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OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8
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"What had answered mankind’s call for help? And at what price?"

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<6-11-68

Jun 1970

A MAZE OF DEATH

FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID

 

FIRST EDITIONS

wpe16.jpg (3442 bytes) ACE, pb, 64400, Jun 1970, 189pp, $0.60 (Schoenherr)
wpe17.jpg (3800 bytes) Panther, pb, 04295-4, 0ct 1976, 211pp, 60p (Jim Burns)
HISTORY

   During the time Philip K. Dick and his agent were selling publication rights for A MAZE OF DEATH to Doubleday, they were also preparing the ground for writing a new novel for Don Wollheim at Ace Books. This novel would eventually be published by Ace in June 1970 as OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8.

    It all started at the Baycon Science Fiction Convention held in San Francisco in August 1968. At this convention Dick had met his long-time Ace editor, Don Wollheim and they’d discussed Dick’s writing something new for Ace. In a letter to Scott Meredith in October, Dick mentions this and informs Meredith that he will start a new novel for Ace:

    I just now received a very nice letter from Don Wollheim, in which he picks up where he and I left off at the convention. At that time I told Don I wanted to do another novel for Ace, and in his letter he asks if I meant that and still mean it…

    {…}(By the way -- Don wants my material presented directly to him and not through Terry Carr. He says, <<... this is for me and would be published under my editorship.>>
    Because of Don's interest I will start as soon as possible on another new novel... but it will take a while. Would he buy an outline and sample chapter? Or does he want the whole thing?

    Some early notes for FROLIX 8 were found in the BGSU Papers; these consisted of:

    Handwritten notes for another novel, OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 9. Five sheets of typing paper, folded in half, with writing on the recto and verso, and one sheet of unfolded lined notebook paper numbered 1-9. Ideas, characters and plot lines.

    Note that at this time our friends were from Frolix 9, not Frolix 8. For the next step in the progression of this novel we turn to Paul Williams who notes:

   On November 6, 1968, the Scott Meredith Literary Agency received from Philip K. Dick an outline and four sample chapters (40 manuscript pages) for a novel to be called OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8. This was only a week after he'd sent them the finished manuscript for A MAZE OF DEATH, written under contract to Doubleday.                          (October-November was typically the most productive time of year for Dick). The Agency immediately sent the FROLIX material to Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books, who purchased the unfinished book for $2500 (half on signing of the contract, half on delivery and acceptance of the finished manuscript)…

    To get a feeling of what Dick’s outlines were like we’ve included the first part of the one he wrote for FROLIX 8, courtesy of The Philip K. Dick Society:

Outline for science fiction novel called: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 5 8

   Theme:     Earth is invaded by aliens whom the great majority of people welcome.

    Locus of action:    Earth in 2190

    Situation:    Within the last century two new types of human beings have arisen as sport-mutations desired and preserved until by 2085 they fill the top levels of business organizations -- and, in the planet-wide federal government, all persons who pass the Civil Service tests must be either a New Man or an Unusual.

    The New Men possess magnified cerebral cortexes, the so-called Nodes of Rogers. Their I.Q. is twice that of a brilliant Old Man -- as the unevolved are called. (Most people are Old Men, so this makes the New Men an elite -- along with the Unusuals.)

    The Unusuals are mutants who have freak abilities; i.e. all the familiar psionic gifts having to do with reading minds, knowing the future, moving objects at a distance, etc. They, too, can pass the Civil Service tests and obtain G ratings. And hence rule, along with the New Men.

    Neither group likes the other very much. In particular, the New Men look down on the Unusuals as being merely odd.

    The highest official on Earth is the Council Chairman of the Extraordinary Committee For Public Safety. He, too, must hold a Civil Service rating. This office, over the years, has passed back and forth between New Men and Unusuals. At this moment the council Chairman is an Unusual named Willis Gramm.

    In addition one further group exists. An illegal organization by Old Men calling themselves -- not Old Men -- but Under Men. There is no way they can rule legally, but at least they can fight. But up to now they have done nothing but print tracts and hang up lurid posters in the dead of night.

    Their paralysis is understandable; they are waiting for their hope, their saviour. Led by their pro tem spokesman, Eric Cordon, who is in prison, they are standing firm until the day that Thors Provoni returns from the distant star-system which he is visiting. "Provoni will come back with help," the Under Men say, but, as they wait, the police (the PSS: Public Security Service) get them one by one; the police have successfully infiltrated the ranks of the Under Men and are destroying them from within.

