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Encyclopedia > The Chromium Fence

The Chromium Fence is a 1955 science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick, first published in Imagination magazine. 1955 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Philip K. Dick Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982), often known by his initials PKD, or by the pen name Richard Phillips, was an American science fiction writer and novelist who changed the genre profoundly. ... Imagination is, in general, the power or process of producing mental images and ideas. ...

The story is set in a future where political differences have been reduced to trivialities, the purists are pitted against the naturalists. The purists wish to make the adoption of cosmetic changes (sweat glands removed, teeth fixed and so on) compulsory. This is one of Dick's bizarre extrapolations of the consumer society that he saw all around him in 1950's America. He depicts city people as being so indoctrinated to consumption of worthless goods, that it has become a political creed. The purist and naturalist mantra in this story is shown as one extreme manifestation of the brain-washing. The central character, Don Walsh, seems the only sane man left and refuses to join either side. Eventually, however, he is forced to act and pays the ultimate price. Brainwashing controversies According to research and forensic psychologist Dick Anthony, the CIA invented the brainwashing ideology as a propaganda strategy to undercut communist claims that American POWs in Korean communist camps had voluntarily expressed sympathy for communism and that definitive research demonstrated that collaboration by western POWs had been caused...


Notes:

  • One of Dick's most obscure stories, never reprinted anywhere after its single appearance in the bottom-market Imagination (July 1955) - at least until the advent of Dick's collected stories in 1987.

 
 

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