- What the Dead Men Say
What the Dead Men Say is a
science fiction novellaby Philip K. Dickfirst published in " Worlds of Tomorrow" magazine in June 1964. The manuscript, originally titled "Man With a Broken Match", was received by Dick's agent on 15 April 1963.
Death is followed by a period of 'half-life', a short amount of time which can be rationed out over long periods in which the dead can be revived - so that, potentially, they can 'live' on for a long time. When attempts to bring back important businessman Louis Sarapis fail, it's clearly more than mere negligence. Sure enough, Sarapis starts speaking from beyond the grave. From
outer space, in fact. Yet no-one seems terribly bothered, other than those directly concerned in the plot mechanics. Eventually entire communications networks- phones, TV, radio - are blocked by Sarapis' broadcasts.
The concept of 'half-life' was used again and developed in Dick's 1969 novel "
Ubik", which even re-uses a page of the novella verbatim.
"Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night."
"Do you think Gam has a chance this time?" Kathy asked.
"No, not really. But miracles in politics do happen; look at
Richard Nixon's incredible comeback in 1968."
* [http://www.philipkdickfans.com/pkdweb/What%20The%20Dead%20Men%20Say.htm Entry for What the Dead Man Say] at PhilipKDickfans.com: bibliographic data, cover of magazine with first publication and several comments about the story from secondary literature on Dick
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