If Bruce Sterling is my favorite living science fiction writer,
Philip K. Dick is my favorite dead one. He wrote the stories in this
collection in the '50s and '60s, and many of them take place right
here in the Bay Area, in landscapes I recognize with a tiny shudder.
Dick's ideas are still fresh today, which explains why Hollywood has
been plundering them for years (don't try to play innocent,
Wachowskis). Besides being a visionary, however, Dick was just a
damn good writer. Once you really start to follow the thread of a
story, you don't want to put the book down for anything. I have good
things to say about every story in this collection, but if I had to
pick a favorite it would be "Novelty Act." A First Lady who rules
like a queen, a Martian creature called a papoola, and classical music
played on two jugs: it's hard to top that.