tag: Extraterrestrials

Fair Game

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in If Sep 1959

Professor Douglas is alarmed one night to see a giant eye watching him through the window of his house, but it vanishes before his wife notices it. The next day an enormous face appears in the sky, gazing down at him before fading away. The other professors at Bryant College decide these apparitions must be aliens who are after Douglas because he is the best nuclear physicist in the world. Then Douglas is drawn from his house by the illusion of a woman in distress, and he escapes in his car as lightning bolts strike around him. 

When he is eventually captured by the aliens and carried into the sky in a net he resigns himself to the fact that the aliens want him for his knowledge and ability. Instead, just before he is cast into a frying pan, he finds the aliens only want to eat him.

The reversal here is amusing, but nothing about the setup really works.

Cast of characters

  • Anthony Douglas – a nuclear physics professor at Bryant College
  • Laura Douglas – Anthony’s wife
  • Bill Henderson – head of the Biology department at Bryant College
  • Jean Henderson – Bill’s wife
  • Milton Erick – head of the Math department

Pay for the Printer

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in Satellite Oct 1956

In this thinly veiled dig at 1950’s consumer capitalism, extraterrestrials called the Biltong settle on Earth after Earth’s nuclear war destroys much of civilization. These Biltong have the ability to create replicas of Earth items, and the human survivors use the aliens to rebuild their cities based around these ersatz goods. Soon the Biltongs begin to die from overwork. Anything they’ve copied starts to disintegrate, and so humans will have to relearn the lost art of building things with their own hands.

Cast of characters

  • Allen Fergusson – member of the Pittsburgh settlement
  • Charlotte, Ben Untermeyer – members of a settlement outside Pittsburgh
  • John Dawes – a survivor who has learned to craft a wooden cup

Oh, To Be a Blobel!

Buy it on Amazon
First published in Galaxy Feb 1964

George Munster fought for Earth during its war with the amoeba-like Blobels from Proxima. As a Blobel spy he assumed the form of the Blobels, and after the war’s end he still reverts to Blobel form half of every day making dating and socializing almost impossible.

His psychoanalyst connects him with Vivian Arrasmith, a female Blobel and former Terran spy who reverts to human form six hours of every day. They marry, but years later when they have difficulty in their relationship Vivian stabilizes as a human full time in order to save her marriage not knowing that Munster has stabilized full time as a Blobel in order to operate a business on Titan.

Cast of characters

  • George Munster – a human who turns into a Blobel
  • Dr. Jones – Munster’s robot psychoanalyst
  • Vivian Arrasmith – Munster’s wife. A Blobel who turns into a human
  • Pete Ruggles, Sherman Downs, Reinholt Glaubman – Munster’s fellow vets
  • Nina Glaubman – Munster’s mistress
  • Henry Ramarau – Munster’s attorney

If There Were No Benny Cemoli

Buy it on Amazon
First published in Galaxy Dec 1963

“If There Were No Benny Cemoli” is a twisting story about the legend and myth of revolutionaries. Using fake news reports from the past about an agitator named Benny Cemoli, those on Earth who orchestrated a disastrous nuclear war keep a newly arrived intergalactic reconstruction crew (the Centaurus Urban Renewal Bureau aka CURB) occupied chasing this phantom and off their trail.

Cast of characters

  • John LeConte – a ‘politico’ on Earth
  • Mr. Fall – LeConte’s secretary
  • Peter Hood – CURBman from Centaurus
  • Joan Hood – Peter Hood’s wife
  • Rudolph Fletcher – Hood’s assistant
  • Otto Dietrich – the supreme police investigator from Centaurus who vows to make an example of the war criminals responsible for Earth’s nuclear war
  • Benny Cemoli – a supposed revolutionary who seized power of North America in a coup
  • Stavros – a Greek grocery store owner and supposed follower of Benny Cemoli

War Veteran

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in If Mar 1955

A survivor of a war between Venus and Earth appears to somehow travel back in time, arriving on Earth days before the conflict begins when tensions between the two planets is at an all-time high. Earthmen at the City Hospital eventually uncover the Venusian plot to use a simulacra of a war veteran from the future to trick Earth into believing they will lose an upcoming war in order to prevent a war between the planets that Venus doesn’t want to fight.

This pulp potboiler, like a number of other stories Dick wrote in the 1950s, is populated with wooden characters and much too long.

Cast of characters

  • David Unger – the titular war vet who supposedly served under Nathan West
  • Vachel Patterson – cancer specialist at the City Hospital
  • Edwin LeMarr – neurologist at the City Hospital
  • Evelyn Cutter – records keeper at the City Hospital
  • John V-Stephens – a Venusian surgeon at the City Hospital
  • V-Rafia – a Venusian girl rescued from a crazed mob
  • Nathan West – Lieutenant on the battleship Wind Giant
  • Francis Gannet – owns Transplan Industries

Rautavaara’s Case

The Eye of the Sibyl and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in Omni Oct 1980

This brief story is part of a recap in an intergalactic trial.

Three humans on a monitoring mission in the vicinity of the Proxima Centaurus System are killed during an accident. Because of the location, the so-called “Approximations” from Proxima intervene. Two of the humans are fully and totally dead, but the Approximations are able to regenerate the brain of the third human, a female named Rautavaara.

What happens next occurs in Rautavaara’s brain as time runs backwards to just before the disaster, and Rautavaara and her two companions are visited by Christ. The Approximations decide to conduct an experiment, and they alter Rautavaara’s hallucination so that the humans encounter the Approximation’s version of a savior instead of their own. This Proxima savior proceeds to eat the humans (noted as a reversal of the Christian sacrament when humans eat the flesh of the deity), and the horrified court then elects to shut down Rautavaara’s brain activity.

Cast of characters

  • Agneta Rautavaara, Travis, Elms – three humans killed during a mishap in space
  • “Approximations” – ET from the Proxima Centaurus System