Philip K Dick, Book Manuscripts

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Manuscripts by Philip K. Dick


1. Deus Irae. (Published by Doubleday, 1976). Co-written with Roger Zelazny (author of Lord of Light, etc.). Ribbon copy typescript, 240 pages, typed on three typewriters (two of them Zelazny's), with small holograph corrections in both authors' hands, and a brief note explaining which typewriter represents which writer.

Deus Irae was written between 1967 and 1975, with Zelazny and Dick collaborating mostly by mail. Zelazny had won the Hugo Award in 1967 for Lord of Light, a science fiction novel with threads of Buddhist philosophy woven through it. Dick had expressed admiration for the novel, and when his first collaborator, author Ted White, backed off the project, he began working with Zelazny. The setting is post-nuclear holocaust, and the theme is the pilgrimage of an armless and legless artist, his vision quest. The novel incorporates elements of two earlier stories by Dick, as well as bearing a resemblance to Dr. Bloodmoney. It is most notable, however, as the only collaboration between these two award-winning science fiction writers. Very good condition.

2. A Scanner Darkly. (Published by Doubleday, 1977). Two complete manuscripts. The original ribbon copy typescript, with pages numbered 1-128 and 3 pages that appeared in the book as the "Author's Note." The text has been extensively reworked in ink by the author, with revisions on a majority of pages and at least two scenes that do not appear in the final book. Together with a second copy, this a complete re-typing consisting of 300 ribbon copy pages, with a few small ink notes and changes by the author, and a number of pencil copy editor's marks.

A Scanner Darkly is widely considered one of Dick's masterpieces. It is a haunting, chilling novel of the extremes of drug abuse, which won the grand prize at an annual science fiction festival held in Metz, France. The novel is based on Dick's own experience in the early '70s, and the people who drifted into and out of his life during that time. His experience clearly frightened him, and he wrote a frightening book, which he at one point offered to use to help the Department of Justice in its fight against drug abuse. While there are science fiction elements to the book, for the most part it is a mainstream, if extravagant, drug novel, akin to William S. Burroughs's The Soft Machine. Dick reportedly begged his publisher to market it as a mainstream novel, rather than SF, an appeal that fell on deaf ears. Still, it is one of the best novels to convey the dark side of the late-Sixties drug experience, infused with pervasive paranoia and relentlessly unflinching in its chronicling of "near total brain death" of the main character.

3. The Best of Philip K. Dick. (Published by Ballantine, 1977). The ribbon copy typescript of the 10-page "Afterthoughts by the Author" provided by Dick to this collection of stories, which he helped select and which contains therefore many of his very best short works, including the story Lawrence Sutin, his biographer, calls "the best of all his stories, `The Electric Ant.'" On a scale of 1 to 10, this is one of the very few books that Sutin gives a rating of 10. The last five pages consist of paragraphs of typescript cut apart and glued on to sheets of typing paper. There is one change in Dick's hand. Together with the setting copy of the book, consisting of a typed contents page and photocopied tearsheets of the book's contents from various magazines (lacking the 14 page John Brunner introduction). While there was no "original manuscript," per se, for this book, it is an important element of the Dick canon, and this is a unique copy, and the best possible copy. Good.

4. Valis. (Published by Bantam, 1981). The original manuscript of a book that is widely considered to be one of his two greatest works -- the other being The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. 311 pages of ribbon-copy typescript, inscribed by the author on the top page "with love" to Tim Powers, and additionally inscribed to "the best friend I ever had" on the verso of a proof of the novel's paperback cover. With a letter from the publisher laid in returning this to Dick for his files, and a photocopy of a letter from Dick to the publisher requesting that the book's dedication be changed [it was]. "VALIS" stands for "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" and is an acronym for the pervasive unseen force that Dick saw as animating the universe; his entire body of work, and even his entire life, can be seen as an effort to penetrate and understand this force, and Valis stands as the most complete expression of that understanding outside of the unpublished diary and journals which he titled Exegesis.

Dick's writings influenced an entire generation of science fiction authors and helped move science fiction out of the realm of "little green men" once and for all, firmly establishing it as a genre for addressing serious philosophical and metaphysical questions. Dick was immersed in the drug use of the Sixties counterculture and his metaphysical explorations most often were conducted on his own psyche; he put himself at risk in the service of a spiritual and literary quest and he paid the price: by continually projecting himself into uncharted psychological territory, Dick made himself exceptionally vulnerable; he suffered ill health, devastating psychosomatic effects -- leading to a suicide attempt in 1976 -- and finally died of a series of strokes and heart failure at the relatively young age of 53.

