tag: Fantasy

Upon the Dull Earth

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
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First published in Beyond Fiction #9 1954

‘Upon the Dull Earth’ is a great horror / fantasy story about a young girl named Sylvia who has a unique ability to attract angels. She is thrilled by this, until the angels, drawn by blood from a cut on her finger, kill her and take her away. Her boyfriend Rick tries to bring her back from the spirit realm, but things don’t go as planned as everyone on Earth is slowly replaced by Sylvia, a scenario that reminded me of one that plays out in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

Cast of characters

Sylvia – our protagonist who has the ability to communicate with angels
Rick – Sylvia’s boyfriend
Walter Everett – Sylvia’s father
Betty Lou and Jean – Sylvia’s sisters

Adjustment Team

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First published in Orbit Science Fiction #4 Oct 1954

On the edges of reality an adjustment team constantly tweaks the known world in order to nudge things in a certain direction. Ed Fletcher accidentally sees behind the curtain when an adjustment team clerk misses his cue and allows Ed to arrive at work late. After Ed witnesses the terrifying spectacle of the adjustment team in full-on adjustment mode he is taken before The Old Man, a godlike figure in charge who eventually lets Ed return to his life as long as he promises not to tell anyone what he has seen.

I really like the 2011 movie, refashioned as The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. It takes just the basic idea and turns it into a love story (which admittedly doesn’t feel all that phildickian) that deals with predestination and free will.

Cast of characters

  • Ed Fletcher – our everyman protagonist
  • Ruth Fletcher – Ed’s wife
  • Nathan Douglas – Ed’s boss
  • The Old Man – in charge of the whole shebang

The King of the Elves

Paycheck and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
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First published in Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep 1953

Shadrach Jones owns a failing gas station in the small town of Derryville. He is visited by elves one rainy evening and lets them rest in his home. The elf king dies overnight but not before naming Shadrach as his successor. Shadrach then helps the elves defeat an army of trolls, and he chooses to remain the elf king rather than return to his old life.

Cast of characters

  • Shadrach Jones – the king of the elves
  • Phineas Judd – Shadrach’s friend who turns out to be the great troll