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EYE IN THE SKY
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"Something had upset the natural laws of the universe"

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93

8  

Feb 1955

Mar 1957

THE WORLD JONES MADE

MARY AND THE GIANT

 

FIRST EDITIONS

ACE, pb, D-211, 1957, 255pp, $0.35, (Valigursky)
wpe13.jpg (3433 bytes) Arrow, pb, 005100-9, 1971, ?, 30p (?)
HISTORY

[Manuscript received at SMLA on 2-15-55]

    We can sense, from his comments, that Philip K. Dick was well-satisfied with EYE IN THE SKY: "I enjoyed writing all of them. But I think that if I could only choose a few, which, for example might escape World War III, I would choose, first, EYE IN THE SKY..." And, "I really like... EYE IN THE SKY."

    Plus the feedback he was getting was positive: "Tony Boucher gave it the best novel of the year rating, and in another magazine Venture Ted Sturgeon called it, 'the kind of a small trickle of good sf which justifies reading all the worthless stuff.'" And a letter from Don Wollheim at ACE Books further testifies to everyone's satisfaction with EYE: "... Glad you liked the cover, and especially the presentation of EYE IN THE SKY. We can't keep a copy in the office; visiting fans keep carrying them off..."

    That cover of the first ACE edition, D-211, published in 1957, is of course one of the most memorable in the annals of science fiction cover art. The huge eyeball pinning the mortals in its penetrating glare. The painting is by Valigursky. As an extra toke to his satisfaction, EYE was published as a full-size ACE Double, the pages not shared with another writer turned upside-down. In a sense, then, this was PKD's first full published novel. SOLAR LOTTERY, THE WORLD JONES MADE and THE MAN WHO JAPED were all half of an ACE Double.

    But, as might be expected with PKD, getting the novel on the newsstands was no simple thing. Apparently he wrote the book quickly enough: "EYE IN THE SKY... I wrote in two weeks..." and: "I don't know where I got the dialogue from, it just rolled out of me ... It took only two weeks to write the first draft. Ah, but could I do it now! I'm far too tired." But one wonders if he told Ms. Meisal that he wrote it under the influence of amphetamines? PKD began using amphetamines in the 50s:

[Paul Williams]: When did you start taking them? {amphetamines}
[PKD]: Well, in the... Fifties.
[Williams] So really early on in your writing career?
[PKD] Yeah. Um, by the time I wrote EYE IN THE SKY. And I attributed my speed of writing, my rapidity, and my high productivity and my pushing myself, to the amphetamines. And then I find now I do exactly the same {without}."

    But no matter how he wrote it he promptly sent the manuscript off, under the title WITH OPENED MIND, to the Scott Meredith Literary Agency in New York, where it was received on February 15, 1955. Two years before it would see publication in 1957 (indeed, THE MAN WHO JAPED, written shortly after EYE IN THE SKY, saw publication first in 1956). What took so long?

    The manuscript was apparently welcome at SMLA where the Agency reader thought it "'Very odd... Off trail but good of its kind.' He suggested trying Ballantine Books first, but they and several other publishing houses passed on it; it didn't sell until its eleventh go-round and second try at ACE -- after some extensive rewriting."

    We know that Don Wollheim at ACE liked it but,

"'I was very reluctant to do it. I enjoyed it immensely. But paperbacks were in a young state, and we didn't want to offend anybody. Here was a book that would offend religious people -- God enters it, the Eye of God.' He feared that the American Legion might object, and other groups. 'Wyn read EYE before we published it, and we talked a lot about it. He'd been a Socialist in his youth so he took a chance -- if they argue, they argue. No one complained.'"

    Nevertheless some changes had to be made. Wyn insisted on it:

"What did A.A.Wyn object to in all this? Sylvester's fanatical universe, in which engineers work on the problem of 'maintaining a constant supply of untainted grace for all major population centers', was just the sort of thing that could piss off the American Legion and fundamentalist Christians. And so Wyn insisted that Sylvester's God be called "(Tetragrammaton)" and that his "Babiist" cult be designated Moslem in origin -- how many outraged Islamic sf readers could there be?"

