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About the Author

Obras de Patricia S. Warrick

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Run to starlight: Sports through science fiction (1975) — Contribuinte — 6 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



Technically a textbook. Each chapter a grouping of stories meant to shine light on particular elements like personality, development, cognition, etc.

That Only a Mother- Judith Merril; The First Men- Howard Fast; The Examination - Felix Gotschalk; The Playground -&- Man in the Rorscharch Shirt- Ray Bradbury; Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes; The Brain - Norbert Wiener; Socrates - John Christopher; Nine Lives Ursula K. Le Guin; Through Other Eyes - R.A. Lafferty; And He Built a Crooked House - Robert Heinlein; Subliminal Man - J.G. Ballard; Such Stuff - John Brunner; Learning Theory - James McConnel; Susie's Reality - Bob Stickgold; Rat in the Skull -&- Yellow Pill Rog Phillips; The Man Who Devoured Books - John Sladek; All the Last Wars at Once - Geo. Alec Effinger; Adjustment - Ward Moore; Seventh Victims-&-Love, Incorporated - Robert Sheckley; Mother - Philip Jose Farmer; Dreaming is a Private Thing - Isaac Asimov; Alter Ego - Hugo Correa; And Now the News - Ted Sturgeon; The Plot - Tom Herzog; Going Down Smooth - Robert Silverberg.

Truly some gems here and it's worth a read if it comes into your life.
… (mais)
joe.basile.5 | Jun 27, 2024 |
My reactions to reading this collection in 1989 -- spoilers most certainly follow.

"Introduction -- Despite the glib and silly assertion that Dick's war robots are similar to machines planned by the military and the retreading of the now familiar analysis of Dick's theme (the nature of reality and humanity), this introduction did have two valid observations. The first is that Dick believed that to perserve your humaness you had to forswear allegiance to any idealogy, be unpredictable (unlike the machine which is programmed for predictability). This explains the characterization of Dick's protagonists whom we are supposed to empathize with. The second is the point that Dick has a definite propensity to confuse the line between human and machine (A crucial element of his Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) with machines being quite human and humans being cold and unempathetic.

"The Little Movement -- More of a fantasy than sf story . We never find out exactly where the toy soldiers come from, their larger purpose, or if they are part of a larger plot. This story is not particularly moving, but it does show some Dick characteristics: the dangerous toy whose harmless appearance is deceiving; mysterious, battling forces present in the universe with humans in the middle, and the hint of Dick's concern with individual perceptions of the world with the in passing reference to the different worlds of adults and children. And, of course, there is a oh-so Dick baroque plot twist at the end.

"The Defenders" -- The basis for Dick's The Penultimate Truth so the main plot feature of this story -- that robots were faking a war to keep humans underground -- was not a surprise. What was a surprise is, unlike in The Penultimate Truth, the robots are not doing this at the behest of manipulative, selfish masters but for altruistic reasons. Ironically, Dick, the antiauthoritarian, sees the iniation of the One World state as good and his characters pragmatically unite to rebuild the destruction and wildly exalt in the possibilities of the future. Unlike the vicious robots of The Penultimate Truth, these robots are kind but firm and view man as needing one final temper tantrum before uniting into one culture.

"The Preserving Machine" -- A light hearted story (with a black statement) showing Dick's love of music. I fully agree with music being a wonderful, terribly fragile product of culture. I liked the fantastic notion of a machine turning music into animals (with oddly appropriate results including the final scene of the beethoven beetle building a mud hut). Yet the story has a odd, rather depressing theme if I'm interpretating it right: the beautiful products of man's cultures -- the art, ethics, philosophy -- are all fragile and, like living forms, respond to evolutionary pressures of the environment and mutate into unrecognizable forms. Dick's depressing conclusion seems to be that art is doomed. He ties this into a curious religious point: that God must have felt humiliation and sadness at seeing his creation in the Garden of Eden respond to evolutionary pressure.

