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Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams

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The stories that inspired the original dramatic series.
Though perhaps most famous as a novelist, Philip K. Dick wrote more than one hundred short stories over the course of his career, each as mind-bending and genre-defining as his longer works. Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams collects ten of the best. In “Autofac,” Dick shows us one of the earliest examples (and warnings) in science fiction of self-replicating machines. “Exhibit Piece” and “The Commuter” feature Dick exploring one of his favorite themes: the shifting nature of reality and whether it is even possible to perceive the world as it truly exists. And “The Hanging Stranger” provides a thrilling, dark political allegory as relevant today as it was when Dick wrote it at the height of the Cold War.

Strange, funny, and powerful, the stories in this collection highlight a master at work, encapsulating his boundless imagination and deep understanding of the human condition.


213 pages, Hardcover

First published September 14, 2017

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About the author

Philip K. Dick

1,303 books19.1k followers
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. Dick died on March 2, 1982, in Santa Ana, California, of heart failure following a stroke.

In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 423 reviews
Profile Image for [ J o ].
1,937 reviews427 followers
October 6, 2018
A collection of PKD short stories that were the inspiration for episodes of the television programme Electric Dreams. Some were true to the original whilst others had only mere snippets of them, often changing dramatically to bring them up to date and more inclusive.

Actually quite a decent collection of his stories, though one feels the need to stress that PKD expertise is not needed here. Enjoyment is available for sci-fi fans, for PKD fans and for short story fans. It's a good collection but by no means exhaustive nor the best available.

Best read in conjunction with the Channel 4 series. To be admired certainly and to have thoughts provoked definitely.

Exhibit Piece, 3 stars: A reasonable short story about a futuristic 22nd century man who curates a 20th century exhibit of American life. Good exploration on the fringes but mostly a bit meh.

Cannot even remember the adaptation even remotely... *looks it up in Electric Dreams* Oh yeah. The lesbian VR experience. Very modern, Channel 4. Well done.

Full review here.

The Commuter, 3 Stars: The adaptation was preferable, because of Timothy Spall and a deeper exploration of the concept of an encroaching dimension town, but still a good little story.

Full review here.

The Impossible Planet, 4 stars: A great short story and a really good adaptation. Feelings abound, a nice look on human greed and kindness, and the retrospect nostalgia for an earth none of us experienced but still lust for.

Full review here.

The Hanging Stranger, 4 stars: The short story is a wonderfully well-written story, well-paced and atmostpheric to the point of making hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The characters are fairly 2D but to be expected in a short story.

The adaptation... It had the same kind of theme but the pure shock of seeing a hanging dead body was completely missed and didn't quite have the same atmosphere.

Full review here.

Sales Pitch, 3 stars: 'Crazy Diamond', the adaptation, is not too far removed, but the (real) ending (that Dick wanted) to this story is a bad thing to miss out on.

Both give you a great sense of futility over the over-consumption of everything.

Full review here.

The Father-thing, 1 star: Really disliked this story and wasn't particularly interested in the adaptation neither. Can't put my finger on the reasons for disliking either. Just didn't speak to me. It felt jolted, was rather boring and the voices of the characters all melded together in to one big fat pile of nope.

Full review here.

The Hood Maker, 3 Stars: The adaptation had more depth, but I preferred the storyline and outcome of the original short story. The ideas were rather mesmerising in both, however. But there seemed a sympathy toward the Teeps in the adaptation that was not there in the story, which changes the entire feeling of the story itself.

Full review here.

Foster You're Dead, 3 Stars: Much, much, MUCH preferred the original short story than the adaptation. I was waiting for the dystopian, crunching-tech feeling you get from PKD stories but it never came. The adaptation was updated to modern audiences with modern tech, sure. And feministised, sure. But it just didn't have the all-crushing soul of the original.

Full review here.

Human Is, 2 stars: The story itself was written poorly and I really disliked it, though the plot and ideas were rather sublime. The adaptation was infinitely superior, except the change of names. I find that exceedingly unnecessary but can't quite put my finger on why I think that. Some modernisation crap presumably. Mixed together, the story and the adaptation, and this is a very good concept with great ideas. Attending alone they're a bit meh.

Full review here.

Autofac, 3 Stars: The story itself I found meh, without really knowing why. The adaptation I found rather fun, and I enjoyed Juno Temple and found her marvellous (the rest, meh) but separately they both lacked enjoyment for me. Put together, I think, they would have been rather grand.

Full review here.
August 22, 2021
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams is a collection of the ten short stories that were each adapted into a single episode of the 2017 TV anthology series of the same name. I can't speak to the TV series or to how its adaptations hold up to the stories, as I have not yet watched the TV series, but the underlying stories in this collection are, for the most part, exceptional.

No author can put a smile on my face quite like PKD. He explores deep and poignant themes and truths about humanity and technology, but his stories are incredibly easy and fun to read. Some are downright hilarious. I laughed quite a bit when reading Sales Pitch; that was an amazing story. If I've marked a story as 5/5 stars, I consider it one of the better short stories I've ever read, and there were three such stories in this collection. Five others earned a 4/5 star rating, but I could easily see another reader giving them a higher rating.

So really, out of the ten stories collected here, I really enjoyed eight of them, which is uncommonly good for a short story collection. I found the other two, Human Is and The Hood Maker, to be somewhat weaker entries, with the former being incredibly predictable and nothing special, and the latter being a bit dull, though it did have a very good ending. Honestly though, even these got 3/5 and 3.5/5 star ratings, respectively, because even at his worst PKD is still better than most authors out there, and these stories were still "good", in my opinion.

Each story also has an introduction by someone involved in adapting it for the TV series, which is a neat concept, but I mostly found these intros didn't add much value; I wouldn't have rated the book any differently if they didn't exist.

It's hard to go wrong with PKD. I've read several of his books now, and he's never disappointed me. Some of his books rank among my all-time favourites, and he's probably my favourite science fiction author. If you're already a fan, you'll love this book, and if you're looking to get into his work, this is a great place to start.

Highly recommended!

Rating for each individual story and for the book as a whole are below:

Exhibit Piece: 4/5
The Commuter: 4/5
Impossible Planet: 4/5
The Hanging Stranger: 5/5
Sales Pitch: 5/5
The Father-Thing: 4/5
The Hood Maker: 3.5/5
Foster, You're Dead!: 5/5
Human Is: 3/5
Autofac: 4/5

41.5/50 = 83% = 4.15 stars
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,326 reviews1,016 followers
March 22, 2018
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams is a collection of the ten short stories that inspired the Channel Four TV series of the same name, each story also comes with a brief introduction from the writer who adapted it for the series which explains their thought process behind any changes they made. I'll talk about each story separately but as they're not printed in the order they're airing on TV I'll also confirm which episode each story relates to. Overall I really enjoyed this collection, it was fun to dip in and out of as I watched the TV show. I've not read anything by Philip K. Dick before but even though the stories were originally published in the 1950s most of them still felt very relevant today so I'm definitely interested in trying some of his full length novels.