"'Yes, it was safer that way,' says Wollheim. 'God is God, but we weren't going to step on somebody's toes.'"

Dick didn't seem to object to the rewriting chore: "... I had new ideas to put in, so I didn't mind; in fact, I think it came out better -- which is an anomaly..."

    The happy result of all this was the publication of EYE IN THE SKY in 1957 as a full-size ACE novel which meant Dick was paid the full price of $1500. Not bad for two weeks work.

    With the exception of The Unreconstructed M, PKD stopped writing short stories in May 1955. It is likely that after finishing EYE IN THE SKY in mid-February that he worked on a revision of WORLD OF CHANCE for Rich & Cowan publishers in Britain, then wrote The Unreconstructed M before turning to MARY AND THE GIANT.

    I find it odd that the evidence points to MARY AND THE GIANT as having been written just before THE MAN WHO JAPED. MARY is straight fiction and JAPED is science fiction. Would PKD have finished EYE IN THE SKY and then turned to straight fiction only to turn around again and write science fiction?

    But, possibly, during the work on MARY AND THE GIANT he took the time to crank out THE MAN WHO JAPED which, by general agreement, isn’t one of his more stellar novels.

    As for the plot of EYE IN THE SKY, after an accident at a Bevatron a group of tourists is dosed with radiation. When they awake they find themselves in a reality which they slowly discover reflects the inner religious world of one of their members. But which one? Eventually they kill the suspect and return to the real reality only to find that this one, too, is false and another subjective world has taken over. In progressively shorter terms they live through more subjective worlds. But will they ever return to the objective world to which they all agree is the true one?

    In many ways EYE IN THE SKY is the ultimate ‘what is reality?’ novel. One can see it’s descendence in a direct line from THE COSMIC PUPPETS and going on to TIME OUT OF JOINT, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, A MAZE OF DEATH and so on. It’s also a funny book that well deserves ˘˘˘˘˘

Essay, slightly modified, taken from FDO#6, written by Lord RC


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

FOREIGN EDITIONS:


NOTES

PKDS 1-2:

And I reply that VOICES IN THE STREET was written circa 1954. PKD's first mainstream novel and possibly his first novel (... I seem to recall he also said at the time that EYE IN THE SKY may have been written before SOLAR LOTTERY).

PKDS 2-12

Standing there at that point I did some deep thinking. It seemed to me that magazine length writing was going downhill -- and not paying that much.You might get $20 for a story and $4000 for a novel. So I decided to bet everything on the novel; I wrote THE WORLD JONES MADE and later on, THE MAN WHO JAPED. And then a novel that seemed to be a genuine breakthrough for me: EYE IN THE SKY. Tony gave it the best novel of the year rating, and in another magazine Venture, Ted Sturgeon called it 'the kind of small trickle of good sf which justifies reading all the worthless stuff.' Well, I had been right. I was a better novel writer than a short story writer. Money had nothing to do with it; I liked writing novels and they went over well." {PKD 1968}

PKDS 2-13:

I enjoyed writing all of them. But I think that if I could only choose a few, which for example might escape World War 3, I would choose, first, EYE IN THE SKY...

PKDS 4-11:

(The Missouri Review, Vol.VII, #2. Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, 1984) ... and an essay by PKDS member Douglas Mackey on "Science Fiction and Gnosticism", which includes discussion of EYE IN THE SKY...

PKDS 6-10:

He also points out that JAPED was written after EYE IN THE SKY...

PKDS 6-12

EYE IN THE SKY, which I think is a much better book, I wrote in two weeks...

... I really like... EYE IN THE SKY... {PKD>Apel & Briggs 1977}

PKDS 12-10:

Bastei-Lubbe Publishers (Germany) has issued DIE WELTEN DES PHILIP K. DICK, a 795-page anthology with the Barclay Shaw cover from Bluejay's TIME OUT OF JOINT. It contains... EYE IN THE SKY...

