Beyond Lies the Wub • 1952 • SF short story by Philip K. Dick

★★★

Synopsis: A space ship crew runs out of food. They plan to cull the pig-like wub, an alien animal that they acquired on their latest planet stay. Suddenly, the wub begins to discuss philosophy with them and doesn’t want to be eaten.

Review: PKD’s first published story begins like a typical Golden Age SF story featuring aliens and psychic powers, but after a while shows his typical style: Never expect to be told the correct reality, always expect a different truth behind the next door. It is both humorous and melancholical, and has a fascinating ending. The philosphical discussion about Odysseus is not futile but reflects the wub’s mental voyage. Far more lies behind the obvious: PKD criticizes sentient animal consumption. For a far more thorough analysis, I’d like to refer you to the PKD fan site.

Meta: isfdb. Published in Planet Stories, July 1952 and reprinted numerous times. Read in The Big Book of SF. Available online.

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