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Authors: Philip K. Dick

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The Philip K. Dick Megapack

BOOK: The Philip K. Dick Megapack
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COPYRIGHT INFO

The Philip K. Dick Megapack
is copyright © 2013 by Wildside Press LLC. All rights reserved.

* * * *

“Exhibit Piece” originally appeared in in
If Worlds of Science Fiction
, August 1954.

“The Crystal Crypt” originally appeared in
Planet Stories
, January 1954.

“Beyond the Door” originally appeared in
Fantastic Universe
, January 1954.

“The Defenders” originally appeared in
Galaxy Science Fiction
, January 1953.

“Beyond Lies the Wub” originally appeared in
Planet Stories
, July 1952.

“Second Variety” originally appeared in
Space Science Fiction
, May 1953.

“The Eyes Have It” originally appeared in
Science Fiction Stories,
1953.

“The Gun” originally appeared in
Planet Stories
, September 1952.

“The Variable Man” originally appeared in
Space Science Fiction
, September 1953.

“Tony and the Beetles” originally appeared in
Orbit
, vol. 1 no. 2, 1953.

“The Hanging Stranger” originally appeared in
Science Fiction Adventures Magazine
, December 1953.

“The Skull” originally appeared in
If Worlds of Science Fiction
, September 1952.

“Piper in the Woods” originally appeared in
Imagination: Stories of Science and Fantasy
, February 1953.

“Mr. Spaceship” originally appeared in
Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy
, January 1953.

“Strange Eden” originally appeared in
Imagination
, December 1954.

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER

ATTN: KINDLE READERS

The Kindle versions of our Megapacks employ active tables of contents for easy navigation…please look for one before writing reviews on Amazon that complain about the lack! (They are sometimes at the ends of ebooks, depending on your version or ebook reader.)

RECOMMEND A FAVORITE STORY?

Do you know a great classic science fiction story, or have a favorite author whom you believe is perfect for the Megapack series? We’d love your suggestions! You can post them on our message board at http://movies.ning.com/forum (there is an area for Wildside Press comments).

Note:
we only consider stories that have already been professionally published.
This is not a market for new works.

TYPOS

Unfortunately, as hard as we try, a few typos do slip through. We update our ebooks periodically, so make sure you have the current version (or download a fresh copy if it’s been sitting in your ebook reader for months.) It may have already been updated.

If you spot a new typo, please let us know. We’ll fix it for everyone (and email a revised copy to you when it’s updated, in either epub or Kindle format, if you provide contact information). You can email the publisher at [email protected].

THE MEGAPACK SERIES

The Adventure Megapack

The Baseball Megapack

The Boys’ Adventure Megapack

The Buffalo Bill Megapack

The Christmas Megapack

The Second Christmas Megapack

The Classic American Short Story Megapack

The Classic Humor Megapack

The Dan Carter, Cub Scout Megapack

The Cowboy Megapack

The Craig Kennedy Scientific Detective Megapack

The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack

The Dan Carter, Cub Scout Megapack

The Detective Megapack

The Father Brown Megapack

The Ghost Story Megapack

The Second Ghost Story Megapack

The Third Ghost Story Megapack

The Horror Megapack

The Macabre Megapack

The Second Macabre Megapack

The Martian Megapack

The Military Megapack

The Mummy Megapack

The Mystery Megapack

The Penny Parker Megapack

The Pulp Fiction Megapack

The Rover Boys Megapack

The Science Fiction Megapack

The Second Science Fiction Megapack

The Third Science Fiction Megapack

The Fourth Science Fiction Megapack

The Fifth Science Fiction Megapack

The Sixth Science Fiction Megapack

The Penny Parker Megapack

The Pinocchio Megapack

The Steampunk Megapack

The Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Megapack

The Tom Swift Megapack

The Vampire Megapack

The Victorian Mystery Megapack

The Werewolf Megapack

The Western Megapack

The Second Western Megapack

The Second Western Megapack

The Wizard of Oz Megapack

AUTHOR MEGAPACKS

The E.F. Benson Megapack

The Second E.F. Benson Megapack

The B.M. Bower Megapack

The First Reginald Bretnor Megapack

The Wilkie Collins Megapack

The Philip K. Dick Megapack

The Edward Bellamy Megapack

The Jacques Futrelle Megapack

The Randall Garrett Megapack

The Second Randall Garrett Megapack

The G.A. Henty Megapack

The Andre Norton Megapack

The H. Beam Piper Megapack

The Rafael Sabatini Megapack

INTRODUCTION: PHILIP K. DICK

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick’s thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as
A Scanner Darkly
and
VALIS
.

