It's a short story, so expect a short review.
I've read books by Philip K. Dick before and they've been pretty awesome. Of course I read his most famous work (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Minority Report), both classics which have found their way onto the big screen.
The Skull is a little different, but you find that edge that Dick delivers in his novels. I don't like to read short stories, I avoid the collections if I can and only make exceptions for a few authors I really like.
Because I like to be caught up in a novel, I like to feel around in their world and get a glimpse of how they live their short lives. Short stories never live up to that expectation. It's like getting to know someone hours before they leave forever. Mostly it is just time consuming and pointless and even if you hit a gold one (back to novels) once in a while it hurts the more because you have to leave it so soon.
But enough about my opinion on short stories. I'm setting myself up to be negative again and that's not how I want this review to be perceived, because actually The Skull wasn't bad at all.
I'm talking about a story of 25 pages (really!) and it delivered what you needed from it.
You get to know Conger, who's a mercenary and he's being hired for a job. We're in future day and age, where there's only one Church, The Church, the only religion known in this book and as far as I can tell, the only one in this novel's universe.
This religion sprouted in the early sixties and that's where our mercenary is sent.
And with what?
Not a description, nor a name. He's sent back to the past with the skull of the guy he needs to eliminate before he can cause the ripple that's responsible for their current situation, to happen.
The story feels a little jaunted, a little malfunctioning, but it only adds to this mercenary's means to blend in a past world.
And he's in for a surprise when he finds out whose skull he's looking for.
All in all, a very entertaining short story, with some strong views from Dick himself.
War acted to reduce their numbers; like storms and earthquakes and droughts, it was nature's way of eliminating the unfit.
And with these last words, I say goodnight.