PKDS 13-10:

EYE IN THE SKY prologue written by PKD. {see same for full text}

PKDS 13-15:

1986 saw Japanese publication of EYE IN THE SKY (a new translation by Keisuke Ohtake, who has translated Lovecraft and Colin Wilson.

PKDS 15-11:

Arrow Publishers (UK) has reissued EYE IN THE SKY (paperback).

PKDS 16-7:

EYE is coming from Lynx Books, if there really is such a publisher.

PKDS 17-6:

Scott hasn't yet shown us anything of yours in that non-stf category; probably he's trying them out on hardcover markets first. But please remind him that ACE Books might be especially suggestive to your work -- if you think any of it would fit the paperback market (...). We've done quite a range of original and reprint modern novels... You mention having written but 4 sf novels. What then was that one you had in the second issue of Satelite? I haven't seen it, but why not have Scott submit that one too? Then we could have 5 Dick fantasies... Glad you liked the cover, and especially the presentation of EYE IN THE SKY. We can't keep a copy in the office; visiting fans keep carrying them off... All best wishes, Cordialy yours Donald A. Wollheim {3-29-57}

PKDS 20-15:

In the US MacMillan Books is launching a new trade paperback science fiction line of classic reissues (apparantly as part of its Collier Books line); one of the first four titles (now scheduled for Fall '89) will be PKD's EYE IN THE SKY.

PKDS 22-12:

Jim Frenkel the editor who bought the above titles for Dell and then Bluejay, ahs continued to demosntrate his love for PKD's work by recommending EYE IN THE SKY as one of the first four titles in a new series of paperback reprints he's editing, published by MacMillan's Collier Books line under the name Nucleus Books. EYE is in the stores now at $4.50, with the best cover the book has ever had (doesn't look much like the city of Berkeley though)

PKDS 22-13:

In June 1957 there's a long letter responding to Boucher's review of EYE IN THE SKY. He mentions having to rewrite large portions of the novel for Wolheim: "But I had new ideas to put in, so I didn't mind; in fact I think it came out better -- which is an anomaly. The other three were changed too, cut down rather than changed for content, and they did suffer...

PKDS 24-12:

The first Finnish translation of Dick's novels (EYE IN THE SKY) came out ten years ago... (info from Toni Jerrman)

PKDS 25-20:

THE GANYMEDE TAKEOVER and EYE IN THE SKY are forthcoming soon from Legend (UK).

PKDS 26-1:

{From a letter from PKD to Richard Benyo, Dec. 10, 1962): ... Of them all so far my own favorite is EYE IN THE SKY, which Anthony Boucher liked the best too...

PKDS 26-11:

SOLAR LOTTERY and EYE IN THE SKY are in print from MacMillan-Collier.

PKDS 26-12:

EYE IN THE SKY is in print from Legend (UK).

PKDS 26-17:

Enthusiastic review of EYE IN THE SKY in the L.A. Reader (12-15-89).

TTHC 60:

Or take Phil's extremely conflicted feelings towards his mother, as allegorized in his fiction. Joan Reiss in EYE IN THE SKY, is assigned many of Dorothy's superficial characteristics ("brisk and severe, she strode into the living room, dressed in a strict gray business suit, low heels, horn-rimmed glasses." She even, like Dorothy, reads the New Yorker.) Yet the story reveals her as a paranoid; worse, in the fantasy universe out of Joan's mind the novels' characters inhabit for two chapters of the novel, Joan consigns the novel's protagonist, Jack Hamilton, first to an attack by a great spider hidden in his home's basement ("His trouser was coated by a thick blob of gummy substance as if a giant slug had squirmed across him") and then to near consumption by his house, which takes on a man's features and tries to swallow him. As he and his friends try to escape "the house creature" and "the warm wet flesh of the creatures mouth" Jack looks despairingly at "the dim flicker of stars beyond the window, tiny spots of brilliance a long way off." Did the child Philip see these stars while he was being raped? And in these stars do we not see the first faint glimmer of the stars that transform themselves years later into the Albemuth/VALIS vision?

