Philip K Dick's Short Stories

Discussion in 'Phillip K Dick' started by Connavar, Jan 12, 2008.

  1.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    What do you think of his short stories? Does he work in short story format for you?

    Which ones have you read? Favs? Worst short story?


    How about the short stories that have famous movies?

    Are they better or worse than the movie?
  2.  
    D_Davis

    D_Davis New Member

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    I read The Father-Thing last night. What a hoot.

    I was thinking that this would make the perfect opening to a sci-fi anthology film. Something to really get the ball rolling.
  3.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Heh good to know i have that short story.


    Last short story of his i read was The Minority Report. It was great, a good story with a great ending.
  4.  
    jojajihisc

    jojajihisc vast and cool

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    I read The Philip K. Dick Reader straight through, something I usually don't do with short stories and I enjoyed it tremendously. Favorites from the book were The Hanging Stranger, Strange Eden, Null-O, To Serve The Master, Sales Pitch, Upon The Dull Earth, The Chromium Fence and Second Variety.

    It's interesting because most of the movies were adapted from short stories with the exceptions of Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly. Adapting short stories into movies allows for more detail in a two hour movie than an 18 page story (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale). Usually books have the advantage in storytelling because you have a few hundred pages or more to tell it and also because the reader spends several days emotionally investing himself in it and therefore feels a greater connection by the end. However, the written story wins for me probably 8 or 9 times out of 10. With PKD works that have been adapted into film I'd give the edge this way.

    The film title

    Blade Runner - (haven't read the book, but a great movie)
    Screamers - short story was better.
    Impostor - (haven't read the short story, but not a great movie)
    Minority Report - both good.
    Total Recall - both good.
    Next - (haven't read the story, but a lousy movie)
    A Scanner Darkly - (haven't read the book, but movie was not very good)
    Paycheck - short story was better.
  5.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    For me its impossible to compare PKD stories to his movies. Not even one of them is close the idea,story of their novel or short story versions. Blade Runner is good for hollywood movie but not a PKD story. The Minority Report i enjoyed, thought it was a good movie even if it was a bit too flashy. Still not dark,paranoid,emotional enough.

    Thats why i try to act his movies even the good ones dont have anything to do with PKD.
    His stories are too thoughtprovoking,dark,depressing for the happy ending simplistic view of hollywood sf movies.

    Just compare what happens with Anderton in the end of short and the movie Minority Report. You dont have to read it to know there is no way he will beat "the bad guy" in the end....


    A Scanner Darkly i havent read the book yet but the movie was in some ways typical PKD in characters,dialouge. Having read other similar books and short stories to Scanner Darkly.
  6.  
    jojajihisc

    jojajihisc vast and cool

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    You give Dick more credit than I do. For me his stories range from crap to brilliant and the movies based on his stories did the same.
  7.  
    D_Davis

    D_Davis New Member

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    The only film I've ever seen that captures the essence of PKD is a film not based on one of his works, but it is instead an homage to the author, and that is Southland Tales.

    The best straight adaptation I've seen is easily A Scanner Darkly. It's among my favorite books - I read it often - and I had high expectations. Linklater handled the material with respect, and it being animated perfectly captured the surreal feeling of the narrative. Linklater conjured the spirit of PKD in his similar film Waking Life, and did PKD proud in ASD.
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    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    I used to have an ex library copy of Beyond Lies the Wub but never got round to reading it!
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    Try it. I have three volumes of his short stories. Some are harder to get into than others, but there's some really impressive stories. The title story in particular comes to mind.
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    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    I would if i still had it. But I had to leave most of my books behind when I moved 8 years ago.
  11.  
    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    That's a shame. You must have been gutted, It's never easy to let books go. (And for some reason, Ties as well. :eek: )
  12.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Yea well i had literally hundreds of books including a paperback edition of the Valis trilogy,never read. I had an 11 foot shelf of just SF. Half of it was Asimov which I decided to sell(needed the money for new glasses),but I made sure I kept all my A C Clarke books and David Attenborough first editions.
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    Elbo