The novel
The Man in the High Castle
bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963.
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
, a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. “I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,” Dick wrote of these stories. “In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.”

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 popular films based on his works have been produced, 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

EXHIBIT PIECE

“That’s a strange suit you have on,” the robot pubtrans driver observed. It slid back its door and came to rest at the curb. “What are the little round things?”

“Those are buttons,” George Miller explained. “They are partly functional, partly ornamental. This is an archaic suit of the twentieth century. I wear it because of the nature of my employment.”

He paid the robot, grabbed up his briefcase, and hurried along the ramp to the History Agency. The main building was already open for the day; robed men and women wandered everywhere. Miller entered a PRIVATE lift, squeezed between two immense controllers from the pre-Christian division, and in a moment was on his way to his own level, the Middle Twentieth Century.

“Gorning,” he murmured, as Controller Fleming met him at the atomic engine exhibit.

“Gorning,” Fleming responded brusquely. “Look here, Miller. Let’s have this out once and for all. What if everybody dressed like you? The Government sets up strict rules for dress. Can’t you forget your damn anachronisms once in awhile? What in God’s name is that thing in your hand? It looks like a squashed Jurassic lizard.”

“This is an alligator-hide briefcase,” Miller explained. “I carry my study spools in it. The briefcase was an authority symbol of the managerial class of the latter twentieth century.” He unzipped the briefcase. “Try to understand, Fleming. By accustoming myself to everyday objects of my research period, I transform my relation from mere intellectual curiosity to genuine empathy. You have frequently noticed I pronounce certain words oddly. The accent is that of an American business man of the Eisenhower administration. Dig me?”

“Eh?” Fleming muttered.


Dig me
was a twentieth century expression.” Miller laid out his study spools on his desk. “Was there anything you wanted? If not I’ll begin today’s work. I’ve uncovered fascinating evidence to indicate that although twentieth century Americans laid their own floor tiles, they did not weave their own clothing. I wish to alter my exhibits on this matter.”

“There’s no fanatic like an academician,” Fleming grated. “You’re two hundred years behind times. Immersed in your relics and artifacts. Your damn authentic replicas of discarded trivia.”

“I love my work,” Miller answered mildly.

“Nobody complains about your work. But there are other things than work. You’re a political-social unit here in this society. Take warning, Miller! The Board has reports on your eccentricities. They approve devotion to work…” His eyes narrowed significantly. “But you go too far.”

“My first loyalty is to my art,” Miller said.

“Your what? What does that mean?”

“A twentieth century term.” There was undisguised superiority on Miller’s face. “You’re nothing but a minor bureaucrat in a vast machine. You’re a function of an impersonal cultural totality. You have no standards of your own. In the twentieth century men had personal standards of workmanship. Artistic craft. Pride of accomplishment. These words mean nothing to you. You have no soul—another concept from the golden days of the twentieth century, when men were free and could speak their minds.”

“Beware, Miller!” Fleming blanched nervously and lowered his voice. “You damn scholars. Come up out of your tapes and face reality. You’ll get us all in trouble, talking this way. Idolize the past, if you want. But remember—it’s gone and buried. Times change. Society progresses.” He gestured impatiently at the exhibits that occupied the level. “That’s only an imperfect replica.”

“You impugn my research?” Miller was seething. “This exhibit is absolutely accurate! I correct it to all new data. There isn’t anything I don’t know about the twentieth century.”

Fleming shook his head. “It’s no use.” He turned and stalked wearily off the level, onto the descent ramp.

Miller straightened his collar and bright hand-painted necktie. He smoothed down his blue pinstripe coat, expertly lit a pipeful of two-century-old tobacco, and returned to his spools.

Why didn’t Fleming leave him alone? Fleming, the officious representative of the great hierarchy that spread like a sticky gray web over the whole planet. Into each industrial, professional, and residential unit. Ah, the freedom of the twentieth century! He slowed his tape scanner a moment, and a dreamy look slid over his features. The exciting age of virility and individuality, when men were men…

It was just about then, just as he was settling deep in the beauty of his research, that he heard the inexplicable sounds. They came from the center of his exhibit, from within the intricate, carefully-regulated interior.

