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8

Circa Nov 1951

Jul 1953

Project: Earth

The Short, Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford

Ms title: "He Who Waits."

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:   

    One of the first stories sold to F & SF after their acceptance of "Roog" and "The Little Movement" was "He Who Waits," later retitled "Expendable." It may not have been written directly after "Roog" but certainly by March 1952 it was under consideration by Boucher as in a letter at that time PKD explicitly refers to "He Who Waits":

    Here is a new page 11 for "He Who Waits." I hope it does…

    {…} As to the title: how about "Protection." Or: "The Protectors." Or: "Protection Agency." Etc., etc. I like the last. We seem to have plenty of time to decide, if the first "Dick" is coming out in August. I wonder if perhaps this yarn wouldn't be the best "first." "Roog" is more ordinary; its kind is common. This one (and "Little Movement") is more my own kind of story. I'll leave it to you.{SL-38 21}

    "He Who Waits" was accepted at F & SF on Apr 7, 1952. The title decided on was "Expendable" although Dick apparently had nothing to do with it. In a letter to Boucher dated May 18, 1953 Dick wonders:

    One more item. I have received a check from your NY office for foreign rights to "Left Shoe, My Foot." I am pleased-surprised-thankful. But I am puzzled by the new title "Expendable." What does it mean? How does it fit the story? Who put it on? And -- is there any way I can get hold of the foreign edition it appears in? I've never had this experience, and would like to see how I look in non-American format (Herr Philip K. Dick, etc.) If you know where or how I can get the foreign edition copy, I'd appreciate it.{SL-38 29}

    Dick is confusing two stories here: "Expendable" and "Left Shoe, My Foot." We can conclude from this letter that, first, "Left Shoe, My Foot" – published as "The Short, Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford" – had just been sold to F & SF and, second, that "He Who Waits" under the title "Expendable" had been accepted at F & SF earlier than "Brown Oxford" else why the notification of foreign rights which typically are negotiated after a domestic sale? And on this I have confirmation from Gordon van Gelder, current editor at F & SF, that "He Who Waits" (later titled "Expendable") was accepted at F & SF on Apr 7, 1952 while "Brown Oxford" was accepted exactly a month later on May 7, 1952.

    Philip K. Dick said of "Expendable":

    I loved to write short fantasy stories in my early days -- for Anthony Boucher -- of which this is my favorite. I got the idea when a fly buzzed my head one day and I imagined (paranoia indeed!) that it was laughing at me.{CSVol1 403. PKD in 1976}

    "Expendable" was published in F & SF in the July 1953 issue. It has proved a popular little fantasy over the years, appearing in two of the major PKD collections: A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS (1955) and THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK (1977)

    This is another fantasy story wherein a conspiracy of insects sets out to destroy a man in his home. But the man has friends among the spiders, at least, and they might win the war but as for this particular battle… well, some things are expendable.

    "Expendable" rates


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

1954 JAN   F & SF, Vol.1 #4 (UK)      
1955 A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS, Rich & Cowan, hb, ?,?,? (?)       
1959 ExpendableDD60.jpg (9095 bytes) SF SHOWCASE, Doubleday, hb, ?, 1959, 264pp,  $3.95(?) {Ed. Mary Kornbluth}  
1969   SF SHOWCASE, Curtis, pb, ?, 1969, 128pp, $0.60 (?) 123-06068  
1977 THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359, 1977, ?,?(?)  
1987   THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD  
1988   THE MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS, Xanadu, hb,?, May 1988, ?,? (?) {Ed. O'Shaughnessy}0-947-76142-X  
1988   THE MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS, Crown/Bonanza, hb,?, Aug 1988, ?,? (?) {Ed. O'Shaughnessy} 0-517-66293-0  
1990 EXpendableBZ90.jpg (10868 bytes) RIVALS OF WEIRD TALES, Bonanza, hb, ?, 1990, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Weinberg, Dziemianowicz, Greenberg}  
1999 t22202.jpg (7489 bytes) BANGS AND WHIMPERS: Stories About The End Of The World, ?, pb, ?, Sep 1999, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Frenkel} 0-737-30271-2  
2000 ExpendAceBig.jpg (12799 bytes) ALIENS AMONG US, Ace, pb, ?, Jun 2000, 192pp, $5.99 (?) {Ed. Dann, Dozois}ISBN:0-441-00704-X  
       

NOTES:

CSVol1 403:

I loved to write short fantasy stories in my early days -- for Anthony Boucher -- of which this is my favorite. I got the idea when a fly buzzed my head one day and I imagined (paranoia indeed!) that it was laughing at me. {PKD 1976}

SL-38 19

Gentlemen,

I'm glad that "Roog" pleased you. Certainly the new title is alright.

{...}

Now, the story which is enclosed with this letter is long, about 6,700 words. Too long? I hope not. It is, I think, a strong story, and there is a lot in it. I will try it on you, and I hope that you will not be offended by receiving it so quickly. I am very interested in your reaction.
Thank you very much for all your kindness and help. I appreciate it a very great deal.

Very truly yours,

Philip K. Dick {PKD> Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas, 8 Nov 1951}

 SL-38 21

Dear Mr. Boucher,

    Here is a new page 11 for "He Who Waits." I hope it does. Also on page 7 there should be two re-paragraphings so the meaning is clear. Should be:

The spider slid down beside him onto the desk top. "Sorry. Hope you aren't frightened, as in the poem."
The man stared. "Are you the same one? The one at the corner? The one who warned me!

Otherwise it's unclear who is talking. As to the title: how about "Protection." Or: "The Protectors." Or: "Protection Agency." etc., etc. I like the last. We seem to have plenty of time to decide, if the first "Dick" is coming out in August. I wonder if perhaps this yarn wouldn't be the best "first." "Roog" is more ordinary; its kind is common. This one (and "Little Movement") is more my own kind of story. I'll leave it to you.

{...}{PKD> Anthony Boucher, Mar 5, 1952}

SL-38 29

Dear Mr. Boucher,

{...}

    One more item. I have received a check from your NY office for foreign rights to "Left Shoe, My Foot." I am pleased-surprised-thankful. But I am puzzled by the new title "Expendable." What does it mean? How does it fit the story? Who put it on? And -- is there any way I can get hold of the foreign edition it appears in? I've never had this experience, and would like to see how I look in non-American format (Herr Philip K. Dick, etc.) If you know where or how I can get the foreign edition copy, I'd appreciate it.

Very truly yours

Philip K. Dick. {PKD> Anthony Boucher, May 18, 1953}


Collector’s Notes

Rudy’s Books: "Expendable" in F & SF, Jul 1953. VG-F. $10


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