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<Jan 17, 1966

1967

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The Story To End All Stories...

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

  "Faith Of Our Fathers" was the result of Harlan Ellison’s one-man crusade to inject some life into the, as he thought, moribund science fiction scene in the 1960s. Championing a ‘New Wave’ in sf Ellison after great effort edited a collection of short stories and novelettes from the cream of science fictiondom. Established writers and up-and-comers were solicited for their most dangerous visions in story form. Philip K. Dick was one of these approached by Ellison.

    The manuscript for "Faith Of Our Fathers" reached the SMLA on Jan 17, 1966. It was first published in Harlan Ellison’s DANGEROUS VISIONS in 1967 from Doubleday via their Science Fiction Book Club. Lawrence Ashmead was Doubleday’s supervising editor on this one. In 1969 DANGEROUS VISIONS was published by Berkley in paperback. "Faith Of Our Fathers" was selected for the PKD collection, THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK in 1977. It has also been occasionally anthologized.

    Ellison’s hype of his ‘dangerous visions’ included drug-influenced writing; anything to project a sense of danger into his anthology. PKD went along with this at first acceding, at least on paper, to Ellison’s request that he write something under the influence of LSD. Whether PKD actually did so or not is still under debate. Nevertheless, after the contretemps described below PKD attempted to annul the DANGEROUS VISIONS perception by modifying his Afterword to the story. This new Afterword appeared in all editions of DANGEROUS VISIONS from 1975 onwards.

    Let’s look at the controversy.

    In his introduction to "Faith Of Our Fathers" in DANGEROUS VISIONS (1967) Ellison writes of Dick:

   I asked for Phil Dick and got him. A story to be written about, and under the influence of (if possible), LSD. What follows, like his excellent offbeat novel THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, is the result of such a hallucinogenic journey.

    {…}

    My theory, developed over years of seeing people deluding themselves for the bounce they got, was that the creative process is at its most lively when it merges clean and unfogged from whatever wells exist within the minds of the creators. Philip K. Dick puts the lie to that theory.

    His experiments with LSD and other hallucinogens, plus stimulants of the amphetamine class, have borne such fruit as the story you are about to read, in every way a "dangerous" vision.

    {…}

    He is with us today in his capacity of shaker-upper of theories. And if he doesn’t nibble away at your sense of "reality" just a little bit in "Faith Of Our Fathers," check your pulse. You may be dead. {DV 213}

    Naturally, after DANGEROUS VISIONS was published in 1967, PKD gained the reputation as an ‘acid’ writer. It took many years of questions and interviews to dispel this notion. Here’s one such:

    VERTEX: Isn't "Faith of Our Father's," from Harlan Ellison's DANGEROUS VISIONS, supposed to have been inspired by or written under the influence of acid?

    DICK: That really is not true. First of all, you can't write anything when you're on acid. I did one page once while on an acid trip, but it was in Latin. Whole damn thing was in Latin and a little tiny bit in Sanskrit, and there's not much market for that. The page does not fall in with my published work. The other book which suggests it might have been written with acid is MARTIAN TIME-SLIP. That too was written before I had taken any acid.

    VERTEX: How much acid did you take anyway?

    DICK: Not that much. I wasn't getting up in the morning and dropping acid. I'm amazed when I read the things I used to say about it on the blurbs of my books. I wrote this myself: "He has been experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs to find the unchanging reality beneath our delusions." And now I say, "Good Christ!" All I ever found out about acid was that I was where I wanted to get out of fast. It didn't seem more real than anything else; it just seemed more awful.{Vertex}

    Of the story Philip K. Dick wrote:

    The title is that of an old hymn. I think, with this story, I managed to offend everybody, which seemed at the time to be a good idea, but which I've regretted since. Communism, drugs, sex, God -- I put it all together, and it's been my impression since that when the roof fell in on me years later, this story was in some eerie way involved.{Levack}

    And in his first Afterword to the story in DANGEROUS VISIONS he expounds further on the ideas in  his story:

    I don’t advocate any of the ideas in "Faith Of Our Fathers"; I don’t, for example, claim that the Iron Curtain countries will win the cold war – or morally ought to. One theme in the story, however, seems compelling to me, in view of recent experiments with hallucinogenic drugs: the theological experience, which so many who have taken LSD have reported. This appears to me to be a true new frontier; to a certain extent the religious experience can now be scientifically studied … and, what is more, may be viewed as part hallucination but containing other, real components. God, as a topic in science fiction, when it appeared at all, used to be treated polemically, as in "Out Of The Silent Planet." But I prefer to treat it as intellectually exciting. What if, through psychedelic drugs, the religious experience becomes commonplace in the life of intellectuals? The old atheism, which seemed to many of us – including me – valid in terms of our experiences, or rather lack of experiences, would have to step momentarily aside. Science fiction, always probing what is about to be thought, become, must eventually tackle without preconceptions a future neo-mystical society in which theology constitutes a major force as in the medieval period. This is not necessarily a backward step, because now these beliefs can be tested – forced to put up or shut up. I, myself, have no real beliefs about God; only my experience that He is present … subjectively, of course; but the inner realm is real too. And in a science fiction story one projects what has been a personal inner experience into a milieu; it becomes socially shared, hence discussible. The last word, however, on the subject of God may have already been said: in AD 840 by John Scotus Erigena at the court of the Frankish king Charles the Bald. "We do not know what God is. God himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being." Such a penetrating – and Zen – mystical view, arrived at so long ago, will be hard to top; in my own experiences with psychedelic drugs I have had precious tiny illumination compared with Erigena. {DV 243}

    Such was how we thought about drugs and mysticism in the 60s.

    "Faith Of Our Fathers" also figures into Philip K. Dick’s ‘pink-beam’ inspired cosmology. He categorizes the story in with THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, UBIK and A MAZE OF DEATH as crucial to his new religious apprehension.

    PKD scholar Sam Umland had the opportunity to examine an original manuscript of "Faith Of Our Fathers":

    The manuscript that I have examined was given to Anne Dick by Ray Nelson in 1986; Dick presumably had given it to Nelson several decades earlier. The manuscript consists of 41 double-spaced typed pages. 39 of the pages are typed on inexpensive onion-skin "erasable" typewriter paper; these 39 pages represent what I believe to be the first, or rough, draft. The 40th page is numbered "43" and was typed on somewhat better quality paper (the watermark reads "Millers Falls EZERASE). I believe this to be the final page of Dick's second draft; the number 43 indicates the length of the ms. after Dick retyped the first draft with his additions, emendations and corrections. The 41st page of the ms, I examined is a carbon copy of the same page 43. this suggests to me that Dick, having revised the story once, still was not happy with the ending -- he pulled the last page along with its carbon, and rewrote the ending into the final version as published in DANGEROUS VISIONS.{PKDS-29 12}

    One last note: "Faith Of Our Fathers" is not to be confused with "The Story To End All Stories For Harlan Ellison’ DANGEROUS VISIONS." This was a short satire that PKD wrote for Ed Meskys and his zine Bumbejimas in 1968.

    Hazel Pierce has a good description of "Faith Of Our Fathers":

    The most sensitive and serious probe of alternate realities in the Dickian short stories tests meta-reality. "Faith Of Our Fathers" challenges both the concept of the charismatic leader and that of the spiritual fountainhead. In this multi-racially governed world, a group of undercover dissidents work assiduously to separate the real Supreme Benefactor from the public facade. If indeed there is a difference. After using anti-hallucinatory drugs, they descry a variety of decadent and evil non-human forms. While these individual visions shatter the earlier beneficent image, they also pose a third and more disturbing alternative reality -- good and evil fused inescapably together. If this is the ultimate reality, then all our cultural beliefs in a saving Good are false. The human mind balks at this loss of innocence. One character openly muses on the strong possibility that men need mass hallucination for sheer psychic survival. Philip Dick offers an even more frightening alternative in "The Electric Ant".{SRG}

    The story reminds one of the second, formerly suppressed half, of THE UNTELEPORTED MAN. And with that said "Faith Of Our Fathers" receives


Other Magazine and Anthology appearances.    More Cover Pix Here: aaaPKDickBooks.jpg (3234 bytes)

1971   ALPHA 2, Ballantine, pb, 02419, ?,? $0.95 (?) {Ed. Silverberg}         
1972 dv1a.jpg (9400 bytes) DANGEROUS VISIONS, Berkley, pb, D2274, 576pp, $1.50 (DaFate) {Ed. Ellison}  
1974   MODERN SCIENCE FICTION, Anchor, pb, A978, ? $3.50 (?) {Ed. Spinrad}  
1977 THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359, 1977, ?,?(?)  
1987   THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD  
1992   FOUNDATIONS OF FEAR, Tor, hb, ?,1992, ?,? (?) {Ed. Hartwell}  
1994   FOUNDATIONS OF FEAR, Tor, pb, ?, Jun 1994, 433pp, ?, (?) ISBN: 0-812-51896-9  
1998 t5771.jpg (6564 bytes) THE FANTASY HALL OF FAME, Harper-Prism, tp, ?, 1998, 562pp, $14 (?) {Ed. Silverberg, Greenberg} 0-06-105215-9  
2002c DangerousVisions11.jpg (16154 bytes) DANGEROUS VISIONS 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, Doubleday, hb, ?, 2002, ?, (?) {Ed. Ellison}  
2002c DangerousVisions21.jpg (11628 bytes) DANGEROUS VISIONS 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, Doubleday, hb, ?, 2002, ?, ?,  (?) {Ed. Ellison}  
2002c DangerousVisions41.jpg (14083 bytes) DANGEROUS VISIONS, Ibooks, tp, ?, 2002,?,? (?) {Ed. Ellison}  
       

