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Monday, October 13, 2008

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon by Philip K. Dick
Reason for Reading: R.I.P. III Reading Challenge
Rating: 3.5/5

When the back of the book cover says "Welcome to the nightmare reality of Philip K. Dick", you know the book will fit in with the R.I.P. Challenge. This book is a collection of several short stories written by Dick that examine the interplay of technology and humanity, and what constitutes reality.

Although I rated the book overall 3.5/5, it's because I either loved or hated the stories. A few seemed too obvious and outdated, others were exceptionally good. The title story in particular is one that will stick with me. A man is traveling to a new colony in suspended animation, only something goes wrong and he isn't fully asleep. The ship is put in a dilemma. There is no air or gravity for the man to be fully woken up, but he can't be fully put back into suspended animation. If he is left conscious for the full ten years, he will go mad. The ship decides that he will resurrect the man's memories for him, so that he can spend the time traveling to the new planet in an extended dreamlike state. However, a childhood trauma that left its mark on the man keeps emerging from the dreams, turning each pleasant scenario thought up by the ship into a nightmare. Does it matter if you are awake or dreaming when you can't tell the difference anymore?

Two other stories worth mentioning are What'll We Do With Ragaland Park?, a story in which a simple folk singer can change the world... his lyrics somehow alter reality. What does one do with ultimate power? Sing about world peace or destroying your enemies? Explorers We is about a doomed group of astronauts that returns to earth. They can't understand the hostility of the townspeople, when by all accounts they should be heroes. As it turns out, they've already returned to earth, and they will again. And again.

Like I mentioned, there were some stories I didn't care for much, like one that included uber-powerful robots that somehow managed to develop a weird religion. Or another in which a cat gets killed. But despite that, I recommend this book to all lovers of sci fi. This is not the book to introduce you to science fiction, but if you already know and love the genre, this is a great, if less well-known collection from Philip K. Dick.


Debi said...

Okay, I'll have trouble with the cat killing one, but those stories you enjoyed all sound really, really good! Time to grab my little notebook and jot this title down. Thanks, Kim!

Trish said...

Hmmmm--uber-powerful robots and their own religion...interesting. I usually find that with collections like this I can definitely take and leave some stories.

Sam said...

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