The stories included are:

1. Exhibit Piece - adapted by Ronald D. Moore (episode 5: Real Life)

The episode based on this story was called Real Life and was actually very different to the original story in a lot of ways. It's hard to say too much about the plot because there are so many differences but the adaptation captured the feel or the story very well and I enjoyed both versions a lot. It was clever of Ronald D. Moore to make the story feel more modern with the use of virtual reality.

2. The Commuter - adapted by Jack Thorne (episode 3)

This is the story of a train station ticket clerk whose life is turned upside-down by a commuter who keeps trying to buy a ticket to a destination that doesn't exist. The clerk becomes obsessed with this unknown destination and is determined to uncover the mystery behind his disappearing customer.

This was a really fun story that shows you to be careful what you wish for as it may backfire in ways you couldn't have guessed. I think I liked the adaptation more than the original story, probably because it was set in the UK so the locations were familiar to me, there were a few other changes but I think they did a great job of capturing the essence of the original.

3. Impossible Planet - adapted by David Farr (episode 2)

This story is about a wealthy old woman who is desperate to visit Earth before she dies and the two space tourism guides who are willing to take her money even though, like most people, they believe Earth never existed and they certainly don't know how to find it.

I have to admit I didn't love this story, it just felt a little too short and incomplete for me. The TV episode was better in some ways, at least it was a more rounded story, but a lot of things were added and they didn't always work for me. I wasn't convinced by the romantic elements and was a bit confused about some of the other additions but overall I enjoyed the adaptation more than the original story.

4. The Hanging Stranger - adapted by Dee Rees (episode 10: Kill All Others)

This was one of the instances where I ended up enjoying the original story far more than the TV adaptation. The story is about an alien invasion where the episode is more about mob mentality and paranoia but there was never really an explanation for why people behaved the way they did. How did people single out the "others"? It seemed to be that anyone could just randomly accuse someone and then everyone else would jump on board the lynch mob. At least in the original story there was an explanation for why things happened the way they did.

5. Sales Pitch - adapted by Toni Grisoni (episode 4: Crazy Diamond)

The episode called Crazy Diamond is based on this short story. We ended up watching the episode before reading it which I think was a mistake because the episode completely confused us and neither my Dad or I were a fan of the adaptation. It's a shame because the actual story was really good, one of my favourites from the ones I've read so far! It was a really clever look at consumerism and the way we're constantly bombarded with advertisements trying to sell us stuff we don't really want or need. Considering how long ago this story was written (back in 1954!) it's probably more relevant today than ever and I thought the story ending was hilarious.

6. The Father-Thing - adapted by Michael Dinner (episode 7)

The Father-Thing is an invasion of the bodysnatchers type story and it's all about what a little boy does when he realises his father is no longer his father. The episode took the essence of the original story and updated it to a more modern setting which I thought worked really well but I enjoyed both versions. I actually think the show worked a little better because it changed a few things that didn't make much sense to me in the story which made it more believable.

7. The Hood Maker - adapted by Matthew Graham (episode 1)

This story is set in a world without much technology but where some people have gained telepathic skills. These teeps have the ability to read minds and they are used by the government to help control the populace. At the start of the story someone starts making protective hoods which allow humans to keep their thoughts private and this causes all kinds of problems.

What I thought was really interesting was that the original story focuses on the human side where people are terrified of what they teeps are capable of and live in fear of having their minds invaded but the TV show focused on the story of one of the teeps and showed how badly she was treated by her government handlers and how much danger they were all in from the public. It was really easy to see things from both sides and it raised interesting questions both about people's rights to privacy and about the way humanity has a terrible tendency to focus on our differences rather than our similarities.

8. Foster You're Dead - adapted by Kalen Egan and Travis Sentell (episode 9: Safe & Sound)

I think this was probably one of my favourite stories from the collection, the two versions are very different but the essential essence remains the same with big businesses & the government playing on people's fear and paranoia to make them spend money buying things they don't really need. In the original story it's all about people buying bomb shelters to protect themselves in case of a future war while the TV series is set further into the future where technology has a bigger role to play in people's lives.

9. Human Is - adapted by Jessica Mecklenburg (episode 6)

I think Human Is was probably my favourite story (and adaptation!) so far, it's about a pretty neglectful husband who travels to a distant planet and comes home like a completely different person. I don't really want to say too much more than that but it was an interesting look at what it means to be "human" and I really enjoyed both the original story and the adaptation, they were very similar but had slightly different endings. I actually think Jessica Mecklenburg came up with an even better ending than the original even though they were both very similar. I'd happily watch this episode again.

10. Autofac - adapted by Travis Beacham (episode 8)

I really enjoyed that story, it's set in a post-apocalyptic world where machines have taken over production worldwide and are eating up the few remaining resources at a horrifying rate. Loved how different the story was to the adaptation, they started the same but went in very different directions and it's hard to decide which version I preferred. Clever messages about consumerism and being careful what you wish for!
Profile Image for Ray.
Author 16 books282 followers
December 10, 2018
I really enjoyed this short story collection of some of PK Dick's finest and weirdest or short stories. Of course, as we all know, he was a genius and predicted the anxiety and reality confusion of the modern world like no one else! Etc. etc., you've heard it all before.

What is unique about this anthology is that it ties into the Amazon television series. Now, it is true that this series has it's highlights but it's frankly not as good as Black Mirror. But it's still solid science fiction, which should always be embraced, and it's most interesting to watch the adaptation with all their choices in rewrites, and then go to the original source material to read what else could be.

At the same time, PK Dick's prose was sloppy here and there but that's not the point. The powerful ideas are incredible enough that these stories are worth the legendary hype of this important author.

I particularly got a lot out of Human Is, a love story about how the alien that possesses a woman's husband is actually the good guy, and Sales Pitch which with its obsessive salesrobot is probably one of the most biting satire of consumerism you'll ever read.

I imagine these stories will resonate for decades, if not centuries, to come. Nothing as timeless as the great Philip K. Dick!
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews184 followers
September 13, 2020
This is a lovely collection of stories that served as an inspiration for the series Electric Dreams. Consisting of ten stories, this book is a great insight into Philip K. Dick's shorter prose works. Some of these stories fall more into macabre/horror genre (with a distinct Twilight Zone vibe) than into science fiction (as the title would imply). All the stories are well written, but some have aged better than others. None of these stories was a five star read for me, but altogether they are a fine group of stories and I enjoyed reading them. I will review the stories individually bellow.

1. The Hood Maker (1955) 4/5
One of my favourite stories in this collection, it talks about a future world in which everyone's mind is regularly scanned. Someone comes up with a special 'hoodie' that can put at end to mind reading and sends it to various individuals, including those in the government. Even those loyal to the government feel tempted to wear it- to have one's mind to one's self has become the ultimate luxury. However, hood wearers are typically verbally and physically attacked by the people they come in contact with because the general public resent the hood wearers for 'hiding' their mind. This is one of the stories that really got me thinking as in today's time we have practically given our privacy away by using technology that can easily track (and monitor) our day to day thinking process. A well written story with one or two interesting twists and some food for the mind.

