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A World Of Talent
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78

<Jun 4, 1954

Oct 1954

Misadjustment

Psi-Man, Heal My Child!

MS title: "Two Steps Right"

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:   

       "A World Of Talent", originally titled "Two Steps Right" by Dick, arrived at the SMLA on June 4, 1954. It was sold to Galaxy and published in the Oct 1954 issue. Later it was selected for Ace Books’ PKD collection THE VARIABLE MAN in 1957. Little comment has been made on the story.

    The story itself tells of a mixed bag of mutants on the Proxima colony planets who are at war with Terra as they fight for independence. They’re also at war with themselves as one faction of psis – the telepaths – try to take over rule of the colony. The protagonist discovers a new kind of mutant; an anti-psi whose powers cancel out that of her opposite type. For telepaths there are anti-telepaths, and so on. In the end after the girl is killed the hero searches for a way to bring her back to life.

    Interestingly enough, the girl’s name is Pat Connley. PKD would resurrect this name and character as Pat Conley in UBIK. In UBIK, too, Pat is an anti-psi but her character is much darker: PKD’s typical dark-haired girl but with a nasty edge. Before reading UBIK I’d recommend that one read "A World Of Talent" first as the story is in some ways a preview of the novel and explains the psi talent that the girl in UBIK exhibits.

    Perhaps, as Gregg Rickman says, the story was a response to Galaxy editor John W. Campbell’s "dogmatic insistence in the early 50s that a positively portrayed ‘psionics’ (such extrasensory powers as telepathy, telekinesis, and precognition) ‘was the necessary premise for science fiction stories.’

    "A World Of Talent" rates


Other Magazine and Anthology appearances

1957 xvariable1.jpg (1664 bytes) THE VARIABLE MAN     
1987   THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PHILIP K. DICK  
       

NOTES:

TTHC  262

    Dick expressed considerable annoyance at {John W.} Campbell, to me and to others over the years, for his dogmatic insistence in the early '50s that a positively portrayed "psionics" (such extrasensory powers as telepathy. telekinesis, and precognition) "was the necessary premise for science fiction stories."18   Dick's Galaxy story "A World Of Talent" (October 1954) replies to this assertion, showing the prices of these talents, and the distorted personalities that result: chiefly through the perspective (how characteristic!) of a withdrawn little boy. {fn18: IHOW 66/62; DC 75-6}

SRG 44

... "A World Of Talent" considers mental gifts from the viewpoint of the possessor. The talented parents of a "normal" child (normals in this future are labeled mute) search for evidence of talent in their offspring, but for the wrong reason, to preserve social approval for him and by extension for themselves.


 Collector’s Notes

Ken Lopez: "A World of Talent" in Galaxy, Oct 1954 (1st). VG. . Signed by the author and also by Robert Sheckley. $125


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