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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Oct, 1964

Oct 1964

A Game Of Unchance

Retreat Syndrome

   5900 wds



    "Precious Artifact" reached the SMLA on the same day as "A Game Of Unchance" – Dec 9, 1963 -- and was published in Galaxy in Oct 1964.

    On Philip K. Dick’s insistence it was included in his collection, THE GOLDEN MAN in 1980. As he himself said:

    "I insisted that this story be included in this collection. It utilized a peculiar logic which I generally employ, which Professor Patricia Warrick pointed out to me. First you have Y. Y. Then you do a cybernetics flipflop and you have null-Y. Okay, now you reverse it again and have null-null-Y. Okay, the question is: Does null-null-Y equal Y3? Or is it a deepening of null-Y?  In this story, what appears to be the case is Y but we find out the opposite is true (null-Y). But then that turns out not to be true, so are we back to Y? Professor Warrick says that my logic winds up with Y equals null-Y. I don't agree, but I am not sure what I do wind up with. Whatever it is, in terms of logic, it is contained in this particular story. Either I've invented a whole new logic or, ahem, I'm not playing with a full deck."
PKD in story notes to THE GOLDEN MAN}

   "Precious Artifact" tells the tale of Milt Biskle, a terraforming engineer who has just turned his section of Mars into habitable land for human occupation. But something is nagging him in the back of his mind and he has doubts about the recent war in which Terra defeated the invading Proxmen. On his return to Earth his doubts are confirmed and he finds that beneath the surface of the seemingly normal world there is complete destruction. The Proxmen won the war, not the Terrans. Despite the presence of the nubile Mary Ableseth – a Proxman in disguise – Milt wishes to return to Mars for a rest before taking on the job of terraforming Earth to the Proxmen’s designs. His one wish is that he be allowed to take a kitten back with him. This is granted and with the hope that he may talk the Proxmen into letting cats exist in the future he returns to his (fake) wife and children on Mars. But in the Proxmen’s worlds there isn’t much room for anything but Proxmen…

    A bittersweet story into which PKD weaves his love of cats, "Precious Artifact" gets .

Other Magazine and Anthology appearances.    More Cover Pix Here: aaaPKDickBooks.jpg (3234 bytes)

1980 THE GOLDEN MAN, Berkley, pb, 04288, 1980, ?, $2.25 (?) {Ed. Hurst}      
1998 Cyber-Killers1.jpg (12892 bytes) CYBER-KILLERS, Orion, pb, ?, 1998, ?,? (?) {Ed. Ric Alexander}  


  See: CS Vol5 390 and DI 309.


Collector’s Notes

Rudy’s Books: "Precious Artifact" in Galaxy, Oct 1964 (1st). G-VG. $5.00

Alibris: "Precious Artifact" in Galaxy, Oct 1964 (1st). VG. $4.95

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