Saturday, February 25, 2006

New York Comic-Con Unearths P.K. Dick

According to Newsday, the current comics festival in NYC is to feature "scenes from the upcoming film A Scanner Darkly and a conversation with the author, Philip K. Dick." What they don't tell us is that this will not be a recent conversation.

Dick has been dead for almost a quarter century. Though you may hear from him from beyond the grave all such conversations will be marked by a beam of pink light.

I was a fan of his writings even when he was alive, and obtained all of his books, yes, even those that were not science-fiction and available only in first edition hardcovers. Actually, I never did find a copy of his children's book Nick and the Glimmung, so if you have one you'd like to donate, I'd be grateful. And Gather Yourselves Together was published long after I'd already stopped accumulating paper.

When I was shopping this past Christmas I noticed with shock and delight that the Gollancz SF imprint of Orion Books has just issued some of Dick's mainstream novels. Before they go out of print again you should snap up Mary and the Giant, Confessions of a Crap Artist, and In Milton Lumky Territory. This last book is now generally available for the first time since it was released in 1985.

I find it impossible to believe that a writer this popular with readers and critics alike should have books that people still can't buy, but such is the unfortunate case. Here are the four remaining mainstream novels with their dates of last (often the same as first) availability:

* The Broken Bubble (1991)
* Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (1988)
* Puttering About in a Small Land (1987)
* The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike (1986)

They are all wonderful.


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