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110 22  

Mid-1959

1975

DR. FUTURITY

THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE

 
FIRST EDITIONS
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wpe16.jpg (4255 bytes)    

Entwhistle, hb, 2-7, 1975, 171pp, $5.95 (Richard Powers)

Also: 90 numbered copies, signed by Dick ($25.00)
An edition of 410 copies ($10.00)

 

  •  
wpe17.jpg (4689 bytes)   Magnum, pb, 04290-6, Sep 1979, 172pp, 95p (Claydon, Hook & Mann)

HISTORY

      With the expansion of Dr. FUTURITY out of the way in mid-1959, PKD turned now to his new love, Anne, and the novel he would write which included her as a character. For PKD has said that Fay was based on Anne, he told her so during their honeymoon period.

     If PKD followed Sutin’s observation that Dick:

   As a good provider, {…} would keep a pace of two novels per year – each novel taking six weeks for the first draft and another six weeks for the second (retyping and minor copy editing). Between each novel would be six months devoted to thinking out the next plot.

    Then we have PKD thinking about CRAP ARTIST in the Summer of 1959 and actually writing the novel late in the year. We know from a copy of a letter in the SMLA’s files that Don Wickenden, then an editor at Harcourt, Brace Publishers, had turned down CRAP ARTIST by Oct 29 1959 and, therefore, that the novel was done by then.

    With CRAP ARTIST the Agency tried a new tack; sending the novel to the publishers as if it was written by Jack Isidore and not Philip K. Dick. But the publishers were not fooled for long. In his letter commenting on CRAP ARTIST Wickenden wrote:

    How many pages of CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST had I read before I began to suspect that the actual author was Philip K. Dick? Five, perhaps. By the time I’d read ten I was sure.

    Another publisher, Knopf, almost bought the novel in 1960 but asked for a rewrite. But PKD couldn’t do it, despite Scott Meredith’s urging that this was his big chance. He told wife Anne:

    It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m not able to.

    Lawrence Sutin thinks that Dick was not able to because the story didn’t need it. Perhaps, also, this is a novel that Dick wrote in the full flush of love with Anne and, though he still loved her, he could not be in that same circumstance again.

    Grove Press was also interested in CRAP ARTIST but decided not to go with it because "there was no sex in it."

     PKD saw CRAP ARTIST as a bridge between his Ace Double type of science fiction and THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. Later, in 1980 toward the end of his life, PKD dismissed his straight fiction including CRAP ARTIST:

    I really liked that one, myself, {…} But I've lost interest in writing non-sf. Their time has passed. They're essentially fossils. When I'm dead and lying in the marble orchards, I won't stop my heirs from digging them up and publishing them. But I don't want to flood the market with a bunch of my old non-sf now.

    The plot of CRAP ARTIST is complicated, having to do with Jack Isidore – the crap artist of the title – and his relationship with his sister Fay and her husband Charley Hume. Dick employs several viewpoints as he writes of Fay’s affair with Nat Anteil, the young husband of Gwen. Charley decides to murder his bitch wife, Fay, but in the end instead kills all his pet sheep and then himself. Hilarious at times and shocking at others, CRAP ARTIST is the best of PKD’s straight novels and the only one to see publication in his lifetime. PKD himself said that it was "about one-half fiction and one-half the truth." A limited edition was published by Paul Williams’ Entwhistle Press in 1975.

CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST (subtitled ‘A Chronicle of Verified Scientific Fact’) rates


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

FOREIGN EDITIONS


NOTES

TTHC 358-9

The book, subtitled "A Chronicle of Verified Scientific Fact" as if it were indeed written by Jack Isidore, began making the rounds of the various publishing houses under Jack Isidore’s name, houses Dick had failed in so often before. In Oct 1959 Don Wickenden of Harcourt, Brace (who had, it will be recalled, regretfully passed on A TIME FOR GEORGE STAVROS) sent along his rejection of the new novel; he wrote that it was "the best thing of his that I’ve seen."

How many pages of CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST had I read before I began to suspect that the actual author was Philip K. Dick? Five, perhaps. By the time I’d read ten I was sure.

Lord RC, from Rickman: Alfred A. Knopf was also interested in CONFESSIONS.. if he could "make the main female character more sympathetic. Phil said he couldn’t figure out how to do that." (Anne) . The record indicates that the firm indeed sent Dick a list of suggestions in Aug 1960 (which don’t survive); Meredith’s accompanying note advised Dick to "study (his book) objectively, as if it were someone else’s work… I know a writer of your ability can find ways to supply what’s missing in the present manuscript." All for naught…

Another firm which passed on CONFESSIONS was Grove Press… They almost bought Dick’s novel, Dick’s sub-agent at Meredith’s told Paul Williams some years later, but pulled back because "there was no sex in it." {…} TTHC 358

DI 104

…Knopf almost bought it (COACA) in 1960, But asked for a rewrite instead. The Meredith Agency told him it was his big chance. "I can’t rewrite this book"" Phil explained to Anne. "It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m not able to."

{Sutin sees CRAP ARTIST as not needing to be rewritten}

DI 107

As a good provider, he would keep a pace of two novels per year – each novel taking six weeks for the first draft and another six weeks for the second (retyping and minor copy editing). Between each novel would be six months devoted to thinking out the next plot.

