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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Feb 11, 1953

Oct 1953

Human Is

Adjustment Team

MS title: "Legend"
3000 wds



    "The Impossible Planet" arrived together with "Adjustment Team" at the SMLA on Feb 11, 1953 and was published later that year in Imagination (Oct 1953). It was selected by Rich & Cowan publishers in the UK for inclusion in the first PKD collection, A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS (1955). Almost 20 years went by before it could be found again in Brian Aldiss’ SPACE ODYSSEYS (1974). Then into THE COLLECTED STORIES, Vol.2 in 1987.

    "The Impossible Planet" was originally titled by PKD as "Legend."

    "The Impossible Planet" tells the story of a little old rich lady who wishes to see Earth before she dies. An unscrupulous spaceship captain agrees to take her there even though the planet Earth is now only a legend. So he searches his computers for the most likely place and takes her there. But is it Earth? Or is he just taking her money and running? Well, that’s why Phil wrote the story.

    Once again Philip K. Dick comes up with a new angle on the old science fiction idea of the lost planet of origin of a future galactic empire. This is a great little story because it shows clearly how Dick creates his characters to perfectly fit the story. In "The Impossible Planet" There are four main characters: the opportunistic captain, his partner with moral qualms, the little old lady so wasted that she has to lean on her ‘robant’ servant, the fourth of the group. With these characters PKD, in a few thousand words, manages to create the image of a galactic empire in its totality. Perhaps the ending is a bit convenient but "The Impossible Planet" rates

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

1955 A HANDFULL OF DARKNESS, Rich & Cowan, hb, ?,?,? (?)        
1974 spaceodysseys1976a.jpg (7316 bytes) SPACE ODYSSEYS, Orbit, pb, 816, ?, 75p (?) {Ed. Aldiss}  
1974 SpaceOdisseysImposPlanet.jpg (13051 bytes) SPACE ODYSSEYS, Futura, ?, ? 1974, ? ?, (?) {Ed. Aldiss}  


SRG 41

    ... A second space captain in "The Impossible Planet" searches records of the entire known universe so that a 350-year-old lady may see Earth before she dies, a quest not as grandiose as Galahad's search for the grail but touchingly human as a cosmic search for roots. ...

    Much space science fiction relies on fantastic settings in the far reaches of space or inventive descriptions of Earth years hence. The planetary setting of "The Impossible Planet" pales beside the implications of the word impossible in the title. Knowing of Earth only as a mythical place, presumably the cradle of human life, the space captain resorts to legend much as Hienrich Schliemann did in his 19th century search for the location of Troy. What the captain finds is a planet roughly corresponding to the general description of the legendary Earth ("a third planet of a nine-planet system, with a single oon") but one without the green colour and blue water. It is a wasted world, a gutted, sour, ugly place, but remarkable in that it awakens primal urges in the captain's passenger, an old lady fulfilling a dream. As she walks into the inhospitable ocean to her death, she re-enacts a going-back and a coming-home of the human species.

Collector’s Notes

Ken Lopez: "The Impossible Planet" in Imagination, Oct 1953 (1st). VG. . Signed by the author. Spine roll and a bit of foxing. $110

Rudy’s Books: "The Impossible Planet" in Imagination, Oct 1953 (1st). VG+. $10

Rudy’s Books: "The Impossible Planet" in Imagination, Oct 1953 (1st). VG. $7

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