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"I am first of all not a science fiction writer … I write, I suppose, what the Latin Americans call magic realism."
- Harlan Ellison

Perky Pat Layout  
  A very special playset into which adults could project their very being.  

This extraordinary concept lies at the heart of many of the most important artifacts of our current world. We are all familiar with how children are able to project themselves into a playworld. What if adults are placed in hideous conditions on other worlds, and long to have their old world back?

A Perky Pat layout, along with Can-D, manufactured from a lichen, allow people to achieve "translation" into the pretend world of Perky Pat.

"Your parents playing Perky Pat?"
"Yeah."

Norman Schein gazed down at their combined layout, the swanky shops, the well-lit streets with the parked new-model cars, all of them shiny, the split-level house itself, where Perky Pat lived and where she entertained Leonard, her boy friend. It was the house that he perpetually yearned for; the house was the real focus of the layout - of all the Perky Pat layouts, however much they might otherwise differ...

We lived then, Norm Schein said to himself, like Perky Pat and Leonard do now. This is how it actually was...

Playing this game... it's like being back there, back in the world before the war. That's why we play it, I suppose. He felt shame, but only fleetingly; the same, almost at once, was replaced by the desire to play a little longer.

From The Days of Perky Pat, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Amazing in 1963
Additional resources -

The reason that this idea is important is that many of us covet things that we cannot have. We wish we had powerful cars or big houses or important jobs or expensive consumer products; we cannot afford them all. So, we pretend; we watch movies or television programs and project ourselves into the situation. We purchase a brand symbol, like a Jaguar keychain, or a Harley-Davidson jacket, and again project ourselves into the kind of life we want to have.

Here's another quote about Perky Pat appearing in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

...Perky Pat microworld - what did a Terran have to gain from a layout, inasmuch as it was a mill of the conditions obtaining in the average Terran city? For settlers on a howling, gale-swept moon, huddled at the bottom of a hovel against frozen methane crystals and things, it was something else again; Perky Pat and her layout were an entree back to the world they had been born to.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Days of Perky Pat
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to The Days of Perky Pat
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Perky Pat Layout-related news articles:
  - Jinsei Ginko Life Bank Brings Virtual Prosperity
  - Ikea Stuff Packs For Sims 2 'Perky Pat' Layouts
  - Perky Pat-Style Unemployment Layout

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