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87

<Jun 2, 1955

Jan 1957

Recall Mechanism

All We Marsmen

15,600 wds

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

    "The Unreconstructed M" was received by the SMLA on Jun 2, 1955, PKD’s first and only short-story submission of the year. It was published in Original Science Fiction Stories in Jan 1957 and selected for THE GOLDEN MAN collection in 1980. Finally it reappeared in THE COLLECTED STORIES in 1987.

    Here’s what PKD said about the story:

   "If my main theme throughout my writing is, "Can we consider the universe real, and if so, in what way?" my secondary theme would be, "Are we all humans?" Here a machine does not imitate a human being, but instead fakes evidence of a human being, a given human being. Fakery is a topic which absolutely fascinates me; I am convinced that anything can be faked, or anyhow evidence pointing to any given thing. Spurious clues can lead us to believe anything they want us to believe. There is   really no theoretical upper limit to this. Once you have mentally opened the door to reception of the notion of fake, you are ready to think yourself into another kind of reality entirely. It's a trip from which you never return. And, I think, a healthy trip... unless you take it too seriously."

   "The Unreconstructed M" is a science fiction detective story. A murder occurs and machine-faked evidence leads to complications in its solution. The name if not the character of David Lantano recurs in PKD’s 1964 novel THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH. Reminiscent of "Paycheck" in its use of small ‘tokens’, "The Unreconstructed M" rates

    After writing "The Unreconstructed M" PKD soon submitted the manuscript for his straight novel, MARY AND THE GIANT in mid-June 1955. Other novel manuscripts arrived at the SMLA later in the year; THE MAN WHO JAPED in mid-October and A TIME FOR GEORGE STAVROS at the end of that month.

    In effect with "The Unreconstructed M" PKD had terminated his career as a short-story science fiction writer. He wished now to become a writer of mainstream or literary novels, many of which he wrote in the five years between 1955 and 1960. Unfortunately these straight novels found no favor in the literary market place and none were published in this period although his science fiction novels found a market. {See: 'A Question Of Chronology'}

    After writing "The Unreconstructed M", Philip K. Dick did not submit another short story to the SMLA until "If There Were No Benny Cemoli" in 1963, five years later. In the interim he worked on his mainstream fiction and expansions of "Time Pawn" (Dr. FUTURITY) and "Vulcan’s Hammer" (VULCAN’S HAMMER). In 1959 he saw the publication of WORLD OF CHANCE in the UK and TIME OUT OF JOINT in the US. In 1960 DR. FUTURITY and VULCAN’S HAMMER saw the light of day in their expanded versions. In 1961 he had nothing published at all but did complete his breakthrough novel, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, which was published in 1962. Two more novels in 1962 (WE CAN BUILD YOU and MARTIAN TIME-SLIP) were completed. In April 1963, he won the Hugo Award for THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.

    (See MARY AND THE GIANT)


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

1980 THE GOLDEN MAN, Berkley, pb, 04288, 1980, ?, $2.25 (?) {Ed. Hurst}        
1987 csopkd4a.jpg (7562 bytes) THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD, Vol.4  
       

NOTES:

PKD in story notes to THE GOLDEN MAN.

    If my main theme throughout my writing is, "Can we consider the universe real, and if so, in what way?" my secondary theme would be, "Are we all humans?" Here a machine does not imitate a human being, but instead fakes evidence of a human being, a given human being. Fakery is a topic which absolutely fascinates me; I am convinced that anything can be faked, or anyhow evidence pointing to any given thing. Spurious clues can lead us to believe anything they want us to believe. There is  really no theoretical upper limit to this. Once you have mentally opened the door to reception of the notion of fake, you are ready to think yourself into another kind of reality entirely. It's a trip from which you never return. And, I think, a healthy trip... unless you take it too seriously.

EYE IN THE SKY Notes

    With the exception of The Unreconstructed M, PKD stopped writing short stories in May 1955. It is likely that after finishing EYE IN THE SKY in mid-February that he worked on a revision of WORLD OF CHANCE for Rich & Cowan publishers in Britain, then wrote The Unreconstructed M before turning to MARY AND THE GIANT.

SL 38 35

    Tiresome as all this is, there's worse to come. I have ceased to write either s.f. or fantasy, Tony; I stopped writing short stuff for magazine publication back in May of '55; since then I've done only novels, both s.f. and what I call straight contemporary serious quality fiction about non-myth type people, and in the last year its been just the latter, the non-s.f. I have five of these novels in circulation (...) We damn near sold one of them (called MARY AND THE GIANT). In fact we had an oral okay over the phone from the editor-in-chief of a reputable hardcover house. They held the MS for six months and then -- as I stood waiting for the contracts, still keeping faith at my end -- they returned the MS with a short note. Personally, I believe they couldn't get a pre-publication softcover house to go along with the book to underwrite their costs. {... ...} -- {PKD>A. Boucher, June 3, 1957}


Collector’s Notes

 


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