This 4,712 word story may not be among Philip K. Dick’s best, but it is certainly worth looking at, and hearing!
Tony And The Beetles is a bit unusual too, having an almost juvenile or YA feel to it. Maybe that’s because it’s not nearly as horrific as many of Dick’s fantasy tales – there are some frightening elements, but the general tone is that of an ungroundedness. I see Tony And The Beetles as a kind of historical allegory and I’m not the only one. Phil Chevernet, the narrator who recorded it for LibriVox, wrote “I think [Dick] was commenting on imperialism in the 40s and 50s.” I think he’s right, but I think the comment is somewhat ambiguous, rather depressing, and almost wholly unhopeful. Dick grew up during World War II and little PKD was a very sensitive fellow, kind of like Tony.
Here’s the setup:
Young Tony Rossi has grown up on an alien world. As a child he’s known little else than bubble helmets, pressure suits, and robot pets. His playmates and schoolmates have all been the non-human children of the planet, but around him swirl the forces of history and when news of the ongoing war breaks Tony’s parents don’t seem to hold the same opinions of what it all means.
Tony And The Beetles
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Phil Chevernet
1 |MP3| – Approx. 34 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 16, 2012
A ten-year-old boy grows up fast when history catches up with the human race. First published in Orbit, volume 1 number 2, 1953.
And here’s a |PDF| made from it’s original publication in Orbit.
Posted by Jesse Willis