How To Read All The Classic Sci-Fi Stories That Inspired Amazon’s Answer To ‘Black Mirror’


Amazon's latest original series confirms that science-fiction anthologies are back in a big way. After the success of Netflix's Black Mirror, Amazon is stepping up into the zeitgeist with Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams. The show will adapt a number of stories by the famed genre author, bringing them to life with the helps of acclaimed actors like Bryan Cranston, Anna Paquin, and Steve Buscemi. Dick passed away in 1982, with many of his stories being published in the '50s. These stories have been updated and adapted for 2018 audience — but the stories Electric Dreams Season 1 are based on could prove to be a good starting point for fans looking to read more of Philip K. Dick's work.

Chances are, even if you've never heard the name Philip K. Dick before, you're already familiar with some of his prolific career. His work includes the novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? which inspired the film Blade Runner, the short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale which inspired Total Recall, and the novel The Man In The High Castle which inspired the Amazon series of the same name. While those adaptations serve as a good introduction in Dick as a writer, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (executive producer: Maril Davis) is a great look at the range and inventiveness often associated with the well-known author. Each of the stories adapted in the show are available in a collection of the same name for Kindle and Audiobook.

"The Hood Maker"


The episode "The Hood Maker" is inspired by a short story of the same name, first published in 1955 in Imagination magazine according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. The story concerns a world where telepaths walk among regular folk, and someone who promises a defense against mind-readers.

"Impossible Planet"

"Impossible Planet" is a faithful adaptation of the story "The Impossible Planet," which was first published in 1953 in Imagination magazine. The story concerns two tour guides who agree to take a patron to Earth — even though they're not sure it still exists.

"The Commuter"


"The Commuter" is based on a story also called "The Commuter" that was first published in Amazing Stories in 1953. The story concerns a railroad employee who follows travelers who seem to be going to a non-existent location. The employee follows the passenger to discover that the town does exist — if only by a technicality.

"Crazy Diamond"

The short story "Sales Pitch" is the source material of "Crazy Diamond" and was first published in Future Science Fiction in 1954. The original story follows a protagonist constantly bombarded by advertisements, hounded by an especially aggressive salesman. "Crazy Diamond" may have used "Sales Pitch" for inspiration, but tells its own unique story.

"Real Life"


"Real Life" is loosely built around the short story "Exhibit Piece," which first appeared in If Magazine in 1954. While the adaptation takes many liberties in adapting the original, both explore the very concept of reality.

"Human Is"


"Human Is" is a faithful recreation of a short story by the same name that was originally published in Startling Stories in 1955, and startling it is! The tale follows an emotionally abusive husband returning from a mission having changed for the better, and the mystery lingering beneath his sudden change.

"Kill All Others"

Published in Science Fiction Adventures in 1953, the story "The Hanging Stranger" is the work behind "Kill All Others." While there are some differences between the versions, they both begin with a stranger hanging from a lamppost and end as striking political allegories


"Autofac" adapts a short story of the same name which first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1955. The episode, which stars Moonlight actor and musician Janelle Monae, takes a critical look at consumer culture through an automated factory.

"Safe and Sound"


This episode, starring Maura Tierney is based on the short story "Foster, You're Dead!" which appeared in Star Science Fiction Stories in 1955. The story was written in 1955 and takes place in the '70s, so expect this story to be updated quite a bit for 2018.

"Father Thing"


"Father Thing" first appeared as the story "The Father-thing" which was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1954. The story follows a young boy and his relationship with the machine meant to replicate his deceased father.

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams is stacked with 10 shocking and surprising episodes of science-fiction, and there will surely be at least one story for everyone. Fans of the show will be happy to know that Dick has dozens of short stories that have yet to be adapted that would make great material for a second season of Electric Dreams. The sci-fi anthology premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Jan. 12.