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81

<Oct 11, 1954

Nov 1955

Service Call

Captive Market

9000 wds

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

      The manuscript for "Autofac" showed up at the SMLA on the same day as that for "Service Call" – Oct 11, 1954. The story was sold to Galaxy and was printed in the Nov 1955 issue of that magazine.

    A popular story over the years, "Autofac" was selected for five anthologies including THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, before publication of THE COLLECTED STORIES in 1987.

    This story caused strife between PKD and Horace Gold, editor of Galaxy. Gold’s custom was to alter facets of stories accepted by Galaxy, a practice which did not sit well with the authors. Philip K. Dick was annoyed at this meddling with "Autofac" and wrote,

    "Despite the fact that Galaxy was my main source of income I told Gold that I would not sell to him unless he stopped altering my stories -- after which he bought nothing from me at all."

    Later, though, Philip K. Dick did sell stories to Galaxy but no earlier than "War Game" in 1959.

    Here’s a precis of the story courtesy of Hazel Pierce:

    To sustain the population during a war, far-sighted engineers built completely automated underground factories. Sophisticated in design, each one seeks its raw materials, manufactures and delivers the goods, and in extremis repairs or rebuilds itself elsewhere. To the survivors struggling to establish the necessary agrarian economy, the glut of manufactured stuff proves burden, not boon; the men cannot win. The autofacs outwit all efforts toward their destruction by the sheer complexity of their own survival programming.

    Of "Autofac" Dick wrote in 1976:

    Tom Disch said of this story that it was one of the earliest ecology warnings in sf. What I had in mind in writing it, however, was the thought that if factories became fully automated, they might begin to show the instinct for survival which organic living entities have... and perhaps develop similar solutions.

    "Autofac" is akin to "Pay For The Printer" and rates


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

1956 Feb   GALAXY, #35 {UK}        
1971 troe2a.jpg (9337 bytes) THE RUINS OF EARTH, Putnam, hb, ?,1971, ?,  $6.95 (?) {Ed. Disch}  
1972 AUTOFAC.jpg (6599 bytes) BEYOND CONTROL, Thomas Nelson (NAL?), hb, ?, 1972, 219pp, $5.95 (?){Ed. Silverberg} ISBN:0-525-66236-7 or 0-8407-6236-4  
1973   BEYOND CONTROL, ?, hb, ?, Nov 1973, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Silverberg} ISBN: 0-283-97989-5  
1973   THE RUINS OF EARTH, ?, pb, ?, Feb 1973, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Disch} 0-091-10450-5  
1974   BEYOND CONTROL, ?, hb, ?, Mar 1974, ?, ?, (?) {Ed. Silverberg}ISBN: 0-816-16091-0  
1974 autofacx.jpg (3207 bytes) BEYOND CONTROL, Dell, pb, 1974, ?, ?, (?) {Ed. Silverberg}ISBN: 0-440-92112-0  
1974   SCIENCE FACT/FICTION, Scott Forsman & C0., pb, tp,1974, 394pp,  $4.95 (?) {Ed. Farrell, Gage, Pfordresher, Rodrigues} )-673-03407-0  
       
1975 troe1a.jpg (7454 bytes) THE RUINS OF EARTH, Arrow, pb, ?, 1975, ?,?,(?) {Ed. Disch} 0-099-09440-1  
1977 Xbest-of1.jpg (19204 bytes) THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK,Ballantine, pb, ?, 1977, ?, ? (?)  
1984 robots-psm1.jpg (8254 bytes) ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES, SIUP, hb, ?,?,? (?) {Ed. Warrick}  
1987   THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD  
       

NOTES:

 CSVol4   375

    Tom Disch said of this story that it was one of the earliest ecology warnings in sf. What I had in mind in writing it, however, was the thought that if factories became fully automated, they might begin to show the instinct for survival which organic living entities have... and perhaps develop similar solutions. {PKD 1976}

Levack

    The factories had been designed to supply human needs in a war-torn world. With the war over, the factories still supply everything automatically: a kind of utopia. Men, however, wish to resume control of their own means of production -- but the factories possess a mechanical vitality and some very human characteristics. -- Steven Owen Godersky

SRG 43

    Just as deadly in its ecological impact is the non-military treadmill fueled by planned obsolescence and conditioned buying habits. In "Autofac" Dick envisioned one possible result. To sustain the population during a war, far-sighted engineers built completely automated underground factories. Sophisticated in design, each one seeks its raw materials, manufactures and delivers the goods, and in extremis repairs or rebuilds itself elsewhere. To the survivors struggling to establish the necessary agrarian economy, the glut of manufactured stuff proves burden, not boon; the men cannot win. The autofacs outwit all efforts toward their destruction by the sheer complexity of their own survival programming.

TTHC 262

    {William} Tenn has written "it was so awful to find a paragraph of Horace's private musing in the middle of one of my stories I swore (falsely) never to send him a manuscript again." 15 What Tenn swore to do, Dick did:

    "Despite the fact that Galaxy was my main source of income I told Gold that I would not sell to him unless he stopped altering my stories -- after which he bought nothing from me at all." 16

    Thus ended the Gold-Dick relationships. {...}

    {fn16: Dick, "Memoir," 232. Dick's secession from Galaxy is confirmed by a letter from Meredith, 1-17-56 (published in PKDS-17 5). "I refused to sell any more stories to Galaxy," he told Kandy Smith in 1973. "They kept making changes that I hadn't written, and my name appeared on it too... If he didn't like the kind of girl you had in your stories, he'd take her out and make her a pumpkin." The story that seems to have done it for Phil was "Autofac."}


 Collector’s Notes

 


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