NOTES:

Levack 94

    The title is that of an old hymn. I think, with this story, I managed to offend everybody, which seemed at the time to be a good idea, but which I've regretted since. Communism, drugs, sex, God -- I put it all together, and it's been my impression since that when the roof fell in on me years later, this story was in some eerie way involved.

DV 243

    I don’t advocate any of the ideas in "Faith Of Our Fathers"; I don’t, for example, claim that the Iron Curtain countries will win the cold war – or morally ought to. One theme in the story, however, seems compelling to me, in view of recent experiments with hallucinogenic drugs: the theological experience, which so many who have taken LSD have reported. This appears to me to be a true new frontier; to a certain extent the religious experience can now be scientifically studied … and, what is more, may be viewed as part hallucination but containing other, real components. God, as a topic in science fiction, when it appeared at all, used to be treated polemically, as in "Out Of The Silent Planet." But I prefer to treat it as intellectually exciting. What if, through psychedelic drugs, the religious experience becomes commonplace in the life of intellectuals? The old atheism, which seemed to many of us – including me – valid in terms of our experiences, or rather lack of experiences, would have to step momentarily aside. Science fiction, always probing what is about to be thought, become, must eventually tackle without preconceptions a future neo-mystical society in which theology constitutes a major force as in the medieval period. This is not necessarily a backward step, because now these beliefs can be tested – forced to put up or shut up. I, myself, have no real beliefs about God; only my experience that He is present … subjectively, of course; but the inner realm is real too. And in a science fiction story one projects what has been a personal inner experience into a milieu; it becomes socially shared, hence discussible. The last word, however, on the subject of God may have already been said: in AD 840 by John Scotus Erigena at the court of the Frankish king Charles the Bald. "We do not know what God is. God himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being." Such a penetrating – and Zen – mystical view, arrived at so long ago, will be hard to top; in my own experiences with psychedelic drugs I have had precious tiny illumination compared with Erigena.

SRG 40

    As in the earlier THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, "Faith Of Our Fathers" speculates on the effect of discovery that accepted social, political or spiritual authority is empty of the meaning and value so long vested in it.

SRG 44

    The most sensitive and serious probe of alternate realities in the Dickian short stories tests meta-reality. "Faith Of Our Fathers" challenges both the concept of the charismatic leader and that of the spiritual fountainhead. In this multi-racially governed world, a group of undercover dissidents work assiduously to separate the real Supreme Benefactor from the public facade. If indeed there is a difference. After using anti-hallucinatory drugs, they descry a variety of decadent and evil non-human forms. While these individual visions shatter the earlier beneficent image, they also pose a third and more disturbing alternative reality -- good and evil fused inescapably together. If this is the ultimate reality, then all our cultural beliefs in a saving Good are false. The human mind balks at this loss of innocence. One character openly muses on the strong possibility that men need mass hallucination for sheer psychic survival. Philip Dick offers an even more frightening alternative in "The Electric Ant".

PKDS-29 12

    "Faith Of Our Fathers": A Comparison of the Original Manuscript with the Published Text by Sam Umland

    {... ...}

    The finished manuscript of "Faith Of Our Fathers" was received by the Scott Meredith Literary Agency on 1/17/66, and the story was eventually published in Harlan Ellison's sf anthology Dangerous Visions in 1967. The manuscript that I have examined was given to Anne Dick by Ray Nelson in 1986; Dick presumably had given it to Nelson several decades earlier. The manuscript consists of 41 double-spaced typed pages. 39 of the pages are typed on inexpensive onion-skin "erasable" typewriter paper; these 39 pages represent what I believe to be the first, or rough, draft. The 40th page is numbered "43" and was typed on somewhat better quality paper (the watermark reads "Millers Falls EZERASE). I believe this to be the final page of Dick's second draft; the number 43 indicates the length of the ms. after Dick retyped the first draft with his additions, emendations and corrections. The 41st page of the ms, I examined is a carbon copy of the same page 43. this suggests to me that Dick, having revised the story once, still was not happy with the ending -- he pulled the last page along with its carbon, and rewrote the ending into the final version as published in Dangerous Visions. {...}