TTHC 194:

References to the progressive politics of the late 40s dot Dick's later fiction. There's a statue on Mars of Alger Hiss, "the first UN martyr," in MARTIAN TIME-SLIP. In one of the worlds of EYE IN THE SKY the characters find they've attended "a communist picnic, a Progressive rally with folk dances, songs of Loyalist Spain, slogans and speeches and petitions."

TTHC 240:

Dick was what he was: pro-American, in the liberal Democratic sense: hostile to the Stalinist Left: hostile to McCarthyism as well. Kleo says her husbands own attitudes were "liberal, anti-authoritarian, which means he was anti-communist as well as the right wing. To the best of my knowledge he never participated in any political act." His novel EYE IN THE SKY, which deals with some of these issues, is at once both anti-communist and anti-"loyaly check." Like RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH some two decades later, it reveals its most virulent anti-communist as a sleeper agent for the USSR.

TTHC 280:

Four of them wre written in a two-year period, beginning with SOLAR LOTTERY and THE WORLD JONES MADE in 1954, followed by EYE IN THE SKY and THE MAN WHO JAPED in 1955. At that point he stopped, concentrating for the rest of the decade on his straight novels. All but one of the SF novels he published later in the decade were simply expansions of novellas written in the early 50s.

TTHC 293:

Additional sf novels by Dick continued to appear and to sell over the next few years, four of them altogether: THE COSMIC PUPPETS(1957), TIME OUT OF JOINT(1958), DR. FUTURITY(1959) and VULCAN'S HAMMER(1960). However, all of these books save TIME OUT OF JOINT were merely expansions of novellas he'd writen and sold in the early 50s.

TTHC 295:

Two months after completing THE WORLD JONES MADE, Dick dispatched the manuscript of his next novel, EYE IN THE SKY, to his agents in New York, where it arrived on Feb 15, 1955. "I don't know where I got the dialogue from, it just rolled out of me," he wrote Sandra Meisal in 1970. "It took only two weeks to write the first draft. Ah, but could I do it now! I'm far too tired." {PKD>Sandra Meisal, 8-27-70} Nine years later he wrote the same correspondent that "the climate of reactionary terror was still very much with us when I wrote it. The FBI still visited me several times a month to se how and what I was doing." {PKD>Meisal, 7-5-79}

TTHC 296:

The roots of {EYE IN THE SKY} are in the "group mind" of such stories as Damon Knight's "Four In One" (1953), a story Dick is on record as admiring; and Fredric Brown's "What Mad Universe" (1949), a tale of bizarre realities alternate to our own, figments of one man's imagination... Ever the craftsman, Dick told Ed Meskys in the early 60s "how it was important to maintain the pace of the book by making each adventure shorter than the one before it." {Ed Meskys "Bumbejimas 3"}

Submitted to the agency under the title WITH OPENED MIND, its reader thought it "very odd... Off trail but good of its kind." He suggested trying Ballantine Books first, but they and several other houses passed on it; it didn't sell until its eleventh go-round, and second try at ACE -- after some extensive rewritting. For as we have it today EYE IN THE SKY is a censored text. Not for its political content -- as moderate as that now seems to us -- but for its religious "blasphemy." As Wollheim puts it, upon its first submission "I was very reluctant to do it. I enjoyed it immensely. But paperbacks were in a young state, and we didn't want to offend anybody. Here was a book that would offend religious people -- God enters it, the Eye of God." He feared that the American Legion might object, and other groups. "Wyn read EYE before we published it, and we talked a lot about it. He'd been a socialist in his youth so he took a chance -- if they argue, they argue. No one complained." The major reworking thus came in the earliest part of the book. Originally it was the Judeo-Christian God whose Eye stares at Hamilton and McFeyffe; now it was the god of a minor, imaginary cult. "Yes, it was safer that way," says Wollheim. "God is God, but we weren't going to step on somebody's toes." Ironically, when the novel appeared, Damon Knight took Dick to task for satirising "Back street cults, 19th century prudery, paranoid maiden ladies (and) 1930's parlor pinkery..." {Knight: "In Search Of Wonder."}

