a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
"William E. Emba"|
His nastiest story, a deeply felt response to Roe vs Wade. Dick imagines a future where Congress has decided that abortion
is legal until the soul enters the body, which is specified as
the ability to do simple algebra. The main protester--a former
Stanford math major--demands to be taken to the abortion center,
since he claims to have forgotten all his algebra.
Pre-person is an interesting story that talks about abortion. Legaly, children don't have a soul until they are 12 years old. When they are without a soul, their parents can call for the abortion truck and they get killed (some even get adopted). The interesting part is the role that mathematics has in this story. It is said that you get a soul when you can do algebra. Many children say that legaly they got a soul but nothing changed inside of them. Even some grown ups start thinking about how stupid it is to say that geting a soul is connected to mathematics. So, one adult protests, he claims that he forgot how to do algebra and that means that he has no soul. I won't tell you the end;-). I started thinking about mathematics. There are so many different areas of "knowledge". So why did the author choose mathematics to be so important? What does algebra has to do with our souls? I'm still thinking about that...
I first read this PRE-PERSONS story in a collection of Dick's works 10 years ago. It's insanely good piece of fiction; I had thought it was title "The Abortion Truck" and now stand corrected. KJP, Sept. 2008.
A brilliant and thought-provoking short story that should make us reexamine our beliefs about what it means to be human and to be worthy of protection.
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)