2. The Impossible Planet (1953) 4/5
An old lady that is three and a half century old insists that she is taken to Earth. The captain first denies her, explaining that Earth is a myth, that there never was a base planet the human race emerged from. However, as the old lady is quite stubborn and willing to pay handsomely, he finally agrees to look for Earth and take her there. The captain takes her to a place that is most like Earth (based on his research). This is an interesting story and a view into feature. Will Earth remain our home or it will be something we have left behind? The story maintains is quite atmospheric and convincing. It is filled with nostalgic and sad vibes that I found quite convincing.

3. The Commuter (1953) 3/5
A man comes to buy tickets to a town that doesn't exists. Or does it? Jacobs shows him the map but the man disappears. The protagonist Jacobson decides to find out what this all means. This story is interesting and well written, but ultimately not very memorable.

4. Sales Pitch (1954) 4/5
Another story set in the future, this one follows Ed Morris who returns home exhausted after a hard day work. The commute from Ganimed to Earth takes him two hours as Jupiter is facing Earth and all the way he is tormented by the various visual and audio ads that just won't shot up. Robots bully people into buying things and there is no disputing with their merciless persistence. When a robot who sells himself shows at Morris' door, Morris is completely bewildered. This story comes with a message. It points out how aggressive advertising can be a cause of constant stress for the general population and a violation of one's personal space and peace. It is also a critique of modern society, I believe. It's still relevant today, I'd hasten to add.

5. Exhibit Piece (1954) 4/5
A man from the future who works in a museum creates such a convincing exhibit that he is somehow transported back in time. He appears in the new reality- in the past exhibit he has created. He visits a psychologist there and argues about this reality switch with him- a quite funny conversation. Soon we learn that the future he has left is not such a great place, so he is tempted to stay. I liked the atmosphere of this story and the pessimistic ending was quite brilliant.

6. Human IS (1955) 4/5
A woman is married to a horrible emotionless scientist who doesn't let her own nephew come to visit them because he interferes with his science work. Soon the scientist leaves to conduct research on some planet and the woman realizing how happier she is without him, consider divorcing him when he returns. However, when he returns, the scientist Lester is a changed man. How is that possible? This was a simple and fun story to read. I'm not sure how original the concept is, but since it was written in 1955, it is entirely possible that Philip K. Dick was one of the first to come up with it.

7. The Hanging Stranger (1953) 4/5
A man who has just finished some digging work in his garden goes off to work. Suddenly he noticed that a dead body is hanging. That's certainly odd but the oddest thing is that nobody seems to care about it. Suddenly we get this Twilight Zone vibes and I have to say that some parts of this story are truly terrifying. This was a well written macabre story with elements of pure horror.

8. Autofac (1955) 4/5
Another story set in the future where automatic factories work on their own and their programming is becoming a treat to humans because these factories just keep on working and there is a danger they will exhaust the Earth's resources. The factories are making deliveries to people, but they are automatic in function, not listening to anyone. They were thus programmed during some past war and now they're just running with it. A group of people is trying to sabotage them and cause them to malfunction so they can take over them. This was also a well written and interesting story focusing on the conflict between humanity and technology that got out of hand.

9. Foster, You're Dead (1955) 4/5
A young buy Mike Foster asks to be let home early from school. His teacher Ms Cummings is unsympathetic at first but soon notices the fear in his eyes. As other kids let her on it, she starts to understand why the kid is so afraid. Mike Foster is terrified because his family is the only one without a nuclear shelter and he cannot use the school one because his father didn't donate to buy some defense stuff. This story clearly references the nuclear fears of the sixties, but to me it seems so modern and relevant. Nothing sells better than fear, nothing makes people buy something like convincing them they will die if they don't. It's the rule of terror. This is a story that is still relevant today because it shows how governments use fear and anxiety to control their civil population. The story itself is alright, but more than the plot the and the characters, I liked the message it so clearly delivers.

10. The Father-Thing (1954) 3/5
This story feels like it was written by Stephen King in many ways. For example, like many of King's best known novels, this story features children as protagonists. Together (and without the help of adults), the kids must work against a creature trying to destroy them. The story opens with a kid who learns that his father has been eaten by some kind of creature who now looks like his father. Nobody notices the change expect him (he found his father's skin so he even has some proof). After his father (but really a Father-thing, the creature) decided to discipline him (and who knows what else), the son runs to a neighbouring boy and explains his predicament. After some reassuring (the son shows the neighbouring boy the skin of his father left over by the creature), the boy agrees to help him and even enlist help of another boy- the tracker. Together they must fight and destroy the Father-Thing who might be after them all. This story was well written, plotted and dramatic, but ultimately just not my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Melina Souza.
357 reviews1,859 followers
June 8, 2020
Eu costumo gostar bastante de livros de contos e com esse não foi diferente. Minha ideia inicial era intercalar a leitura com os episódios da série, mas no final das contas, por enquanto, fiquei só com a leitura.
Agora quero ver se faço uma mini manatora para conferir as adaptações :)

Comecei esse livro durante o Especial Ficção Científica 2020, mas só finalizei em Junho.
Profile Image for César Bustíos.
270 reviews99 followers
August 10, 2018
Son diez relatos cortos escritos por Dick entre 1953 y 1955, todos ellos pertenecientes a diferentes volúmenes de la serie "Cuentos completos". Hay una introducción a cada relato escrita por el director/productor encargado de la adaptación de dicho relato en la serie antológica de televisión Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams.

Estoy completamente de acuerdo con lo mencionado por Jack Thorne (en la introducción de "El abonado"). Si has leído a Dick, sabrás de que está hablando:

"He leído mucha ciencia ficción, y siempre hay una diferencia entre aquellos escritores que tienen ideas y aquellos que construyen mundos. PKD construye universos."

Mis favoritos fueron "El abonado", dos realidades que se traslapan, lugares que no existían, pero que podían existir; y "El fabricante de capuchas", distopía en la que los habitantes son sondeados telepaticamente para comprobar su lealtad.


- "Pieza de colección": 4/5
- "El abonado": 5/5
- "El planeta imposible": 4/5
- "El ahorcado": 4/5
- "Campaña publicitaria": 3/5
- "El padre-cosa": 2/5
- "El fabricante de capuchas": 5/5
- "Foster, estás muerto": 3/5
- "Humano es": 4/5
- "Autofab": 4/5

Promedio: 3.9/5

Recomendada para cualquier fan de Dick y de la ciencia ficción. Ahora sí, a continuar con la serie de televisión.

Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,227 reviews1,029 followers
January 2, 2021
If I ask you to you think of a Science Fiction author who has had more adaptations for cinema of their work than anyone else, you will probably say, Philip K. Dick. As one critic put it “he found the ordinary in the extraordinary” although actually that is still true when put the other way round: he pulls out the extraordinary from ordinary situations. And although in some ways these are dated: the minutiae of daily life have changed a great deal since the mid-1950s, there are interesting and thought-provoking themes within his work, which are still relevant to us today. Also, if he were writing today, many of Philip K. Dickens stories might be classed as “cyberpunk”.

