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115

Accept. Feb 13, 1974

Oct 1974

A Little Something For Us Tempunauts

The Eye Of The Sibyl

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 HISTORY:

     The other short story that Dick completed in 1973 was "The Pre-Persons." This manuscript arrived at the SMLA on Dec 20, 1973 and was then forwarded to F & SF where it was accepted on Feb 13, 1974 for inclusion in the 25th anniversary edition of the magazine which appeared in Oct 1974. It was also selected for the PKD collection THE GOLDEN MAN in 1980.

    PKD’s anti-abortion story caused a slight flurry on its publication. As PKD wrote:

    "In this, the most recent of the stories in this collection, I incurred the absolute hate of Joanna Russ who wrote me the nastiest letter I've ever received; at one point she said she usually offered to beat up people (she didn't use the word "people") who expressed opinions such as this. I admit that this story amounts to special pleading, and I'm sorry to offend those who disagree with me about abortion on demand. I also got some unsigned hate mail, some of it not from individuals but from organizations promoting abortion on demand. Well, I have always managed to offend people by what I write. Drugs, communism, and now an anti-abortion stand; I really know how to get myself in hot water. Sorry, people. But for the pre-persons' sake I am not sorry. I stand where I stand: "Hier steh' Ich; Ich kann nicht anders," as Martin Luther is supposed to have said."

    And in his Afterword written for the stories in THE GOLDEN MAN collection, Dick expands on his earlier comments:

    Throughout this volume of short stories the theme of fakes, of deception, the theme of guile and cunning, are evident, but I would also like to have a theme of human trust noted, even though it may be submerged at times under the ominous. In "The Pre-Persons" it is love for the children that I feel, not anger toward those who would destroy them. My anger is generated out of love; it is love baffled. I hope you can see this in even this story. If not, then I’ve failed…

    Given the nature of the abortion controversy in the USA at the time – and still percolating as I write – one can accord with Hazel Pierce’s description of the story:

    But even wry smiles fade with "The Pre-Persons" and its futuristic comment on abortion laws. The title hints at the core question: when does a human organism attain true identity? Hyperbole dramatizes the issue as Dick's future society names age twelve as the time when a human being acquires soul and thus is rendered inviolate. Whatever one's predisposition toward this touchy and eminently contemporary issue, Dick does force renewed attention to the deep conflict of ethics and law.

"The Pre-Persons" rates


Other Magazine and Anthology appearances

1980 THE GOLDEN MAN, Berkley, pb, 04288, 1980, ?, $2.25 (?) {Ed. Hurst} THE GOLDEN MAN, Berkley, pb, 04288, 1980, ?, $2.25 (?) {Ed. Hurst}       
1987 csopkd3a.jpg (7120 bytes) THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PHILIP K. DICK, Vol.3  
       

 NOTES:

Accepted at F & SF on Feb 13, 1974 (G. van Gelder to Lord RC, email, Feb 2003) 

THE GOLDEN MAN story notes by PKD

In this, the most recent of the stories in this collection, I incurred the absolute hate of Joanna Russ who wrote me the nastiest letter I've ever received; at one point she said she usually offered to beat up people (she didn't use the word "people") who expressed opinions such as this. I admit that this story amounts to special pleading, and I'm sorry to offend those who disagree with me about abortion on demand. I also got some unsigned hate mail, some of it not from individuals but from organizations promoting abortion on demand. Well, I have always managed to offend people by what I write. Drugs, communism, and now an anti-abortion stand; I really know how to get myself in hot water. Sorry, people. But for the pre-persons' sake I am not sorry. I stand where I stand: "Hier steh' Ich; Ich kann nicht anders," as Martin Luther is supposed to have said.

TGM Afterword by PKD

    Throughout this volume of short stories the theme of fakes, of deception, the theme of guile and cunning, are evident, but I would also like to have a theme of human trust noted, even though it may be submerged at times under the ominous. In "The Pre-Persons" it is love for the children that I feel, not anger toward those who would destroy them. My anger is generated out of love; it is love baffled. I hope you can see this in even this story. If not, then I’ve failed…

SRG 53

    But even wry smiles fade with "The Pre-Persons" and its futuristic comment on abortion laws. The title hints at the core question: when does a human organism attain true identity? Hyperbole dramatizes the issue as Dick's future society names age twelve as the time when a human being acquires soul and thus is rendered inviolate. Whatever one's predisposition toward this touchy and eminently contemporary issue, Dick does force renewed attention to the deep conflict of ethics and law.

TTHC 28:

    {...} Certainly the cruel abandonment or killing of cats is something Phil Dick resented all his life, frequently equating it with the murder of children (as in his anti-abortion story "The Pre-Persons," in which a truck from the pound collects unwanted children.).


Collector’s Notes

  


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