The Adjustment Bureau: 57 minutes for $11… seriously?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPhilip K. Dick The Adjustment Bureau The Adjustment Team audiobook reviewThe Adjustment Bureau by Philip K. Dick

Brilliance Audio has recently put Philip K. Dick’s short story The Adjustment Team on audio and they sent me a copy. This is the story that the movie The Adjustment Bureau was based on (and the name of the audiobook is The Adjustment Bureau). The story is 57 minutes of tension and psychological terror as Ed Fletcher gets to work late and accidentally sees The Adjustment Team “adjusting” his office building and its occupants. Now, unadjusted Ed notices all the differences in his environment but his adjusted colleagues think everything is normal. Is Ed crazy?

Phil Gigante does an excellent job reading this story — the drama and terror really comes across well.  I enjoyed “The Adjustment Team,” I’m glad I’ve finally read the story that the popular movie was based on, and I’m particularly happy to be able to listen to short stories on audio.

However… The audiobook is less than an hour long and it costs (at this writing, in April 2011) $11. As much as I enjoyed it, I just can’t recommend spending that much money for so little story, especially when the Kindle version costs only 99¢.

Update, December 2015: The price is now only $5.86. This makes much more sense.

The Adjustment Bureau — (2011) Publisher: The Adjustment Bureau is a major motion picture based on Philip K. Dick’s classic paranoid story, The Adjustment Team. This is the short story, The Adjustment Team, which asks the question — Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Ed Fletcher is a real estate agent with a normal life, until one day he leaves the house for work a few minutes later than he should have. He arrives at a terrifying, grey, ash world. Ed rushes home and tells his wife, Ruth, who goes back to the office with him. When they return, everything is normal. But he soon realizes people and objects have subtly changed. Panic-stricken, he runs to a public phone to warn the police, only to have the phone booth ascend heavenward with Fletcher inside…

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Kieran /

    Personally, I’m surprised the story even lasted as long as 57 minutes. Phil Gigante must be a very slow reader. I’ve always found audio-books to be over priced however. One of the major reasons I’ve never bothered with them.

  2. Kiernan, I belong to where I get audiobooks for much less with my subscription. The prices are actually better than what the subscription offers because there are several buy 2 get 1 free and half-price sales throughout the year. I love it! Here’s a link which I think will give new subscribers a deal (and maybe a kick-back to FanLit, though I’m not sure if that part actually works).

  3. I always like to compare things to movies and video games. Those are my two other means of entertainment besides books. A typical DVD will cost you around $15 new, $10 if its a year or two old. That’s about 2 hours of entertainment for $10. A video game is usually around 15-30hrs long, and they cost $60 new and $30-$40 after a year or two. An Audiobook new is around $30 for about 20-30hrs. I find it comparable to a video game in its price range.

    $11 for 57 minutes….is way out of my formula for cost of entertainment.

  4. I do the same thing, Justin, including when I take the kids to one of those places (like Disney World) where you buy a ticket for the day. (Disney World is actually rather cost-effective!). With a movie or a game, though, you’re even likely to watch/play it again, or at least watch/play with another person who also gets value out of it. If I’m not sure I’m going to like a book, it’s hard to pay that much when I’m not sure I’ll like it and nobody else gets value out of it.

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