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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Aug 11, 1952

Jun 1953

The King of The Elves

Prize Ship

    6400 wds



   A week after sending in the manuscript for "The King Of The Elves," PKD mailed the ms for "Colony" off to the SMLA in New York. It reached there on Aug 11, 1952 and, as would  happen fairly often, the Agency landed it a spot in Galaxy. It showed up in their June, 1953 issue.

    This is one of my favorite of PKD’s short stories and reminds me of the old Dan Dare comics strips of the 1960s, one of the first sci-fi things I read as a child.

    "Colony" has had a wider audience than many of PKD’s short stories (perhaps that’s because it’s better than most). After publication in the USA edition of Galaxy and, a few months later in the UK version, it was included in PKD’s first collection: A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS (1955). From there it appeared in a Book Of The Month Club selection from Doubleday (SPACE OPERA, ed. Brian Aldiss, 1974) and Ballantine’s collection THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK in 1977. Even since publication of THE COLLECTED STORIES in 1987, "Colony" has been in Robert Silverberg’s WORLDS OF WONDER anthology (1987).

    "Colony" together with "The Defenders" was adapted into a radio play for the X-Minus One radio series in 1956. One wonders when Hollywood will turn this story into a blockbuster movie.

    PKD in his ‘Story Notes’ says this about "Colony:"

    ‘The ultimate in paranoia is not when everyone is against you but when everything is against you. Instead of "My boss is plotting against me," it would be "My boss's phone is plotting against me." Objects sometimes seem to possess a will of their own anyhow, to the normal mind; they don't do what they're supposed to do, they get in the way, they show an unnatural resistance to change. In this story I tried to figure out a situation which would rationally explain the dire plotting of objects against humans, without reference to any deranged state on the part of the humans. I guess you'd have to go to another planet. The ending of this story is the ultimate victory of a plotting object over innocent people.’ {CSVol1, p404}

   Interstellar explorers find a virgin planet and can’t wait to get home to tell everyone about it – at first. But when towels start wrapping themselves around peoples necks and razors take on a life of their own, well, the explorers can’t wait to get out of there! Strange, though, how their spaceship is parked a lot closer than they’d thought...

    "Colony" gets the highest rating of

Other Magazine and Anthology Appearances.       Click here for Cover Pix: aaaPKDickBooks.jpg (3234 bytes)

1953 OCT   GALAXY Vol.3 #8 (UK)       
1955 IMAGE006.JPG (7802 bytes) A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS, Rich & Cowan, hb, ?,?,? (?)  
1974   SPACE OPERA, Wiedenfeld & Nicholson, hb, ?,Oct 1974, ?,? (?) {Ed. Aldiss} 0-297-76811-5  
1974   SPACE OPERA, Futura, pb, ?, Aug 1974, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Aldiss} 0-860-07058-1  
1975   SPACE OPERA, Ultramarine, hb, ?, Jan 1975, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Aldis} 0-385-07873-0  
1977 THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359, 1977, ?,?(?)  
1977 ColonyBerkley77.jpg (18461 bytes) SPACE OPERA, Berkley, pb, ?, 1977, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Brian Aldiss}  
1987   ROBERT SILVERBERG'S WORLDS OF WONDER, Warner, hb, ?,Jan 1987, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Silverberg} 0-446-51369-5  
1989   ROBERT SILVERBERG'S WORLDS OF WONDER, Warner, pb, ?, Apr 1989, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Silverberg} 0-446-39012-7  
2001   ROBERT SILVERBERG'S WORLDS OF WONDER, ?, pb, ?, Apr 1989, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Silverberg} 0-743-41294-X  


TTHC 429: fn25: {...}(Two Dick stories, "The Defenders" and "Colony" -- were adapted by other hands for the radio series "X Minus One" in 1956.)

Hour 25: A Talk With Philip K. Dick hosted by Mike Hodel

KPFK-FM, North Hollywood, California. June 26, 1976. Click here for the Hour 25 Web Site

Transcribed and edited by Frank C. Bertrand 

Phil: The novel of ideas is still the cardinal thing in science fiction. All we've got now is tedious sermonettes masquerading as literature, Adventure, Space Opera. I had a strange experience. I played over a X-1 cassette that somebody sent me for one of my X-1 shows that NBC did in 1954. 1954. And it was indistinguishable from the latest science fiction like Space 1999, is that what it's called? And Star Trek. Mine was as modern in 1954 as what they're doing now.

Mike: What one was yours?

Phil: Well, the one I played over was "Colony." Remember, we listened to that tape? And we marveled that in 1954, I didn't do - I don't take credit for the radio treatment of it. Somebody else did it. But what he was doing in '54, treating my story, was as modern as what they're doing now.

Mike: Well -

Phil: You wouldn't know it was done in '54. There was nothing to give it away.

Mike: We're going to find out. Because, if we have that tape of X-1 called "Colony" we're going to run it tonight.

Phil: Well, I'll give you my cassette.

Mike: We may have it. There's a fellow named Bob Borgan who's given Hour 25 like, oh god, I must have 50 radio shows Dimension X, X-1, etc. If that one is in there, I think it is, we'll run it.

Phil: Yeah, I have - there were two of mine, "Colony" and "The Defenders." And it was just scary to listen to it and look on the date, you know, '54, and realize here we are in 1976 and we've made no steps forward. You know we're still, it's still as follows - Captain, there's something hideous on the viewscreen. Captain says, turn on the laserbeams. And then a voice comes out of no where, all looking under the seat cushions to see where the voice comes from and it's talking through an echo chamber and it says, I can read your thoughts. I need your assistance. And they say, it's a ruse. Get the eagles going. Zzzt zzzt zzzt. The eagles take off. We know this is a ruse. This is the Captain talking from the control room. We know it's all a ruse. You don't need our help. You're going to zap us as soon as we take off to zap you first. And, you know, nothing has progressed. I am a superior being. I am a kindly old fellow. You can believe everything I'm telling you because I'm really a computer and would a computer lie. And I thought, oh my god I just saw that on the air Saturday night and I says that's HAL talking again. That's ol' HAL, you know, shining everybody on. My name is HAL. Would I lie? Would a computer lie?

Collector’s Notes

Rudy’s Books: "Colony", Galaxy, Jun 1953 (1st). VG-FINE. $12.50

Ken Lopez: "Colony", Galaxy, Jun 1953 (1st). NF. Signed by the author and also by Robert Sheckley, who contributes a story. $175

Phildickian: "Colony" in SPACE OPERA, Doubleday, hb, BCE/BOMC, 1974. VG/VG. The book is clean and tight with bumping at the spine ends and moderate edgewear. The dust jacket has a tiny chip to the upper right edge of the rear panel, rear panel slightly soiled, and there is moderate rubbing & scuffing. The dj is covered in a brodart. $15

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