Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick
Publication date: 14 September 2017
Pages: 224 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 androids
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
So I’ve done a video review for Electric Dreams already, but I wanted to get one up here too. I know there has been some good reaction to my Beginner’s Guide to Science Fiction (part one and part two), and Electric Dreams is the perfect book for anyone looking to get started with sci-fi.
Based on the stories contained in this volume, the ten-part anthology series, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams is written and executive produced by Emmy-nominated Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) and Michael Dinner (Justified, Masters of Sex), with Oscar nominated Bryan Cranston (Trumbo, Breaking Bad) both executive producing and appearing in the series.
Each episode will be a sharp, thrilling standalone drama adapted and contemporised for global audiences by a creative team of British and American writers. The series will both illustrate Philip K. Dick’s prophetic vision and celebrate the enduring appeal of the prized Sci-Fi novelist’s work. Other guest stars include Janelle Morae, Anna Paquin, Timothy Spall and Benedict Wong.
The ten stories included are:
THE HANGING STRANGER, THE COMMUTER, THE FATHER-THING, EXHIBIT PIECE, IMPOSSIBLE PLANET, SALES PITCH, FOSTER YOU’RE DEAD, THE HOOD MAKER, HOLY QUARREL, IF THERE WERE NO BENNY CEMOLI, AUTOFAC and HUMAN IS*
This edition ties in with the new anthology TV show on Channel 4 in the UK (Amazon Prime in the US, I believe). The book consists of ten short stories, and each story is introduced by one of the writers/directors/producers of that particular episode. As someone who doesn’t usually read short stories, I can confidently say that all ten of these stories are incredibly engaging and well-written. The introductions explain a little of how the corresponding episode was created and the impact the story had on the author. That kind of context really helps put PKD’s influence in perspective and compliments each story so well.
I had a really tough time picking a favourite story. One of the reasons I love classic sci-fi is that you can not only see the incredible influence some authors have had on the genre as a whole, but you can see how they tackle issues that are still so relevant today. PKD handles everything from the surveillance state to consumerism and paranoia in Electric Dreams. My favourites stories were Impossible Planet, The Father-Thing, Human Is, and The Hanging Stranger — I had a hard time narrowing it down!
It’s incredible how hard hitting these stories are in their own way while still being incredibly fun and entertaining to read. If you’re looking for a place to start with PKD or science fiction in general, Electric Dreams is perfect for you. The stories are about 20 pages long on average, so you can easily fly through this book. The TV show is on Sundays at 9 in the UK, and if you’re watching the show you should absolutely read the stories. There have been some changes to the adaptations already (and we all know the book is always better than the show anyway).
Want to know more? I go more in depth on the book and the show in my video review, which you can view below.
Buy Electric Dreams here:
Have you read any of PKD’s books or stories before? Are you watching Electric Dreams? What do you think? Let me know!
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads