The Preserving Machine


Written in April 1952

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The Little Movement   Chronology Brown Oxford

PresMachSmall.jpg (8755 bytes)
(1953 Jun): F & SF

(1955): A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS, Rich & Cowan, hb

tpm3a.jpg (7600 bytes) In the GSM Collection (1969): THE PRESERVING MACHINE, Ace, pb, 67800
THE SF BESTIARY {Ed.: Silverberg} Nelson, hb, 256pp,1971, $5.95 (John Gibson)
{ISBN:0-8407-6172-4}

tsfb1a.jpg (8048 bytes)  In the GSM Collection  THE SCIENCE FICTION BESTIARY, ?, pb, ?, ?, ?, ? (?){}

raamo1a.jpg (7414 bytes) In the GSM Collection (1984): ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES

(1987): BEYOND LIES THE WUB/BROWN OXFORD

pkd.gif (2783 bytes)

{NOTE: The following edited correspondence refers also to THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF THE BROWN OXFORD, which PKD wote and submitted to F & SF simultaneously with THE PRESERVING MACHINE. See  the SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF THE BROWN OXFORD page for more -- Lord RC}

pkd.gif (2783 bytes)

SL:38 20

Dear Sirs,                                                                            

    Please pardon me all to hell, but I am sending you this story while you still have the previous one. The reason: both stories are related, and I feel sure you will want to see them together.
    Now, "The Preserving Machine" is long, contemplative, and philosophical. "Left Shoe, My Foot"  is short, descriptive, and hard. In the back of my mind is the idea that they form a kind of series with maybe more to follow. Their theme is the same, the characters are the same, etc. But you may feel that one or both should be given up; maybe the idea of the series.*
    Of the two, I like "Left Foot" better. That it may survive and "Machine" fail wouldn't surprise me. {...}

{PKD>The Editors of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Feb 11, 1952}

{note: "Left Shoe, My Foot" was published as "The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford"}


SL:38 21

Dear Mr. Boucher,                                                                

    {...}

    I understand about the Labyrinth stories. I've already reworked them, cut the "Machine" from 23 pages to 10; the other from 29 to 15, made strong the end, made smooth the style, but I'm content to bask and sun myself and hold them up indefinitely. But they are ready, if you suddenly run out of short stories. I won't send them off anywhere else.

{...}

{PKD>Tony Boucher, Mar 5, 1952}


SL:38 22

Dear Sirs,                                                                        

{...}

"Preserving Machine" -- greatly changed, much shorter, smoother, end stronger. This is perhaps a better story than its companion. If you want it all by itself you could take it alone.

{PKD>The Editors of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mar 19, 1952}


SL:38 22

Dear Mr. Boucher,                                                            

    I hope you won't be too disconcerted to see this epic coming right back, so soon. "Preserving Machine" has been carefully worked over, so here it is. The other one will take a little longer. Maybe quite a bit longer. It needs more.
    I agree that the second version of P.M. was too short. It read like a synopsis, and in some respects was not as  good as the first. Therefor I have done a completely new version which is SENSATIONAL, and that is what you will find just below this letter. Below that are the previous versions, the too-long and the too-short, just for any value they might have for comparison purposes
    Now, I wonder if it would be alright wit you that P.M. might be considered intrinsically, not waiting for the other to follow? I would be much happier having this one out of the way.

{...}

{PKD>Tony Boucher, Apr 12, 1952}


SL:38 29

Dear Mr. Boucher,                                                        

    Thank you very much for the very nice things you said in the printing of "The Preserving Machine." I was overcome with delight.

{...}

{PKD>Tony Boucher, May 18, 1953}


SL:38 246

{...}

{...} My most recent novel will be out May 9th, published by Doubleday, called, UBIK. It is a very strange one. And a full and successful collection of my stories, ranging from those written in 1951 up to the present, is being brought out by Ace in a week or so; I'm very proud of it (It's called THE PRESERVING MACHINE, and the editor has so carefully combed my 150 odd stories so as to make it appear that I'm a good short story writer, which I am not).

{...}

{PKD>Peter Fitting, Apr 29, 1969}

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