Those of us that love books tend to have books and authors that feel like home to us. You all know what I mean, right? You crack open the spine and immediately a sense of “Oh, yes. This is exactly what I was missing,” washes over you. For those of us that are more emotional, just the act of picking up something by a much-loved author can leave us a little choked up.Philip K Dick is like that for me. I know, I know – his prose is totally hack-ish and he re-uses all the same names, and YES many of his stories carry similar themes, but I think all of that contributes to my love affair with everything that he’s written. I have never read anything by him that I’ve hated, not one single thing. I’m not saying I’ve read everything (I started reading him in high school, when much of his stuff was out of print, still), but I’ve read a goodly amount – enough so that friends who grow interested come to me to figure out where to start. (The answer – in case you’re wondering – varies from person to person, but I will NEVER recommend the VALIS Cycle to a PKD newb. THAT BEING SAID, I’d recommend his short fiction to almost anyone because you can get a sense of the PKDness without committing to a full-length novel.) Gosh, run-ons, sj? Maybe you need to step away from the PKD and the wine.ANYWAY. This volume – I’ve read some of the stories in this volume before, but many of them were new to me. Not so new that I didn’t instantly feel that favourite author homecoming within the first page of each, though. These stories are from his earlier years (all of the volumes of his collected short fiction are published chronologically – there are five and this one contained TWENTY SEVEN stories), and fairly typical of his work during the early ’50s. America was caught up in the Cold War and McCarthyism, so it was a pretty scary period for people with ideas. That fear and paranoia comes through loud and clear here. Humans did a lot of bad stuff to other humans during that period (well, when haven’t we really?), and it is pretty clear that our dear author had lost a lot of his faith in his fellow man at that point in time.There are ~600 more rambling words on this book on my blog. You can click here to read it if you're interested.