Fiction Friday – Philip K Dick

Philip K. Dick was known as a dystopian writer. Born in 1928, his life was as dystopian as his stories. Many of his finest works have been converted to movies, among them Bladerunner and Minority Report. What most people don’t know is that he wrote many short stories.

 His writing style in these short stories varied significantly from his novels. Many stories were a drawn out thought, never fully realized; an essence or tone poem. “The Skull” is one such example. In this short story, a man is given his chance at redemption, however the cost of this is the Devil’s dilemma.  Join him on his journey into darkness:

What is this opportunity?” Conger asked. “Go on. I’m interested.”

The room was silent; all faces were fixed on Conger—still in the drab prison uniform. The Speaker leaned forward slowly.

“Before you went to prison your trading business was paying well—all illegal—all very profitable. Now you have nothing, except the prospect of another six years in a cell.”

Conger scowled.

“There is a certain situation, very important to this Council, that requires your peculiar abilities. Also, it is a situation you might find interesting. You were a hunter, were you not? You’ve done a great deal of trapping, hiding in the bushes, waiting at night for the game? I imagine hunting must be a source of satisfaction to you, the chase, the stalking—”

Conger sighed. His lips twisted. “All right,” he said. “Leave that out. Get to the point. Who do you want me to kill?”

The Speaker smiled. “All in proper sequence,” he said softly.

The rest of this story can be found here.

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