    Elbo New Member

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    Well my personal favourite is Minority Report. I have a very nice collection entitled Minority Report, and I think all the stories in it are very good. It's worth having a look into, if you're new to PKD.
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    Diggler

    Diggler Beam Me Up Scotty

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    I've read "Paycheck and other stories" and "Second Variety and other stories" to be honest my favourites would have to be "Second Variety", "Impostor", "The Golden Man", "The Father Thing". There's a whole lot more that I really liked, though I have also read around 15-20 of his novels too. So my brain is a muddled :)

    As for movies, Minority Report was quite good. Though I felt the rest like Next, Paycheck (close to the story, stupid film), Screamers (Second Variety), Impostor (relatively close to the story) and Total Recall were pretty crap and absolutely nothing like the stories.
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    steve12553

    steve12553 The Enigma of Steel

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    I started it a few days ago it is filling my limited reading time. Wonderful stories. Cever Science Fiction ideas and plenty of good old irony.
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    MichaelH

    MichaelH New Member

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    Good questions. Yes. he does work in short stories, better than in novels. Why?Because he relies on his original ideas, and reading his works he used to expand them. So in the short form i can look at the most original message very clearly.
    Judging from the blade runner movie, I think Scott understood the most original idea very well and used the film craft to make it up in an appropriate way.Interesting to me that Harrison Ford could not adapt to that role quite satisfying. He does not transport the implications of the character which refer to Deckard being an android himself.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Having now read a collection of his later stories, here are my favourites right now:

    Holy Quarrel

    This was a real gem because it was so thought provoking and to a certain extent still quite pertinent. In this story the USA has built a super computer that is networked to the rest of the world and gathers, processes and analyses as much information as possible looking for potential threats to the USA. If it perceives a serious threat in the making, it has the capacity to initiate a pre-emptive strike (even nuclear) against the suspected enemy, annihilating them well before it is obvious to anyone else that they were ever a danger.

    A computer repairman is woken and asked to come and have a look at the computer that tried to instigate an attack on a region of California but was prevented from doing so by the jamming of a well placed phillips screwdriver. The repairman needs to try to ascertain whether there is a genuine threat or whether the computer is just malfunctioning.

    This raises some interesting questions. The whole point of such a machine is to become aware of a threat before any human could so it is not suprising that no one else would be aware of a threat. So does that mean we just have to trust it? It's a bit like our military intelligence. They decide a country / regime is a threat and needs to be attacked and we (the wider public) can never know all the facts. To a large extent, we just have to trust them to make the right decisions, but should we?

    In the usual PKD style, the story takes a crazy turn and their faith in the integrity of the computer rapidly takes a dive when they learn the precise character that it ascribes to the threat and that it now appears to incorporating divine considerations...

    We Can Remember It For You Wholesale

    This was a good story and starts very similiar to the film but fairly soon goes off in quite another direction. Best to forget about the film when you read this story.

    The Exit Door Leads In

    This was an outstanding story, possibly my favourite of all so far. This explores the difficult question: how do you train people to be non-conformists? The protagonist is presented with a way out of his dull life, all he has to do is work out what they want from him...

    I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

    This is a tragic story about an interstella-ship in which mid trip one of the suspension chambers partially malfunctions and the human inhabitant ragains partial consciousness with still another ten years to go. He cannot be fully awoken, nor re-submerged into suspension so the ships computer must construct a false reality for him from his own unconscious memories to keep him from going insane through sensory deprevation. However, whatever the ship tries, the artificial realities break down and the person's neuroses keep coming to the fore...
  18.  
    Extollager

    Extollager Active Member

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    I too was impressed by "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon," which has a concluding sadness that is not despairing that reminded me of the conclusion of A Scanner Darkly.
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    Extollager

    Extollager Active Member

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    Speaking of the short stories, if one has the Lethem collection (Selected Stories of PKD), what other stories should one hunt down and where are they? Here are the stories in that collection:

    Nominations?
  20.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Not sure I can answer your question because it looks like that collection you have read has been compiled from across his entire career. From "Precious Artifact" onwards, they are all in the collection I just read but it looks more like a best of from his entire career. It might be worth reading some of the chronological collections but you're going to get overlap.

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