Knight, an industry insider, did however rap the books "courageous editor" and not the author for the way ACE could "afford to thumb its nose at any Moslems (sic) who by chance should pick up the book.."{Ibid 233} Wollheim did like EYE IN THE SKY enough to it the honour of taking it out of the ACE Double format and publishing it as a single volume. "EYE IN THE SKY was a single." says Wollheim. "It was an unusual book and it was too long and you wouldn't want to cut it." As it was a single and not a double Dick was paid, Wollheim says, a full $1500.

In 1987 the PKDS NEWSLETTER printed a prologue to the novel, found in Dick's papers, in which the books characters comment on it. {...} Wollheim says he doesn't remember seeing any prologue; we can deduce it was out of the manuscript before he saw it.

TTHC 322:

...He told Paul Williams in 1974 that he was taking amphetamines "by the time I wrote EYE IN THE SKY. And I attributed my speed of writing, my rapidity, and my productivity, and my pushing myself, to the amphetamines." {OAR 122}

TTHC 390:

1955 n.d. MARY AND THE GIANT (1987) 2-15 EYE IN THE SKY (1957) 6-2 The Unreconstructed M (Science Fiction Stories, Jan 1957) 10-17 THE MAN WHO JAPED.

TTHC 424n:

{See: TTHC 179}

TTHC 424fn:

{Published as "EYE IN THE SKY Prologue". Its origin came, Dick told Philip Jose Farmer, when he told a "girl on our field... the plot and she said... 'the protagonist is a homosexual.' Then she left, I actually wrote an intrduction defending the protagonist against her slanders, but later threw it away, deciding that the hell with it." {PKD>Farmer, 2-24-74}

TTHC 431n:

21. Dick occasionally griped with humerous resignation about what he says Norman Spinrad dubbed "peeled-eyeball covers" accompanies --what else? -- ACE's first edition of EYE IN THE SKY. Yet Wollheim wrote Dick "glad you liked the cover" in 1957. {Wollheim>Dick, 3-29-57} {Published in 'Editor's Letters To PKD}

IPOV 76:

EYE depicts fake (private) worlds masquerading as Real, one after another (PKD, 1978}

IPOV 165:

So JOINT, EYE STIGMATA, UBIK, MAZE & TEARS are progressive parts of one unfolding true narrative, in which the genuine Hermetic macro-microcosmology is put forth. The spurious world discerned for what it is, & in MAZE & esp. TEARS

the true state of things put forth -- to jog our memories six novels interlocked, along with a number of stories. We are not to be allowed out fugue (sleep & hallucinated worlds), because, due to the BIP from which we fled, this fugue over the past 5000 years turned lethal: the BIP grew and grew without non-unwitting collusion. {...} The info conveyed chronologically in the sequence of books is interesting.

Plus such stories as "Impostor", "Retreat Syndrome", "Electric Ant", "Faith Of...", "Human Is" & "Precioius Artifact", a very good one. 7 related themes in  TIME-SLIP, MITHC, PENULTIMATE TRUTH, GAME-PLAYERS, also even UNTELEPORTED MAN, (ANDROIDS DREAM treats memory-identity theme)... {c.1977}

IPOV 177:

EYE, JOINT, 3 STIGMATA, UBIK & MAZE are the same novel written over and over again. The characters are all out cold and lying around together on the floor, mass hallucinating a world. Why have I written this up at least five times? Because -- as I discovered in 3-74 when I experienced anamnesis, remembered I'm really an apostoic xtian, & saw ancient Rome -- This is our condition: we're mass-halucinating this 1970s world... {1978}

