Adjustment Team is a 1954 short story by Philip K. Dick about a man that stumbles upon a reality altering process that he is not supposed to see.
Ed starts his day like any other. He gets up, eats breakfast with his wife, and goes to work. But today when he steps onto the grounds of his office building, the sun goes dark, and everything around him loses color and is frozen in place. Everything Ed touches turns to ash: door handles, chairs, even people. Then he runs into a couple of strangers in white uniforms, hauling around strange equipment. They begin to chase him and he narrowly escapes, running across the street. When he reaches the other side, his surroundings go back to normal. Ed ponders if he just saw something otherworldly, or if he is having a nervous breakdown.
Fabulous! This is my favorite story yet by Philip K. Dick. It was creepy. How do I explain that it was creepy in a good way? Adjustment Team is written with beautiful, colorful imagery. The characters are good and likable. The world in the story is such a happy place. The scene Ed wanders into unexpectedly is dark, silent, gray, ashen. The contrast is so stark that you can’t help but be disturbed. Yet again, Philip K. Dick shares his extreme talent of placing you right in the character’s shoes and making you feel their emotions. And that’s just the beginning. If you haven’t read Adjustment Team, I suggest you do so right away!
- Page Count: 28
- Adjustment Team was first published in Orbit Science Fiction in 1954.
- Learn more about Philip K. Dick at his website or at Wikipedia.
- Be sure to check out my review of the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, which was inspired by this short story. Leave a comment for a chance to win The Adjustment Bureau movie and book of short stories by Philip K. Dick!
WHERE TO FIND ADJUSTMENT TEAM
- You can read a facsimile version of Adjustment Team for free at Wikipedia Commons.
- You can find this story in The Early Work of Philip K. Dick Volume 1: The Variable Man and Other Stories
- You can purchase Adjustment Team at Amazon for Kindle for $0.99.