The Pre-Persons

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A Little Something For Us Tempunauts   Chronology The Eye Of The Sibyl

(1974 Oct): F & SF
(1974 Oct): F & SF

(1980): THE GOLDEN MAN, {Ed.: Hurst} Berkley, pb, 04288

THE GOLDEN MAN story notes by PKD

"The Pre-persons"

    In this, the most recent of the stories in this collection, I incurred the absolute hate of Joanna Russ who wrote me the nastiest letter I've ever received; at one point she said she usually offered to beat up people (she didn't use the word "people") who expressed opinions such as this. I admit that this story amounts to special pleading, and I'm sorry to offend those who disagree with me about abortion on demand. I also got some unsigned hate mail, some of it not from individuals but from organizations promoting abortion on demand. Well, I have always managed to offend people by what I write. Drugs, communism, and now an anti-abortion stand; I really know how to get myself in hot water. Sorry, people. But for the pre-persons' sake I am not sorry. I stand where I stand: "Hier steh' Ich; Ich kann nicht anders," as Martin Luther is supposed to have said.

SRG 53

    But even wry smiles fade with "The Pre-Persons" and  its futuristic comment on abortion laws. The title hints at the core question: when does a human organism attain true identity? Hyperbole dramatizes the issue as Dick's future society names age twelve as the time when a human being acquires soul and thus is rendered inviolate. Whatever one's predisposition toward this touchy and eminently contemporary issue, Dick does force renewed attention to the deep  conflict of ethics and law.

TTHC 28:   {...} Certainly the cruel abandonment or killing of cats is something Phil Dick resented all his life, frequently equating it with the murder of children (as in his anti-abortion story "The Pre-Persons," in which a truck from the pound collects unwanted children.).

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