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I, Robotby Isaac Asimov
Synopses & Reviews
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.
From the Hardcover edition.
The first book in Philip K. Dick's final trilogy (followed by The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer), VALIS encapsulates many of the themes that Dick was obsessed with over the course of his career. A disorienting and bleakly funny novel, VALIS (which stands for Vast Active Living Intelligence System) is about a schizophrenic man named Horselover Fat (who just might also be known as Philip Dick); the hidden mysteries of Gnostic Christianity; and reality as revealed through a pink laser. VALIS is a theological detective story, in which God is both a missing person and the perpetrator of the ultimate crime. Taking place in the same universe as Dick's soon-to-be-published Exegesis, VALIS is a dense novel, but one that is absolutely essential to understanding the author's off-kilter worldview. Much like Dick himself, the reader is left wondering what is real, what is fiction, and what the price is for divine inspiration.
Dr. Eric Sweetscent has problems. His planet is enmeshed in an unwinnable war. His wife is lethally addicted to a drug that whips its users helplessly back and forth across time--and is hell-bent on making Eric suffer along with her. And Sweetscent's newest patient is not only the most important man on the embattled planet Earth, but quite possibly the sickest. For Secretary Gino Molinari has turned his mortal illness into an instrument of political policy--and Eric cannot tell if his job is to make the Male better or to keep him poised just this side of death. Now Wait for Last Year bursts through the envelope between the impossible and the inevitable. Even as it ushers us into a future that looks uncannily like the present, it makes the normal seem terrifyingly provisional--and compels anyone who reads it to wonder if he really knows what time is.
A masterwork by Philip K. Dick, this is the final, expanded version of the novella The Unteleported Man, which Dick worked on shortly before his death. In Lies, Inc., fans of the science fiction legend will immediately recognize his hallmark themes of life in a security state, conspiracy, and the blurring of reality and illusion. In this dystopian vision of the future, overpopulation has turned cities into cramped industrial hothouses. For those sick of their depressing reality, one corporation, Trails of Hoffman, Inc., promises an alternative: Take a teleport to Whale's Mouth, a colonized planet billed as the supreme paradise. The only catch is that you can never return. When a neurotic man named Rachmael ben Applebaum discovers that the promotional films of happy crowds cheering their newfound existence on Whale's Mouth are faked, he decides to pilot a spaceship on the eighteen-year journey there to see if anyone wants to come back.
Not too long from now, when exiles from a blistering Earth huddle miserably in Martian colonies, the only things that make life bearable are the drugs. Can-D "translates" those who take it into the bodies of Barbie-like dolls. But now Palmer Eldritch has returned after a mysterious disappearance a decade ago, bringing with him a new drug, Chew-Z, even more powerful than Can-D. Marketed under the slogan, "God promises eternal life; we can deliver it," Chew-Z is as mysterious as Eldritch himself. As the readers learn the true origins of Chew-Z and Eldritch, it becomes clear that in a world fueled by hallucinogens, nothing can be taken at face value. In this wildly disoreinting funhouse of a novel, populated by God-like--or perhaps Satanic--takeover artists and corporate psychics, Philip K. Dick explores mysteries that were once the property of St. Paul and Aquinas. His wit, compassion, and knife-edged irony make The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch moving as well as genuinely visionary.
In the final act of Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy, we finally reach the conclusion--of a sort--to his search for the identity and nature of God. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer primarily concerns the eponymous priest and his daughter-in-law, Angel Archer, as they attempt to find their place in the world while dealing with what may or may not be divine possession. After Episcopalian Bishop Timothy Archer finds ancient scrolls bearing the words of Jesus from two centuries before his birth, he journeys to Israel in the hopes of finding more about Christ's true identity--and whether psychedelic mushrooms had anything to do with it. Haunted by the suicides of his son and mistress, Archer cannot prevent himself from falling deeper into the rabbit hole. This quiet, introspective book is one of Dick's most philosophical and literary, delving into the mysteries of religion and the mysteries of faith itself. As one of Dick's final works, it also provides unique insight into the mind of a genius, whose work was still in the process of maturing at the time of his death.
In The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick's alternate history classic, the United States lost World War II and was subsequently divided between the Germans in the east and the Japanese in the west. In this world, we meet characters like Frank Frink, a dealer of counterfeit Americana who is himself hiding his Jewish ancestry; Nobusuke Tagomi, the Japanese trade minister in San Francisco, unsure of his standing within the beauracracy and Japan's with Germany; and Juliana Frink, Frank's ex-wife, who may be more important than she realizes. These seemingly disparate characters gradually realize their connections to each other just as they realize that something is not quite right about their world. And it seems as though the answers might lie with Hawthorne Abendsen, a mysterious and reclusive author whose bestselling novel describes a world in which the US won the War... The Man in the High Castle is Dick at his best, giving readers a harrowing vision of the world that almost was.
Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug-dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. In order to infiltrate the drug ring he hopes to bring down, Fred has had to use Substance D, but Substance D, or "Slow Death," causes the consciousness to split in two, creating distinct personalities that are entirely unaware of the other's existence. Now, Bob must keep from being caught by Fred, while Fred must keep his suspicious superiors at bay.In this semi-autobiographical novel, Dick looks back on his own drug abuse and his own friends who he lost to drugs. By turns thrilling, mind-bending, laught-out-loud funny, and heart-wrenchingly sad, A Scanner Darkly is an award-winning book made into a cult film and may just be Dick's best novel.
“Dick is one of the ten best American writers of the twentieth century, which is saying a lot. Dick was a kind of Kafka steeped in LSD and rage.”—Roberto Bolaño
What is VALIS? This question is at the heart of Philip K. Dicks ground-breaking novel, and the first book in his defining trilogy. When a beam of pink light begins giving a schizophrenic man named Horselover Fat (who just might also be known as Philip K. Dick) visions of an alternate Earth where the Roman Empire still reigns, he must decide whether he is crazy, or whether a godlike entity is showing him the true nature of the world.
VALIS is essential reading for any true Philip K. Dick fan, a novel that Roberto Bolaño called “more disturbing than any novel by [Carson] McCullers.” By the end, like Dick himself, you will be left wondering what is real, what is fiction, and just what the price is for divine inspiration.
“A psychedelic odyssey of hallucinations-within-hallucinations from which no reader emerges unscathed.”—Boston Globe
On Mars, the harsh climate could make any colonist turn to drugs to escape a dead-end existence. Especially when the drug is Can-D, which translates its users into the idyllic world of a Barbie-esque character named Perky Pat. When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch arrives with a new drug called Chew-Z, he offers a more addictive experience, one that might bring the user closer to God. But in a world where everyone is tripping, no promises can be taken at face value.
This Nebula Award nominee is one of Philip K. Dicks enduring classics, at once a deep character study, a dark mystery, and a tightrope walk along the edge of reality and illusion.
About the Author
Isaac Asimov began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it woudl one day be considered a conerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to histroy, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, whcih include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died, at the age of seventy-two, in April 1992.
From the Hardcover edition.
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