The Exit Door Leads In

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The Exit Door Leads In is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. First published in 1979.

"The Exit Door Leads In" was written for Rolling Stone College Papers, a short-lived publication. It is unusual among Dick's stories in that it was written at the request of the editors. The story centers on a certain Bob Bibleman going out for a hamburger and, when asked by the robotic counterman if he wants to enter a contest, says yes. The contest instantly enrolls him in a quasi-military college where he [seemingly accidentally] comes across classified information the release of which would save millions of lives; however, it is strictly forbidden by the college authorities. After an evening of soul-searching, in which he dreams of his father being proud of him for returning the information to the college, Bibleman does just that, only to discover they were testing him to see if he was the type of person to break ranks and subvert authority for the sake of what is right. Since he too readily conforms to what authority tells him, he is expelled from the college and, dejected, returns to his former life.

Reprinted in Terry Carr's The Best Science Fiction of the year #9.