This is cheating, I know it is. I have tried with this series to explore authors I don’t have a lot of experience with. I feel I’ve done a decent job at that, but sometimes I just want to read stuff I know I’ll like. Philip K. Dick’s Scanner Darkly and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are some of my favorite stories. I pretty much knew I would enjoy this going in.
The Hanging Stranger is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. It follows a man who sees a hanging body on a street corner and slowly discovers some strange race is overtaking humanity. This reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone or maybe They Live! In other words,this work garners very high praise.
I finished reading this in about thirty minutes and desperately wanted more. The setting developed raises questions and the reader has to know more about it. The panic and terror felt by the protagonist is real and reverberates with every line. You question your narrator, your sanity and the validity of proposed conspiracy. Any story that pushes you to doubt all this things simultaneously is, excellent. The author rides the edge of keeping this story clear and taught whilst still pushing you to ask questions. It could have easily have been confusing, but the skill exhibited in this work shows why he is revered as such a pillar of science fiction.
If you’re a fan of suspenseful, mind bending stories and have some time to kill, go find this now. This is well worth the effort and you won’t regret it. This is a great introduction to Philip K. Dick’s writing style and if you enjoy this I imagine you’ll soon been looking for more of his work.
Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans pod cast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his work here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here or download his e-book here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook.