by Mark Dalligan
K. Dick’s dark and gritty worlds are awesome, but would be too
depressing to contemplate were it not for his compassion for his
characters and brittle sense of humour. The twenty short pieces in this
collection were originally published between 1952 and 1973. They are
flavoured by those authoritarian times and largely pre-date his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric
Sheep? (filmed as Blade
mixed handful would be:
the Wub: too "pulpy" for me, overly blending an "aliens
aren't what they seem" premise with a "humans are boneheads" theme, all
bound in a futuristic mayonnaise.
After the sky has become a permanent cloud of ash, Cold War survivors
continue to battle. The end-of-time culmination of Henry
Ford's drive for labour efficiency means people and machine-generated
weapons may not be all they seem.
The Variable Man: a
dark cousin to Twain's Connecticut Yankee. A horse cart
jobber is accidentally catapulted forward in time to a military
dominated future. Man is corralled within his own solar system by
superior alien technology. What is the effect of a random element from
the past in such a mix?
The Father Thing:
no prizes for guessing, is a bad ass alien. It supplants the head of a
young family. More than a rogue ET tale with strong with Ray
Bradburyish "coming of age" overtones.
Human Is?: gives
its name to the title of the collection. In my view not the best story
but one that clearly examines what being human actually means.
Oh, To Be a Blobel!:
has aliens become humans and humans become aliens. All overwritten
by love, loneliness, anger and avarice.
you have only the time or inclination to sample one story in this
collection, it should be The
Days of Perky Pat. Armageddon survivors have formed
isolated communities. Guilt-consumed aliens drop food and technology
parcels, but people seem more interested in a proxy life lived through
Dalligan’s short fiction has appeared in a number of publications
including Static Movement, MicroHorror, Bewildering Stories, Boston
Literary Magazine, Ranfurly Review, Twisted Tongue and Every Day
Publisher: Gollancz Fiction
bio: In his early 20’s, Hugo winner Philip
K. Dick (1928 -1982) began writing SF full-time,
contributing massively to 50’s pulps before turning to novel writing.
In 1974 a (possibly) mystical experience added further depth to his
world perception. Do
Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is probably his most
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Publisher's Website: Gollancz
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