Somebody was in his exhibit.

He could hear them back there, back in the depths. Somebody or something had got past the safety barrier set up to keep the public out. Miller snapped off his tape scanner and got slowly to his feet. He was shaking all over as he moved cautiously toward the exhibit. He killed the barrier and climbed the railing onto a concrete sidewalk. A few curious visitors blinked, as the small, oddly-dressed man crept among the authentic replicas of the twentieth century that made up the exhibit and disappeared within.

Breathing hard, Miller advanced up the sidewalk and onto a carefully-tended gravel path. Maybe it was one of the other theorists, a minion of the Board, snooping around looking for something with which to discredit him. An inaccuracy here—a trifling error of no consequence there. Sweat came out on his forehead; anger became terror. To his right was a flower bed. Paul Scarlet roses and low-growing pansies. Then the moist green lawn. The gleaming white garage, with its door half up. The sleek rear of a 1954 Buick—and then the house itself.

He’d have to be careful. If it
was
somebody from the Board, he’d be up against the official hierarchy. Maybe it was somebody big. Maybe even Edwin Carnap, President of the Board, the highest ranking official in the N’York branch of the World Directorate. Shakily, Miller, climbed the three cement steps. Now he was on the porch of the twentieth century house that made up the center of the exhibit.

It was a nice little house; if he had lived back in those days, he would have wanted one of his own. Three bedrooms, a ranch-style California bungalow. He pushed open the front door and entered the livingroom. Fireplace at one end. Dark wine-colored carpets. Modem couch and easy chair. Low hardwood glass-topped coffee table. Copper ashtrays. A cigarette lighter and a stack of magazines. Sleek plastic and steel floor lamps. A bookcase. Television set. Picture window overlooking the front garden. He crossed the room to the hall.

The house was amazingly complete. Below his feet the floor furnace radiated a faint aura of warmth. He peered into the first bedroom. A woman’s boudoir. Silk bed cover. White starched sheets. Heavy drapes. A vanity table. Bottles and jars. Huge round mirror. Clothes visible within the closet. A dressing gown thrown over the back of a chair. Slippers. Nylon hose carefully placed at the foot of the bed.

Miller moved down the hall and peered into the next room. Brightly painted wallpaper: clowns and elephants and tight-rope walkers. The children’s room. Two little beds for the two boys. Model airplanes. A dresser with a radio on it, pair of combs, school books, pennants, a NO PARKING sign, snapshots stuck in the mirror. A postage stamp album.

Nobody there, either.

Miller peered in the modern bathroom, even into the yellow-tiled shower. He passed through the diningroom, glanced down the basement stairs where the washing machine and dryer were. Then he opened the back door and examined the back yard. A lawn, and the incinerator. A couple of small trees and then the three-dimensional projected backdrop of other houses receding off into incredibly convincing blue hills. And still no one. The yard was empty—deserted. He closed the door and started back…

From the kitchen came laughter.

A woman’s laugh. The clink of spoons and dishes. And smells. It took him a moment to identify them, scholar that he was. Bacon and coffee. And hot cakes. Somebody was eating breakfast. A twentieth century breakfast.

He made his way down the hall, past a man’s bedroom, shoes and clothing strewn about, to the entrance of the kitchen.

A handsome late-thirtyish woman and two teen-age boys were sitting around the little chrome-and-plastic breakfast table. They had finished eating; the two boys were fidgeting impatiently. Sunlight filtered through the window over the sink. The electric clock read half past eight. The radio was chirping merrily in the corner. A big pot of black coffee rested in the center of the table, surrounded by empty plates and milk glasses and silverware.

The woman had on a white blouse and checkered tweed skirt. Both boys wore faded blue jeans, sweatshirts, and tennis shoes. As yet they hadn’t noticed him. Miller stood frozen at the doorway, while laughter and small talk bubbled around him.

“You’ll have to ask your father,” the woman was saying, with mock sternness. “Wait until he comes back.”

“He already said we could,” one of the boys protested.

“Well, ask him again.”

“He’s always grouchy in the morning.”

“Not today. He had a good night’s sleep. His hay fever didn’t bother him. That new anti-hist the doctor gave him.” She glanced up at the clock. “Go see what’s keeping him, Don. He’ll be late to work.”

