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THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK
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171

54  

 

Mar 1977

RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH

VALIS

Collection
FIRST EDITION

HISTORY

    PKD’s  Ballantine collection of short stories was published in March 1977. This was THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, a paperback tome (450pp) that contains many of Dick’s stories from his very first "Roog" to one of his last "A Little Something For Us Tempunauts". All in all there are nineteen short stories in this collection as well as an Introduction by John Brunner and Afterthoughts by Dick himself.

    We’ve noted that in connection with Ace Books’ THE BOOK OF PHILIP K. DICK (1973) how PKD says Don Wollheim howled at the leftovers of Dick’s stories after Ballantine had made their selection; although the 5-year hiatus between Ballantine’s inferred contract for the collection in 1973 and final publication in 1978, is curious.

    For collectors, THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK presents some problems: finding a copy in anything but complete beat-up shape is difficult. Even mere reading copies can fetch about $10. I imagine a fine edition would demand around $40. The collection was never reissued until the hardback edition from Garland in 1982. This edition would be a prize but I have never seen one offered for sale.

    Of course, bookseller Ken Lopez has the top offering of THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK:

    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. $6000.

    As a collection THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK deserves its .


OTHER ENGLISH EDITIONS:             For Cover Pix Click Here:       aaaPKDickBooks.jpg (3234 bytes)

FOREIGN EDITIONS:


Contents:

Introduction, "The Reality of Philip K. Dick" by John Brunner;
Beyond Lies The Wub;
Roog ;
Second Variety;
Paycheck;
Impostor;
Colony;
Expendable;
The Days Of Perky Pat;
Breakfast At Twilight; Foster, You're Dead;
The Father Thing;
Service Call;
Autofac;
Human Is;
If There Were No Benny Cemoli;
Oh, To Be A Blobel!;
Faith Of Our Fathers;
The Electric Ant;
A Little Something For Us Tempunauts;


NOTES

TDC 41

(KCB:) Do you have a Donald Wollheim story?

(PKD:) Matter of fact. I have. When I was preparing the Ballantine collection, Donald Wollheim wrote to me and said, "I'd like to do a collection of your stories." I said, "I'm sorry, Don, but I'm going through my stories to sell to Ballantine right now." He wrote back and said, "Well, Betty" -- Betty Ballantine was still editor --"Betty and I have different tastes. Give me what Betty doesn't want." And that's exactly what he got. Wollheim read them over and became hysterical. He said, "These are Betty Ballantine rejects!" I says, "Don, that's what we contracted for." He says, "Well, the stories aren't very good." And I said, "Yeah, and the price ain't very good, either." He published them, but he was grumpy about it. That's my Wollheim story.


Collector's Notes

The paperback original of this collection is dificult to find in any better than VG condition.

Phildickian: THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Del Rey, pb, 25359, 1977. VG $8.80

{The following is from Ken Lopez, Bookseller, Online catalog May 1997. As far as I know this package is still for sale}

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. $6000

See Also LopezBooks


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