"Second Variety" -- If you read enough Philip K. Dick, you begin to become familiar with some of the turnings of his mind, anticipate his plot twists. That was partially the case here. I did immediately suspect the first David (with the disturbingly lethal Teddy bear) of being a crab. Towards the end I suspected Tasso. However, Dick still managed to catch me by surprise with Klaus being a crab, and I thought Dick was going to be sneaky and simply have no second variety crab -- have the implication of the second variety's existence be a plot to demoralize both sides and create general paranoia. (Actually, that might be a possibility for a story.) Speaking of paranoia, this had some fine, powerful moments of such. The plot of robotic soldiers slaughtering humans while disguised as such reminding me of another movie: The Terminator (at least as much resembalance as Harlan Ellison's "Soldier" which was the basis of Dick suing that movie's director, John Cameron). Dick did a very effective job of describing the bleak, post-nuclear landscape and the violence, confusion, and rush of combat. Clearly the crabs are a stark example of Dick's theme of thanatos: they are animal like creatures utterly dedicated to destroying life, the ultimate realization of the Frankenstein theme, a weapon turned against both sides. They may, as Major Hendricks implies, unrealized potentialities they will realize after the war, but we don't see them. Indeed, the fact, like all other life forms, they've taken to killing each other seems a good thing at story's end. However, that introduces an ambiguous note: are the crabs just another life form (they certainly are creepy) albeit made of metal? Has man introduced them only in his folly? Or has he served as a creator passing man's torch (probably not a valid reading given Dick's stated use of the robot/android metaphor) on? Tasso does say we always did nice work. Irony or gratitude from created to creator? Ah, that Dick ambiguity. I do not, incidentally, see Tasso -- as the story notes state -- as a prototype for Dick's consuming female. The characterization isn't very similar.

"Imposter" -- A line from Blade Runner (though not scripted by Dick it accurately conveys his sensibilities) kept coming to mind when reading this: "How can it not know what it is?" Despite the rather telegraphing title, knowledge of Dick's plotting proclivities, and a vague knowledge of this story from reading past criticisms, this story still caught me by surprise at the end. I thought, all through the story, that Spence Olham was a robot but, at story's end when the real Olham's body is first thought to be the robot's, I thought he was human. Dick gets you whatever your original preconception was -- a typical feature of his stories. I thought the portrayal of a self-deceived machine feeling unjustly persecuted was poignant. I also found it ironical that self-knowledge was what finally triggered the U-Bomb. A notion occurred to me that the robot could be a metaphor for all those evil people who really, truly don't feel they're evil, a threat, and are being persecuted.

"Service Call" -- This is one of those story's about a visitor from the future who can't even really be questioned because human culture has changed so much. I liked this story a great deal. The idea of eliminating war (an extreme manifestation of disagreement) by imposing idealogical (of whatever flavor) conformity is ironic given Dick's values. He hated war, but he also hated conformity. This story has some of the moral ambiguity of Dick's "The Last of the Masters": Good achieved at perhaps too high a cost. The idea of willingly having a machine to insure your idealogical conformity is both scary and funny ("Why be half loyal?") and great entertainment. The end, with the swibble consortium securing their past, was unexpected.

"Autofac" -- Another very good story in which Dick invests his machines with animal-like qualities. Here the autofacs plan, war on each other, and reproduce. This is another story of Dick's where people try to thrust off oppression, suceed, and don't get the expected results. Rebellion, good, evil are not clear cut things in Dick's life. There is also an intriguing element of satire: the factories of production protecting themselves, reproducing, serving humans second, an economic system perpetuating itself. Given Dick's view (and economic separation) from the conspicuous consumption of the fifties, this is an outsiders disapproving look at that cultural phenomenan (this story was written in 1956). I also thought Dick's description of the bleak, blasted landscape and the many trappings of the autofacs was quite effective.

"To Serve the Masters" -- This is another one of Dick's many stories with an ambiguous ending. The robots may have been irrationally destroyed by man because of religious fanaticism or they may have truly been a threat to man. There is a hint as the story's introduction says, that the former is true with the brutality of the humans. There is little more to this story than Dick's well-crafted ambiguity and plot twists.

"War Game" -- This is another of Dick's lethal (well, here only subversive) toy stories. The idea of a Monopoly-like game that manipulates people psychologically to facilitate economic conquest via surrender was interesting, but Dick didn't sufficiently work out the details of how the game could do so. Maybe Dick's point was the power of games to shape world views.

"The Electric Ant -- I disagree with Warrick's and Greenberg's contention that this is the most important and powerful short story in Dick's corpus (I can think of better stories in this anthology alone). It certainly is, as they say, quintessential Dick, but this story has several problems which make it a prime example of Dick's thematic -- obsessions imperfectly realized in a story. Dick entirely ignores the question of pre-destination which logically arises from the plot. If all of Garson Poole's stimuli are punched on tape then all of his stimuli is predetermined. Also Dick, in the act of expressing his theme, ignores the idea of blocked perception not being the same as the unperceived object not existing. Dick, I believe following the path of Hume, equates unperceived with non-existence. Also, someone had to construct Poole so there is an objective reality somewhere. This story exhibits too much ambition on Dick's part. He tries to incorporate too much of his philosophical concerns at the expense of the story which is interesting but ultimately a failure.

