The Eyes Have It - Philip K. Dick

Discussion in 'Tall Tales & Fabrications' started by Dwight Ward, Nov 8, 2022.

  1. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Very Well-Known Member
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    So funny...

    It was quite by accident I discovered this incredible invasion of Earth by lifeforms from another planet. As yet, I haven't done anything about it; I can't think of anything to do. I wrote to the Government, and they sent back a pamphlet on the repair and maintenance of frame houses. Anyhow, the whole thing is known; I'm not the first to discover it. Maybe it's even under control.

    I was sitting in my easy-chair, idly turning the pages of a paperbacked book someone had left on the bus, when I came across the reference that first put me on the trail. For a moment I didn't respond. It took some time for the full import to sink in. After I'd comprehended, it seemed odd I hadn't noticed it right away.

    The reference was clearly to a nonhuman species of incredible properties, not indigenous to Earth. A species, I hasten to point out, customarily masquerading as ordinary human beings. Their disguise, however, became transparent in the face of the following observations by the author. It was at once obvious the author knew everything. Knew everything--and was taking it in his stride. The line (and I tremble remembering it even now) read:
    ...his eyes slowly roved about the room.
    Vague chills assailed me. I tried to picture the eyes. Did they roll like dimes? The passage indicated not; they seemed to move through the air, not over the surface. Rather rapidly, apparently. No one in the story was surprised. That's what tipped me off. No sign of amazement at such an outrageous thing. Later the matter was amplified.
    ...his eyes moved from person to person.
    There it was in a nutshell. The eyes had clearly come apart from the rest of him and were on their own. My heart pounded and my breath choked in my windpipe. I had stumbled on an accidental mention of a totally unfamiliar race. Obviously non-Terrestrial. Yet, to the characters in the book, it was perfectly natural--which suggested they belonged to the same species.

    More at https://americanliterature.com/author/philip-k-dick/short-story/the-eyes-have-it
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Philip K. Dick was from the neighborhood I lived in for a while. From another post...

     
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  3. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Very Well-Known Member
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    To my mind he was way ahead of Asimov, Silverberg, Herbert, etc.
     
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I've read some of his stuff. But that was over 40 years ago. If I look around, I bet I have a couple of his novels...or at least some of his short stories.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I don't know about Asimov. Although I preferred Dick's writing to Asimov's, the latter had a science background that added credibility.
     
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  6. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Very Well-Known Member
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    I agree. Asimov had a credible science grounding that lent depth to his plots. I won't gainsay his breadth of imagination, either, with background subtexts spanning thousands of years. I think where I found him lacking was in a lack of believable character development wherein his heroes and villains were sometimes somewhat cartoonish to me.

    Dick, on the other hand, presented people who, heroes or not, always carried a bit of angst or weltschmerz around with them. I'm thinking of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and the like.
     
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