(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1957 edition of Eye in the Sky (1957), Philip K. Dick)
As the mapmaker in Russell Hoban’s The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973) who creates a map that shows the places of inspiration, I too like to guide people towards voices that are worth the listen. I encountered the writings of Evan Lampe (@EvanLampe1) while perusing various SF articles on WordPress—his site gave an encyclopedic look at the stories and thought of Philip K. Dick. And now he’s following up with a podcast read-through (mostly chronological) of PKD’s fiction.
Evan described the podcast to me as follows:
“My main podcast is based on the idea of looking at American writers. I just wanted to podcast. I would have done it on Youtube but I do not really have the video editing skills to pull that off. Mostly, in that series I am driven to make a full-throated defense of America in these bizarre times. Perhaps its therapy. I guess you are more interested in my Philip Dick series. I think I talk about my motivations for that in my episode on “Stability”. It comes down to Dick being more culturally relevant than ever, with new TV series and a new Blade Runner film. I also never stopped believing that his writing is a useful tool in talking about many of our contemporary political and social dilemmas. The systematic approach will ensure that the stories and early novels will get the love that they deserve. There are a handful of aspects of Dick’s writing that need special attention (the frontier, post-scarcity, work, automation). I am trying to keep these most contemporary questions in mind as I re-read these works.”
As PKD wrote so many stories before his first novel, Evan plans on squeezing in Solar Lottery (1955) soon out of sequence. For those who follow me on twitter I will let everyone know when he posts the Solar Lottery episode.
So far he’s posted on the following PKD short stories.
Episode 18: “Martians Come in Clouds” (1953)
Episode 17: “Colony” (1953)
Episode 16: “Paycheck” (1953)
Episode 15: “The Preserving Machine” (1953)
Episode 14: “Second Variety” (1953)
Episode 12: “The Infinities” (1953)
Episode 11: “The World She Wanted” (1953)
Episode 10: “Roog” (1953)
Episode 9: “Piper in the Woods” (1953)
Episode 8: “The Eyes Have It” (1953)
Episode 7: “Mr. Spaceship” (1953)
Episode 6: “The Defenders” (1953)
Episode 5: “The Little Movement” (1952)
Episode 4: “The Skull” (1952)
Episode 3: “The Gun” (1952)
Episode 2: “Beyond Lies of the Wub” (1952)
Episode 1: “Stability” (1947)
“I am a historian and my work focuses on labor history, especially among mobile workers. I have taught university level history in Miami and the Boston area, but now live in Taiwan teaching part time and freelance tutoring. My current research projects are on the role of the Atlantic in H. P. Lovecraft and prisons/worker control in the Pacific Rim (two separate projects, not related). I have published two books: one on Philip K. Dick and one on the labor history of the early American China trade.”
~~~(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1957 edition of The Variable Man and Other Stories (1957), Philip K. Dick)
(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1970 edition of Our Friends from Frolix 8 (1970), Philip K. Dick)
(Lawrence Ratzkin’s cover for the 1966 edition of Now Wait for Late Year (1966), Philip K. Dick)
(Tom Chibbaro’s cover for the 1965 edition of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Philip K. Dick)
(Ed Valigrusky’s cover for the 1964 edition of Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964), Philip K. Dick)(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1963 edition of The Game-Players of Titan (1963), Philip K. Dick)
(Peter Rauch’s cover for the 1969 edition of Ubik (1969), Philip K. Dick)
(Ralph Brillhart’s cover for the 1964 edition of Martian Time-Slip (serialized 1963), Philip K. Dick)
27 thoughts on “Updates: Evan Lampe’s Philip K. Dick Read-Through Podcast (and Cover Gallery)”
Wonderful, I will definitely be looking at getting his book. Due to internet restrictions at the cabin the podcasts might have to wait until the fall but I
am really interested in looking at his site. I brought 4 Dick novels published
by Ace to the cabin including Eye in the Sky and Solar Lottery so this is very timely. Thanks again for keeping us in the loop with your posts.
Thanks! I suspect I’ll be done with PKD for a while after this — the Italian covers and this post. Although I’ll probably continue to read short stories here and there in various anthologies I have on the shelf.
I have that edition of The Martian Time-Slip. Brillhart’s best art, by a long shot!
…I also I own the 1st ed. Ubik edition above with its simple but weirdly effective Rauch cover and Clans of the Alphane Moon.
Kudos for an excellent post.It’s very exciting.I don’t know what else to say.A very rich range of covers though.
Pleased to have done so.I tend to be biased towards the abstract covers,such as the one by Tom Chibbaro,but a few such as Jack Gaugain’s,combine this meditative approach with a more formularistic technique and is quite stunning.The one for “Martian Time-Slip” is neither,but quite sedate and moody.
There’s a Thomas M Disch essay on Solar Lottery from the mid-70s. He doesn’t think much of the book itself, but argues that it exemplifies how Dick draws upon pulp-fiction energies to propel his plots:
Click to access 9780472068968-25.pdf
Thanks! I’ll give it a read.
At least PKD’s early short stories provide enough quality for Evan to suffer through some of the early (and lesser) novels (as he’s constrained a bit by his chronological approach). I thought PKD’s novel The Man who Japed (1956) was a step in the right direction.
