What the Dead Men Say

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First published in Worlds Of Tomorrow Jun 1964

Johnny Barefoot has arranged for mogul Louis Sarapis to enter half-life (a kind of suspended animation in a mortuary) just after his funeral, but problems hooking him up to half-life correspond to Sarapis’s voice being picked up on broadcasts from the edge of the solar system as well as the arrival on Earth of his granddaughter and heir, a former drug addict who may have ulterior motives in helping Alfonse Gam get elected as the next president.

At over fifty pages, “What the Dead Men Say” felt way too long for a mostly uninteresting story. Dick would use the idea of people stuck in half-life much more successfully later in his classic novel Ubik.

Cast of characters

  • Louis Sarapis – a ‘dead’ former mogul and commercial shipping tycoon
  • Johnny Barefoot – Sarapis’s public relations manager when Sarapis was alive
  • Sarah Belle – Johnny’s wife
  • Herbert Schoenheit von Vogelsang – owner of Beloved Brethren Mortuary where Sarapis is supposed to enter half-life. Also the owner of Beloved Brethren Moratorium in Ubik
  • Claude St. Cyr – Sarapis’s former lawyer
  • Phil Harvey – St. Cyr’s current employer
  • Gertrude Harvey – Phil’s wife
  • Elektra Harvey – Phil’s ex-wife and St. Cyr’s mistress
  • Alfonse Gam – presidential candidate backed by Sarapis
  • Kathy Egmont/Sharp – Sarapis’s granddaughter