Though best known for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
, the source of the classic SF film Blade Runner
, for four decades in dozens of stories and novels Philip K. Dick turned into poetic prose the metaphysical doubt and surreal zeitgeist of the late 20th century. This volume, the first of five, finds him at the beginning of his career, just starting to develop the themes which would make him one of the most important writers of the latter half of the century. The 25 stories come with a forward by the author, an introduction by Roger Zelazny, who co-wrote Deus Irae
with Dick, and six pages of informative notes. From the previously unpublished "Stability" (1947) to "Nanny" (1952), these are science-fiction stories, fantasies, unique gimmicks and oddities. "Roog" is a dog's-eye view of refuge collectors, "The Preserving Machine" a chill allegory on the nature of change, while the title story concerns a psychic Martian with a remarkable survival mechanism.
Inevitably some of the SF elements have dated, but it doesn't matter: Dick wasn't predicting the future, but shining a bright, sometimes mordant light on the baffling nature of reality. These stories still dazzle because they are mind-bendingly inventive, quirkily humorous, filled with original and startling ideas. Dick, who said he wrote about "The shock of dysrecognition", was a true original, a writer who expanded to possibilities of fiction. This collection is essential reading for anyone who wants to stretch the horizons of their universe. --Gary S. Dalkin
The first volume of the complete stories of the twentieth century¿s greatest SF author.