Ok, I was on a short story kick this weekend. The reason being is that we were out camping and the short burst of reading I could get in are better served reading short stories for two reasons: A) I don’t get wrapped up in reading and neglect the fun times with my son. B) The times I can read I am knocking out a 17 page short story rather and finishing it rather than bits and pieces of a novel.
The most interesting, or absolutely mind twisting story I read was not that of a strange alien invasion or the ethics of youthenasia in dystopian futures, but it was that of the life of a cuckoo bird.
You know, small ordinary clock with a mechanically timed visit from a feathered-bipedal-beaked friend that reminds you it is time to get up, dress for a date or just say a little hello.
Philip K. Dick could have been writing a short adaptation for the Twilight Zone had it been around a decade earlier when he conceived Beyond the Door. Telling the tale of a psychologically controlling husband in a loveless marriage who gives his wife the worst wholesale clock find he could ever imagine.
I wouldn’t call this story ground breaking or life changing, just memorable and lasting. In 40 years you won’t remember this story for how it moved you or shaped your life direction, but you will never forget the cuckoo bird in the clock, beyond the door.
Free Kindle version: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-the-Door-ebook/dp/B004UJORLK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342606500&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+the+door+dick
Multi-Format free on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28644
*Note* If the intro to my previous blog and this one are confusing in the sense that they seem reversed it is because I scheduled them and mistakenly put them in reverse order. Likely you never noticed, but if you did and have OCD like myself and just have to know, then there is your answer.
Sometimes you read something and you really have to let it digest before you decide whether you enjoyed it or not, Beyond Lies the Wub was just that for me.
Again a short story from the nights of our camping trip, but it required two readings. Not because it is confusing, but because I had to see if I missed something deeper than what it appeared. No, it was what I read, every word of it.
The Wub is basically a pig, a large lazy philosophical space pig who joins the crew of a space liner on a journey of inner enlightenment. The story never gets exciting, or high paced, it is the slow-moving grandfather on his way to renew his license that he shouldn’t even have at 108 years of age.
In retrospect the book could have been written no better, the story is what it is and Philip K. Dick wrote the story as well as any one could, but does the story hold up on its merit, I still don’t know. Maybe it is the concept of a pig that may have written the Nicomachean Ethics: Space Swine Edition, or maybe it was the fact that my mind is having difficulty wrapping around the more broad concept that even masters of writing can write a flub, maybe that is The Wub.
Check it out for yourself, FREE: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Lies-the-Wub-ebook/dp/B004UJU5W0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342562409&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+lies+the+wub
For Peter Cawdron and other Out of the States Readers: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28554
P.S. Project Gutenberg is a great resource for free public domain books.
Earthlings doing what they do best, stripping the land of resources, only this land is on Mars and Mars will not take it any longer.
Whether Mars kicked out the humans or they left of their own accord it is slightly unclear, but the last transport of humans are about to depart and it is possible terrorists are among them. The Capital City of Mars has been leveled to dust and the Martians demand justice, only there are no witnesses to identify the humans involved. Making use of the little leverage they have they try their best to find the Americans before the ship departs.
Philip Marlow meets Alfred Hitchcock on the set of the Outer Limits is the only way to describe this story. Part detective story, part sci fi and a lot of that mysterious man on the train.
One of Philip K. Dick’s lesser know tales. Not as technological and sophisticated as some of today’s imagery, they refer to Mars vehicles as “cars” and carry machine guns. The idea of technology in 1954 was to just venture into space, never mind computers, internet and holo-communications.
Dick’s work has been quietly adapted into some of the biggest sci-fi films in history, mostly unknown or associated with these works of art because he died in the early 1980s he wrote stories that went on to become: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and the Adjustment Bureau to name just a few.
One of the best short stories you will ever read, and best of all you never pay a penny!