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Philip K. Dick is one of a handful of science fiction writers whose work is known beyond the sci-fi world. Philip K Dick's most famous book is possibly "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", which was filmed by Ridley Scott as "Blade Runner" in 1982. Philip K Dick's most lasting work, though, may well turn out to be "The Man in the High Castle", which depicts a world after Germany and Japan have won the Second World War. For collectors there is a very interesting body of work to acquire, plus the opportunity to purchase many of Philip K Dick's titles at still reasonable prices. Be warned, though, several of Philip K Dick's scarcer titles are very expensive indeed!
During his short but productive life, Philip K. Dick acquired a cult following as one of America's most original science fiction writers. Since his sudden death from a stroke in 1982 (he was just 53 years old), his many admirers have sought to promote the importance of Dick's work. Throughout his life his work was critically acclaimed and sold regularly if not extensively, but since his death that acclaim has grown. More importantly, though, his audience has widened far beyond the confines of the science fiction fraternity and many new readers have discovered Dick, particularly following the posthumous publication of his previously unpublished mainstream novels such as "Puttering About in a Small Land".
In summarising Philip K. Dick in his history of science fiction, "Trillion Year Spree", Brian Aldiss commented: "All his novels are one novel . . ." But it goes further than that, because the premise behind virtually all his writing is a subjective view of reality, an almost paranoid obsession with things being other than they seem. Suppose you discover that you have been leading a false existence or, worse still, one imposed on you by those in positions of authority. This world of distorted reality is Dick's, illustrated perfectly in one of his best early stories when someone, trying to trace a robot programmed to explode upon hearing a keyword, suddenly discovers that he is the robot himself.
This theme grew in his novels. "We have a fictitious world," Dick wrote the year before his death, and it's a belief that pervades all his work. In "Eye in the Sky", survivors of a nuclear accident discover they are living in the dream world of four of their most neurotic company, whilst in "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch", the main subject is the reality (or otherwise) of drug-induced worlds.
All of this makes Dick's work both fascinating, and so challenging to read. The reader is constantly searching for some foundation of reality which is never really there. It is ironic, therefore, maybe even tragic, that after Dick's death rumours began to circulate that he was, in fact, still alive. Apparently there was no formal identification of his body by his family after death, and he was cremated very soon after brain death had occurred. In death, as in life, it appears that reality would never settle for Dick.
The fascination with Philip K. Dick is thus more about the man and his beliefs rather than with his life, which was not too spectacular. He was born in Chicago in 1928, and subsequently moved to California where he attended the University of Berkeley for just one term. He was largely self-educated, and he worked in a record shop for several years where he attained his life-long interest in offbeat rock and classical music. He eventually turned to writing full-time in 1952, and stuck with it through thick and thin for the rest of his life. He began writing when he was at college. The earliest story to survive from those days, "Stability", remained unpublished until it was included in the first volume of his "Collected Stories" in 1987. His first sale was "Roog", written in 1951, which appeared in the February 1953 issue of 'The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction'. By the time it was published, though, he had sold several more stories and his career was launched. The magazine that can claim the honour of having first unveiled this remarkable talent to the public was the glorious pulp "Planet Stories" which published "Beyond Lies the Wub" in its July 1952 issue. "Planet Stories" is collectible in its own right today, and even though its heyday had virtually passed in 1952, these issues are still in demand.
Interest in science fiction boomed in the 1950s and these types of magazine proliferated. There was a ready market for good young writers, and Dick scored rapidly. Over the next three years he sold over seventy stories to almost all the specialist science fiction magazines such as 'Galaxy', 'Imagination', 'Fantastic Universe' and 'If'. Most of the issues which contain Dick's work are relatively easy to obtain from American dealers.
The sci-fi market took a massive nose-dive in the mid-1950s, and Dick turned instead to the burgeoning paperback publishers as his main source of income. But from 1956 to his death, he sold only another forty stories. All of these are now included in the five volume "Collected Stories" issued by Underwood-Miller in 1987 and later published by Victor Gollancz in Britain.
Philip K. Dick's first published book was "Solar Lottery". This was sold to Ace Books in 1955, though editor Donald A. Wollheim requested a revision of the text, which Dick dutifully carried out. The British rights were sold to Rich & Cowan who also requested a further revision, and, once again, Dick complied. This version was published as "World of Chance" in hardback format in 1956, and the two are sufficiently different to be of interest to the collector. Both, therefore, are first editions in their own right. The "Solar Lottery" version of the novel didn't appear in a hardback edition until it was reprinted by Gregg Press in 1976.
Although "Solar Lottery" was Dick's first book, its variant British edition was not his first appearance between hard covers. Earlier in 1955, Rich & Cowan had contracted to publish a collection of his short stories entitled "A Handful of Darkness". Although there are two known bindings for this volume, the copies in blue boards are considered the most collectible.
Most of Philip K. Dick's books from the 1950s were published first as paperbacks in America ands, apart from the two Rich & Cowan volumes, didn't appear in Britain for some years. In some cases, the British edition was also the first appearance of the book between hard covers. In the case of "The World Jones Made", for example, it first appeared as an Ace Double in 1956 and wasn't published as a hardback until 1968 when Sidgwick & Jackson issued it in Britain. The first American hardback edition was published by Gregg press in 1979. The Sidgwick & Jackson edition of "The World Jones Made" is now very collectable. But perhaps the most collectable of this range of books is the British edition of "The Penultimate Truth", published by Jonathan Cape in 1967.
All this demonstrates, in typical Dick fashion, that the really collectable items are seldom the true first editions, and that the first editions themselves may not necessarily be the only first edition. Take the case of "The Unteleported Man", for instance, which was first published in book form by Ace Books as part of an Ace Double in 1966, and reprinted in Britain by Methuen ten years later. Neither of these were the full version since the second half of the book, amounting to some 30,000 words, had been omitted due to space restrictions. The first printing of the complete issue was issued under the original title by Berkeley Books as a paperback in 1983, but even this edition was full of printing errors and there was no attempt to bridge the gaps left by missing pages in the manuscript. Gollancz eventually published the only really complete and definitive edition in 1984, the only version to be published in hardback, with a new title, "Lies, Inc.". Ironically, this edition was eventually remaindered. So which is the real first edition, and which version will ultimately prove to be the most collectable?
Philip K. Dick's first American hardback was "Time Out of Joint", one of his more immediately accessible books for new readers. It was published by Lippincourt in Philadelphia in 1959, bound in orange paper boards and issued with a suitably surrealistic dust-wrapper.
The novel with which Dick firmly established himself was "The Man in the High Castle", which was awarded the Hugo Award in 1963 as the previous year's best novel. First published by Putnam in 1962 in a black cloth binding and marketed as an adult novel rather than science fiction.
"Martian Time-Slip" is another of Dick's more accessible books for new readers, and it was one of the author's own favourite tiles. Interestingly, although the first edition was a Ballantine paperback in 1964, the first hardback edition was published in Germany by Insel Verlag in 1973, complete with purple paper boards with silver lettering and a striking cover design. This edition was entitled "Mozart Fur Marsianer". Dick clearly had a European appeal for a number of original collections were published (mostly as paperback volumes), including the Dutch "Een Swibbel Voor Dag en Nacht" (Bruna, 1969). And one original European hardback was "Les Delires Divergents de Philip K. Dick" (Casterman, 1979).
Most of the original Ace paperback editions were re-issued in hardback format by Gregg Press in the 1970s. The most collectable is generally considered to be Dick's titular relation to Peter George's noted "Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb". Dick's title was "Dr. Bloodmoney; or, How We Got Along After the Bomb".
Good prices are also paid for Philip K. Dick's three other major novels of the 1960s. "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" (Doubleday, 1965) earned him the reputation as an "acid-head" king, but though Dick did experiment with LSD, it was after he had written the book. Nevertheless, its notoriety attracts collectors. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (Doubleday, 1968) earned Dick a wider audience when it was filmed as "Blade Runner". And "Ubik" (Doubleday, 1969), one of Dick's most demanding novels, commands particularly high prices despite its appalling dust-wrapper.
One of Dick's scarcer items is "A Maze of Death" (Doubleday, 1970). According to the science fiction authority David G. Hartwell, this book was accidentally pulped with only library and review copies distributed.
In 1972, Philip K. Dick's fourth marriage broke down (he was married five times in all), and he sank into a deep depression. This was his 'drug period', which included a suicide attempt in 1974. At the same time the sales of his books declined, although due to his popularity in the sixties they still had high print runs. As a consequence, many copies of his books from 1972 were remaindered, and can generally be found for low prices. Ironically, some of these, like "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" (Doubleday, 1974) and "A Scanner Darkly" (Doubleday, 1977), both of which draw heavily on the black period of his life, are among his most powerful works.
When Dick emerged from his depression, he wrote a final trilogy of books, all, in a sense, variations on a theme - the Second Coming. The first was "Valis", initially published as a paperback by Bantam in 1981. A hardback edition was published by the small press Kerosina in Britain in 1987. As with other Kerosina titles there are variant bindings, with a de luxe leather bound edition selling at the time for £250. There was also a limited edition in a slip-case which included a hardback booklet of extracts from Dick's exegesis writings, "Cosmogony and Cosmology".
This was followed by "The Divine Invasion" (1981) and "The Transmigration of Bishop Timothy Archer" (1982), both published in standard hardback editions by Simon & Schuster.
During the Fifties and Sixties, when Dick was working at an intensely prolific rate, he turned his head to a number of non-science fiction books. Most are set in California in the 1950s, and almost all reflect Dick's illusions of reality. Only one, "Confessions of a Crap Artist" (Entwhistle Books, 1975), was published during his own lifetime. 1,000 copies were issued, of which half were bound in maroon cloth with gold lettering. Ninety of these were signed by Dick, with the signed limited edition selling for $25. Those copies not bound in maroon cloth were issued as a trade paperback in 1977 with a cover designed by Richard Powers. A subsequent paperback edition from Entwhistle Books in 1978 is clearly marked as a second printing.
Dick's remaining mainstream novels all remained unpublished until after his death, when the sudden wave of interest both from trade publishers and from a growing army of small presses in America produced a burst of posthumous titles. These included such titles as "The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike" (Zeising, 1984), "In Milton Lumky Territory" (Dragon Press, 1985), "Puttering About in a Small Land" (Academy Chicago, 1985), and "Mary and the Giant" (Arbor House, 1987). Most of these had large initial print runs.
There are several other titles which should be mentioned. "Ubik: The Screenplay" was Dick's own attempt at adapting his book for an abortive film project in 1974. This was published by Corroboree Press in 1985 in both a standard trade edition and a de luxe limited edition.
"Humpty Dumpty in Oakland", which Gollancz published in 1986, has only been published in Britain (at time of writing; bear in mind this was written in 1990 - B. B.) and may not yet be fully appreciated by American collectors. It could be that prices will rise considerably in the 1990s.
The five-volume "Collected Stories", which was an ambitious project in itself, was issued by the American speciality publisher Underwood-Miller in 1987 in three states. The basic trade edition originally sold as a set for £125. 400 copies were specially bound and cased. Finally, 100 copies included a tipped-in signature.
An anomaly rose with the British edition from Gollancz when the first volume "Beyond Lies the Wub" was published with "Beyond Lies the Wubb" stamped onto the spine. Copies were recalled and rebound, but initial deliveries and review copies remain extant. At present this has only marginally added to the value, but it will be interesting to see how much this changed in the future.
All Philip K. Dick's fiction has now been published so devotees are turning to other material. One such volume published, "The Dark-Haired Girl" (Zeising, 1989), contains mostly letters and articles plus one previously unpublished short story. There is also a growing library of books about him.
Philip K. Dick's fame and notoriety are likely to grow in future and collectors looking back from the next century may well see him as one of this century's most original and bizarre talents. This is already becoming the case, and there is every reason to believe that in years to come the Dick legend will intensify (as indeed has proven to be the case -B. B.), and the values of his books continue to rise.
A brief word on how this works. If you click on any of the links below, you'll be taken to the page at Amazon.com/.co.uk where you can buy the book. Because you've linked to there from my site, I get commission on the sale. It's not a lot, but it helps to keep this and my other sites afloat.
One last thing. The covers depicted here are the covers from my own private collection, and are very likely not the covers of any books you'll buy from Amazon.