"The Exit Door Leads In" -- A strange, at times funny, story by Dick of a college of the future where the moral and psychological education of an indiviudal is even more important than vocational knowledge. (The idea of an institution conducting secret moral and psychological tests is hardly a new one in sf.) You kind of feel sorry and depressed at Bob Bibleman's (An obvious bit of symbolism, the Bible being the ultimate manifestation of institutionally encoded morality) fate. Dick makes us empathize with him and then assigns him back to the dump mercilessly. In most sf stories of this type, the protagonist passes the secret test. Bibleman disappoints Mary Lorne and gets the cold approval of a robot at story's end. When the test was revealed, I thought Dick was going to go for a typical -- for him -- ending and make you wonder if the Panther Engine was real and Bibleman's expelling a retaliation or if the stated facts were true.

"Frozen Journey" -- A fitting end for the anthology. This story of a man wracked by guilt and plagued by an increasingly inaccurate perception of reality seems a spiritual autobiography of Dick in his last years. Victor Kemming's life of fear and anxiety, of spiritual visitations, of agony over his complicity in the death of a bird (a pointed reminder of how Dick valued life), seems Dick incarnate. The story is quite sad in its depiction of psychological deterioration and severed relationships. Like Dick's life, it is poignant and blackly funny.
… (mais)
RandyStafford | Jul 21, 2012 |
This book is written as a textbook for an introductory anthropology class. There are 9 chapters, each covering an area. Each chapter contains an introduction to the area, and 2 short stories, each with their own introduction.
1 vote
Lirleni | Apr 11, 2010 |


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Robert Sheckley Contributor
Poul Anderson Contributor
Theodore Sturgeon Contributor
Robert Silverberg Contributor
Isaac Asimov Contributor
J. G. Ballard Contributor
Ray Bradbury Contributor
Frederik Pohl Contributor, Preface
Brian W. Aldiss Contributor
Arthur C. Clarke Contributor
Howard Fast Contributor
Ursula K. Le Guin Contributor
Kit Reed Contributor
Judith Merril Contributor
R. A. Lafferty Contributor
Chad Oliver Contributor
Robert Abernathy Contributor
Roger Zelazny Contributor
Gordon R. Dickson Contributor
Thomas N. Scortia Contributor
Alan E. Nourse Contributor
C. M. Kornbluth Contributor
Pamela Sargent Contributor
Christopher Anvil Contributor
Tom Herzog Contributor
John Brunner Contributor
Ward Moore Contributor
William Sambrot Contributor
Damon Knight Contributor
Fritz Leiber Contributor
Donald Wandrei Contributor
Hugo Gernsback Contributor
L. Sprague de Camp Contributor
George Zebrowski Contributor
Stanley Schmidt Contributor
James Blish Contributor
Ralph S. Clem Contributor
Charles Elkins Contributor
Beverly Friend Contributor
James E. Gunn Contributor
Larry Niven Contributor
David Ketterer Contributor
Jack Williamson Contributor
Terry Carr Contributor
Cordwainer Smith Contributor
Robert A. Heinlein Contributor
Ken W. Purdy Contributor
Katherine MacLean Contributor
John Christopher Contributor
Hugo Correa Contributor
James V. McConnell Contributor
Leonard Tushnet Contributor
Rog Phillips Contributor
Bob Stickgold Contributor
Daniel Keyes Contributor
Avram Davidson Contributor
Fredric Brown Contributor
Donald A. Wollheim Contributor
Lester del Rey Contributor
John Sladek Contributor
A. E. van Vogt Contributor
Harry Harrison Contributor
Mack Reynolds Contributor
Robert Thurston Contributor
Thomas M. Disch Contributor
Evelyn E. Smith Contributor
Clancy O’brien Contributor
John Rankine Contributor
Gerald Jonas Contributor
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Clifford D. Simak Contributor
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Art Buchwald Contributor
J. F. Bone Contributor
Charles Beaumont Contributor
Sydney Van Scyoc Contributor
T. L. Sherred Contributor
Norman Spinrad Contributor
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K. M. O'Donnell Contributor
Herb Lehrman Contributor
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Charles L. Harness Contributor
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Frank M. Robinson Contributor
Will F. Jenkins Contributor
Gene Fisher Contributor
J. T. McIntosh Contributor
Carol Carr Contributor
Kenneth Bulmer Contributor
Nelson S. Bond Contributor
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Ron Goulart Contributor
Reginald Bretnor Contributor
John B. Thomas Contributor
Sherwood Springer Contributor
Joanna Russ Contributor
Wyman Guin Contributor
Keith Laumer Contributor
Anthony R. Lewis Contributor
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