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Voices From the Street
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Voices From the Street

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  790 ratings  ·  115 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 ...more
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Tor Books (first published 2007)
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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
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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 ...more
"'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
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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 ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jonathan Norton
Although very much an early work (and he cannibalised it later for characters and ideas, so he wouldn't have wanted it published) this does give us a full immersion into the paranoid, violent, insecure world of California in the early 50s. If you think PKD was just some old acid priest who wrote weirdie sci-fi for dudebros, check out the early novels. You'll find plenty of material to plagiarise for your own novel about Trump's America, and you'll get away with it as not many people bother ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
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
Willow Redd
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of Philip K. Dick's earlier stories that was unpublished until a few years ago. I found this in one of those giant book-overstock stores that's open for a while until they run out of inventory or money to rent the storefront. Fitting, considering certain elements of this story.

Except for the fact that the story is set in 1952, the characters and the plot of this book could just as well be found today. In fact, there were moments where conversations between characters seemed like
Chris Harris
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Philip K. Dick's second novel, written as he attempted to transition from science fiction short story writer to novelist, and unpublished during Dick's lifetime. It's not polished, and could use some more editing and rewriting. Dick's "voice" as an author is not really present yet, but there are certain passages that I where I caught a glimpse of the author he would later become. Very much the work of a young author feeling his way, working out his style, and struggling with the novel form.

Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classy-fiction
I saw someone compare this book to Revolutionary Road, and I think the comparison is apt. That's what Dick is aiming for here, anyway. It's a novel of suburban angst, and a self-destructing main character who isn't satisfied but isn't sure why.

This novel is very early in Dick's career, and was not published in his lifetime. You'll note as you read that it obviously could have benefited from an editor to clean up some spots that no doubt would have been revised if the book had been published.
Kieran McAndrew
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fed up and careening out of control, Stuart Hadley searches for direction in an unsatisfying life. When he fails to find solace in religion and politics, Stuart turns to drink and a seedy affair.

Philip K. Dick explores themes of dissatisfaction, fear, paranoia and otherness which become more prevalent in his later novels.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was a disappointing book. The main character is self absorbed and grandiose. Also, a continuity editor would have been helpful. The racism and anti-Semitism permeating much of this book was irritating. Like another reviewer, I had to force myself to finish the book. The semi-redemptive ending was not convincing.
Mr. Dick is a good wordsmith and the picture of the Bay Area over 60 years ago is vivid. That is the justification for the lone star.
Chris Craddock
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beale
Read this a while ago so can't recall exactly what happened. Philip K. Dick is so good, but known mostly for his SCI FI. This and some of his others don't fall into that category. They are more realistic, though of course nothing is ever really bland or mundane in PKD's world.
Andy Mascola
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
A posthumously published early PKD novel. A man in his mid-20s with a wife and baby has an existential crisis exacerbated by a 1950’s US rife with post-war racism and broken dreams. Hard to believe PKD was only 24 when he wrote this. I liked it. ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's not surprising that this book was rejected by publishers at the time it was written. For completists only.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
No sci-fi here, but the book certainly has the main feel of most of the PKD books I have read that come after this.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 01, venustas, audio, pkd
Ugly. A horrible man does horrible things for reasons of unresolved personal vanity, and is accommodated because this is 1950's USA and he is a white male of good birth.
Scott Holstad
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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."

Jack Stovold
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Levent Mollamustafaoglu
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of the first books Philip K. Dick wrote in the 50's, but he was never able to publish it. His early novels were all mainstream, he had not started his famous run of SF novels he produced in the 60's and 70's. However, his early mainstream books show the signs of his future obsession: he constantly questions the world around him, either believing that it is an artificial image that is being used to keep mankind in oblivion (a bit like the humans in Matrix) or feeling an existential ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Feb 11, 2009 added it
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 ...more
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Fiona Robson
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philip-k-dick
“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
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Eric Secrist
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
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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. ...more
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