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The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick 1: The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford

(The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  4,771 ratings  ·  134 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 his works has continued to mount, and his reputation has been further enhanced by a growing body of critical attention. Dick won the prestigious Hugo Award for best novel of 1963 for "The Man in the High Castle, " and in the last ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Citadel (first published January 1st 1987)
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4.23  · 
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 ·  4,771 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

This, the first a series of six volumes of Dick’s collected short fiction, covers the period between1947 and 1953, encompassing his first six month marriage, his even briefer college experiment at Berkeley, the beginning of his second (nine year) marriage, his four years working at a Telegraph Hill record store, and his first year supporting himself as a full-time writer. (Just barely self-supporting. Dick said he lacked the money to pay his library fines.)

The quality varies considerably, from o
Nov 27, 2015 marked it as to-read
Because you are currently reading The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, a few recommendations in Science,
Goodreads told me just now. This book was fourth on the list.

Well, that's either very clever or very stupid.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: SF, F&SF, short-story, skeptics
I admit, I am biased. The short story form is under appreciated and under utilized and I would much rather see genius is the short form than mediocrity in the novel. PKD is the type of writer that makes you remember that the short story form is an art form and much more difficult to pull off than other, longer forms. Despite that he's relegated to "genre writer" category, there are numerous short stories that delve into deeper areas of philosophy, humanism, and, of course, the future of the worl ...more
Jack Stovold
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having never read any Philip K. Dick, but long having an interest, I’ve decided to read through all his works in chronological order as best as I can (for various reasons, I won’t be able to read his first novel, Gather Yourselves Together, until July). I want to give you my impressions of his works as a first-timer and observe the evolution of his writing.
I started with this one.
This collection contains most of Dick’s earliest stories, mostly written in 1952, although the first one, “Stabil
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1950s, america
Stupendous collection of short stories, I have been converted to Dick's idea of science fiction (set out by him in the preface) that the lead character of a science fiction story should not be a person but instead, an idea. An idea that has roots in this, the modern world, but changes the face of what we know so as to make us question the possibilities of our future (and in some cases our alternate past or present). Give me more!

Best stories: "Beyond Lies the Wub", "The Defenders", "Paycheck", "
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-geek
This collection of early (as in pre-breakdown) Philip K. Dick stories runs the gamut from later-became-blockbusters such as "Paycheck" to hidden gems like "Beyond Lies the Wub". If you're not familiar with Philip K. Dick, this is a good place to start.
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, short-stories
I generally like Philip K. Dick better in his short stories. He has fantastic and weird ideas, but too often his plotting and characterization can't sustain a novel length. Anyhoo, this is a collection of his earliest short/medium length works, covering 1952-55. Many are strongly influenced by the cold war, something that oddly contrasts with the current U.S. culture that has us fighting three simultaneous wars of choice. Among of my favorites is "The Preserving Machine" wherein a scientist is s ...more
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
The five volumes of Dick's collected stories are a masterclass in how to write short stories from intimate character studies to massive universe spanning plots, all wrapped up in a few pages.

And even more impressive is that very few of them take place in the same world. So often a massive amount of backstory has to be sketched in for us, or sometimes simply left for us to infer, and yet almost every time it works and is consistent.

Not every story is perfect, but more than enough of them are to j
Yulande Lindsay
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories by Philip K. Dick. The sheer range of his imagination staggers. His exploration of a variety of subjects, in particular the consequences of war, result in stories that are often insightful and yes, often chilling as one recognizes the possibilities presented in each one. My favourites include: Nanny, Colony, The King of the Elves, The Variable Man and Paycheck.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-be-continued
So I certainly think Dick is one of the great sci-fi writers, but this collection of early stories definitely shows it's earliness. Nothing is quite as polished as you'd like (although that's pretty standard for Dick, I guess.) When it boils down to it, there just weren't that many great stories here.


Stability - 3 stars - It's sort of ironic (prescient?) that Dick's first story is what it is: time travel and confusion.

Roog - 2 stars - I know this is a beloved story, but it's never done
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was my first bush with PKD, and immediately made me a convert. This collection is more than a few science fiction short stories. This is PKD at his best, flirting with an idea, stretching it as far as he can, stretching you as far as he can, and finishing with a great story leaving you with plenty to ponder. There really isn't a bad story in this extensive collection.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am not going to write a summary, it is annoying when people do that. Congratulations on restating everything that is located on the back of the book. Anyway, this is what I think...
This is one of those books I recommend purchasing and not borrowing from a library or a friend. Great short stories that can be read and reread many times.
Marts  (Thinker)
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is a rather interesting tale. So happens, a crew member on this ship buys an animal from a native for only 50 cents. Its strange but whats even stranger is that he talks, and hey, its no ordinary talking the thing is rather philosophical, anyway its called a Wub... and its interesting to learn what happens to him!!
Brian Schwartz
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This first volume of Philip K. Dick’s short fiction introduces the themes that dominate his writing throughout his storied career. His abhorrence of war. Fear of atomic destruction. The folly of over reliance on technology. Dick is able to introduce these themes, make the reader consider his subtext, all while telling superb, plot driven fiction.
Tim Juchter
Apr 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
You can see all Dick's themes developing, from simple stories about a dog whose barking is the only thing frightening away dangerous aliens, to more involved fantasies about a subterranean post-apocalyptic future. "Beyond Lies the Wub" might make you consider vegetarianism.
Ratnesh Neema
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Simply amazing... Philip's imagination knows no bounds!
Rene Bard
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Years ago, I entered the PKD universe by way of his major novels; Ubik was the first. Immersed in the brilliance of his weirdness, I felt him reach out of the pages, grab my skin-covered skull, glasses and all, and shake it like a snow globe. Each new experience with PKD - The Man in the High Castle, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and, eventually, his masterpiece A Scanner Darkly - stirred up the confetti within the glass sphere.

