Philip Kindred Dick
American novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose published work during his lifetime was almost entirely in the science fiction genre.
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This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here. Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately). I rated this book WORTHY WARNING! MAY CONTAIN UNHIDDEN SPOILERS! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK! This is very different from the movie which was taken from this short story first published in 1954 in a magazine. It appears in The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. Unlike the movie, the main male character is married, and he isn't running for congress, but he is running! When an adjustment is scheduled for Sector T137, a dog is requested to ensure that Ed Fletcher, a salesman at Douglas and Blake Real Estate, is inside the sector. The dog fails and Ed isn't. He actually sees an adjustment in progress which no one outside the bureau is supposed to see. He doesn't know what to think. He finds the whole region, people and buildings, turned into piles and pillars of ash. Soon he notes white-clad men coming after him and he runs, knocking into things and seeing them turn to dust as he flees in a panic, and manages to make it beyond Sector T137. Once he's out, everything seems normal - except him. He thinks he's had some sort of psychotic break. Meanwhile, the clerk in charge of setting-up the adjustment is called in to see 'The Old Man'. He's so dissatisfied with what happened that The Old Man decides to take personal charge of this problem. Ed meets his wife, Ruth, on her way out of work. They go to eat together and he tells her everything. In order to try and resolve what happened, he returns to work with Ruth, and they both see that everything seems normal, but after Ruth leaves, Ed notices that there are changes. Ed runs to a public phone to call the cops, but the phone booth rises up into the sky! The Old Man patiently explains to Ed that the adjustment was an elaborate scheme ultimately involving land in Canada and the discovery of anthropological remains, leading to an international scientific friendship which would in turn head off nuclear war. Ed goes home and tries to explain his behavior to his wife without telling her the actual truth, but she freaks out. Ed begins to panic and needs more time to come up with an explanation, and right at that crucial minute, a dog barks and the doorbell rings. It's a vacuum cleaner salesman, and his intervention is just on time. Ed retreats to the bedroom and privately gives thanks for the break. This story bears no relationship at all to the one told in the movie The Adjustment Bureau, also reviewed on my blog, but I found both very entertaining.