Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Philip K Dick's "Paycheck" (novelette, treasure hunt, free)

Jennings doesn't remember anything from last 2 years of his life, but knows that he's an electronic technician who signed a contract for a large sum of money with Rethrick Construction Company. He doesn't remember what the company does, & as payment now, he's received 7 bits of apparently useless trinkets instead of the money he was promised! Looks like he waved the money during the contract period. Was he swindled by people who can make him forget things?

On top of it, he finds the cops are interested in him - trying to get information about the company & the work he did for them, information he no longer remembers.

That's when the trinkets begin to do their magic - helping him out of tricky situations & serving as clues to help unravel what he saw in those 2 lost years - a future viewer, a Robin Hood style corporation, ...

See also.

  1. Robert Heinlein's "Life-Line" (download) & Henry Kuttner's "What You Need": Well known stories where a future viewer plays a central part.
  2. A E van Vogt's "The Weapon Shop": A .. sort of ... corporation(?) ... powerful enough to resist a bad government is playing Robin Hood, helping ordinary people repressed by the government.

Fact sheet.

First published: Imagination, June 1953.
Rating: B.
Download full text. [via Best Science Fiction Stories]
Adapted into a movie of the same title in 2003, directed by John Woo.
Related: Stories of Philip K Dick.