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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Jan 28, 1954

Oct 1956

Foster, You’re Dead!

War Veteran

MS title: "Printer’s Pay"
6100 wds



    January 1954 saw four more of Philip K. Dick’s short stories on the newsstands; "The Short, Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford", "The Crystal Crypt", "Beyond The Door" and "A Present For Pat."

    During this month Dick’s novel GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER was under consideration for publication by Crown Books and Dick sent in one story to the SMLA. This was "Pay For The Printer."

    Under the manuscript title "Printer’s Pay", this story arrived at the SMLA on Jan 28 1954. It was published in Satellite Science Fiction as "Pay For The Printer" in the Oct 1956 issue. It was selected for the 1969 PKD collection THE PRESERVING MACHINE and was not seen again in English until THE COLLECTED STORIES in 1987.

    "Pay For The Printer" is a clever story that gently chides consumer culture by positing a post-nuclear culture in which alien ‘Biltongs’ duplicate things that mankind cannot now manufacture. Things like watches, Scotch whisky and cigarette lighters. Unfortunately, the Biltongs are getting worn out and expiring leaving the dependent survivors to fend for themselves. But this they are mostly incapable of doing. One enterprising craftsman, though, is proud of his little wooden cup.

    "Pay For The Printer" rates

Other magazine and Anthology appearances

1969 tpm3a.jpg (4125 bytes) THE PRESERVING MACHINE And Other Stories, Ace, pb, 67800, ?,? (?)       


SRG 44

    Philip Dick's inventive mind continually finds new ways of looking at similar subjects, making a shift in "Pay For The Printer." Again the focus is on supply and demand. The Biltongs, benign alien life forms, serve war-ravaged homo sapiens as a modern social service unit would serve at a disaster area. They have the ability to replicate articles with exactitude but short durability. Like children who hold up broken toys and beg, "Daddy, fix it for me," the coddled survivors hold up bottles of Scotch, Swiss watches, cigarette lighters, as well as essential items. In the midst of plenty, they are blind to the frivolous cast of their lives. Only when the Biltongs succumb to decrepitude do the men rediscover their manual dexterity and regenerate the pride of mature accomplishment.

Collector’s Notes

Ken Lopez: "Pay for the Printer" in Satellite Science Fiction, Oct 1956 (1st). VG. . Signed by the author. Light water marks to top of some pages; else near fine in wrappers. Still an attractive copy. $115

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