Mini-Review - Minority Report and other Stories by Philip K. Dick

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Minority Report and other Stories

by Philip K. Dick, 1987, 380pp, 20hrs and 9 minutes.
Also known as Volume IV: The Days of Perky Pat in The Collected Stories of Philip K Dick.
TLDR: 3 our of 5 for a bunch of amazing stories and some chaff.

This short story collection is but one volume in a 5-part collection. This one contains the stories from Autofac to Oh, to Be a Blobel and includes The Minority Report, the most famous story in this collection. I quite liked many (not all) of the stories in this collection. The standouts for me (other than Minority Report, which is an obvious one) were:

  • Autofac, which takes place in a future where automatic factories have run rampant over the earth, consuming its resources to produce things people don't really need to the point where the humans are struggling. One group of humans figures out a way to put autofacs into competition with each other.
  • Novelty Act in which a techno-jug band tries very hard to get a performance before the First Lady of the USA - the most important person in the world. Some of the bits in here made it into my High Strung RPG scenario at LozCon, so thanks, Phil!
  • Waterspider in which a couple of scientists head back in time to an SF convention to recruit the pre-cog Poul Anderson for help with a project. For half the story, they wander around the convention and encounter other 'pre-cogs' like Rob Heinlein, A.E. Van Vogt, and Philip K. Dick. For the other half, they chase Poul Anderson around in the future after he escapes and tries to find the perfect gift to bring back to his wife.

Aside from the stories, this collection has a great intro by James Tiptree Jr. who talks about Dick's preference to cast ordinary people as his protagonists. And possibly best of all (for the audio listeners) is the narration by Patrick Lawlor who, I swear to god, sounds just like Bob Odenkirk. What could be better than having Better Call Saul read you a bunch of PKD stories about ordinary people getting in over their heads?

Link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Collected_Stories_of_Philip_K._Dick

Comments

  • 1
    I almost bought this collection, but then chickened out and just downloaded a sample so I could delay the decision until another day :)
  • 2

    Never been too taken with Dick's short stories, I think he was better at novels.

  • 2
    edited December 2018

    I read Waterspider in Analog or Galaxy or one of the other pulps at the time. I loved it's self-referential fun. I also recognized Dick's hand (Ugly phrase that!) in your High Strung scenario. :wink:

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