Credits    Navigation      philipdick.com     Novels    Short Stories     References

ExpWe1.gif (6317 bytes)
aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes)

Number

Writing Date

Pub. Date

Previous

Next

Notes

66

<May 6, 1958

Jan 1959

Null-O

To Serve The Master

4000 wds

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

    According to the records at the SMLA, the manuscript for "Explorers We" reached the Agency on May 6, 1958. The story was first published in F & SF in the Jan 1959 issue.

    "Explorers We" was selected for the 1985 collection of PKD’s short stories, I HOPE I SHALL ARRIVE SOON.

    According to Paul Williams, publisher of The Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter, the story ‘is a thematic precursor to "A Little Something For Us Tempunauts", and was reprinted as a limited edition booklet to commemorate Phil's appearance at the Second International Festival of Science Fiction at Metz, France, September 1977. It was written in 1958, one of only two short stories that Phil wrote in the seven years between 1956 and 1962.’

    However, in THE SELECTED LETTERS OF PKD: 1938-71, there is a letter from PKD to Anthony Boucher dated April 8, 1954, which refers to a rewrite of "Explorers We" as early as Sep 1953. In the letter PKD refers explicitly to "Explorers We" but writes: "It may be that the time travel angle didn't convince you, in which case I'm sure another resolution can be found." But, the story has nothing to do with time travel but more to do with a strange alien invasion!

    A possible resolution to this is that Philip K. Dick wrote a version of the story in 1953, after he signed on with the SMLA in July, and the Agency sent it to Anthony Boucher at F & SF then. But Boucher didn’t accept it and after a rewrite by Oct 1953 and the letter referred to in April 1954, PKD and the Agency let it drop and it got lost in the shuffle at the SMLA and wasn’t resurrected until 1958. Or, alternatively, PKD was talking about another story altogether in 1954 (but he explicitly refers to "Explorers We" in the 1954 letter…) But this is unconvincing and, at this time, I cannot say with any certainty when "Explorer’s We" was written. {See: 'A Question Of Chronology'}

    "Explorers We" is another of Dick’s backwards alien invasion tales with a happy crew of Terran explorers returning to Earth after a long stint in space. The excited crew emerges from their spaceship only to be gunned down by the FBI. Can’t blame the FBI for ruining a happy homecoming, though, as this was the twenty-first time the explorers had returned…

    Reminiscent of "Impostor" and "Human Is", "Explorers We" gets   


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

1964 Jan   VENTURE      
1985 ihisas3a.jpg (7999 bytes) I HOPE I SHALL ARRIVE SOON  
1987   THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD  

NOTES:

PKDS-8 9

"Explorers We" is a thematic precursor to "A Little Something For Us Tempunauts", and was reprinted as a limited edition booklet to commemorate Phil's appearance at the Second International Festival of Science Fiction at Metz, France, September 1977. It was written in 1958, one of only two short stories that Phil wrote in the seven years between 1956 and 1962.

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}

SL:38 ?

Dear Mr. Boucher,

    I'm sorry to keep bothering you with phone call and letter, but I understand that Scott Meredith is going to write to you about "Explorers We" and I wanted to get hold of you first.
    As you recall, late in September of last year you wrote to me, expressing an interest in that story, and suggesting changes. I made changes and mailed them back within the week; during the first part of October. Since then I haven't heard hide nor hair from you, but I understand that you are officially away, these days, so I have been happy to wait. However, now I'm getting worried. Maybe there was a slip-up and you didn't receive my rewrite. Or something.
    In any case, if you want another rewrite, etc, etc. let me know and I will produce. It may be that the time travel angle didn't convince you, in which case I'm sure another resolution can be found. Okay?     Thanks a lot ... and maybe we could get together one of these days, as both of us repeatedly suggest.

Very truly yours, Phil Dick {PKD>Tony Boucher, Apr 8, 1954}

TTHC 269

    The uniqueness of Dick's work is pointed up, then, by contrasting it with the work of other sf writers: Pohl or Heinlein, or to take another example, Ray Bradbury. Philip Dick's stories frequently play off of the implicitly conservative values of the field's highly praised 'literary author.' "Explorers We" (1959), for example, ironically reverses Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven" (1948) and is as well an antidote to all the decades "body snatcher" tales.


Collector’s Notes

Rudy’s Books: "Explorers We" in F & SF, Jan 1959 (1st). G-VG. $4


Credits    Navigation      philipdick.com     Novels    Short Stories     References