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Summary

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was one of the seminal figures of 20th century science fiction. His many stories and novels, which include such classics as The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, reflect a deeply personal world view, exploring the fragile, multifarious nature of reality itself and examining those elements that make us - or fail to make us - fully human. He did as much as anyone to demolish the artificial barrier between genre fiction and "literature," and the best of his work has earned a permanent place in American popular culture.

The King of the Elves is the opening installment of a uniform, five-volume edition of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, expanded from the previous Collected Stories set to incorporate new story notes, and two added tales, one previously unpublished, and one uncollected. This generous collection contains 22 stories and novellas including Dick's first published story, "Beyond Lies the Wub," together with such landmark tales as "The Preserving Machine," in which an attempt to preserve our fragile cultural heritage takes an unexpected turn, The Variable Man, a brilliantly imagined novella encompassing war, time travel, and the varied uses of technology, and the title story, in which Shadrach Jones, owner of a dilapidated gas station in Colorado, stumbles into an ongoing war between trolls and elves, and encounters a fantastic - and utterly unexpected - destiny. Like the best of Dick's novels, these stories offer a wide variety of narrative and intellectual pleasures, and provide an ideal introduction to one of the singular imaginations of the modern era.

©2010 The Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Volume I: The King of the Elves

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Poorly made.

I'm sorry to say that the quality of this collection is very poor. It certainly wasn't made for digital format, and is about as useful as a cassette tape. There is no gap between many of the chapters, so you will end up halfway through another story before you realise. Some of the short stories are great, other not so much. Philip K Dick has great stories.

2 people found this helpful

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No gaps

The stories are great and on the whole, the performance was good. the bit I struggled with was the lack of gap between individual stories. At the end of one, the title of the next was like the next sentence. A few times I missed the break altogether and just thought the story was taking an odd turn! Needs full concentration I guess.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed bag of short stories

I struggled to listen to many of the stories in this collection as the topics were often bizarre and self inconsistent. Space explorers lacking basic common sense and a military commander worried about undressing to save her life???? The narrator's sometimes robotic voice did not help in these cases. However, there are some stand out gems imo and my favourite was "The Variable Man" which gives some clues about the greatness Philip K Dick achieves in his later stories. If you are new to Philip K Dick, I suggest listening to one of his later works rather than this collection as an introduction to his writing. If you have read a few of PKD's stories already, I'd recommend this collection as a good representation of his early work.

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terrible amateurish reading

completely ruins what could have been an excellent production.
who makes these crucial decisions? far too often lack of intelligent quality control on Audible.

6 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Renee Tang
  • Renee Tang
  • 18-04-17

Fantastic stories!

I loved Volume 1 and look forward to completing the rest of the series. Mr. Dick was a visionary. For the most part, I liked the narrator but sometimes the men's "voices" sounded a bit stilted.

I wished Audible listed the title for each chapter in the Table of Contents. I created my own, as listed below for Volume 1.

Volume 1: The King of Elves
1. Stability (1987)
2. Roog (1953)
3. The Little Movement (1952)
4. Beyond Lies the Wub (1952)
5. The Gun (1952)
6. The Skull (1952)
7. The Defenders (1953)
8. Mr. Spaceship (1953)
9. Piper in the Woods (1953)
10. The Infinites (1953)
11. The Preserving Machine [Doc Labyrinth series] (1953), part 1
12. The Preserving Machine [Doc Labyrinth series] (1953), part 2
13. Expendable (1953)
14. The Variable Man (1953), part 1
15. The Variable Man (1953), part 2
16. The Indefatigable Frog (1953)
17. The Crystal Crypt (1954)
18. The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford [Doc Labyrinth series] (1954)
19. The Builder (1954)
20. Meddler (1954)
21. Paycheck (1953)
22. The Great C (1953)
23. Out in the Garden (1953)
24. The King of the Elves (1953)
25. Colony (1953)
26. Prize Ship (1954)
27. Nanny (1955)
28. Notes, part 1
29. Notes, part 2

121 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for cjh
  • cjh
  • 20-04-18

Ruined by narration and editing

The narrator uses the same gruff male voice for many of the same male characters within a single story, you can hear this within the first story, so it's very hard to tell who is actually talking. The stories run together without any gaps, so you're listening and suddenly the story shifts and it takes you a while to realise. The chapters don't correspond to the stories, so it's impossible to skip to a certain story to share it, or to go back. For example the second story starts 1:26 before the end of chapter 1 - about 30 minutes in. I'm a huge PKD fan, but this format is just terrible. I wasn't able to get past the second story.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Quadraphalange
  • 20-07-18

Horrible Natration

Great stories that are completely ruined by the narrator’s less-than-sincere attempts to perform the characters seriously. Honestly sounds like she’s mocking pretty much every character she portrays. I’ll try to finish this later, I can’t even with this chick right now.

9 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for David Mathers
  • David Mathers
  • 15-03-18

good stories, wrong narrator

the narrator does a fine job. however they choose a female narrator and 90% of the characters are male.

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Johnstan
  • Johnstan
  • 19-12-17

Great collection-but...

I'll just get it out in the open. The stories run together as if they do not end. The narration is very good. The narrator seamlessly voices character of difference sex, age, and species (because it is PKD) with skill and feeling. But the stories are ran together with no discernable break. The stories themselves are gold. It could have used a little more careful production.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-04-17

classic

classic short science fiction, has a lot of reread-ability! the performance was pretty good, kate rudd's voice sometimes became a bit lifeless though.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • mad poet
  • 16-04-18

Performance Prevents

Where does Volume I: The King of the Elves rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I tried three times in the last year to listen to these stories. I have heard of books being unreadable ... this book is un-hearable.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

All of the Narrator's "male" dialog sounds like Billy Goat Gruif. I was unable to tell which character was speaking during conversions. Tone of dialog did not match context and/or words used so reader has to translate dialog to discover the meaning implied by author. Consequently it would have been much easier to read the book than to listen to it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Author's e.emotional message hidden by narration that did not seem to match intended content.

Any additional comments?

I really like other recorded works by Philip k. Dick.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Hancock
  • 16-02-18

Great stores spooked by annoying funny voices

The stores are fascinating but are ruined by the reader who uses childish funny voices for the characters.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Muuuu
  • 29-04-18

chapters not seperated

There is not a pause or separation between chapters, which makes listening challenging. I am adding this sentence because audible requires reviews to have at least 15 words, which is just stupid.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Joshua Henson
  • Joshua Henson
  • 07-08-20

I enjoyed every minute

All of the various worlds illustrated by Dick expose his various contemplations, which I enjoyed thoroughly