U.S.A. PHILIP K DICK TITLES
|A Handful of Darkness|
|A Maze of Death||cover and blurb|
|A Scanner, Darkly||cover and blurb|
|Beyond Lies the Wub||cover|
|Clans of the Aplhane Moon||cover and blurb|
|Confessions of a Crap Artist||cover and blurb|
|Cosmogeny and Cosmology|
|Counter-Clock World||cover and blurb|
|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?||cover and blurb|
|Dr Bloodmoney||cover and blurb|
|Dr Futurity||cover and blurb|
|Eye in the Sky||cover and blurb|
|Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said||cover and blurb|
|Galactic Pot-Healer||cover and blurb|
|Gather Yourselves Together|
|Humpty Dumpty in Oakland||cover and blurb|
|I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon|
|In Milton Lumky Territory||cover and blurb|
|In Pursuit of VALIS|
|Lies, Inc.||cover and blurb|
|Martian Time-Slip||cover and blurb|
|Mary and the Giant||cover and blurb|
|Nick and the Glimmung|
|Now Wait for Last Year||cover and blurb|
|Our Friends From Frolix 8||cover and blurb|
|Puttering about in a Small Land||cover and blurb|
|Radio-Free Albemuth||cover and blurb|
|Solar Lottery||cover and blurb|
|The Best of Philip K Dick|
|The Book of Philip K Dick|
|The Broken Bubble||cover and blurb|
|The Collected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume 1|
|The Collected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume 2|
|The Collected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume 3|
|The Collected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume 4|
|The Collected Letters of Philip K. Dick Volume 5|
|The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 1|
|The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 2|
|The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 3|
|The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 4|
|The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 5|
|The Cosmic Puppets|
|The Crack in Space|
|The Dark-Haired Girl|
|The Days of Perky Pat||cover|
|The Divine Invasion||cover and blurb|
|The Exegesis Selection|
|The Game Players of Titan||cover and blurb|
|The Ganymede Take-Over||cover and blurb|
|The Golden Man|
|The Little Black Box|
|The Man in the High Castle||cover and blurb|
|The Man Who Japed||cover and blurb|
|The Man whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike||cover and blurb|
|The Penultimate Truth||cover and blurb|
|The Philip K. Dick Reader|
|The Preserving Machine||cover|
|The Simulacra||cover and blurb|
|The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch||cover and blurb|
|The Transmigration of Bishop Timothy Archer||cover and blurb|
|The Turning Wheel||cover|
|The Unteleported Man||cover and blurb|
|The Variable Man|
|The World Jones Made||cover and blurb|
|The Zap Gun||cover and blurb|
|Time Out of Joint||cover and blurb|
|Ubik||cover and blurb|
|Ubik; The Screenplay|
|VALIS||cover and blurb|
|We Can Build You||cover and blurb|
|We Can Remember It For You Wholesale||cover|
|World of Chance|
While I was trawling among the titles over at Amazon, I was amazed to come across the following items. I had no idea PKD had been covered in this format.
Galactic Pot-Healer Philp K Dick Short Stories
U.K. PHILIP K DICK TITLES
|A Scanner Darkly|
|Beyond Lies the Wub|
|Clans of the Alphane Moon|
|The Father Thing|
|We Can Remember It For You Wholesale|
|Confessions of a Crap Artist|
|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?|
|Eye in the Sky|
|Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said|
|Now Wait For Last Year|
|Our Friends From Frolix 8|
|Radio Free Albemuth|
|The Eye of the Sibyl|
|The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford|
|We Can Remember it for You Wholesale|
|The Cosmic Puppets|
|The Dark Haired Girl|
|The Divine Invasion|
|The Game Players of Titan|
|The Man in the High Castle|
|The Penultimate Truth|
|The Philip K Dick Reader|
|The Transmigration of Timothy Archer|
|The Unteleported Man|
|The Zap Gun|
|We Can Build You|
|Minority Report (Film Tie-In)|
|Three Early Novels - The Man Who Japed, Dr. Futurity, Vulcan's Hammer|
|The Shifting Realities of Philip K Dick, edited by Laurence Sutin|
|Philip K Dick is Dead, Alas by Michael Bishop|
|Philip K Dick by Samuel J Umland|
|Search for Philip K Dick by Anne Dick|
|Philip K Dick by Andrew M Butler|
Movies (U.S.A. only)
|Blade Runner - The Director's Cut (DVD)|
|Blade Runner - The Director's Cut (VHS)|
|Total Recall (DVD)|
|Total Recall (VHS)|
"Solar Lottery" was originally titled
"Quizmaster Take All"
"The World Jones Made" was originally titled "Womb for Another"
"The Cosmic Puppets" was originally titled "A Glass of Darkness"
"Eye in the Sky" was originally titled "With Opened Mind"
"Blade Runner" was originally titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
"We Can Build You" was originally titled "The First in Your Family"
"Martian Time-Slip" was originally titled "Goodmember Arnie Kott of Mars" (also as "All We Marsmen")
"The Simulacra" was originally titles "The First Lady of Earth"
"The Penultimate Truth" was originally titled "In the Mold of Yancy"
"Counter-Clock World" was originally titled both "The Dead Grow Young" and "The Dead Are Young"
"The Ganymede Takeover" was originally titled "The Stones rejected"
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was originally titled "The Electric Toad"; "Do Androids Dream?"; "The Electric Sheep"; "The Killers Are Among Us! Cried Rick Deckard to the Special Man"
"Ubik" was originally titled "Death of an Anti-Watcher"
"A Maze of Death" was originally titled "The Name of the Game is Death"
"Deus Irae" was originally titled "The Kneeling Legless Man"
"Radio Free Albemuth" was originally titled "Valisystem"
"The Divine Invasion" was originally titled "Valis Regained"
"The Transmigration of Bishop Timothy Archer" was originally titled "Bishop Timothy Archer"
CHRONOLOGY BY PUBLICATION
All those moments will be remade in Lego... here's the tears in rain speech re-imagined and very touchingly too!
