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92

<Apr 15, 1963

Jun 1964

Waterspider

Orpheus With Clay Feet

MS title: "Man With A Broken Match"
17,000 wds

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

    Five days after they received "Waterspider", the SMLA got the next PKD manuscript. This was the 17,000 word novelette "Man With A Broken Match" which arrived at the Agency on Apr 15, 1963. It was published under the title "What The Dead Men Say" in the June 1964 issue of Worlds Of Tomorrow.

    This story was selected for Ace Books’ 1969 PKD collection THE PRESERVING MACHINE and was excerpted and adapted into the first chapter of PKD’s novel UBIK in 1969.

    A notable fact about "What The Dead Men Say" is that, as has been noted by several readers, PKD predicted the comeback of Richard Nixon and his election to the Presidency in 1968. Here’s the passage from the story:

    "Do you think Gam has a chance this time?" Kathy asked.
"No, not really. But miracles in politics do happen; look at Richard Nixon's incredible comeback in 1968."

   Here’s what PKD had to say in RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH about Richard Nixon (Ferris Fremont):

    The purpose of killing the leading political figures in the United States by violent assassination, allegedly by screwed-up loners, was to get Ferris F. Fremont elected. It was the only way. He could not effectively compete. Despite his aggressive campaigns, he bordered on the worthless. Some time ago one of his aides must have pointed that out to him. "If you're going to get into the White House, Ferris," the aide must have said, "you've got to kill everyone else first." Taking him literally, Ferris Fremont did so, starting in 1963 and working his way forward during the administration of Lyndon Johnson. By the time Lyndon Johnson had retired, the field was clear. The man who could not compete did not have to.

    {...} When he took office, it was on the wave of a huge mandate. Who else could they vote for? When you consider that in effect Fremont was running against no one else, that the Democratic Party had been infiltrated by his people, spied on, wiretapped, reduced to shambles, it makes more sense. Fremont had the backing of the U.S. intelligence community, as they like to call themselves, and ex-agents played an effective role in decimating political opposition. In a one party system there is always a landslide.

    "What The Dead Men Say" is similar to the start of UBIK as far as people being frozen in cold-pac, Resurrection Day, and Herbert Schoenheit von Vogelsang are concerned. But it goes off on its own track fairly quickly.

    In the story a powerful magnate has died and he’s put into cold-pac. But efforts to revive him fail and a multi-media empire is about to fall apart. The wolves move in but are thwarted by the rambling voice of the dead man which comes through on every outlet: TV, radio, print, telephone. These ramblings tell his survivors and subordinates how to run the business and also to support a mysterious also-ran in the upcoming Presidential election. And when the daughter of the dead magnate shows up watch out!

    At the end of the story, though, it begins to fall apart. Read it and you’ll see. I get the impression that Dick brought it to a hurried end – or was unwilling at that time to continue it to novel length. It would have been fascinating if he had went on with "What The Dead Men Say" instead of bringing it to an unsatisfactory halt.

    This is a story reminiscent of "Upon The Dull Earth" and one that deserves some thought, especially for a fuller understanding of UBIK.

    "What The Dead Men Say" is that this story gets


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

1969   UBIK {expanded into novel}        
1969 tpm3a.jpg (4125 bytes) THE PRESERVING MACHINE And Other Stories, Ace, pb, ?,?,? (?)  
1987 csopkd4a.jpg (7562 bytes) THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD, Vol.4  
       

NOTES:

PKDS-2 7

    {...}1. As thousands of busy little Dickians have no doubt known for years, Chapter 1 of UBIK contains over a page of material lifted nearly verbatim from the first part of Dick's 1964 short story "What The Dead Men Say." Raymond Chandler used to do this all the time on the grounds that his short stories were of no value and no one would remember them, but surely Dick didn't think this way. In fact, "What The Dead Men Say" had just been reprinted -- in the ACE SF Special THE PRESERVING MACHINE -- when UBIK was published in 1969. Why did Dick do it? Surely the effort of slightly reworking the scene would have been no problem to PKD. He could even have used the character of von Vogelsang, the mortuary director -- there is nothing in either UBIK or the short story to prevent the two narratives from taking place in the same universe. Though in fact both stories share other similarities -- messages found in strange places or on the phone lines, in UBIK from Runciter, in "Dead Men" from Sarapis. And yet -- such uninventive recycling of material seems uncharacteristic of Dick. Did he do it elsewhere? Was this one of his periods of personal distress? {Patrick Nielsen Hayden > PKDS, 1983}

PKDS-20 20

    I was rereading "What The Dead Men Say" in THE PRESERVING MACHINE and I came across an interesting passage. It appears at the beginning of Chapter IV (p.278 in the ACE edition and p.362 in the Grafton edition).

    "Do you think Gam has a chance this time?" Kathy asked.
    "No, not really. But miracles in politics do happen; look at Richard Nixon's incredible comeback in 1968."

    The reason this passage is unusual is that the book credits the story as having been published in June, 1964, four years before the 1968 election which saw Richard Nixon win in a landslide.

    Is this an amazing example of political prognostication or did Dick insert this passage after its appearance in Worlds Of Tomorrow in 1964 and before publication of THE PRESERVING MACHINE in 1969. Anyone know the answer?

    [Yes. The comment was included in the original magazine story (written in early '63). Dick's prediction is mentioned by Steven Godersky in the Levack bibliography -- PW] {Marc Landau > PKDS, 1989}

Radio Free Albemuth 18

    {note: Here's what PKD had to say elsewhere about Nixon in RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH – Lord RC}:

Chapter4. The purpose of killing the leading political figures in the United States by violent assassination, allegedly by screwed-up loners, was to get Ferris F. Fremont elected. It was the only way. He could not effectively compete. Despite his aggressive campaigns, he bordered on the worthless. Some time ago one of his aides must have pointed that out to him. "If you're going to get into the White House, Ferris," the aide must have said, "you've got to kill everyone else first." Taking him literally, Ferris Fremont did so, starting in 1963 and working his way forward during the administration of Lyndon Johnson. By the time Lyndon Johnson had retired, the field was clear. The man who could not compete did not have to.

    {...} When he took office, it was on the wave of a huge mandate. Who else could they vote for? When you consider that in effect Fremont was running against no one else, that the Democratic Party had been infiltrated by his people, spied on, wiretapped, reduced to shambles, it makes more sense. Fremont had the backing of the U.S. intelligence community, as they like to call themselves, and ex-agents played an effective role in decimating political opposition. In a one party system there is always a landslide.


Collector’s Notes

Ken Lopez: "What the Dead Men Say" in Worlds of Tomorrow, Jun 1964 (1st). NF. Signed by the author. Spine-fading; else near fine in wrappers. $150

Rudy’s Books: "What The Dead Men Say" in Worlds Of Tomorrow", Jun 1964 (1st). VG. $7.50

Alibris: "What The Dead Men Say" in Worlds Of Tomorrow", Jun 1964 (1st). VG+. $3.95


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