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Philip K. Dick's short fiction is every bit as amazing as his novels. Every story is entertaining. I don't go in order, I jump around from story to story.
Gábor
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
As sci-fi ought to be, but for some of the stories which didn't age well.
Jason McCuiston
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish I hadn’t come to PKD so late in the game. When these stories were written, they must have seemed like a completely new kind of genre, and in a way, I suppose they were. These are the tales that gave rise to what we recognize as modern SF today. Unfortunately, the ideas and concepts Dick created have become well-worn tropes in the ensuing decades. Still, there’s a lot to enjoy in this book and I’m glad I read it.
David Ober
Mar 03, 2013 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
Dick Hamilton
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pretty much the best of the best, an excellent collection of stories.
Robert
Feb 07, 2010 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.)

Thi
...more
Stephen Gallup
May 13, 2013 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
...more
Greg Talbot
Feb 08, 2015 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
...more
Richard
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is no other science fiction writer like Philip K. Dick. His imagination, his slant on life, his insight into technology and human behavior, and his great writing put him near the top of the list of all time great sci fi writers.

This book contains twenty-four of his early short stories, five of which were made into major motion pictures. While most of these stories were written in the '50s and '60s, the themes are equally relevant to issues we are facing today. Fear of war, issues of rights
...more
Ben
Jun 14, 2008 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
...more
Cait
Oct 12, 2014 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
Laurel
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We can Remember it for You Wholesale - read 4-5 March 2018
I read this after watching Total Recall (2012). I now clearly need to watch the Arnold Schwarzenegger version.

This story is actually one of Dick's funnier stories - although it has a sobering side too. But oh-so-frustrating for some of the characters. Of course, I'll leave you to figure out why.

In this short story, Dick scratches at the itch people have to do something meaningful with their lives. Douglas Quail is an everyman, ordinary, l
...more
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Philip K. Dick didn't edit his books. Do you think he should have? 2 11 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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