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The Variable Man (collection) by Philip K. Dick


The Variable Man (collection) by Philip K. Dick, first published in 1957, contains the following short stories:

• The Variable Man
• Second Variety
• The Minority Report
• Autofac
• A World of Talent

DOWNLOAD FILES HERE

The 2005 film Minority Report was based on the short story of the same name above. A lesser-known 1995 film, Screamers was based on Second Variety. Dick's stories typically focus on the fragile nature of what is "real" and the construction of personal identity. His stories often become surreal fantasies as the main characters slowly discover that their everyday world is actually an illusion constructed by powerful external entities, vast political conspiracies, or simply from the vicissitudes of an unreliable narrator. Dick identified one major theme of his work as the question, "What constitutes the authentic human being?". In many of his works characters can appear totally human in every respect while lacking soul or compassion.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Dick in 2005. He has influenced many writers, including Jonathan Lethem, and Ursula K. Le Guin. The prominent literary critic Fredric Jameson proclaimed Dick the "Shakespeare of Science Fiction", and praised his work as "one of the most powerful expressions of the society of spectacle and pseudo-event". The author Roberto Bolaño also praised Dick, describing him as “Thoreau plus the death of the American dream”.

More info

The venue, being a hotel bar/lounge area, requires that everyone buy at least one drink each if they are not hotel guests. It doesn't have to be alcoholic, so feel free to get coke/juice/etc. before we start. The group usually heads out for dinner after the meetup so feel free to join in.

We're usually by the "fireplace". If not, look for me.

 

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  • John

    In the aftermath of the claimed success of the Turing Test, there are commentators warning about the dangers posed by this type of machine. The following BBC article touches on several of the themes of the PKD stories that we read: machines that would be able to predict or influence human behavior. Self aware machines are mentioned briefly.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-28005330

    June 25, 2014

    • Ted

      Thanks for the links, amazing how fiction is being reality

      June 25, 2014

  • John

    I mentioned the film "Koyaanisqatsi" (Life Out of Balance) during the meetup. Vimeo streams the film for free. Download also seems possible. The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe starts at 33 minutes.

    http://vimeo.com/21922694

    The film "Baraka" isn't part of this series, but it is sort of a sequel. The director of "Baraka" was the cinematographer for "Koyaanisqatsi". He made his version of the theme.

    1 · June 24, 2014

  • Don F.

    Rats! I guess I better bow out for tonight. I was looking forward to attending, but planning for a jury trial is swarming on me and I'd better work on that.
    Don Frazier

    1 · June 24, 2014

  • Robert

    I really enjoyed the selection of stories. The last lines in Second Variety and A World of Talent are marvelous. Wonder why PKD kept using mountain/underground fortresses as settings, but perhaps that was a frequent plot device of scifi of that period. Wish I could be there to discuss it further, but I have to take a rain check. Have a great discussion!

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry something has come up - I will try to make the next

    June 22, 2014

  • B M.

    Www.brainpickings.org has comic book by r, crumb on Philip dick spiritual experiences. Classic of underground comic book genre.

    June 17, 2014

    • John

      I'm surprised that PKD didn't stumble onto Buddhism during this period. Exiled monks from Tibet were teaching in the West. They were popular with hippies, intellectuals,etc. PKD might have come to grips with "reality".

      1 · June 18, 2014

    • Dennis T.

      Great point John! Here's an article I found - "The religion of PKD" http://www.adherents....­

      June 18, 2014

  • Don F.

    What am I missing? I bought and read The Variable Man, a novella. But you refer to a short story collection. Collection?

    June 16, 2014

    • Dennis T.

      Don, please read the event description above. "The Variable Man (collection) by Philip K. Dick, first published in 1957, contains the following short stories:
      • The Variable Man
      • Second Variety
      • The Minority Report
      • Autofac
      • A World of Talent"...

      June 16, 2014

    • Ann

      And you provided links to free copies of all five stories.

      June 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was planning to come if my schedule allowed and I read the variable man but when I came back here i found the other stories but could not find the collection - nor all the stories on Amazon - nor this collection on bn.com

    I am getting and starting second variety and will see how ready I am -

    does anyone know where to get the book?

    June 10, 2014

  • Ann

    Dennis -- "The Variable Man" itself is just a novella. It's in a variety of collections many of which are out of print. Would you let us know what specific other stories you're hoping to discuss so we can search for them? Thanks.

    March 15, 2014

    • Ann

      Also easy to read on a Kindle, Nook, or on your PC/Mac. No need to look for the hard copy any more.

      April 2, 2014

    • John

      "Kindle for PC" is a better app than SumatraPDF for reading the mobi's on WIndows.

      May 26, 2014

  • RichardRyan

    Interested members might find something of interest in my review of "The Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick" (Pantheon) on The Modern Word website: http://www.themodernword.com/reviews/pkd_stories.html

    1 · March 27, 2014

  • Ann

    Selected Stories of Philip K Dick (Kindle or hardcover) has three of the stories (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008P96TI0/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title)
    while "The Variable Man" is available in a free Kindle edition. "A World of Talent" may be in a volume available from the library (the search produces this but there's no list of the contents).

    March 17, 2014

  • Ann

    See the collection in Amazon but it's neither available for sale nor in the NYPL. Sure it's a great choice but we have to have access to it somewhere. May need to rethink.

    March 15, 2014

    • Dennis T.

      I have Kindle versions of all of them, I'll upload them to the group files shortly.

      March 16, 2014

  • John

    Project Gutenberg has "The Variable Man" and "Second Variety". PG also has 11 other stories not listed by Dennis. Although I prefer hardcopy, Dennis could replace the last 3 on his list with some stories on PG. These stories were originally published in "Space Science Fiction" magazine.

    March 16, 2014

  • B M.

    I put holds on 2 books by the author at nypl. Collected stories vol I and selected stories. That provided all that Dennis listed except World of Talent.

    March 15, 2014

    • Ann

      Exactly. You'll need to check out multiple volumes of books with limited copies, and even then you won't have access to all of the listed stories. The book that Dennis owns is simply out of print. Might make more sense to change to omething that's readily available ( no matter how much I like Dick).

      March 15, 2014

  • B M.

    If you search the author, lots of his anthologies come up at nypl, and many have some of the selections. But I don't know how that will do for 20 or more people

    March 15, 2014

5 went

  • Dennis T.
    Organizer,
    Event Host
  • John
    Co-Organizer
  • Ted
  • A former member
  • A former member

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