The manuscripts from the first two-thirds of Dick's career have been institutionalized; other writings by Dick in manuscript form have shown up on the market only very occasionallya recent catalogue by a leading science fiction specialist dealer had a four-page short story typescript (with a letter of transmittal and tear-sheet of the story) for $2200, or roughly $500 per page of Dick manuscript. This manuscript -- 311 pages of his most important novel, warmly inscribed (twice) to a close friend -- represents the pinnacle of Dick's achievement, and the best possible association. A unique item that is a landmark in the career of one of science fiction's greatest authors ever. Top sheet a bit wrinkled, otherwise fine in a literary agency box.

5. Valis Regained. (Published by Simon & Schuster in 1981 as The Divine Invasion). Three manuscripts. Carbon copy typescript, 80 pages, of "VALIS REGAINED/Outline for a science fiction novel." An unpublished outline for the book, with a handwritten note by the author on the first page: "published as 'The Divine Invasion'/ Philip K. Dick." And a stray sheet that appears to be a couple of handwritten notes Dick wrote to himself on the subject of Yahweh and his own federal taxes. Together with the ribbon copy typescript, 297 pages, of the full novel, with many typesetter's marks and a few corrections in Dick's hand. Inscribed by the author on the first page: "To Serena & Tim Powers -- my two dearest friends/ Philip K. Dick." Together with a carbon copy typescript, 297 pages, with a handful of minor ink corrections in Dick's hand. Inscribed: "To my best friend/ Tim Powers -/ with thanks &/ appreciation./ Philip K. Dick." The first few pages of the ribbon copy typescript are tattered; otherwise each of the three manuscripts is in very good condition.

Valis Regained was published as The Divine Invasion shortly after Valis and, unlike the earlier book, was published in hardcover. It led directly to Dick's first major publishing contract for a mainstream novel (The Transmigration of Timothy Archer) and confirmed a level of commercial success that, until the late '70s, had long eluded the author. It was the last of Dick's novels published while he was alive. For the three manuscripts, which both pertain to Dick's greatest work and also reflect an extraordinary association:

6. Valisystem A. (Published in 1985 as Radio Free Albemuth). Written in 1976, prior to Valis, but not published until after Dick's death. This is a ribbon copy typescript, 292 pages, with many ink changes and additions in Dick's hand, many of which do not appear in the published book. Inscribed and signed by the author. Together with a six page fake manuscript excerpt, numbered "85" through "90" and beginning and ending in mid-sentence, which Dick wrote solely to photocopy and send to his publisher to prove that this book, not yet begun, was well underway. Although the scene does involve the book's characters, it does not appear in the final book.

This was the first of Dick's novels to struggle with the concept of "Valis" and to include "Phil Dick" as an explicit character. The existence of Valis was revealed to Dick in February and March, 1974, when Dick had an ongoing series of religious or mystical experiences -- or a series of seizures possibly attributable to temporal lobe epilepsy. These experiences convinced him that a vast interlocking intelligence lay behind all the visible phenomena of the universe, and he spent the next several years -- the rest of his life, in fact -- trying to make sense of the insights he received at that time. Although posthumously published, and by definition not edited in the final version by Dick himself, Valisystem A is a profoundly important work in his opus, as the first attempt to construct the metaphysical framework that held together the most profound experiences and insights of his life. For the novel and fake excerpt manuscripts:

7. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. (Published by Simon & Schuster, 1982). Carbon copy typescript, 286 pages, with corrections and changes by the author on 39 pages, plus author notes on two other pages. Together with the one-page (21 line) ribbon copy typescript for the "Author's Note," with several minor changes in Dick's hand. Together with ten discarded manuscript pages: pages 1-4 ribbon copy with the title handritten by Dick: "Bishop Timothy Archer" and more than 50 words added or changed by Dick; pages 5-10 carbon copy with one handwritten correction. And also together with four pieces of correspondence: a carbon copy of a letter from Dick to his editor, with a copy of the text used to epigraph the novel; a carbon copy of a letter from Dick to his agent, 2 pages, reflecting on and analyzing his own novel after rereading the first third of it; a 5 page letter from Dick's agent to Dick, along with one leaf with a six-line poem in Dick's handwriting; and a carbon copy, two pages, of Dick's response to the above. All fine.

In 1981, after enjoying for the first time in his career several years of relative commercial success, and having just published Valis and The Divine Invasion (Valis Regained), Dick signed a three-book contract with his hardcover publisher, Simon & Schuster, which included a small advance for his first mainstream novel to be accepted for publication by a major publisher, Bishop Timothy Archer. Dick had long struggled for and dreamed of mainstream success, or even mainstream acceptance, and Timothy Archer was a breakthrough for him. It came at the same time that Blade Runner was being filmed from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and seemed to represent the accomplishment of a degree of literary and commercial success that his supporters, and he himself, had long felt he deserved -- and which had been deprived him strictly on the basis of the marginalization of the genre within which he wrote.

As such, this manuscript represents some of the last writing Dick ever did for one of his own novels (as opposed to his journals and Exegesis). For the set of manuscripts:

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