“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” is a science fiction television anthology series based on the works of Philip K. Dick. The stories all come from a short period of time, between 1953 and 1955. Those selected for dramatisation were then collected together again, and republished simply as Electric Dreams, although in a different order from the series broadcasts. The television series consisted of ten stand alone 50-minute episodes based on Philip K. Dick’s short stories, adapted by both British and American writers. It premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom in mid-September 2017, and in the United States four months later. Each story in this collection also has a brief introduction from the writer who adapted it for the series, which explains their thought process when adapting the story. Usually the adaptations of the stories have been modernised, and sometimes they seem very different indeed.

The original stories included here are:

Exhibit Piece
The Commuter
Impossible Planet
The Hanging Stranger
Sales Pitch
The Father Thing
The Hood Maker
Foster, You’re Dead
Human Is

I have reviewed each story separately, and each review can be found by linking to the individual story on my shelves. They are imaginative, prescient and thought provoking; sometimes curiously amusing, but often quite disturbing.
Profile Image for Eric.
147 reviews23 followers
February 15, 2022
in this review, I will be giving a short and sometimes not so short review on each story (in the order I read them—sorry chronological order lovers; if I'm nice I'll organize it later. Update: I put them in the actual order of stories.) It's kind of just to show my process of reading it.

"Exhibit Piece"
This was a cute, short story. To be very honest...I don't remember what happened in this. What I can remember was that this was a very pleasant first story.

It wasn't as fully immersive as I thought it would be, but it didn't really bother me.

It is so cool to see how with PKD, how he weaves these huge philosophical ideas and beliefs in something that is completely the opposite—sci-fi. It's so strange. And yet fascinating at the same time.

This is a political commentary with the sci-fi elements still etched into the words on the page. It's been great.

"The Commuter"
PKD is simply mind-blowing. How he can take something so straightforward and conventional and detonate it into this immense science fiction story is astounding.

I don't have words for this. Also, I didn't think that this story was that great. I thought it was quite boring, to be honest. There wasn't a thing that I saw as so cool about it.

But then I am still able to see this talent in PKD. And now, I'm not the first person to say this. You can see many people discussing highly of PKD. Be that as it may, assuming you have confidence in me the most, I highly suggest you read this.

”Impossible Planet
So far, this has probably been my favorite story.

The premise is this lady wants to go to “Earth.” But, in this world, there is no such thing as Earth. Earth is just some sort of fable created that has been disproven hundreds of times. However, when she demands it while offering a large amount of money, the Commander agrees to bring her to “Earth.” Once brought ‘there,’ Earth is ruined. It’s not green as she expected. The air is dense and foggy. Nothing quite clean about it.

This feels like a huge political and environmental commentary and I loved it. The whole idea of an “impossible planet” is so fascinating and cool.

It’s also just a great commentary on the modern-day world—with all the pollution and waste brought onto this planet.

It is a message from PKD telling us to keep the earth clean and healthy, not waste to the point that people on other planets will consider us a fable.

We can not dig the hole so deep to the point that it destroys us. We can not become the “impossible planet.”

And THAT is what I loved about this. The fact that PKD can weave these beautiful messages into this one short story is amazing.

Again, probably one of my favorite stories from this (so far.)

” The Hanging Stranger”
This was a different level of Kafkaesque. It was great.

After our main character sees a hanging man in the center of his town, he understands what is going on. In an attempt to evacuate his family from an invasion by unknown creatures, this story is a perfect, thrilling short story in this immersive sci-fi world.

This was great.

There wasn’t anything too special about it. I didn’t see a huge message behind it. One thing I did see, and it mentioned it in the story, was that it was a huge nod to the KKK. Meaning that the KKK also left African Americans hung in the center of town.

So I guess the only relation to society would be the KKK. And of course, PKD was writing this when the KKK was still at large so it makes sense.

Scratch what I said. I would say that this is also a political commentary, a way of showing the horrendous activity that was happening at this time.

PKD in general is just a story genius. Pure gold in every word on the page.

I really enjoyed this.

”Sales Pitch”
This was a skim read.

I don’t remember a single thing about it.

Kinda boring. Not gonna lie. Ok. That’s it for this story.

” The Father-Thing”
This feels like a consistent problem. I read one of the stories. I like it, try to review it, and forget what happens in it.

I don’t know if it’s my fault or if this is just forgettable.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about this.

"The Hood Maker"
This was truly quite a let-down. Phillip K. Dick had such potential with this one, and yet it was quite underwhelming.

I read this short story merely for the fact that I had watched the Electric Dreams episode based on this short story and loved it.

I expected this to be like the episode, hence the fact that they even created it. But it was much, much worse.

I will say that PKD has a talent for world-building, and that is a clear given. I could definitely imagine this world in which PKD was writing about and did feel very much immersed in the story. An A goes for world-building.

However, I have some complaints.

This story didn't feel like sci-fi. Yes, obviously it is in fact sci-fi. But it didn't feel like it. Other than the fact that there were "robot cars" and they were living in this outer-worldly nation, everything else just felt...real...in a sense. I don't know if I am wording that correctly or not but, I don't know.

I think PKD could have added a lot more aspects of science fiction in this to immerse the characters even more.

Also, the characters were overly dull. They had not a single ounce of personality. I could feel any emotions towards them which sort of ruined the experience overall.

We (the readers) were kind of dumped with all these names all at once and were expected to understand what was going on.

Now, this is the part where I compare the episode to the story.

In the show (episode 1 originally, although Amazon claims it to be episode 5), there are two clear characters, Honor and Ross (both beautifully played by Holliday Grainger and Richard Madden). In the episode, the characters have a lot of depth and personality.

In the short story, only Ross is mentioned and there isn't even a character named Honor.

The short story moves along very quickly, giving minimal to no information. Yes, I understand that it is a SHORT story, however, PKD was kind of just putting in filler words when he could have expanded it to a much larger scale.

The short story barely mentions Ross, and the episode has him in every scene.

The episode also has a much better twist and ending than the story did.

”Foster You’re Dead”

I need to stop doing this. I tried to read this slow so I can comprehend it more. I couldn’t tell you what happened in this.

I’m trying not to let this affect my review.

The thing is, I enjoyed it. And yet I don’t know what happened.

I’m done for the day.

"Human Is"
This is sci fi at its core.

If you read the back of this version of the book, it says "Kafka steeped in LSD and rage." and this represents it perfectly. This feels like the perfect Kafka story ever.

The plot of this story (yes I slightly remembered it) is about a woman going through this strange existential crisis as she sees her abusive husband completely change character. He went on a mission to a dying planet and came back a different person—different psyche, different mentality, personality, everything.

This is definitely something I'm excited to see portrayed in the show, which I will be watching as soon as I am done with this so I am very excited.

I need to see this, visualize this LSD and rage.

Ok, onto the next story.

I would say this is a good closing to the book. This was...alright. I have a common pattern throughout this entire book and I'll talk about it in my final review for this.