{…}Phil might make preliminary notebook entries, but the novel took true shape only in actual composition

The intuitive – I might say, gestalting – method by which I operate has a tendency to cause me to "see" the whole thing at once. Evidently there is a certain historical validation to this method; Mozart, to name one particular craftsman, operated this way. The problem for him was simply to get it down. If he lived long enough he did so; if not, then not. […] The idea is there in the first jotting-down; it never changes – it only emerges by stages and degrees. If I believed that the first jotting-down actually carried the whole idea, I would be a poet, not a novelist; I believe that it takes 60,000 words for me to put down my original idea in its absolute entirety.

 Philip K. Dick: Confessions Of A SF Artist
[An interview with Philip K. Dick]
by George Cain and Dana Longo

"I'll never be as prolific as I was," Dick laments. "For short stories, the financial return is just not great enough. I'm saving my ideas for novels now. I personally enjoy novels more, anyway. I have a chance to develop the people, flesh out the characters. I'm primarily interested in the people."

   While he is cutting down on his short story writing, Dick has stopped writing non-sf altogether. Works such as Confessions of a Crap Artist (1959) are things of the past. "I really liked that one, myself," comments Dick. "But I've lost interest in writing non-sf. Their time has passed. They're essentially fossils. When I'm dead and lying in the marble orchards, I won't stop my heirs from digging them up and publishing them. But I don't want to flood the market with a bunch of my old non-sf now." {Denver Clarion, October 23, 1980}

PKDS#29 (Sep 1992)

See this issue for "Comments on CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST." By John Boonstra.

A Conversation With Philip K. Dick

By Richard A. Lupoff

    But when I started to write science fiction, the people in Berkeley would say, "but are you doing anything serious?" That used to make me really mad. I’d get really mad and I’d, all of a sudden, just drop my posing and get really furious. And I’d say, "my science fiction is very serious." If I said anything at all. I usually just got so mad I couldn’t talk.

But the science fiction I wrote before I sold I took as seriously as the experimental stuff I wrote. I wrote a lot of experimental short stories.

LUPOFF: Did you sell any of them?

DICK: No. I submitted them to, like, Tiger’s Eye, but I was never able to sell any of them

LUPOFF: Are any of them still around?

DICK: No, they’re destroyed. All the manuscripts were destroyed.

LUPOFF: That’s too bad. Do you have any idea how many there were?

DICK: Oh, thirty maybe. And I wrote eleven experimental novels. They’re still around. They’re over at Cal State Fullerton.

LUPOFF: Do they include Crap Artist?

DICK: Confession of a Crap artist was one of them, but that came in 1959, that was later. That came before Man in the High Castle. That’s really the bridge between my Ace Double science fiction type of writing and Man in the High Castle. Actually, if you read what I wrote for Ace prior to Putnam’s buying Man in the High Castle, you cannot account for Man in the High Castle. It doesn’t seem to come out of Ace Books. But if you read Confessions of a Crap Artist and date it as 1959 and 1961 for Man in the High Castle, you can bridge the gap between the two. {Science Fiction Eye, Vol. 1, No. 2, August 1987, pp. 45-54}

THE NON-SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS

OF PHILIP K. DICK (1928–82) by Bruce Gillespie

None of these novels were published during the 1950s or 1960s, and only one, Confessions of a Crap Artist, appeared during the author's lifetime. In his biography of Philip Dick, Divine Invasions, Lawrence Sutin shows that this lack of success was a constant, inconsolable disappointment to Dick until he died. In 1960 he wrote that he was willing to "take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer". This dream had virtually died by January 1963 when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency "returned all of Phil's unsold mainstream novels in one big package that was dumped on his doorstep... These rejections coupled with the ray of hope of the Hugo [for The Man in the High Castle], made it official. After seven years, Phil's mainstream breakthrough effort was formally at an end." (DI)

These 1950s manuscripts were later stored at the library of the University of California at Fullerton, and remained largely unread, except by scholars like Kim Stanley Robinson, until after Dick's death in 1982.

But Phil Dick's dream of mainstream success never left him. He had fond hopes that The Man in the High Castle would be a general literary success as well as a Hugo winner. This has not happened. In his last years, he begged Dave Hartwell at Timescape Books to market The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer as general novels. This happened, but removing these books from the science fiction category seems merely to have deprived them of sales within the genre. {A talk written by Bruce Gillespie for the October 1990 meeting of the Nova Mob. First published in brg, No. 1, October 1990, for ANZAPA (Australia and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association)}

Influenced By

15) "I was very very very influenced by Nathaniel West for a while, and my idea of the American novel -- now we're getting away from the idea of the European novel, the French and Russian and Japanese novel, and into an idiomatic American novel with Nathaniel West..." ("Comments on Confessions Of A Crap Artist," PKDS Newsletter, No. 29, September 1992, p. 4; March 1981 interview)

16) "And when I wrote that I was influenced by Nathaniel West. I had read all of Nathaniel West, which is real easy as he only wrote four books." (interview: 4/22/81. Philip K. Dick: In His Own Words, by Gregg Rickman. Long Beach: Fragments West/The Valentine Press, 1984, p. 144)

{Compiled by Frank C. Bertrand. http://www.philipkdickfans.com/frank/influ1.htm}

LINKS

http://www.philipkdickfans.com/articles/chapter-two.html

http://www.philipkdickfans.com/coaca.htm


Collector Notes

EBAY 11-10-2000: Confessions of a Crap Artist Philip K. Dick $3.95 - Nov-19 no bids.

Rudy's Books: Oct 2000: Confessions of a Crap Artist Pocket 44213 1982 vg. $25.00

Phildickian: CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST. Pocket Books, pb, 42139, 1982. VG $10

Phildickian: CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST. Vintage, tp, 1991. F $10


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