Wednesday, August 15, 2012

REFLECTIONS: Rereading Philip K. Dick - Robert Silverberg

"They were ugly little things. I mean the first editions of Philip K. Dick’s first novels—squat, scrunchy, cheaply printed1950s paperbacks, artifacts of a primitive era in science fictionpublishing. Ace Books was the name of the publishing company—they are still in business, though vastly transformed—and Acewriters then were paid one thousand dollars per novel, which even then was thebottom rate for paperback books, although in modern purchasing power it’s a good deal more than most new SF writers can command today. Still, there were harbingers of things to come in those earlyDick books. The very first sentence of the very first one tells usthat in the most literal way: “There had been harbingers.” That’s Solar Lottery, Dick’s debut novel, an Ace Double Book of 1955,printed back-to-back, as Ace did in those days, with Leigh Brackett’s The Big Jump. As the novel opens, the harbingers include “aflight of white crows over Sweden,” “a series of unexplained fires,”and the birth of a two-headed calf. For us, the readers of sciencefiction half a century ago, the harbinger was the book itself, theannouncement of the presence among us of a brilliant, quirky newwriter." 4 out of 5


Edward Ott said...

A scanner darkley should be mandatory reading for all high school juniors