Philip K. Dick’s first science fiction story

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source:  Information Processing

sciencefiction Philip K. Dick’s first science fiction story

15 year old Philip K. Dick’s short story The Slave Race (his first published science fiction) appeared in the Young Authors’ Club column of The Berkeley Gazette (1944).

From Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.

In the future, androids created to ease humans’ toil have overthrown their lazy masters. Explains the android narrator: “And his science we added to ours, and we passed on to greater heights. We explored the stars, and worlds undreamed of.” But at the story’s end the same cycle of expansive energy followed by sybaritic idleness that doomed the human race threatens the androids as well:

“But at last we wearied, and looked to our relaxation and pleasure. But not all could cease work to find enjoyment, and those who still worked on looked about them for a way to end their toil.

There is talk of creating a new slave race.

I am afraid.”

The rise and fall of civilizations pursuant to cyclical laws and limits of human (and artificial) intelligence was a favorite SF theme in the forties.

See also Don’t Worry, Smart Machines Will Take Us With Them: Why human intelligence and AI will co-evolve.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 King James Version

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.
Stephen Hsu

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