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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Jul 31, 1952

Jun 1953


Out In The Garden

13000 wds



       Looking at a calendar of Philip K. Dick’s submissions to the SMLA in the second half of 1953, we can see that he was busy writing short stories – twenty-two of which reached the SMLA before January of 1954. Sometimes he would send the stories in singly, at other times he would send them off in batches. "Paycheck", for instance, arrived at the SMLA on July 31, 1952 together with "Out In The Garden" and "The Great C." Which order these stories were written in I cannot tell, relying as I do on the chronology of manuscript receptions on record at the SMLA to infer the order in which the stories were written.

    "Paycheck" was collected in the Ballantine collection, THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK (1977) and in the first volume of THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD. Dick himself had this to say about it:

    "How much is a key to a bus locker worth? One day it's worth 25 cents, the next day thousands of dollars. In this story I got to thinking that there are times in our lives when having a dime to make a phone call spells the difference between life and death. Keys, small change, maybe a theater ticket -- how about a parking receipt for a Jaguar? All I had to do was link this idea up with time travel to see how the small and useless, under the wise eyes of a time traveler, might signify a great deal more. He would know when that dime might save your life. And, back in the past again, he might prefer that dime to any amount of money, no matter how large." {End notes in THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD, Vol. 1. P. 404}

        "Paycheck" is another time-travel story which, like "Meddler" is well-handled. A repairman for a mysterious company is sent to the past and when he returns he’s snatched up by the police. But with the help of his paycheck for two years of unconscious work – a handful of common objects with little intrinsic value – he escapes and succeeds to his hidden goal. This story reminds me of the much later "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" for some reason.

    In December 2003 "Paycheck" was released as a Hollywood blockbuster movie directed by John Woo and staring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.

    "Paycheck" rates

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

1977 THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359, 1977, ?,?(?)     


See CSVol1, p404 'End Notes.'


Collector’s Notes

    The Ballantine paperback THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK is a difficult book to come by. The only one I've been able to find is in pretty beat-up condition. Expect to pay up to about $50 for a Near-Fine edition.

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