Dr. Futurity

Dr. Futurity is a 1960 science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. It is an expansion of his earlier short story "Time Pawn", which first saw publication in the summer 1954 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. Dr. Futurity was first published as a novel by Ace Books as one half of Ace Double D-421, bound dos-à-dos with John Brunner's Slavers of Space.

Dr. Futurity
Dr-futurity-polish
Cover of first edition (paperback)
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction
PublisherAce Books
Publication date
1960
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages138

Plot

Dr. Jim Parsons is a doctor from 2012 who was born in 1980. Abruptly, he undergoes involuntary time travel to 2405 and finds that his profession is treated with disdain. In the future, the population is static, with no natural births; only a death can cause the formation of a new embryo. The result is a society ambivalent toward death, as controlled genetics ensures that each successive generation better benefits the human race as a whole. By killing off the weak and the malformed, poverty and disease are eliminated, and humanity has an optimal chance for survival. Moreover, a single race derived from a mix of races controls this future world, as white men had become extinct centuries earlier.

After Parsons cures a dying woman (not knowing that this is considered a heinous crime in this time period), Chancellor Al Stenog exiles him to Mars, but the spaceship is intercepted en route, and Parsons is returned to a deserted Earth far in the future. On finding a marker with instructions on how to operate the time travel controls on the spaceship, he is directed to a Native American-style tribal lodge, where he must perform surgery to hopefully restore the life of a cryogenically suspended time traveler, Corith, subsequent to the latter's death from an arrow wound 35 years earlier. Parsons extracts the missile but it later mysteriously rematerializes in Corith's body.

To resolve this situation, Parsons travels with Corith's relatives back to Corith's previous assignment in 1579 on the Pacific Coast of North America, where Corith was to kill Sir Francis Drake in order to change history and preserve the Native American way of life, avoiding their subjugation by European colonial powers. While observing the assassination attempt on Drake, Parsons realizes that Drake is actually Chancellor Stenog. It seems that Stenog, in an ironic twist of fate, has taken Drake's place long enough to ensure that Corith's mission fails. Parsons tries to warn Corith, but Corith discovers that Parsons is a disguised white man and attacks him. In the ensuing struggle, Parsons inadvertently stabs Corith in the heart with one of the arrow replicas that were intended to make it appear that Drake was killed by a Native American of that period.

In retribution, Parsons is left stranded by Corith's relatives in 1597, a year in which the European explorers had removed themselves for many years to come. But Parsons is quickly rescued by Loris, Corith's daughter, when she has a change of heart after learning that she is pregnant with Parsons' child.

While briefly back in 2405, Parsons realizes that the reason the arrow mysteriously reappeared in Corith's chest after he'd removed it was because he had apparently murdered him for a second time to cover his own tracks. If Corith were to recover, he would have revealed that it was Parsons who killed him, and an unwitting Parsons from slightly earlier would have been left helpless at the hands of Corith's relatives. As he stands over Corith, ready to kill him for a second time, he decides against it and flees. But a nagging curiosity obliges him to return yet again. He sees two unknown people kill Corith with the second arrow to the heart. Parsons discovers that the murderers are the children he will one day have with Loris, traveling back to 2405 from an even more distant future.

His children take Parsons forward in time to meet with Loris again, and he struggles with the decision to return to 2012. Eventually he goes back to the same day that he left and to the doting wife who saw him off earlier that morning. He sets about his old life with a new task at hand. The novel closes with him designing the stone marker that will eventually save his life on that desolate future Earth.

Sources

  • Andrew Butler: The Pocket Essential Philip K. Dick: Harpenden: Pocket Essentials: 2007: ISBN 978-1-904048-92-3
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 142. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.

External links

Autofac

"Autofac" is a 1955 science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick that features one of the earliest treatments of self-replicating machines (and Dick's second, after his 1953 short story Second Variety). It appeared originally in Galaxy Science Fiction of November 1955, and was reprinted in several collections, including The Variable Man published in 1957, and Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities published in 1984.

The story was adapted by Travis Beacham for an episode of the 2017 TV series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams.

