Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

Minority Report
This is actually a short story, although I have it as a book. A very small book, that can be read in a flash. But that doesn't mean it's light or simple.

As a disclaimer I should point out that I haven't seen the movie that is based on this story, even if my edition has Tom Cruise staring at me on the cover. I had no idea what it was about, and I had the book on my shelf because it was an offer on a book fair.

Despite all the books I've read of the genre, I still have this silly notion that I don't like Science Fiction. I always approach such a book with care and precaution. It is silly, really, because I like Science Fiction. And this book is exactly why I like it – it is well written with a good plot that makes you think. Even if it is just a short story. (Also it is a dystopia – shall I repeat once again that I love those?)

Minority Report is set in our world, in a distant future where there are space colonies. But that's just the backdrop. The most important feature of this world is that crime doesn't exist, because criminals are punished before committing the act, therefore never committing it.

Our main character, John Anderton, is the head of the institution responsible for discovering the crimes and punishing the criminals, Precrime. This is done through three mutants known as “precogs”, that can “see” the future, each one issuing a report with the prediction.

When Anderton receives a final report stating that he is going to murder someone he suspects that someone is setting him up, and will try to clear his name even if it means fleeing justice.

There is much going on on this book. Not only it deals with paradoxes and alternate futures, there is also ethics and philosophy woven in it. The end is not surprising, but the build up to it is great, so much that there is no desire to put the book down.

I really wished that this story was written as a novel, not a short story, because what I got was a taste of something good, and I'd love to read more on this.


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