This story, was OK. Nothing too special. I think it was a great ending to it. Although I do think that "Impossible Planet" should have been last ... this was ok.

Caught up in a nuclear war, a company struggles to suffice for every person's needs. A company called the Autofac Company, a business that creates something for every person's needs at an instant, struggles through their business as they try to make each person's life adequate, while still trying to consider the fact that their nation is at war. The company is doing good, providing each person with the things they need, but this is a problem. Autofac forgets about the problem that the products they are creating is causing more and more pollution before, during, and after the war. And there is one major problem; the company can't shut down.

This story is truly the science fiction representation of modern-day lives. I have no idea how no one else is able to capture something so true and so real besides PKD. And the fact that he is able to show this through a fictional world with robots and world-building that is beyond our imagination is crazy. Crazy, I say.

I'm almost mad that no one else is able to capture something like this. ALSO, he wrote this in 1955. NINETEEN F*CKING FIFTY-FIVE. AND STILL, NO ONE IS ABLE TO CAPTURE SOMETHING SO TRUE TO HUMANITY ALMOST SEVENTY YEARS LATER. PKD, share some talent with the rest of the class.

I enjoyed this. I thought it was really good. The fact that Phillip K. Dick is able to capture humanity and real-life situations and wrote almost seventy years ago is remarkable.

This is for science fiction readers, and I don't mean that lightly. I'm personally not someone who reads science fiction, so this was not my jam. I did like the talks and commentaries on humanity and society but the sci-fi part was not my thing. But for people who love science and are super philosophical—this is for you.

The only reason this is getting three stars is that I was barely able to remember a single thing that happened here. I think it's because there was a lot of world-building in a very short amount of time and didn't give much room to get settled in and invested. But, if some of these (maybe three or four out of ten of the stories) were turned into full-length novels (which I know is impossible because he is dead but still), I would enjoy it much more.

all in all: this was great. not for everyone but still great. some stories could have been left out.

I will leave below a short review on the show for anyone who cares
Profile Image for Ivan Lutz.
Author 29 books122 followers
January 26, 2018
Deset Dickovih priča koje su plod piščevog manijakalnog pisanja sredinom pedesetih godina prošlog stoljeća. Sežu od vrhunskih do mlakih i bezveznih. Sigurno alegorijski i idejno najbolja je "The Hanging Stranger" koja je bezvremenska i vječna, te"Sales Pitch" koja savršeno ocrtava npr. banere i pop up reklame na netu i oko nas.
Sve ostalo je poprilično mlako, mekano i tanko. Kažem to jer mi je PKD jedan od najboljih SF književnika uopće, pa je i pravo čudo kako su snimili sve one epizode po ovim pričama. Neke epizode su toliko promijenjene da je zapravo jako teško prepoznati priču po kojoj je snimljena jer u ovim pričama nema "mesa". Možda je "The Hood Maker" najbolje prenesena na ekran, barem po meni.
Lijep komad fantastike i lijep način da ubijete vrijeme nečim zanimljivim. Nije loše, ali samo zato što je Dick ne mora nužno značiti da je i vrhunsko.
Profile Image for LJ (On The Shelf Reviews).
689 reviews29 followers
May 2, 2018
So before the TV series Electric Dreams was broadcast I’d never really heard of Philip K Dick (seriously every time I type that name I giggle, yes I’m like a five year old) but having enjoyed a couple of episodes of the show I thought I’d read the original stories. That was about six months ago and I have finally got round to reading them.

The stories in this collection are, Exhibit Piece, The Commuter, The Impossible Planet, The Hanging Stranger, Sales Pitch, The Father Ting, The Hood Maker, Foster, You’re Dead, Human Is and Autofac.

There is so much crammed into these short stories, aliens, telepaths, dystopian futures, space travel, body snatchers I could go on!

Like with most collections there were a few standouts. My favourites were The Hanging Stranger, Sales Pitch and Human Is.

The Hanging Stranger is about a man called Ed Loyce who after spending the morning in his basement, goes to work to find a strange man hanging in the town square. Nobody notices but him. He feels like he’s going mad, is it real or is there something more sinister at work? This for me had the best ending in the entire book and out of the stories which had the theme of is this real or am I losing my mind, it just captured my imagination.

Sales Pitch is about a world gone mad from advertising (sometimes it feels like that now, doesn’t it?), you can’t go anywhere without adverts or sales bots haunting your every move. When Ed Morris (another Ed, I know) comes home he wants to escape until a robot turns up and refuses to leave, so he takes it with him to the planet Proxima in a bid to escape it all.

Then there’s Human Is, about Jill who’s husband suddenly changes, from a cold hearted bully to the husband she’s always wanted after a trip to deep space. Again even though this is science fiction, this one is a real character based story that would appeal to anyone. I mean how often have we thought you wouldn’t mind changing your other half?

These stories were written back in the 1950’s, in the shadow of the Cold War, so there were a few outdated stereotypes and language but the stories so original and unique that will appeal to most modern readers. I can also so see why so many of his stories get adapted into films, the majority of them have ambiguous or open ending just begging someone to finish or expand the stories.

Also I could have done without the introductions on each story but that’s personal preference rather than anything else.

Overall a must for Science fiction fans and lovers of dystopian fiction.
Profile Image for John Warner.
739 reviews23 followers
February 17, 2018
This compilation of Philip K. Dick's short stories, all written in the early to mid-1950s in the midst of the Cold War. Each story includes a foreword by an individual involved in the story's translation to film for the Twilight Zone series, Electric Dreams.

The anthology begins strong with the short story, "Exhibit Piece," about a museum curator who bends the time-space continuum to live in the world of one of his exhibits on 1950s America. Another early story, "The Hanging Stranger", was reminiscent of Jack Finney's Body Snatchers.

Although I loved the earlier short stories, I found much of the remainder to be plodders; I was only reading words to finish the story hoping that the next one would be better than the latter only to be disappointed. I am interested in seeing how these stories are translated for a contemporary audience.
Profile Image for Ema.
625 reviews72 followers
November 1, 2018

Foi o primeiro contacto que tive com Philip K. Dick e estou impressionada. Não sou muito culta em ficção científica porque nunca estive muito interessada em conhecer, porém, depois de ver Black Mirror (bastante parecida com estes contos, já agora), a minha relação com ela mudou. E acho que comecei pelo sítio certo. O autor aborda essencialmente as questões que me são predilectas: o poder da tecnologia, o que é ser humano, a despersonalização do Homem enquanto o mundo evolui, as possibilidades e as consequências que o futuro nos pode reservar. Os contos foram escritos nos anos 50 e, tal como um bom clássico, continuam bastante actuais, porque não são as máquinas e os novos mundos que o autor aqui inventou que realmente importam, mas os temas base de cada um deles, que são centrais e universais, e com os quais nos podemos ainda identificar. E, claro, nos deixam a reflectir sobre o nosso actual mundo e o que aí poderá vir em consequência das coisas que inventamos e descobrimos. Achei esta selecção, feita pelos realizadores/argumentistas da série televisiva, muito interessante porque cada conto é único, mas simultaneamente se interligam muito bem entre si. Vou agora ver a série e rezar para que converse bem com a aura que o K. Dick deixou.
Profile Image for Nigeyb.
1,200 reviews260 followers
September 13, 2020
A wonderful collection of provocative and prescient Philip K. Dick short stories from the 1950s, and which inspired the Channel Four television series of the same name. I didn't see the TV series however I can vouch for the quality of the stories.

