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Writing Date

Pub. Date






Jan 1953

The Crystal Crypt

The Builder

  8600 wds



    A popular story, "The Defenders" was written in 1952 before PKD signed on with the SMLA. He submitted the story directly to H. L. Gold at Galaxy himself. Gold thought the story such a fine one that he had Ed Emshwiller illustrate it for the cover as well as internally. PKD’s first cover illustration for one of his short stories.

    "The Defenders" has been well-anthologized, appearing in THE BOOK OF PHILIP K. DICK (1973) as well as several other anthologies. It can be found in THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PHILIP K. DICK, Vol. 1. (1987)

   "The Defenders", together with "Colony", was adapted; not by PKD, for the radio series "X Minus One" in 1956.

    In his short story "Waterspider" (1963) Philip K. Dick mentions "The Defenders":

    Fermeti stared at Anderson a long time. "Take the first article in the January 1953 Galaxy," he said quietly. "The Defenders… about the people living beneath the surface and the robots up above, pretending to fight the war but actually not, actually faking the reports so interestingly that the people –"

    "I read that," Poul Anderson agreed. "Very good, I thought, except for the ending. I didn’t care too much for the ending."

    Fermeti said, "You understand, don’t you, that those exact conditions came to pass in 1996, during World War Three? That by means of the article we were able to penetrate the deception carried on by our surface robots? That virtually every word of that article was exactly prophetic –"

    "Phil Dick wrote that," Anderson said, "The Defenders."

    "Do you know him?" Tozzo inquired.

    "Met him yesterday at the Convention," Anderson said. "For the first time. Very nervous fellow, was almost afraid to come in."

    The story itself is about deluded people living underground, fighting an awful war – or so they think – while above ground robots prepare the ground for a peaceful world. Later, this idea was expanded by PKD into his 1964 novel THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH.

    "The Defenders" rates


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

1953 Jun   GALAXY, Vol 3, #5 (UK)        
1964   THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH {expanded}  
1965 DefendersIOTR1st.jpg (12893 bytes) INVASION OF THE ROBOTS, Paperback Library, pb, 52-519, 1965, ? $0.50 (?) {Ed. Elwood}  
1969 DefendersIOTR2nd.jpg (13860 bytes) INVASION OF THE ROBOTS, ?,?,?,?, (?) {Ed. Elwood} 2nd edition  
1973 bookofPKDDAW1973.jpeg (6917 bytes) THE BOOK OF PHILIP K. DICK,DAW, pb, #44, ?,?,? (?)  
1983   THERE WILL BE WAR, Tor, pb, ?, Jan 1983, 352pp, $2.95 (?) {Ed. Pournelle, John F. Carr}  
1984 ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES, SIUP, hb, ?, 1984, ?,? (?) {Ed. Warrick}  
1987   BATTLEFIELDS BEYOND TOMORROW, Crown/Bonanza, hb, ?, Dec 1987, 650pp, $8.98 (?) {Ed. Waugh, Greenberg} 0-517-64105-4  


TTHC 261:

{... ...} For all that, however, the fact remains that Dick's major stories appeared elsewhere {besides Fantasy & Science Fiction}.

That elsewhere included Galaxy. While he sold, between 1953 and 1955, but seven of his stories to Gold -- just one more than he sold to Boucher -- they included much of Dick's finest early work, work which set the tone for the next thirty years of Dick's writing life. His first sale to Galaxy, "The Defenders", was greeted by a handsome cover illustration by the field's top artist, Ed Emshwiller, in January 1953. It is a seminal Dickian tale of deluded humans living underground thinking they are fighting a world-destroying war, while up above them, on the surface of the Earth, robots tend a peaceful garden: a plot later expanded into Dick's novel The Penultimate Truth, and central in its mistrust of the reality of the Cold War to much of Dick's later writing. Dick knew his audience: he sold it to Galaxy himself, before joining up with the SMLA.

TTHC 429:

fn25: {...}(Two Dick stories, "The Defenders" and "Colony" -- were adapted by other hands for the radio series "X Minus One" in 1956.)

Hour 25: A Talk With Philip K. Dick hosted by Mike Hodel

KPFK-FM, North Hollywood, California. June 26, 1976. Click here for the Hour 25 Web Site

Transcribed and edited by Frank C. Bertrand. 

Phil: The novel of ideas is still the cardinal thing in science fiction. All we've got now is tedious sermonettes masquerading as literature, Adventure, Space Opera. I had a strange experience. I played over a X-1 cassette that somebody sent me for one of my X-1 shows that NBC did in 1954. 1954. And it was indistinguishable from the latest science fiction like Space 1999, is that what it's called? And Star Trek. Mine was as modern in 1954 as what they're doing now.

Mike: What one was yours?

Phil: Well, the one I played over was "Colony." Remember, we listened to that tape? And we marveled that in 1954, I didn't do - I don't take credit for the radio treatment of it. Somebody else did it. But what he was doing in '54, treating my story, was as modern as what they're doing now.

Mike: Well -

Phil: You wouldn't know it was done in '54. There was nothing to give it away.

Mike: We're going to find out. Because, if we have that tape of X-1 called "Colony" we're going to run it tonight.

Phil: Well, I'll give you my cassette.

Mike: We may have it. There's a fellow named Bob Borgan who's given Hour 25 like, oh god, I must have 50 radio shows Dimension X, X-1, etc. If that one is in there, I think it is, we'll run it.

Phil: Yeah, I have - there were two of mine, "Colony" and "The Defenders." And it was just scary to listen to it and look on the date, you know, '54, and realize here we are in 1976 and we've made no steps forward. You know we're still, it's still as follows - Captain, there's something hideous on the viewscreen. Captain says, turn on the laserbeams. And then a voice comes out of no where, all looking under the seat cushions to see where the voice comes from and it's talking through an echo chamber and it says, I can read your thoughts. I need your assistance. And they say, it's a ruse. Get the eagles going. Zzzt zzzt zzzt. The eagles take off. We know this is a ruse. This is the Captain talking from the control room. We know it's all a ruse. You don't need our help. You're going to zap us as soon as we take off to zap you first. And, you know, nothing has progressed. I am a superior being. I am a kindly old fellow. You can believe everything I'm telling you because I'm really a computer and would a computer lie. And I thought, oh my god I just saw that on the air Saturday night and I says that's HAL talking again. That's ol' HAL, you know, shining everybody on. My name is HAL. Would I lie? Would a computer lie?

Collector’s Notes

The Jan 1953 issue of Galaxy is not too hard to find in G or VG condition. Expect to pay less than $10 for such.

Ebay (Feb 2002): "The Defenders," Galaxy, Jan 1953. $1.95. 1 bid.

Rudy’s Books: "The Defenders," Galaxy, Jan 1953. VG. $7

Alibris: "The Defenders" in INVASION OF THE ROBOTS, pb, 1969. G+. 1" tears taped at bottom cover at spine, owner's initials splash page. $2.95

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