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on 1 March 2011
As a fan of the work of Philip K Dick (1928-1982), I love this complete collection of his short stories (of which this is the fifth of 5 volumes).

The stories in this volume were written between 1963 and 1981 (shortly before his death). As with any collection of this kind, where all an authors short stories are collected, you get something of a mixed bag. However, to my mind even when PKD is not at his best he is still well worth a read (and at his best he is among the very best). As well as the stories you get some interesting introductory material and some helpful notes.

The stories contained in this volume are:

"The Little Black Box"
"The War with the Fnools"
"A Game of Unchance"
"Precious Artifact"
"Retreat Syndrome"
"A Terran Odyssey"
"Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday"
"Holy Quarrel"
"We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (which the movie Total Recall was based on)
"Not By Its Cover"
"Return Match"
"Faith of Our Fathers"
"The Story to End All Stories for Harlan Ellison's Anthology Dangerous Visions"
"The Electric Ant"
"Cadbury, the Beaver Who Lacked"
"A Little Something for Us Tempunauts"
"The Pre-Persons"
"The Eye of the Sibyl"
"The Day Mr. Computer Fell out of its Tree"
"The Exit Door Leads In"
"Chains of Air, Web of Aether"
"Strange Memories of Death"
"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon"
"Rautavaara's Case"
"The Alien Mind"

'...fitting tribute to a great philosophical writer who found science fiction the ideal form for the expression of his ideas' -- The Independent

'No other writer of his generation has had such a powerful intellectual presence.' -- Brian Aldiss

'One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction...' -- Sunday Times

'The most consistently brilliant SF writer in the world ... author of more good short stories than I can count' -- John Brunner

The other four volumes in this collection are:

Beyond Lies The Wub: Volume One Of The Collected Short Stories
Second Variety: Volume Two Of The Collected Short Stories
The Father-Thing: Volume Three Of The Collected Short Stories
Minority Report: Volume Four Of The Collected Short Stories

If you are new to Philip K Dick's work I would also recommend the novels (which generally seem to be regarded as among his best):

Ubik (S.F. Masterworks)
The Man In The High Castle (S.F. Masterworks)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (S.F. Masterworks)
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (S.F. Masterworks)
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?: The novel which became 'Blade Runner' (S.F. Masterworks)

That said, as with the short stories, though some of PKD's works are better than others, to my mind they are all well worth reading.

Also of interest may be Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (Gollancz S.F.).
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on 3 March 2001
I must admit I only bought this book for the title story "We Can Remmber It For You Wholesale" as this was the story which became the film "Total Recall". This is a great short story and is as different from the book as is "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" to the film "Blade Runner". If you have never considered reading any of Dick's novels then I would recommend starting with one of his short story compendiums (of which this is one). His writing style is simply fantastic... Some of the reading is heavy going but is well worth reading. (I remember reading "Do Androids..." for the first time and having to re-read several pages as I thought i'd missed something). This can still happen but once you have read several of his stories you become accustomed to his style and even look forward to having you mind messed with! Overall I would say that this is a great compendium of short stories and should be a part of your collection.
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on 15 August 2007
These were not the first Philip K Dick stories that I had read (the first was the rather amazing "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep") but were the first book of his short stories that I had read.

Something that occurred to me when reading this book was truly imaginative you could be when writing a story; I never really enjoyed the idea of a short story before reading this book. What occured to me whilst reading them was the entire point of them being short; the story is kept fresh and interesting and ideas can be explored that would quickly run out of steam if they were stretched further.

Within these hallowed pages you will find a great variety of different stories ranging from the oft-quoted title story (that was vastly expanded into Total Recall), right through to "The War With Fnools"; a crazy tale of an attempt by aliens to take over the Earth by disguising themselves as tiny real-estate salesmen.

There is such great depth of imagination and variety; yet some of the stories have a touch of the absurd about them (such as the aforementioned "The War With Fnools") and it is this that makes the book such a compelling read.

On a seperate note, the notes at the back of the book (some of which are made by the author) really flesh out the different backstories (and the mindset) of the author and are worth reading in themselves.
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on 12 August 2003
This is a very interesting and thought provokingly collection of short stories. PKD investigates consciousness, god, perception and well...consciousness again with his usual bizarre sense of humor. You've got to read this book, if only because of the line "But the saviour is eating Travis!".
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on 27 December 2011
Philip K Dick's short stories are some of his very best work. As a writer whose talent was in crafting imaginative stories filled with mend-bending ideas rather than developing emotionally complicated characters, the format complements his strengths - many of the entries in the five-volume collection are masterpieces of distilled paranoia, surprise and suspense.

This final volume, containing short stories written after Dick had matured as a writer, is the best of the five in my opinion. Highlights include:

Retreat Syndrome - A man with memories of killing his wife struggles to determine what is really happening to him

Holy Quarrel - An engineer is asked to repair a malfunctioning military supercomputer, which has directed US armed forces to attack an area in Northern California

We Can Remember it for you Wholesale - A man asks a company specialising in the implantation of false memories to provide him with memories of being a secret agent on Mars, with unexpected results

Faith of our Fathers - The life of a Vietnamese bureaucrat living in a communist future is disrupted by an encounter with a street peddler (this is my favourite of all short stories)

The Electric Ant - A man discovers that he is an android, and begins to conduct experiments on himself
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on 13 February 2004
I haven't read all of the stories in this collection but the ones that I have read are just brilliantly imaginitive and hillarious. Philip K. Dick felt that he was possessed by an angel or some other kind of higher intelligence, (see Colin Wilson's "The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries"), and this is not entirely un-evident in Dick's writings. One of my favourite stories in this volume is "War with the fnools", which is about three foot businessmen haunting the Earth with their strangeness. (The following may spoil the story a little...): the problem is that if one of the fnools eats a certain piece of food or something, all of the fnools in existence will double in size. This happens once and the fnools are exactly the same size as humans, and are indistinguishable, ... but what could happen if they doubled in size again?! The story on which the film "Total Recall" was based is very fast and difficult to follow, and is called "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". I would recommend this collection of short stories to anyone with an active imagination and with an absurd sense of humour. Not all of Dick's stories are intended to be humourous though, and some are perhaps even deeply philosophical, and can be quite haunting. I would not only recommend these short stories, but also the accompanying volume of short stories: "Beyond Lies the Wub".
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on 19 October 2006
A fantastic book of short stories by the finest science fiction writer of all time.These stories are full of great ideas and humour and many were the launchpad for the ideas Dick used for his extensive and hugely successful collection of novels.As an introduction to his work in bite size chunks i can think of no finer book.Without doubt the best collection of short stories you can buy by this author,and so packed full of interesting concepts that you simply must read it.

Another point that may be worth considering is that this book is quite a hefty tomb for the price...value AND quality....hard to beat!.
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on 29 December 2012
A quite fantastic collection of short stories from a brilliant philosophical mind.

I have found since reading this collection that I can now only think of things in a science fiction context. Life has taken on a peculiar hue and reality feels kind of reassuringly pointless. I could not recommend this book more.
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on 13 November 2013
Great Stories the man is the best at bending peoples minds, don't expect sprawling space opera, lets get back to Hard SF good ideas imagination, twists and turns and expect the unexpected with Dick.
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on 30 November 2014
Great stories of course, especially 'We can remember it for you wholesale', as this is 'Total Recall' as in the film, nice to read it, thank you.
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