Autofac

       The factories had been designed to supply human needs in a war-torn world. With the war over, the factories still supply everything automatically: a kind of utopia. Men, however, wish to resume control of their own means of production -- but the factories possess a mechanical vitality and some very human characteristics. -- Steven Owen Godersky


Manuscript received at SMLA Oct 11, 1954                       

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Service Call   Chronology Captive Market

(1955 Nov): GALAXY
(1956 Feb): GALAXY #35 (UK)   

THE RUINS OF EARTH (1971): THE RUINS OF EARTH, Putnam,hb (1971): THE RUINS OF EARTH, Putnam,hb,$6.95

(1972): BEYOND CONTROL, Thomas Nelson, hb, $5.95
(1974): SCIENCE FACT/FICTION,  Scott Forsman & Co., pb, $4.95
(1977): THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359

(1984): ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES (1984): ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES

(1987): THE DAYS OF PERKY PAT/MINORITY REPORT

SRG 43

    Just as deadly in its ecological impact is the non-military treadmill fueled by planned obsolescence and conditioned buying habits. In "Autofac" Dick envisioned one possible result. To sustain the population during a war, far-sighted engineers built completely automated underground factories. Sophisticated in design, each one seeks its raw materials, manufactures and delivers the goods, and in extremis repairs or rebuilds itself elsewhere. To the survivors struggling to establish the necessary agrarian economy, the glut of manufactured stuff proves burden, not boon; the men cannot win. The autofacs outwit all efforts toward their destruction by the sheer complexity of their own survival programming.


CSVol4    375

    Tom Disch said of this story that it was one of the earliest ecology warnings in sf. What I had in mind in writing it, however, was the thought that if factories became fully automated, they might begin to show the instinct for survival which organic living entities have... and perhaps develop similar solutions. {PKD 1976}


TTHC    262:   {William} Tenn has written "it was so awful to find a paragraph of Horace's private musing in the middle of one of my stories I swore (falsely) never to send him a manuscript again." 15 What Tenn swore to do, Dick did:

    Despite the fact that Galaxy   was my main source of income I told Gold that I would not sell to him unless he stopped altering my stories -- after which he bought nothing from me at all. 16

    Thus ended the Gold-Dick relationships. {...}

    {fn16: Dick, "Memoir," 232. Dick's secession from Galaxy is confirmed by a letter from Meredith, 1-17-56 (published in PKDS 17, 5). "I refused to sell any more stories to Galaxy," he told Kandy Smith in 1973. "They kept making changes that I hadn't written, and my name appeared on it too... If he didn't like the kind of girl you had in your stories, he'd take her out and make her a pumpkin." The story that seems to have done it for Phil was "Autofac."}



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