“He was looking for the newspaper.” One of the boys pushed back his chair and got up. “It missed the porch again and fell in the flowers.” He turned toward the door, and Miller found himself confronting him face to face. Briefly, the observation flashed through his mind that the boy looked familiar. Damn familiar—like somebody he knew, only younger. He tensed himself for the impact, as the boy abruptly halted.

“Gee,” the boy said. “You scared me.”

The woman glanced quickly up at Miller. “What are you doing out there, George?” she demanded. “Come on back in here and finish your coffee.”

Mller came slowly into the kitchen. The woman was finishing her coffee; both boys were on their feet and beginning to press around him.

“Didn’t you tell me I could go camping over the weekend up at Russian River with the group from school?” Don demanded. “You said I could borrow a sleeping bag from the gym because the one I had you gave to the Salvation Army because you were allergic to the kapok in it.”

“Yeah,” Miller muttered uncertainly.
Don
. That was the boy’s name. And his brother, Ted. But how did he know that? At the table the woman had got up and was collecting the dirty dishes to carry over to the sink. “They said you already promised them,” she said over her shoulder. The dishes clattered into the sink and she began sprinkling soap flakes over them. “But you remember that time they wanted to drive the car and the way they said it, you’d think they had got your okay. And they hadn’t, of course.”

Miller sank weakly down at the table. Aimlessly, he fooled with his pipe. He set it down in the copper ashtray and examined the cuff of his coat. What was happening? His head spun. He got up abruptly and hurried to the window, over the sink.

Houses, Streets. The distant hills beyond the town. The sights and sounds of people. The three-dimensional projected backdrop was utterly convincing; or was it the projected backdrop? How could he be sure?
What was happening?

“George, what’s the matter?” Marjorie asked, as she tied a pink plastic apron around her waist and began running hot water in the sink. “You better get the car out and get started to work. Weren’t you saying last night old man Davidson was shouting about employees being late for work and standing around the water cooler talking and having a good time on company time?”

Davidson. The word stuck in Miller’s mind. He knew it, of course. A clear picture leaped up: a tall, white-haired old man, thin and stern. Vest and pocket watch. And the whole office, United Electronic Supply. The twelve story building in downtown San Francisco. The newspaper and cigar stand in the lobby. The honking cars. Jammed parking lots. The elevator, packed with bright-eyed secretaries, tight sweaters and perfume.

He wandered out of the kitchen, through the hall, past his own bedroom, his wife’s, and into the living-room. The front door was open and he stepped out onto the porch.

The air was cool and sweet. It was a bright April morning. The lawns were still wet. Cars moved down Virginia Street, toward Shattuck Avenue. Early morning commuting traffic, businessmen on their way to work. Across the street Earl Kelly cheerfully waved his Oakland Tribune as he hurried down the sidewalk toward the bus stop.

A long way off, Miller could see the Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island, and Treasure Island. Beyond that was San Francisco itself. In a few minutes, he’d be shooting across the bridge in his Buick, on his way to the office. Along with thousands of other businessmen in blue pinstripe suits.

Ted pushed past him and out on the porch. “Then it’s okay? You don’t care if we go camping?”

Miller licked his dry lips. “Ted, listen to me. There’s something strange.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know.” Miller wandered nervously around on the porch. “This is Friday, isn’t it?”

“Sure.”

“I thought it was.” But how did he know it was Friday? How did he know anything? But of course it was Friday. A long hard week—old man Davidson breathing down his neck. Wednesday, especially, when the General Electric order was slowed down because of a strike.

“Let me ask you something,” Miller said to his son. “This morning— I left the kitchen to get the newspaper.”

Ted nodded. “Yeah. So?”

“I got up and went out of the room.
How long was I gone?
Not long, was I?” He searched for words, but his mind was a maze of disjointed thoughts. “I was sitting at the breakfast table with you all, and then I got up and went to look for the paper. Right? And then I came back in. Right?” His voice rose desperately. “I got up and shaved and dressed this morning. I ate breakfast. Hot cakes and coffee. Bacon. Right?”

“Right” Ted agreed. “So?”

“Like I always do.”

“We only have hot cakes on Friday.”

Miller nodded slowly. “That’s right. Hot cakes on Friday. Because your uncle Frank eats with us Saturday and Sunday, and he can’t stand hot cakes, so we stopped having them on weekends. Frank is Marjorie’s brother. He was in the Marines in the First World War. He was a corporal.”

BOOK: The Philip K. Dick Megapack
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