The stories in this collection: Exhibit Piece, The Commuter, The Impossible Planet, The Hanging Stranger, Sales Pitch, The Father Thing, The Hood Maker, Foster, You’re Dead, Human Is, and Autofac.


Profile Image for William.
675 reviews316 followers
September 18, 2017
Not a review, but a NOTICE:

My wife and I just watched the first of 10 hour-long episodes of sci-fi based on the short stories of PKD on Channel 4 in the UK.

a review in The Guardian

I note at the end credits it was Amazon Studios, so you may find it there at some point.

It was superb. The actress, Holliday Grainger, also stars in BBC "Strike" based on J.K. Rowling's detective series.

I highly recommend both.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,134 reviews1,316 followers
November 6, 2017
Like most people, I became aware of these stories due to the recent TV adaptations. As the show is taking a mid-series break in the UK I felt it was about time that I delved into the stories...
This addition includes introductions from the directors, so inevitably I'll be comparing the stories to the show.

Exhibit Piece The episode Real Life has little resemblance to this, a great story to start the collection. Different realities have always been one of my favorite Science-Fiction tropes. 4/5

The Commuter This has been my favorite episode to date, pretty much a faithful adaptation. I just loved the idea of a passenger asking for a train ticket for a destination that none of the rail staff have heard of. Fascinating mystery with a great reveal. 5/5

The Impossible Planet A really quick read, the romantic element of the show isn't included which I think hindered the story. The reveal at the end is fun. 5/5

The Hanging Stranger The corresponding episode (Kill All Others) is in the second half of the series so this reveal was a complete surprise. The idea of discovering a body being displayed very prominently is visually haunting. 4/5

Sales Pitch Completely different to the episode 'Crazy Diamond', the story focuses on the constant pressure to have the latest consumer models and trends. 4/5

The Father-Thing This could make for a scary episode, this story has the feel of some of the classic Horror Science Fiction that was being told around the time that this was written (1950's) 3/5

The Hoodmaker Just like the episode, the rights of privacy are explored here. 4/5

Foster, You're Dead Written during the threat of the Cold War, it's an interesting take on how consumerism exploits people's fears. Interesting to see how they update this in the forthcoming episodes 'Safe & Sound'. 5/5

Human Is This one never quite grabbed me, an interest idea of 'possession' but feels instantly forgettable. 3/5

Autofac Set after an apocalyptic war, humans rely on a network of robots to help restore the earth. Now that humanity has recovered enough will the autofacs give back control? 3/5

Total: 40/50.
Profile Image for Helen.
421 reviews94 followers
July 14, 2018
Electric Dreams is a collection of short stories that were the influence for the episodes in the recent tv series based on Philip K. Dick's work.

The social and cultural side of a lot of them make the stories feel dated. A lot of the sci-fi is the standard stuff that was doing the rounds in the 50s / 60s - human style service robots etc. I don't mind this, I love Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov but I found it irritating here. Maybe because he's touted as super modern and way ahead of his time? Also annoying is that the women are treated like daft bits of fluff that get in the men's way.

He does have some very interesting ideas though and some of the stories I liked a lot. Autofac is one of my favourites, the idea of AI that runs away with itself due to thoughtless programming is so relevant to tech today that it's chilling to read.

The Hanging Stranger is another one I liked. The suspense and the feeling of confusion the main character feels are spot on.

So some I liked and some I didn't. Overall it's an interesting read, especially to see where a lot of modern stories get their influences from.
Profile Image for Sorcha O'Dowd.
Author 2 books49 followers
November 25, 2017
Watching the series and reading the book side-by-side.

Thoughts on 'The Hood Maker' - I love what the screenwriter did with the story. Rather than adapt it, it's like a different, untold side of the story has been told. More like an episode influenced by aspects of the original story. Very different, but intriguing none-the-less. Emotionally, I connected more to the TV episode than the written story, but enjoyed both equally, but for different reasons.

Profile Image for Ros.
58 reviews26 followers
April 7, 2018
Кожне оповідання з цієї збірки має екранізацію в новому серіалі "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams" (2017).
Доволі цікаві... як і самі екранізації...
Profile Image for Gökalp.
113 reviews12 followers
January 28, 2020
Kötü öykü yok gibi, yalnızca ortalama olanlar var. Bazıları cidden çok kaliteli. Onlar varken 4 puan yakışmazdı. 4 buçuktan 5 diyelim.
Profile Image for Raissa Fabretto.
38 reviews20 followers
June 23, 2020
Meu primeiro contato com Philip K. Dick foi simplesmente maravilhoso!

Conforme a introdução do Matthew Graham no conto Fabricante de Gorros e que eu concordo plenamente: "Sua obra começa como uma leitura, depois se torna um diálogo e evolui sobre para se tornar uma verdadeira relação." Eu amei isso demais!
Fala sobre o que é ser humano, relações, perdas, questionamentos sobre o universo.. vale muito a leitura se você quer ter algumas crises existenciais.
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,988 reviews15 followers
November 27, 2017
Description: Electric Dreams, is a British-American science fiction television anthology series based on the works of Philip K. Dick. The series premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on 17 September 2017.[1] It consists of ten standalone episodes based on Dick's work, written by British and American writers. Episode details below are sourced from wiki.

"The Hood Maker": In an authoritarian regime called the Free Union, a minority of humans have developed telepathic abilities. Mistrusted by society, they are referred to as "Teeps", live in ghettos, and are routinely discriminated against. A telepath named Honor is recruited to work for the police, and forms a close relationship with her handler, Agent Ross. The pair investigate when a mysterious individual calling himself the "Hood Maker" begins distributing telepathy-proof hoods throughout the city.

"Impossible Planet": Two bored space tourism guides, Norton and Andrews, are approached by a very elderly woman, Irma Louise Gordon, who offers them a large sum of money to take her on one last trip to Earth. As they are not sure the planet even exists anymore, having been evacuated centuries ago due to solar flares, they head for a similar planet, although Irma's robot servant is onto the subterfuge. Irma has a very specific dream about her grandparents swimming in a river in Carolina, and wants to re-enact this with Norton, who is identical to her grandfather.

"The Commuter": Ed Jacobson is a railway worker at Woking station. His life takes a turn for the worse when his son, Sam, begins experiencing psychotic episodes. Shortly afterwards, a young woman named Linda asks for a ticket to a non-existent destination called "Macon Heights". Intrigued, Jacobson follows a number of passengers who jump off the train and walk to an idyllic village where their traumas are wiped away. On his return home, he discovers his son never existed, and he returns to Macon Heights to find Linda and demand she restore his original life.