I’ve known of this article for a long time,so thanks for the link.”Solar Lottery” is a late maturing novel,but Disch is careful to find the seeds that would form his later stuff.I think “Eye in the Sky” and “Time Out of Joint” are excellent early novels of his,that still shone when his 1960s masterterpieces were published.”The Man who Japed”,that Joachim liked,is also perhaps unappreciated.
“Late maturing novel”?
He wrote one SF novel before “Solar Lottery”,that was published later,”The Cosmic Puppets”,that had been transformed from an earlier short story,”A Glass of Darkness”[a much better title!].Before he wrote “Solar Lottery”,he had been only churning out only short stories,with the exception of unpublished mainstream novels.It took him time to master the SF novel I think because he started writing them late.
This is evinced I think,by the novels I mentioned above,that were written very soon after “Solar Lottery”.
Maybe I’m just missing something here. Started writing them “late”? You mean only 3 years after his first published SF story in a SF publication–“Beyond Lies the Wub” (1952)? Doesn’t sound late to me! And the novel was becoming a major form in the 50s.
And according to ISFDB.org he did not write “A Glass of Darkness” earlier unless it simply wasn’t published for a few years — it is dated 1956 — and “Solar Lottery” is 1955. Evan would know more as he’s read extensively on the publication history + scholarship etc of PKD.
C. M. Kornbluth has a “late” trajectory — first novel Gunner Cade (1952). First published SF short story 1939 (“The Rocket of 1955”). I suspect it all has to do with the fact that novels only became a more financially advantageous thing in the 1950s.
According to my sources,”The Cosmic Puppets” aka “A Glass of Darkness”,was written in 1953.It was published at shorter length for magazine publication before being expanded for a book.
Well,I suppose it wasn’t really late,but I thought it seemed to be considering the sheer volume of short pieces he produced three years before he wrote “Solar Lottery”.Yes,the 1950s certainly was a growing time for the SF novel,with the rise of the paperback houses.They hadn’t existed in the 1930s.
Well, that makes it even earlier (magazine publication is still 1956). Only 1-2 years later than his first published SF story sale. My point is only, not to belabor it, PDK’s trajectory seems rather standard. And, considering the general quality of 50s SF novels (there are a few exceptions!), it’s hardly surprising some of the earlier ones are schlocky.
Yes,I suppose that’s reasonable.It’s noticable though how quickly he matured after writing “Solar Lottery”.Considering the actual length of “The Cosmic Puppets”,the original “A Glass of Darkness” must have been more like a novella I think.
….especially as they were written for the Ace Doubles series. Hardly some beacon of top quality! (a few good ones like Leiber’s The Big Time — which I know you hated — snuck in there).
Yes right.”Eye in the Sky” and “The Man Who Japed” were also published then.No,I couldn’t even finish “The Big Time”.
You’re certainly missing out with that Leiber. Talk about weird and surreal and utterly different and cutting edge — and much better than Dick’s earliest novels. Who else writes what is essentially a SF play? (I say play as it’s all in one room with a rotating cast as they come in and out of the change war occurring “outside” or maybe more precisely “outwhen”).
You’re probably right,but I don’t think I got the gist of it,and gave-up early.I no longer own it..
I have the Ralph Brillhart Maritian Time-Slip as well, it is one of my favourite Dick covers. Another is my copy of Clans with the cover by Peter Jones.
I skimmed the Disch article, he was a man of strong opinions, I liked the comparisons between the early Dick publishing in Ace books and Van Vogt, (who I like) it made an interesting perspective.I do want to look at it again in more detail, and maybe compare it to the entry on Evan’s blog. Oh it is a great time to be literate.
The Peter Jones cover has a distinctly uncanny feel — and emphasizes how the different groups manage to get along in the story (my memory of the novel is rather murky).
Evan here. Thanks for the support. I will say, I am a defender of the early novels and stories, of course. At the same time I am pretty cold on anything he wrote after 1973. (So my “suffering through” stage will be a bit later.)
One reason for jumping ahead to Solar Lottery a bit early is that I did all the stories on my blog and I am not really saying much new. I guess I am providing extra commentary and a new format and maybe a new audience. The main ‘hundred pages’ project is where I have been focusing my writing and creativity (prepping episodes on Steinbeck now). Having the blog posts available for the Dick stories has allowed me to be a bit too lazy.
Thanks Evan for agreeing to to let me put together a brief write-up of your project. I look forward to future installments.
Of the post-1973 stuff I think my favorite is a traditional choice — A Scanner Darkly (1977)
And I haven’t read Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) yet.
Flow My Tears and Scanner Darkly were actually written prior to 1973 (as I recall). I was thinking more of the VALIS stuff as my personal torment.
Ah, I was going by publication date.
Commenting on the covers, once again I am struck by just identifiable some artists are by their work. You don’t even have to name the artists as by just looking at their art you can tell which ones are done by Gaughan, Schoenherr, and Emsh. If you ever get the chance, look at some of Schoenherr’s animal book covers. His Gentle Ben shows why he was so good at drawing alien creatures. These should give you some idea: https://metvnetwork.s3.amazonaws.com/N16D8-1453487235-1323-list_items-julie_of_the_wolves.png and https://metvnetwork.s3.amazonaws.com/IomwF-1453492749-1331-list_items-gentle_ben.jpg.
I’ve been in contact with Schoenherr’s son and he’s sent me some links to his father’s nature art — although it’s not something I know about or can really judge, I found them dynamic and intriguing.