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Book Title: The Variable Man and Other Stories|
The author of the book: Philip K. Dick
ISBN 13: 9780722129623
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.79 MB
Edition: Sphere Books Limited
Date of issue: December 10th 1977
Read full description of the books The Variable Man and Other Stories:A second hand book bargain. A bargain because I don't think I actually have two of the stories in this book; and the others I read long enough ago that I came to them almost fresh. Two of these have been made into movies - Minority Report and Second Variety. Minority Report was a good movie, and Screamers (Second Variety) a not bad B-Movie. But movies never really seem to capture the downbeat nature of Philip K Dick - his books have protagonists rather than heroes.
Although the central character of Minority Report sacrifices his career to save a system he believes in you are left asking yourself whether he did the right thing. Should we carry on detaining people for "metaphysical crimes".
The thing that really stands out for me in these stories, written in the 1950s, are that Dick saw automation as the threat to humanity, not overpopulation. His machines are not actively malevolent like SkyNet. They do what we have asked them to do, ever more efficiently, squeezing us out in the process. The machines in Autofac strip the earth of resources while continuing to churn out goods that are unwanted by the remaining population. They can't be reasoned with or stopped, they blindly follow their original directives while adapting to changed circumstance. This is what should worry us about the AI revolution - not that self-aware machines will spontaneously arise and decide to eliminate us.
Read information about the authorPhilip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Dick died on March 2, 1982, in Santa Ana, California, of heart failure following a stroke.
In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.
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