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Piper in the Woods

Philip K. Dick

Book Overview: 

Earth maintained an important garrison on Asteroid Y-3. Now suddenly it was imperiled with a biological impossibility—men becoming plants!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ss his chest, his eyes tightly closed.

"Sir," the bovine youth said, "I'm afraid I can't wake him up for you, much as I'd like to."

"You can't? Why not?"

"Sir, Corporal Westerburg won't wake up, not after the sun sets. He just won't. He can't be wakened."

"Cataleptic? Really?"

"But in the morning, as soon as the sun comes up, he leaps out of bed and goes outside. Stays the whole day."

"I see," the Doctor said. "Well, thanks anyhow." He went back out into the hall and the door shut after him. "There's more to this than I realized," he murmured. He went on back the way he had come.

It was a warm sunny day. The sky was almost free of clouds and a gentle wind moved through the cedars along the bank of the stream. There was a path leading from the hospital building down the slope to the stream. At the stream a small bridge led over to the other side, and a few patients were standing o. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This story was a little weird and quite predictable. It was also humorous.

The story: Doctor Harris has been assigned to find out why soldiers sent to an army base on a far-flung asteroid are coming back believing that they are flowers that must sit in the sunshine soaking up the rays.

Any problems wi


I've recently read a bunch of Philip K. Dick's short stories and love how, although they are all dealing with similar situations (cold war turned into hot war, terra uninhabitable due to radiation, underground factories, robot wars, humans forced to live underground; OR interstellar wars (Terra-Cent


Piper in the Woods is a short story by master science fiction writer Philip K.Dick. Written early in his career, it possesses that “existence out of SYNCH” element that seems to be a hallmark of PkD’s story-telling.

This was a most excellent tale from PKD, in one sense you had a feel of what was going to happen, and yet in another it was still leaving you in wonder, it guided you through a beautiful science fiction tale and like a good story left you wanting more.
PKD #8

Henry Harris, an army doctor on Earth, receive a patient who, after returning from a mission on asteroid Y-3, claims to be a plant. Harris’ diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome was dispelled when a several more soldiers returning from asteroid Y-3 exhibit the same symptoms—the soldiers claim


This short science fiction story was so interesting, it kept me reading it to the end without interruption. It was eerie, well-written, and excellent.


"Piper in the Woods" (1953): Earth maintained an important garrison on Asteroid Y-3. Now suddenly it was imperiled with a biological impossibility -- men becoming plants!

"The Gun" (1953): Nothing moved or stirred. Everything was silent, dead. Only the gun showed signs of life ... and the trespassers

I've always liked Dick's books. He crafts a simple story, but with enough detail to draw you in and keep you engaged. His stories are edgy sci-fi that typically have a twist. Often, at the conclusion there is an unknown factor of what happens next, leaving the rest of the story to the reader's imagi

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