{The remainder of this article delves into minute differences between the ms. and published versions of this story. See PKDS-29 -- Lord RC}  

IPOV 20:

    I awoke abruptly to find myself with my Saviour, and then entered fellowship with God (the dreams of the delighting void). Can it be said that this is the rebirth, accomplished by penetration of the Child by the solar spermatikos? Yes, Firebright, brought to life and sustained Greater Intelligence for me, better health, longer life, even prosperity. A certain facility with life. But most of all I recall what I saw when I awakened: I saw God, smiling in the sunlight of day. Once, during the years of the Terrible Seperation*, I saw Palmer Eldritch in the Sun -- I saw God backward, but sure enough, in the daytime sun; at high noon, and knew him to be a god. THE 3 STIGMATA if read properly (i.e. reversed) contains many clues as to the nature of God and to our relationship with him. I was motivated to flee, then, fearing what I saw, so vast was the breach then. it was definitely a true vision of God, but grown (to my blind sight) terrible; still, it was the beginning of my seeing: that I could see God at all, in the sun, showed that I was not entirely blind, but rather deranged. My 3-74 experiences are an outgrowth of my Palmer Eldritch experience of over ten years earlier. "Faith Of Our Fathers" shows this, too; I knew Him to be real ...but only in UBIK does he begin to appear as benign, especially then in A MAZE OF DEATH. We were coming back together, as friends in the light-struck meadow or forest... the summertime to greet." ** (From THE EXEGESIS, 1975)

    *"Terrible Separation" is a reference to PKD's own sense of the gulf that existed in the 1960s between his own limited human existence and a genuine encounter with the divine as a positive, redeeming force in the universe.
    ** This final sentence is a paraphrase of the lyrics of one of PKD's favorite lieder by Franz Schubert.

SF EYE #14, Spring 1996, p.38

    (PKD:) Yes, well, we touched on another topic in the interview I had with those people and that was my attitude toward drugs. They said, isn't there an affinity between you and Timothy Leary's attitude toward drugs? And I said, well, actually a scrupulous reading of my novels that deal with drugs such as 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR, "Faith Of Our Fathers", and A MAZE OF DEATH show the possibility -- again we get into the area of possibility, not certitude -- that there are really just a whole number of things happening in 3 STIGMATA and in NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR, The drug is destructive, it's addictive, it's used as a government weapon as a matter of fact.

From: Vertex, Vol. 1, no. 6, February 1974

    VERTEX: Isn't "Faith of Our Father's," from Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions, supposed to have been inspired by or written under the influence of acid?

    DICK: That really is not true. First of all, you can't write anything when you're on acid. I did one page once while on an acid trip, but it was in Latin. Whole damn thing was in Latin and a little tiny bit in Sanskrit, and there's not much market for that. The page does not fall in with my published work. The other book which suggests it might have been written with acid is Martian Time-slip. That too was written before I had taken any acid.

    VERTEX: How much acid did you take anyway?

    DICK: Not that much. I wasn't getting up in the morning and dropping acid. I'm amazed when I read the things I used to say about it on the blurbs of my books. I wrote this myself: "He has been experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs to find the unchanging reality beneath our delusions." And now I say, "Good Christ!" All I ever found out about acid was that I was where I wanted to get out of fast. It didn't seem more real than anything else; it just seemed more awful.

Rolling Stone

    We talked about drugs and writing. Despite Harlan Ellison’s introduction to a story of Phil’s, "Faith of Our Fathers", which says that the story was written while Phil was on LSD, Phil has never written under the influence of psychedelic drugs ("I did try it once, but it came out all in Latin and Sanskrit!") and in fact has taken relatively few acid trips… But then there’s the strange story of his 18 years on amphetamines… {Rolling Stone, Nov 6, 1975. ‘The True Stories of Philip K. Dick’ by Paul Williams}


Collector’s Notes

Phildickian: "Faith Of Our Fathers" in DANGEROUS VISIONS {Ed. Harlan Ellison}, Doubleday, hb, BCE/BOMC, 1967 (1st). VG/VG. This is the rare early run which contains the controversial preface referring to Philip K. Dick and the use of LSD and other drugs. The book is clean and tight with moderate shelfwear, and bumping at the spine ends. Internally clean and free of markings. The dust jacket is creased along the edges and folds, but still crisp and covered with a brodart. $15

 


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