The World’s Best English Short Stories – Dick’s Paycheck

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The world’s best English short stories includes Philip K. Dick‘s Paycheck.


Jennings sat by himself in the back of the secret-police transport. He was detained on suspicion of having committed a ‘crime’: one that he couldn’t remember.

Still, the secret police might be right to suspect him. For Jennings had had all his memories from the last two years wiped: all legal, and all part of his just-expired contract with Rethrick Construction.

Jennings desperately wanted his wiped memories returned: that was the only way to make sense of what was happening to him now. And his first step was to escape from the holding compartment of this police transport.

First to escape – then to live on the run while figuring out who to reclaim his memory…

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future city

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The World’s Best English Short Stories – Dick’s The Defenders

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The world’s best English short stories includes Philip K. Dick‘s The Defenders.


After the third world war, the remnants of humanity fled underground to the safety of their pre-prepared cities: entombing themselves safely beneath tons of granite from the radioactive clouds of death that still tore the earth’s surface apart far above them.

And the war continued – by proxy. Intelligent robots – built and designed by clever men – continued the fight over earth’s wasted surface: while their masters watched remotely via electronic sensors, in complete safety.

The fight could thus be continued indefinitely: to its ultimate conclusion. Unless, of course, the robots’ programming was interfered with.

But if that happened…

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Robot combat

The World’s Best English Short Stories – Dick’s Second Variety

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The world’s best English short stories includes Philip K. Dick‘s Second Variety.


Earth is dead – its surface reduced to a husk of radioactive ash and slag.

The lucky evacuated to the safety of the Lunar moon-base. A few remaining soldiery survive upon the earth’s surface to direct warring hoards of robotic-killers against the enemy: with little incentive to win.

Was it even worthwhile continuing to fight over a charnel-house?

The robotic-killers – nicknamed ‘claws’ – were lethal and effective at tracking down human life-forms. Prowling 24×7 – they never tired. Robotic factories deep underground refined and built ever more effective designs automatically: programmed with no human interference.

And the claws were programmed to always serve their creators: weren’t they?

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Robot combat

The World’s Best English Short Stories – Wells’ Sleeper Awakes

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The world’s best English short stories includes H. G. Wells’ The Sleeper Awakes.


Graham woke up.

Now, there’s nothing strange in a man waking up: at least that’s usually the case. But in Graham’s case, his waking up was strange – and unexpected. For Graham had been in a coma for over two centuries.

Graham – much to his astonishment – soon finds himself to be a multi-trillionaire: his life’s savings having prospered invested trust investments over the preceding centuries. But Graham’s fortune – and power – is no longer his own: it belongs to the board of Trustees – known as the “White Council” – who project the trust’s tremendous economic, political, and military muscle into  almost every corner of the globe.

Nor – as Graham quickly discovers – will the White Council quietly resign their role simply because their benefactor has regained consciousness and wishes to regain what is rightfully his…

  • Can Graham escape the insidious plots fomented by the powerful White Council? And even if he does…
  • What changes can Graham make to this strange new world: so alien to the England in which he was born?

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City of the Future

The World’s Best English Short Stories – Well’s Island of Doctor Moreau

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The world’s best English short stories includes H. G. Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau.


Dr Moreau was a famous surgeon and pre-eminent in his field: so his sudden disappearance from Britain created a stir in the British press. Certainly Dr Moreau was the last person Edward expected to find when cast adrift to land on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

  • What caused Dr Moreau to flee England to such a remote corner of the globe?
  • What is the meaning of: Moreau’s locked laboratory, his uncanny ape-man servant, and the fearsome screams of pain piercing the night?

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Island

The World’s Best English Short Stories – Herbert’s Cease Fire

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The world’s best English short stories includes Frank Herbert’s Cease Fire: published as part of the Eye collection.


The world is at war: and conscript Corporal Husler is assigned a stint at a solitary station in the frigid arctic wastes. For a while the assignment goes as planned: until Corporal Husler goes mad.

  • Is Corporal Husler: cracked, emotionally unstable – or an as-yet unsuspected genius?

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Written in 1958, Cease Fire is not yet in the Public Domain.

Looking down the barrel of a gun

The World’s Best English Short Stories – Herbert’s The Nothing

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The world’s best English short stories includes Frank Herbert’s The Nothing: published as part of The Book of Frank Herbert collection.


In the future virtually everyone has mental powers or talents. Therefore, as succeeding decades show a staggering increase in the percentage of “nothings” – non-talents – being born: Earth’s ruling elite become seriously alarmed.

  • How can Earth’s society continue if forced to return to its non-talent origins?

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Written in 1956, The Nothing is not yet in the Public Domain.

The Mutant