IPOV 184

In the James-James dream I saw the PTG task force arriving silently & swiftly. So they must be close by, now (but to say "now" is to fall into the delusion of regarding linear time as real. They could be seconds away. But Palmer Eldritch can spin out his hallucinatory world & time for what seems -- just seems -- forever, for centuries. It's like EYE when actual rescue is right at hand but they can't wake up. Yes, we are asleep like they are in EYE & we can't wake up & see past (through) the dream -- the spurious world with its own time -- to the rescue outside -- outside now, not later. Perception of the PTG task force is not perception of a future event, but, as in EYE, of what is really there now. {PKD drawing illustrating this} So EYE collates well with STIGMATA re spurious world, re being unconscious, re no real actual time elapsing (& probably, too, with MAZE), (in MAZE the salvific element reaching into our spurious world is treated so MAZE adds the crucial element to EYE which completes the picture). As in DO ANDROIDS, the saviour seems to be fake (invented) but turns out to be real. Everything here is reversed; the real is fake and the fake is real. (the mirror effect). After all, the master magician rules here, & has power over our perceptions. (As in STIGMATA). {1978}

IPOV 187:

In some respects EYE is the most accurate of all: Great hunks of spurious time (events) are reeled out, whereas only seconds in RET have taken place. If we didn't dream we couldn't even imagine such a thing, much less believe it. The theme of "they're all out of it" appears in: EYE they're unconscious and hallucinating various worlds. JOINT the world is fake -- & the time is mistaken MITHC it's one of several worlds and not the real one TIME-SLIP fake psychotic realities STIGMATA fake malignant realities UBIK they're dead and receiving messages from the real world MAZE they're jointly hallucination (sic) a spurious world TEARS several competing worlds exist SCANNER the whole futuristic parts could be hallucinations & the protagonist lives in two different mutually exclusive worlds competing with each other Secondary false perceptions appear in: CLANS psychotic perceptions that compete GAME-PLAYERS levels of illusion for sinister purposes COSMIC PUPPETS, one world underlying another (!) So one dozen novels & too many stories to count narrate a message of one world obscuring or replacing another real one, spurious memories, & hallucinated (irreal) worlds... {1978}

SL:74 51:

{To Philip Jose Farmer, 4-15-74} ... I wrote and wrote... after all, I wrote my fourth novel EYE IN THE SKY in two weeks, so this merely shows I'm in love with what I'm doing...

SL:74 107:

{To Scott Meredith, 5-14-74} ACE BOOKS BY PHILIP K. DICK: (not in order of publication) ... 4. EYE IN THE SKY, at least 3 editions (2 US, 1 UK). Both US and foreign royalty forms received. ... (In a seperate letter to SM of the same date): For instance, I know of three seperate English language editions of EYE IN THE SKY. Three. ...

SL:74 123

{To S. Meredith, 5-30-74} ... On foreign sales which ACE has not told us the truth about, they do list EYE IN THE SKY, but keep after them here, as well as on THE PRESERVING MACHINE. ...

SL:74 172:

{To Claudia Bush, 7-14-74} ... Much of my writing, all the way back to EYE IN THE SKY, has had a religious theme...

OnPKD 3:

The novels before 1962 are approximations to such a technique of multi-focal narrative. It's lower case limit and primitive seed, the one-here-at-the-center narrative, is to be found in EYE IN THE SKY and, with a half-hearted try at two subsidiary foci, in THE MAN WHO JAPED...{Suvin}

OnPKD 19:

The time is 1953, when anti-communist frenzy --...-- had overwhelmed the United States. Dick will react to this neo-Puritan climate, displaying the same civil committment as the best "social science fiction", in THE MAN WHO JAPED and especially in that gem of SF stories EYE IN THE SKY -- a pretext to ridicule the neurosis of American society in the 50s, but at the same time a reaffirmation of that relativistic vision of reality which was becoming ever more central to Dick's fiction. In so doing, Dick was partly abandoning the objectives of "social science fiction". In Dick, in fact, criticism of American society does not presuppose the faith that evil can be excorsized. His pessimism is not only social, but concerns itself with all of man's existence. Though always based on an analysis of American reality, it is metaphysical and existential. {Pagetti}

