The Eyes Have It & Tony and the Beatles
By Philip K. Dick
Published by LibriVox
Read by Phil Chenovert
I hold your hand in mine, dear. I press it to my lips.
I take a healthy bite from your dainty finger tips.
My joy would be complete, dear, if you were only here,
But still I keep your hand as a precious souvenir.
“The Eyes Have It” reminds me forcibly of that song by Tom Lehrer. In this short story, Dick makes fun of so many literary idioms. Lines like, “He lost his head,” or “She gave him her heart” take on startling new meanings if read literally and for some reason that is what an unidentified reader is doing as he reads such passages literally. It made me wonder about Eliza Doolittle’s grisly discovery in “My Fair Lady” as she sings “Someone’s head resting on my knee….” Eeew, huh? Anyway it is an amusing bit and well worth reading for yourself.
“Tony and the Beatles” is a longer short story and, in Dick’s usual sardonic manner, it examines the nature of alien psychology which in turn causes the reader to consider his or her own more human one. This is one of those stories in which Earth and its colonies are involved in a long-term war with an alien species. That seems to be a common scenario in SF, or has been from time to time. In this case, the Earthlings have been winning the war for generations and colonizing the planets of the aliens, the Beatles, living with them peacefully side-by-side. However, something changes the day the Beatles win a battle.
Both stories take normal seeming situations and present them with a slant you don’t normally consider and both are entertaining. Thought-provoking and fun… nice combination.
Two weeks ago I described Phil Chenovert’s presentation of Poul Anderson’s “The Chapter Ends” as sounding rather sing-song which I felt was partially due to his reading style and partially due to Anderson’s words, although I do not believe that every reader would sound sing-song reading that story. This time there was no sing-song quality to his reading, but I did notice the folksy tone he generally uses. It’s a sort of down home, laid back style of story-telling that many people love to listen to. It rubs me a the wrong way if I am not in the right mood, but I will admit that Mister Chenovert reads very clearly and distinctly and I am willing to bet that people love to gather around to hear him read or just spin yarns. He has that sort of voice, so I refuse to pass judgment against a reader whose style is technically excellent just because it is a style I do not always enjoy.
So rather than listen (or read) to me rant on, go download of copy of any of Phil Chenovert’s audiobooks and decide for yourself.