"Crazy Diamond": Ed Morris works at a company which produces synthetic humanoids called Jacks and Jills, and the QCs ("quantum consciousnesses") which give them intelligence and emotions. He is approached by a dying Jill, who wants him to help her steal ten QCs – one to extend her own lifespan, and the rest to sell to give Ed a chance to start a new life with his wife, Sally.

"Real Life": Sarah is a policewoman living in the future who shares headspace with George, a brilliant game designer, each pursuing violent killers whose plans could have shattering consequences. In a race against time, sharing a bond that no one else can see, they learn the very thing that connects them can also destroy them.

Are Friends Electric
Profile Image for Andy Hickman.
4,614 reviews36 followers
August 19, 2018
“PHILIP K. DICK'S ELECTRIC DREAMS: VOLUME 1”: the stories which inspired the hit channel 4 series, by PHILIP K. DICK
Collection of his stories, always mesmerizing. There is nobody else like him. You can never guess the ending, even after you've read it.! *****

“Exhibit Piece”: Clever surreal. Great ending. ****
“You realize this may be nothing but an exhibit? You and everybody else - maybe you're not real. Just pieces of an exhibit.” (p13)
- -

“The Commuter”: His life, work and family subtly change after having visited the new 'non-existent' town. ****
A railway station manager encounters the eponymous commuter, who speaks of a town that cannot be found on any normal map. The commuter literally vanishes on close questioning about this ephemeral town. Based on the information the manager extracts from the commuter, he undertakes an investigation and boards the train the commuter says is scheduled to stop at the town. The station manager finds himself arriving at the non-existent town.
Subsequent investigation reveals that the town nearly existed. It was narrowly voted out of existence during a planning meeting, and the narrowness of this vote is directly reflected in the ephemeral nature of the town.
- -

“The Impossible Planet”: Deeply nostalgic story. Having been published in 1953, is the likely inspiration for the French novel 'Planet of the Apes' (1963) adapted into the mega-hit franchise we now have. ****
Behind Norton came a withered old woman. Beside her moved a gleaming robant, a towering robot servant, supporting her with his arm. The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...
"Irma Vincent Gordon," Andrews murmured. He glanced up. "Is that right?"
The old woman did not move.
"She is totally deaf, sir," the robant said.
- -

“The Hanging Stranger”: Brilliant and terrifying. A story that takes you full circle … and round again! *****

“I thought something had happened. You know, something like that Ku Klux Klan. Some kind of violence. Communists or Fascists taking over. [. . .] I’m glad to know it’s on the level.”

“Controlled, filmed over with the mask of an alien being that had appeared and taken possession of them, their town, their lives.”

“Loyce gazed up, rigid with horror. The splotch of darkness, hanging over the City Hall. Darkness so thick it seemed almost solid. In the vortex something moved. Flickering shapes. Things, descending from the sky, pausing momentarily above the City Hall, fluttering over it in a dense swarm and then dropping silently onto the roof. Shapes. Fluttering shapes from the sky. From the crack of darkness that hung above him. He was seeing—them.”
- -

“Sales Pitch”: Claustrophobic, Ed Morris is desperate to escape the suffocating intrusion of relentless advertising .. even in his own home! Tragic but understandable conclusion. ****
“It’s not just the drive. They’re right out front. Everywhere. Waiting for me. All day and night.”
“Who are, dear?”
“Robots selling things. As soon as I set down the ship. Robots and visual-audio ads. They dig right into a man’s brain. They follow people around until they die.” (p81)

'Is there anything you can't do?' - Ed
'Oh, yes; there's a great deal I can't do. But I can do anything YOU can do – and considerably better.' - Robot (p89)
- -

“The Father-Thing”: Truly creepy horror. The invasion of a family by a growing morphing alien .. something! ****
The replacement of a boy's father with a replicated version, only the son sees the difference and has to recruit other children to help him reveal the truth (similar to Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories .. but no further parallels than that!)
- -

“The Hood Maker”: Another classic P. K. Dick story, this one about having your mind read and therefore zero privacy … unless you rebel!
“Nobody’s got a right to hide.”

“Had he done anything wrong? Was there something he had done he was forgetting? He had put on the hood. Maybe that was it.”

'An innocent man has no reason to conceal his thoughts. Ninety-nine per cent of the population is glad to have its mind scanned. Most people WANT to prove their loyalty. But this one per cent is guilty of something.' (p118)

'The total probe on Franklin. All levels – completely searched and recorded.' [ordered Clearance Director Ross]
'We found considerable disloyalty. Mostly ideological rather than overt. … When he was twenty-four he found some old books and musical records. He was strongly influenced. …' - Abbud (p121-122)
- -

“Foster, You're Dead!” (1955)
{Reviewed Dec 2017}
Scathing attack on governmental war policies aimed at increasing consumer spending and raises GDP. ****
The story is a satire of two 1950s-era trends: consumerism and increasing Cold War anxiety. Dick wrote in a letter: “One day I saw a newspaper headline reporting that the President suggested that if Americans had to buy their bomb shelters, rather than being provided with them by the government, they'd take better care of them, an idea which made me furious. Logically, each of us should own a submarine, a jet fighter, and so forth.”
- - -
“Her husband disappeared into the living room, a small, hunched-over figure, hair scraggly and gray, shoulder blades like broken wings.”
- - -
“If you don't buy, they'll kill you. The perfect sales-pitch. Buy or die – new slogan. Have a shiny new General Electronics H-bomb shelter in your backyard or be slaughtered.”
- - -
“He'd sit down in the shelter until dinner, listening to Wind in the Willows [on audiotape].”
- - -

{Reviewed Aug 2018} “Foster, You're Dead”: Second time having read this. Just got even better. Consumerism exposed for the fear-based racket it is!

“School was agony, as always. Only today it was worse.”
“A mechanical news-machine shouted at him excitedly as he passed. War, death, amazing new weapons developed at home and abroad. He hunched his shoulders and continued on...” (p141)

[Referring to his father, young Mike says:] “He says they sold people as many cars and washing machines and television sets as they could use. He says NATS and bomb shelters aren't good for anything, so people never get all they can use. He says factories can keep turning out 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 his children.” (p144)
“They're scaring us to keep the wheels going," he yelled desperately at his wife and son. "They don't want another depression.” (p147)

[Years prior, the president came passing through the town] “Seeing if we had bought enough NATS and bomb shelters and plague shots and gas masks and radar networks to repel attack. The General Electronics Corporation was just beginning to put up its big showrooms and displays - everything bright and glittering and expensive. The first defense equipment available for home purchase.” His lips twisted. “All on easy-payment plans. Ads, posters, searchlights, free gardenias and dishes for the ladies.” (p149)

[Wife:] “They're always improving weapons, Bob. Last week it was those grain-impregnation flakes. This week it's bore-pellets. You don't expect them to stop the wheels of progress because you finally broke down and bought a shelter, do you?” (p155)