How they made the opening 'Hades' background shots...Bladerunner opening sequence it's fascinating stuff! Here's the first of three videos on the subject.
An on-set behind the scenes pic; filming the spinner.
Model Bladerunner guns these are really good models, Wilco apparently. Look at conventions, they make allsorts.
Remarkable Bladerunner Posters.
Nice sketch of Bladerunner's Roy Batty.
Interview with Bladerunner artist Syd Mead
Remarkable Bladerunner tattoo
Experimental movie based around Bladerunner
Bladerunner artist Syd Mead designed this food court. My advice? Don't ask for the boiled dog!
Bladerunner remade in two minutes
The Korean Bladerunner, they're calling this movie
The Bladerunner Brolly
A Sean Young Bladerunner interview
Lwego Bladerunner figures, also a spinner
More pix of Lego Bladerunner folk
Do Androids Deam Of Electric Sheep? - the comic.
The Drew Struzan - Bladerunner poster designer
Bladerunner characters in Lego, more pix
More futuristic designs from Bladerunner artist Syd Mead
A Bladerunner-oriented Forum
Bladerunner on Yoostar!
Bladerunner's Bradbury building
Harrison Ford promoting Bladerunner on Letterman, 1982
Bladerunner's Ridley Scott for Walk-Of-Fame start
"Do you likeour owl?" Deckard meets Rachel clip from Bladerunner
What is it with Bladerunner and Lego?
Bladerunner vids on Fanpop
Bladerunner Icons on Fanpop
Bladerunner Remixes on Youtube
Bladerunner - Lego - Youtube
Android Dreams; Philip K Dick exhibition at Cornell
Bladerunner's Ridley Scott to make The Man In The High Castle series
Why Hollywood can't do Sci-Fi, like, er, Bladerunner... essay
The High Castle Comes Down To Earth, essay on PKD
Lego Spinner from Bladerunner from Syd Mead, the one the Lego company made for him personally - video
Bladerunner Movie results from Liquida
Tim Doyle's wonderful Bladerunner poster for the Astoria production, Australia
Bladerunner, reflections on doing the voiceover for Bladrunner the PC game
7 past and future Phlip K Dick adaptions
Off-World News for all things Bladerunner very much recommended
Godmachine Bladerunner poster Nice pic of the 'Do you like our owl?' poster for the Astor theatre production
Philip K Dick Arena documentary The Casual Optimist watch it online here
Hand-drawn portraits of Bladerunner characters, and others
Philip K Dick's letter about Bladerunner the movie written after he'd seen Harrison Ford talking about it on TV
Ladies Influenced by Bladerunner can now buy a T-shirt just for them. True!
Bladerunner on Facebook
Dangerous Days - The Making of Bladerunner Must-see documentary for the Bladerunner fan
PKD short The Adjustment Bureau upcoming movie trailer
Observations on the future world of Bladerunner You'll have to click through to see the page
Bladerunner chess set just like the one Tyrell and Sebastian play with. Nice piece of work too.
Christopher Palmer - Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern
Quotes from The Divine Invasion
Tessa B Dick That's Mrs Dick to you.
Dust Jacket for 'The King of the Elves' by Philip K Dick (short stories)
An Adaption of Radio Free Albemuth
Indian Philip K Dick Film Festival
PKD Goes Loopy on Youtube
Roy Trumbull reads a PKD Short 'Beyond The Door'
Downloadable PKD for Iphone Now Wait For Last Year
Philip K Dick on Evri Worth coming back to
Downloadable PKD - Public Domain book The Skull
Philip K Dick The Penultimate Truth DVD documentary review. I never heard of this before now, it sounds good
The Famous Bladerunner Gun here pops up in various video games - shootemups obviously!
Get that Bladerunner hazey background fun for art directors
Where can you get all those old, out of print books? Here!
And if you fancy searching Amazon.com for any ol' li'l thang at all....why not go direct from here!
Or if you prefer Amazon.co.uk
Some credits; the article was taken from a 1990 issue of Book Collector Magazine and was authored by one Mike Ashley; the list of Dick books was filched from the same source; Laura Campbell supplied most of the info. re the biographies, and the chronological list was compiled by Norman Morin, who I hope will not mind my reproducing it here. More PKD info over at www.philipKdick.com
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