The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick 1: The Short Happy L
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Philip K. Dick is a master of the sci-fi short form. This is the first of five volumes collecting his short stories in chronological order. This volume covers the years 1952-55, and includes such gems as "Paycheck" and "Roog".

A nice feature of these volumes is the inclusion of PKD's story notes. I particularly love his commentary on his first sale, "Roog", in which he remarks how a blind high school student intuitively grokked his story, in contrast to a respected anthologist, who rejected it. I
Austin Wright
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
VOLUME 1 of 5.
Maxwell Pollack
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This isn't the book I read. I actually read book 5 of the same series, but it wasn't on goodreads. It was good, in a dated, apologetically sexist sort of way. Very good stories if you're willing to tolerate that, some of the most creative fiction I've read in a while.
Ben Loory
Sep 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
there are more great ideas in this one book of stories than there are in most writers' complete works. and some of the stories, "beyond lies the wub," for instance, are absolutely perfect pkd. but the vast majority of them sort of bore me, and that's something considering what a huge fan i am. perhaps because they're from so early in his career, they still feel too science-fictional, too pulpy. he hasn't yet progressed to questioning reality itself, hasn't gotten into religion and madness. so, f ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
A fun collection of short stories (seemingly presented in the order they were written? i should double check that this held true throughout edit: apparently that was the idea of this series of collections. although they later abandoned the idea).

I picked this up for a quick introduction to the legendary author's work. I was suprised by the general lack of hard science, and the heavy focus on war (critical).

My favories were the first and final stories. the first, Stability, for be
Warren Watts
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
An entertaining collection of some of Mr. Dick's short stories.

I see a lot of similarities between his style and that of Ray Bradbury. Philip K. Dick didn't have that magical way with words or the insight into what makes us human that Bradbury did, but his stories always make me think. I interpret the message behind his stories to be one of hope or impending disaster for humanity/society.

Speculation is a key part of a good science fiction tale, and Philip K. Dick was really good at wrapping a
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The collection I read was titled Beyond Lies the Wub, and the title story was a "you are what you eat" warning on extra terrestrial food. The Brown Oxford is a love story between animated shoes. Overall the stories were all like that, cute and punchy and the literary equivalent of Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
A fantastic collection of sci-fi tales by Phillip K. Dick. I can see why they made a movie out of "Paycheck" and his other stories have the potential of being translated to the big screen. Main of his stories have dark twists and a bleak outlook for the fate of humankind. Some do have glimmers of humor and hope, like "The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford."
Pranjal Sahu
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Movies like Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau influenced me so much that I decided I need to read more of his stories. At first I thought I would prepare a list of favorite stories from this collection but it turns out every single one of it is a gem. Twists, suspense, futuristic... it has got everything. Many of the stories are based on and deal with wars and its after effects.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
very enjoyable, must read more PKD.

my favourites:
The Defenders
The Infinites
The Indefatigable Frog
The Crystal Crypt
The Great C
Out in the Garden
The King of the Elves
Prize Ship
C.A. Chicoine
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book I've read over time. But I have been reading more of PKD's short stories most recently.

The stories I enjoyed most from this collection are the following:

*The Preserving Machine
*The Variable Man
*The King of the Elves
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed these short stories - some were funny (especially "The Eyes Have It"), some were a bit creepy ("Beyond Lies the Wub", "The Hanging Stranger" in particular). "The Skull" was a great time-travel story.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pkd
This collection of Dick's work spanning from 1947 to 1952 is a delightful read. Though one might find the absence of the 'manic urgency' reflective of his later works distressing, his work continues to evoke.
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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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The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick (5 books)
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  • The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick 5: The Eye of The Sibyl
“I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards," Dick wrote of these stories. "In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.” 8 likes
“Los que leemos ciencia ficción (ahora hablo como lector, no como escritor) lo hacemos porque nos gusta experimentar esta reacción en cadena de ideas que provoca en nuestras mentes algo que leemos, algo que comporta una nueva idea; por tanto, la mejor ciencia ficción tiende en último extremo a convertirse en una colaboración entre autor y lector en la que ambos crean... y disfrutan haciéndolo: el placer es el esencial y definitivo ingrediente de la ciencia ficción, al placer de descubrir la novedad.” 1 likes
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