[Bob, Mike's father:] “I'll get one,” Bob Foster said. “I'll get an anti-pellet grill and whatever else they have. I'll buy everything they put on the market. I'll never stop buying.”
[Ruth, Bob's wife:] “It's not as bad as that.”
“You know, this game has one real advantage over selling people cars and TV sets. With
something like this we have to buy. It isn't a luxury, something big and flashy to impress the neighbors, something we could do without. If we don't buy this we die. They always said the way to sell something was create anxiety in people. Create a sense of insecurity - tell them they smell bad or look funny. But this makes a joke out of deodorant and hair oil. You can't escape this. If you don't buy,they'll kill you. The perfect sales-pitch. Buy or die - new slogan. Have a shiny new General Electronics H-bomb shelter in your back yard or be slaughtered.”
“Stop talking like that!” Ruth snapped.
Bob Foster threw himself down at the kitchen table. “All right. I give up. I'll go along with it.”
“You'll get one? I think they'll be on the market by Christmas.”
“Oh, yes,” Foster said. “They'll be out by Christmas.” There was a strange look on his face. “I'll
buy one of the damn things for Christmas, and so will everybody else.” (p156)
- -

“Human Is”: Peculiar short story. A reversal of 'The Father-Thing'. ***
- -

“Autofac” (1955)
{Reviewed Dec 2017}
Initiating a fight against the computer factory. But when they think they have won the war they discover that the factory preserves itself and it's 'species' by spawning their metallic seed further into the universe. Brilliant story. ****

Self-replicating machines! It is set some years after an apocalyptic world war has devastated Earth's civilizations, leaving only a network of hardened robot "autofacs" in operation to supply goods to the human survivors. Once humanity has recovered enough to want to begin reconstruction, the autofacs are immediately targeted for shutdown since they monopolize the planet's resources, but the ability to control them was lost in the war. This leaves the future of humanity, and the planet, in uncertainty as the autofacs consume every resource they can attain to produce what they perceive as needed. The story involves the human survivors as they try to steal the supplies they need and search for a way to take the power of production back into their own hands

Opening line:
Tension hung over the three waiting men. They smoked, paced back and forth, kicked aimlessly at weeds growing by the side of the road. A hot noonday sun glared down on brown fields, rows of neat plastic houses, the distant line of mountains to the west.
"Almost time," Earl Ferine said, knotting his skinny hands together. "It varies according to the load, a half second for every additional pound."
- - -
"Communication," Morrison agreed in his deep, chesty voice. "Yes, we can't get in touch with the damn thing. It comes, leaves off its load and goes on -- there's no contact between us and it."
"It's a machine," Ferine said excitedly. "It's dead -- blind and deaf."
"But it's in contact with the outside world," O'Neill pointed out. "There has to be some way to get to it. Specific semantic signals are meaningful to it; all we have to do is find those signals. Rediscover, actually. Maybe half a dozen out of a billion possibilities."
- - -
In the dull shadows, the figure looked almost human. For a brief moment, O'Neill thought it was a settlement latecomer. Then, as it moved forward, he realized that it was only quasi-human: a functional upright biped chassis, with data-receptors mounted at the top, effectors and proprioceptors mounted in a downward worm that ended in floor-grippers. Its resemblance to a human being was testimony to nature's efficiency; no sentimental imitation was intended.
The factory representative had arrived.
- - -
The bits were in motion. Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully -- constructing something that looked like a tiny rectangle of steel.
"They're building," O'Neill said, awed. He got up and prowled on. Off to the side, at the far edge of the gully, he came across a downed pellet far advanced on its construction. Apparently it had been released some time ago.
This one had made great enough progress to be identified. Minute as it was, the structure was familiar. The machinery was building a miniature replica of the demolished factory.
"Well," O'Neill said thoughtfully, "we're back where we started from. For better or worse . .. I don't know."
"I guess they must be all over Earth by now," Morrison said, "landing everywhere and going to work."
A thought struck O'Neill. "Maybe some of them are geared to escape velocity. That would be neat -- autofac networks throughout the whole universe." Behind him, the nozzle continued to spurt out its torrent of metal seeds.
- - -
Profile Image for Armando.
91 reviews
February 17, 2023
[Reading Prompt: Read a Short Story]

Philip K. Dick is an author I've constantly heard of, whether its works that were inspired by his works or just simply quotes of his, Philip K. Dick is one of the science fiction author greats that I've managed to somehow miss out on until now.

These collections of short stories is a pretty good introduction to his work and ideologies. I liked the haunting endings to most of his stories. And the debate of how much we give our lives over to technology is definitely thought provoking (especially in 'Sales Pitch' and 'Autofac'). I dont always like cynical views on technology, though I suppose during his time it was certainly a more unforeseen future what humankind and computer relationships were going to be like, now I feel things are more optimistic. Technology has allowed for great many a thing, especially when it comes to breaking down social barriers and the wealth of free information.

But I do believe most of his work is prophetic, but instead of being ruled by tyrannical robots, our oppression from facebook and Twitter is much more dull.

All the stories were written very well and I cannot say I read one I did not like. But I think 'Human Is' and 'Impossible Planet' takes the cake. 'Human Is' has a positive take on how an invasive parasitic alien species can coexist with humankind, and even takes a sharp take on what it means to be human. Where 'Impossible Planet' is just beautifully tragic. The idea that we will get to a point where we've forgotten where we come from, but still have that opportunity to find it again, is just beautiful.

Overall, great introduction to a well known author and a strong collection of sci fi short stories.
Profile Image for Eva Assunção.
28 reviews
September 5, 2022
Nessa coleção de contos, P. K. Dick, como numa realidade alternativa, reconstrói de forma perturbadora as noções de realidade. Conforme Jack Thorne, Dick extrai o extraordinário do ordinário, transforma a pacata vida humana, e constrói mundos diferentes, mas, que não deixa de ser impactados pela condição humana. A alienação no conto Argumento de Venda, profetizou os dias atuais, como nós somos bombardeados por inúmeras propagandas cujo discurso apelativo e invasivo não nos deixa outra alternativa senão ceder ao algoritmo. Em suma, todos os contos, apesar de terem sido escritos no século passado, parecem delinear cada passo da humanidade, e o impacto da tecnologia nas nossas vidas. Sonhos Elétricos, que não é mais um sonho, e sim uma realidade elétrica revela de maneira assombrosa que independência não passa de uma mera ilusão.
Profile Image for Alessandra Jarreta.
206 reviews34 followers
July 22, 2018
Não sei se fui com muita expectativa por ser um livro do K . Dick, mas não curti muito :/ Só gostei de verdade de um dos contos, todos os outros achei meio meh. Bem diferente do Realidades Adaptadas.
Profile Image for Luke Poff.
87 reviews2 followers
September 18, 2020
4.5 out of 5

First brush with PKD’s work, definitely interested in reading more. All of the stories are good, but standouts for me are The Impossible Planet, The Hanging Stranger, and Human Is.
Profile Image for Myles.
196 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2023
Really an interesting collection of stories, PKD was a man ahead of his time and you can see how close we are to some of these stories becoming a reality. I'm a big fan of the show, and before each story is an intro from the producer of the episode explaining why they chose the story to be adapted.

Must read for sci fi fans!
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