Short Story Reviews: Philip K. Dick’s “The Infinites” (1953) and James Causey’s “Competition” (1955)

The following reviews are the 23rd and 24th installments of my series searching for SF short stories that are critical in some capacity of space agencies, astronauts, and the culture which produced them. Some stories I’ll review in this series might not fit. Many are far from the best. And that is okay. I relish the act of literary archaeology.

I’ve paired two 1950s stories, by Philip K. Dick and the far lesser known James Causey, that explore the inability to understand the universe outside our Earth. Explorers find themselves at each others throats caught up in paranoid delusions of grandeur.

Previously: George R. R. Martin’s “The Second Kind of Loneliness” (1972) and Tom Godwin’s “The Nothing Equation” (1957)

Up Next: TBD

3.5/5 (Good)

Philip K. Dick’s “The Infinites” first appeared in Planet Stories, ed. Jack O’Sullivan (May 1953). You can read it online here.

A preliminary note: I dislike writing about Philip K. Dick. As I mentioned in my 2021 review of “A Little Something for Us Tempunauts” (1974) for this series, “I find it far more enjoyable and liberating to write about lesser-known authors.” Or at least those whose works and lives are less encyclopedically covered by fans and academics alike. There are and will be far superior takes on this story. I don’t have the will or focus. And that’s okay. I rather focus my obsessive eye on others. To be clear, I love Philip K. Dick. Along with C. J. Cherryh, Frank Herbert, and Stanislaw Lem, he was one of the authors of my early twenties–right before I started this website.

A few observations on “The Infinites” (1953)….

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