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The Eyes Have It
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Short Stories > The Eyes Have It - Philip K. Dick

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick is our short story this month. It was originally published in Science Fiction Stories in 1953.

It's free here on Gutenberg in multiple formats:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/31516

Librivox has it here:
https://librivox.org/the-eyes-have-it...


message 2: by Buck (last edited Sep 02, 2018 09:59AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 899 comments Tres droll. A little silly, but well worth the few minutes. :-D
I almost laughed my head off.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
I must admit to not having read it until now. I saw it was short, by PKD, & thought it would make a good story for the group. I agree with you, Buck.


message 4: by Fred (new)

Fred | 1 comments Awesome!


message 5: by Sabri (last edited Sep 05, 2018 02:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sabri | 140 comments Also had the "droll and a little silly" reaction. Spent a bit of time thinking about whether it's trying to say something deeper about our use of language, but not come up with much. PK Dick was known to have had a slew of very unusual "episodes" in his own life, and I find that one of his talents is expressing how normal everyday events can be interpreted completely differently depending on one's mental state.


message 6: by Goreti (new)

Goreti | 37 comments There is an usual use of English written word.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Goreti wrote: "There is an usual use of English written word."

It's not something I'd bet heavily on. It's my native language & I've been stumbling over it all my life. I don't think any language is so rich for word play. I have a lot of respect for anyone who manages any sort of fluency in English as a second language.


message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) The novel that the narrator was reading could certainly have relied less on cliches. Maybe Dick wrote this (in part) remind writers (including himself) to write more cleanly and clearly?


message 9: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2096 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "... Maybe Dick wrote this (in part) remind writers (including himself) to write more cleanly and clearly?"

Interesting thought. With that in mind, I find this story almost interesting. Definitely not one of PKD's best, nor is it representative of him.

I've read very few of his short stories. Maybe someday....


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I agree 'not representative.' Otoh, I'm not sure if anyone else could turn the perspective that many degrees askew in that direction and write it up the way he did. So to speak.

I've listened to this twice, in years past, and read it this time. I think I prefer the librivox recordings to the text for some reason.


message 11: by Sabri (last edited Sep 10, 2018 01:41AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sabri | 140 comments Cheryl wrote: "The novel that the narrator was reading could certainly have relied less on cliches. Maybe Dick wrote this (in part) remind writers (including himself) to write more cleanly and clearly?"

My take was that even the commonest idioms and the most derivative fiction can be interpreted in a bizarre and intense way, given one's psychological state.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "...I've listened to this twice, in years past, and read it this time. I think I prefer the librivox recordings to the text for some reason."

I think an audio version would make the homonyms even more obscure & thus make the point better.

Sabri, I think you're right.


message 13: by Dan (last edited Sep 10, 2018 04:13AM) (new)

Dan Loved it!

The humorous device here, it seems to me, is taking things overly literally. Jim Parsons' character gets countless laughs for the way he does this on Big Bang Theory. Strangely enough, what I thought must be a common comedic device gets no mention in the Wikipedia article on the subject, which instead lists nine others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedic...

The way Dick writes this is also very interesting to consider. First, the story is so short that every word is telling. Like a poem, no word is out of place or wasted. There is no fat on this lean story. The first three paragraphs are nevertheless each the longest in the story, and their mood is a bit passive. Dick does this to ease us into his tale, gaining our interest bit by bit.

I really appreciate Dick's writing artistry here. This prose is supercharged and moves fast from thought to thought. The shortness of all the paragraphs is one way he achieves this. The snippet of dialogue helps keep things supercharged in motion, though there is really only one character in this story. I love the way Dick italicizes the examples and sets them off in their own paragraph. Makes the story so easy to read.

The story is written as compactly as possible to keep it short. Dick's clever conceit is only good for a page or two if it is to stay freshly funny. Had Dick had the boorishness to draw it out further he'd have written something as tiresome as Redshirts wherein the one joke lasts hour upon hour rather than the minute or two it's good for,

Usually when writing this compactly, one has to put several thoughts into one sentence here and there. Poetry does this all the time. Well, good poetry. Dick is not writing poetry and has no aspiration to here. He's trying to be as brief as a poet, but at the same time wants maximum velocity, so he has to be very careful not to overtax the reader's mind by writing more than one thought per sentence. If he did this, he would pull the reader out and slow him down by making him think too much about that particular sentence. Some of Dick's sentences have more than one thought though. The solution? Write sentence fragments. Dick does not worry in the slightest over his grammar. By using fragments, he maintains his narrative velocity by upholding the more important rule (for his story) of one thought per sentence.


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