Townhouse Books

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Eye of The Sibyl and Other Classic Stories

I've read lots of science fiction over the years but I tend to stick to books that are described as "hard science fiction" and rarely venture outside of the Niven, Baxter, Pournelle, and Gibson sections. Friends have often recommended Philip K. Dick's work to me, but I've only ever read a few of his books.

Not that I have a lack of excuses. Most libraries don't keep that many copies of PKD books on hand. They've only started republishing the PKD back catalog in the last 5 years, and so I completely missed out when I was first getting into science fiction (especially Niven) 15 years ago.

I bought The Eye of the Sybil mostly because I wanted to read the story "The Faith of Our Fathers". It appeared in an anthology edited by Harlan Ellison called "Dangerous Visions," the second sequel to which has been the source of intense controversy for the last 30 years.

Something I've found in this book, and which may be true of most PKD stories, is that rather than following the time honored sci-fi pattern of "it's the future and everything sucks," he uses the pattern "something strange just happened and it's obviously because there's a secret alien invasion going on, oh, and everything sucks, too."

It's very entertaining for the first dozen or so stories, but it starts to wear thin after a while. The Eye of the Sybil is worth reading, since there are some real gems here, but you may enjoy it more if you read it in short spurts rather than all at once.

Read it, you'll like it.

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  • I haven't read it all, but this looks to be a great article. It is written by Robert Silverberg another SF author about Dick's influence upon 21st century tech.

    "We live in the twenty-first century. Philip K. Dick helped to invent it."

    By Jason, at 10:01 AM  

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