OnPKD 93:

1/. Ideology as the Construction of Reality: EYE IN THE SKY. EYE is the most interesting of the novels from Dick's first period (1955-60). It is composed of not one but four illusory realities which are the result of an accident at the Belmont Bevatron. Eight people fall into the "Proton Beam Deflector": and during the few minutes of objective time that it takes to rescue them, they experience the "subjective worlds" of four of their number. The first and longest "fantasy world" is that of a religious fanatic, "an old man who picked up a screwball cult in Chicago in the 'Thirties... We're in his universe, where all his pious and ignorant supertitions function." (ch.8 114)

OnPKD 157:

... Dick was first seen in France as an author to be read politically; indeed, such a reading at the time was considered the only valid one...{R.Bozzetto}

OAR 122:

(WILLIAMS) When did you start taking them? {amphetamines}
(Dick) Well... in the Fifties.
(W) So really early on in your writing career?
(PKD) Yeah, um, by the time I wrote EYE IN THE SKY. And I attributed my speed of writing, my rapidity, and my high productivity and my pushing myself, to the amphetamines. And then I find now I do exactly the same.
(W) Without.

OAR 179:

EYE IN THE SKY (original ms title WITH OPENED MIND. Received SMLA 2-15-55, published 1957. {Preceded by JONES and followed by MARY AND THE GIANT and THE MAN WHO JAPED.

DI 90:

In fact, Wollheim called for substantial changes in SOLAR LOTTERY, THE WORLD JONES MADE and VULCAN'S HAMMER. Phil paid attention, though he did not always accede to Wollheim's demands. Sometimes the changes were insisted upon by Wyn. It was Wyn who raised objections to EYE IN THE SKY, Phil's self-termed "breakthrough" novel, to which Wollheim paid the ultimate tribute -- a publication as a "double size" book all its own.

{... ...}

What did A.A. Wyn object to in all this? Sylvester's fanatical universe, in which engineers work on the problem of "maintaining a constant supply of untainted grace for all major population centers", was just the sort of thing that could piss off the American Legion and fundamentalist Christians. And so Wyn insisted that Sylvester's god be called ("Tetragrammaton") and that his "Babiist" cult be designated Moslem in origin -- how many outraged Islamic SF readers could there be?
In retrospect Phil saw EYE as a parable like unto Plato's shadows on the walls of the cave: pointing us away from maya toward a recognition, if not of truth, then of the fact of our ignorance:

"My writing deals with hallucinated worlds, intoxicating and deluding drugs, & psychosis. But my writing acts as an antidote -- a detoxifying -- not intoxicating -- antidote. {...} It's like EYE when actual rescue is right at hand but they can't wake up. Yes, we are asleep like they are in EYE & we must wake up & see past (through) the dream -- the spurious world with its own time -- to the rescue outside -- outside now, not later.

EYE established Phil, at age 28, as one of the very best young sf writers. As a practical matter, however, ACE paid only a flat rate of one thousand dollars for Phil's SF novels -- with future royalties very much in doubt. There were other avenues to bolster his SF income. Phil recalled being offered, around 1957, a job writing radio scripts for the Captain Video program...
But beyond economics, Phil wanted to break through into the mainstream so badly he could taste it.And so, in 1957, just as the glowing reviews of EYE were pouring in, Phil informed Wollheim and Boucher --...--- that he was giving the field up to devote himself full time to mainstream novels.
{...}


In his EXEGESIS he wrote:

"EYE, "Joint", "Stigmata," "Ubik" & "Maze" are the same novel written over and over again. The characters are all out cold lying around ogether on the floor* {*mass hallucinating a world}. Why have I written this up at least five times?
[What's got to be gotten over is the false idea that an hallucination is a private matter. Not hallucination but joint hallucination is my topic, including false memories.

