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Philip K. Dick: Four Novels of the 1960s Hardcover – May 10, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) wrote more than 100 short stories and dozens of novels, including Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was the basis of the classic film Blade Runner. Dick won the Hugo Award in 1963 for his novel The Man in The High Castle. The Philip K. Dick Award is given annually to a distinguished work of science fiction.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Brooklyn and Maine.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 900 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (May 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530094
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the 1960s, when he wrote these four novels, Philip K. Dick was not known, as he is today, as an acclaimed "literary" science-fiction writer and visionary who inspired many films. Since his death in 1982, his reputation has steadily soared, a little bit too late, and now this former genre journeyman toiling in obscurity has become the first sf author to be enshrined in a handsome omnibus volume in the esteemed Library of America series. Of course, I had to buy it even though I already owned multiple copies of all these novels. It is a genuine pleasure to read any of the LOA volumes, so lovingly produced they are. And this one especially so, compiled as it was by an author heavily influenced by Dick, Jonathan Lethem. You will never see a biographical chronology so interesting to read in its own right: we even learn that Timothy Leary called Dick during John and Yoko's bed-in and he put the famous pair on the phone to tell PKD that they wanted to film one of the four novels contained here, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Incidentally, Lethem's taste is impeccable. Though Dick wrote no fewer than 21 novels in the 1960s (plus a couple of dozen more before and after), these are without a doubt the four best: The Three Stigmata, The Man in the High Castle, Ubik, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? One could easily compile another such volume with four more extremely strong novels of this period: Clans of the Alphane Moon, Dr. Bloodmoney, Now Wait for Last Year, and Martian Time-Slip. However, the ones collected here are the ones I would pick, if I could have only four. They are all absolute classics and support many rereadings. I remember when in the 1970s, I encountered Three Stigmata for the first time and could not totally make sense of it, but I was intrigued.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The Library of America (LoA) has issued a volume of Philip K. Dick's novels from the 1960's, and in so doing has legitimized PKD as a "classic" American author -- in this case an author of science fiction. You can get this volume by subscribing to the LoA, or by getting it thru Amazon, which at this time is far the cheaper method. (The main difference between the two vols. is that the LoA version comes in blue cloth with a slipcase, while the release to bookstores -- Amazon included -- is a regular hardback with a dust jacket.)

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE does not take place in the future, as conventional sci-fi does. It is set in the time and place Dick wrote it -- San Francisco in the early 1960s. It is the past that has changed. FDR was assassinated in 1936; his successor, President John N. Garner, remained too isolationlist to re-arm America in the face of growing Nazi and Japanese threats. As a result, the USA lost World War Two, the eastern and midwestern parts of America going to the Nazis; California and the Pacific Northwest to the Japanese. In between lies a Rocky Mountain redoubt called the "CSA," chief city Denver, which is where the novel's multiple, shocking climaxes take place.

HIGH CASTLE has compelling plotworks along two story lines, but what the initial reader will notice is how the Japanese influence postwar San Francisco and how, eventually, they stop being the dictators as much as gentle giants atop of the government and business elite. The story with the Germans in the East is far more gruesome, and fortunately for us is related by one character, a Jew "in the closet," because the Japanese-held CSA would probably have extradited him to the Nazi East Coast for, apparently, what we all fear from Nazis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I give the writings of Philip K. Dick five stars. However, there are certain things about this Library Of America edition that I would have liked to know before I bought it, and I think other people have a right to know also.
For one thing, the book is small. It looks like it is a 300 page book (and a book-club edition at that). This is because the paper used in this edition is about as thin as is legally possible. I'm afraid to breathe on the pages for fear they will tear.
The typeset is also quite small, though it is readable. The book is set in a 10-point font. To be honest the size of the text doesn't bother me very much; I have many other books with much smaller text than this.
The ribbon which is supposed to serve as a bookmark is dangerously close to useless. It's extremely thin and flimsy. This, along with the toilet-paper-thin pages, makes it almost impossible to use the ribbon without tearing the pages or otherwise damaging the book.
The slipcase is cardboard. I'm sure it would be very easy to accidentally ruin it.
Now, for all this, I'm still glad I bought this book, because to buy the four novels contained in this volume separately would have been much harder and costlier. I just thought people might want to know what they are buying before they receive it. If the pages were just a little bit thicker I probably wouldn't even have written this, but it really irks me to have to be so cautious with the book. I like to carry my books on walks, read them outside or while I'm walking my dog, and carry them with me wherever I go. To do so with this book would be asking for trouble.
Despite my complaints, the book is still worth getting, as long as you get a good deal on it. You can't really go wrong buying anything that contains both The Man In The High Castle and Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.
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