Confessions d'un Barjo

Confessions d'un Barjo (known as Barjo for the English-language market) is a 1992 French film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's non-science fiction novel Confessions of a Crap Artist, originally written in 1959 and published in 1975, the only non-science fiction novel of Dick's to be published in his lifetime. The film was directed by Jérôme Boivin and written by Jacques Audiard and Jérôme Boivin, and stars Anne Brochet, Richard Bohringer and Hippolyte Girardot. "Barjo" translates as "nutcase" or "nut job".

Fair Game (short story)

"Fair Game" is a science fiction short story written by Philip K. Dick in 1953 and first published in 1959 in If Magazine. The story was re-published in the third collected volume of Dick's short stories, The Father-thing in 1987.

Futurity

A Futurity is a reference to a future occurrence. It may also refer to:

Future

Futurity (horse race), races for younger horses wherein they must be nominated well in advance of the actual competition.

Futurity, Colorado, a community in the United States

Dr. Futurity, a novel by Philip K. Dick

Futurity Stakes (disambiguation), horse races with this title

MV Futurity, a British ship

Futurity.org, a nonprofit site that features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland is a realist, non-science fiction novel authored by Philip K. Dick. Originally completed in 1960, but rejected by prior publishers, this work was posthumously published by Gollancz in the United Kingdom in 1986. An American edition was published by Tor Books in 2007.

I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" is a short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. The short story was first published in Playboy in December 1980, under the title "Frozen Journey".

Mary and the Giant

Mary and the Giant is an early, non-science fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick in the years between 1953 and 1955, but not published until 1987.

Nick and the Glimmung

Nick and the Glimmung is a children's science fiction novel originally written by American author Philip K. Dick in 1966. It was first published by Gollancz in 1988. It is set on "Plowman's Planet" (Sirius Five), in the same continuity as his adult science fiction novel Galactic Pot-Healer.

Novelty Act

"Novelty Act" is a short story by Philip K. Dick. It involves a dystopian future in which the characters' lives are based on entertaining the First Lady of the United States with "novelty acts".

Second Variety (1991 collection)

Second Variety is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Citadel Twilight in 1991 and reprints Volume III of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick with the addition of the story "Second Variety". Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines If, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, Future, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Satellite, Science Fiction Quarterly, Imaginative Tales and Space Science Fiction.

Strange Eden

"Strange Eden" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Imagination magazine, December 1954.

The Best of Philip K. Dick

The Best of Philip K. Dick is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Del Rey Books in 1977. Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Planet Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Space Science Fiction, Imagination, Astounding Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Stories and Startling Stories, as well as the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Star Science Fiction Stories No.3.

The Cookie Lady (short story)

"The Cookie Lady" is a horror short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was originally published in the June 1953 issue of the magazine Fantasy Fiction.

The Days of Perky Pat

"The Days of Perky Pat" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1963 in Amazing magazine.

The Days of Perky Pat (collection)

The Days of Perky Pat is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Gollancz in 1990 and reprints Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. It had not previously been published as a stand-alone volume. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.

The Minority Report (1991 collection)

The Minority Report is a re-titled collection of science fiction stories by Philip K. Dick. It was published by Gollancz and Citadel Twilight in 1991, being a reprint of Volume IV of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick: The Days of Perky Pat (1987). The collection The Days of Perky Pat (collection) was published in Britain in hardback by Golancz in 1990 and in paperback by Grafton in 1991. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fiction Stories, If, Fantastic Universe, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade and Amazing Stories.

The Pre-persons

"The Pre-persons" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, October 1974.

The story was a pro-life response to Roe v. Wade. Dick imagines a future where the United States Congress has decided that abortion is legal until the soul enters the body. The specific instant is defined by the administration, at present the moment a person has the ability to perform simple algebraic calculations (around the age of 12).

The main protester — a former Stanford mathematics major — demands to be taken to the abortion center, since he claims to have forgotten all his algebra.

Vintage PKD

Vintage PKD is a collection of science fiction stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction by Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Vintage Books in 2006.

Vulcan's Hammer

Vulcan's Hammer is a 1960 science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was released originally as an Ace Double. This has been considered to be the final outing of Dick's 1950s style pulp science fiction writing, before his better-received work such as the Hugo Award-winning Man in the High Castle, published a year later.

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