IHOW 61:

(PKD)Somewhere the transition occurs (between writing bad short stories and better sf), and I was able to write decent science fiction. And probably the transition occurs with EYE IN THE SKY which, in a way is a fantasy.
(GR) You found a way to incorporate fantasy into sf.
(PKD) Yeah. Because what must be taken into account is the state of the art in the early 50s. Astounding still dominated the field, with hard-core, nuts and bolts science fiction, the Hal Clement stuff. The kind of science fiction that I do, that I do well, was not published then...

IHOW 66:

(PKD) But he {Wollheim} did like EYE IN THE SKY, and did bring it out as a single because he liked it, but he didn't tell me that. I learned that he had liked it because I read an ad that he had written. And he retitled most of them...EYE IN THE SKY was his title. {WITH OPENED MIND}

IHOW 72:

(GR) What kind of mail did you get in the 50s?
(PKD) I didn't get anything. I got no mail. I got one letter on EYE IN THE SKY from a guy whose book I had read. Murray Teigh Boom was his name. He'd written a book on numismatics, on counterfeiting coins, that I had read and he read EYE IN THE SKY and said it would make a wonderful movie. It was the first fan letter I ever got...

IHOW 120:

(PKD) ...That's another thing that indicates that I can't really be said honestly to be a Communist. I parodied and savagely attacked them in EYE IN THE SKY. And Poul Anderson noticed that. Poul said he thought that part where the Communist slogans fall out of the sky, fiery symbols fall from the heavens, and set fire to somebody's house was one of the funniest things he had ever read.
EYE IN THE SKY was not only openly attacking the McCarthy witch-hunts, because that was writen during the McCarthy witch-hunt period, but I was also attacking communism too. I was attacking them both. So I don't understand this business [of saying I'm a Marxist].

SL:38 SL-38 35

Dear Tony,

    I noticed your encouraging review of EYE IN THE SKY in F&SF, and of course it made me feel good. Since you have always taken an interest in my work (heck, you started me off!) you probably won't be too bored if I cry on your shoulder concerning this book and all the rest of it. To tell you the truth EYE IN THE SKY is not a terribly recent novel of mine; in fact it was written before THE MAN WHO JAPED. And the reason that it did not appear until now is that nobody wanted to touch it because of the various "controversial" ideas. Donald Wollheim at ACE had it a long time ago and returned it with regrets. But evidently after they had put so much into my stuff (after they had bought three) they felt they could go ahead and take a chance. Even so I had to rewrite large portions of it. But I had new ideas to put in, so I didn't mind; in fact, I think it came out better -- which is an anomaly...

    Where the real crying on the shoulder comes in is at the money point... on a book like EYE IN THE SKY which you seem to feel is a worthy contribution to the field (and thanks for that) I get so little return that financially it isn't really worth it on a strictly cold-blooded basis. Figuring work-hours versus pay, its a losing struggle at this pay rate, not to mention the holy anger that a writer feels to see his stuff go for peanuts when he knows -- he just plain knows --that his stuff is worth far more.Yet again I say, thank God for ACE; they've kept me alive. If it hadn't been for them I'd no longer be in the writing business. As Scott points out, it's one thousand from ACE compared with nothing but talk from the other publishers. And here, of course, is the tragedy; no hardcover house was even remotely interested in, say, EYE IN THE SKY. (I did get a letter from the editor-in-chief at Putnam, as I recall, saying that they had read it but that it was simply not well enough done to go into their list). Beyond that no hardcover house said anything at all, but I know Scott tried it around -- for a couple of years.... ... {PKD>A. Boucher, June 3, 1957}

For Dickheads Only (FDO) #6, 1996

   This issue of FDO is devoted to EYE IN THE SKY and contains the above essay by Lord RC and:


COLLECTOR'S NOTES

Phildickian: EYE IN THE SKY, pb, Ace, D211, 1957. VG $35

Phildickian: EYE IN THE SKY, pb, Arrow, pb, 1987. VG $10

Phildickian: EYE IN THE SKY, pb, Collier, tp, 15910, 1989. NF $10

Phildickian: EYE IN THE SKY, Gregg, hb, 1979. NF $175


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