Plot:    The novel opens in on Bobby and his father Nick Appleton. Along the crowded sidewalk, at a snail's pace, they are making -- or trying to make -- their way to the Federal Bureau of Personnel Standards; there, Bobby (who is twelve) will try to score highly enough on his first Civil Service test to give the Appleton family some hope for the future... since Nick himself has never been able to obtain even a G-one rating, the lowest there is.

{... ... See PKDS-19 for continuation}

    Although PKD wrote the outline and sample pages quickly enough, he took a little longer to finish the novel manuscript. But he tried to keep Don Wollheim happy as he went along slowly falling behind the deadline:

    Great news. Although I am a little late, I have finished the novel, OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, which, as you will recall, I am under contract for (sometime last month it was due). All I need do now is simply type up the final draft; there will be no further revision, that having already been done.

    The novel runs longer than my others. They all came out at about 215 typescript pages; this comes out to 268, which I would estimate as between 70,000 and 80,000 words. I hope that the length is satisfactory to you; i.e. the contract called for 70,000, rather than the usual 60,000, so I assumed you wanted a longer novel; hence this length, which was most carefully planned on my part; it didn't just happen that way.

    Not since EYE IN THE SKY have I so much enjoyed working on a novel. Usually I get up at noon; while writing this I got up at seven a.m. and tottered my way to the typewriter, my mind filled with dialog. There is nothing about reality-versus-illusion in it, no hallucinations, etc. I did depart from the latter part of the outline, but the book remains as the outline described it; I think it is fair to say that it is true to the outline.

    Please write me and let me know if the length is okay. But I really don't want to trim it; I would appreciate it very, very much if you let me leave it at its present length. Okay?

    This letter from April 1969 was not the end of it as a month later PKD still wasn’t done. In this next letter to Wollheim he is heartily sorry:

    I have been stewing and fretting about completing the final copy of OUR FRIENDS. First, when I began typing the final version, I discovered that I had to change some of the material. Then I came down with Hong Kong flu, with complications. And as the coup de grace, my Olympia typewriter broke down and had to go to the shop for repairs {...} typing 80,000 words on this damn {loaner} thing is next to impossible (it's a 1941 Royal). I have to have my own machine, and when I get it back I'll resume the typing of the final draft (which I had gotten well into before the troubles began). I am very sorry and I know the novel is overdue, but the revisions have been made {...}

    Whether that was the final excuse or his dog later ate the manuscript, I don’t know. But I think Dick was glad to get FROLIX 8 finished. It would be the only novel he completed in 1969.

    In any case, Ace Books published OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8 in a fine paperback edition in June 1970. A hardback from the SFBC followed in Feb 1971. First English publication came from Panther in Jan 1976. The novel has seen many editions but perhaps the most valuable to collectors is the 1989 hardback edition from Kinnell Publishers which has a great wraparound cover from Keith Roberts.

    For the ultimate collector the following edition was offered for sale on the internet via book-seller Phildickian.com:

    OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Kinnell, hb, 08-2, 1989 (1st UK hb). UNIQUE "founder’s copy" of first trade hardcover edition (preceded in hardcover only by an American book club edition). Bound-up from the first sheets supplied to the publisher by the printer. This copy was specially bound for the founder of Kinnell Publications Limited, in three-quarter brown Morocco (goat skin) with gold lettering on a maroon Morocco lettering-piece, gold stamping, raised bands, and with top and fore-edge gilt. This copy, and this copy only, has a colophon. This copy, then, is the first copy of the first trade hardcover edition, in a unique and handsome binding. FINE. With a signed letter of provenance from Kinnell’s founder, A. E. Cunningham. WITH an unfolded copy of the dust jacket. $3,000.00.

    With PKD’s outline of FROLIX 8 describing the plot and main characters, partially included above, it remains only for me to rate the novel with .


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


FOREIGN EDITIONS:

WB01417_.gif (1257 bytes)

    "But Thors Provoni had been absent for years; he did not stir the sleep of either Unusuals or New Men. Provoni raged and roamed the outskirts of the galaxy, searching, in his wrath, for something vague, something even metaphysical. An answer, so to speak. A response. Thors Provoni yelled into the emptiness, dinning out his noise in hope of a response.
    God help us, Weiss thought, if he ever finds it."


WB01417_.gif (1257 bytes)

NOTES

See: PKDS-19 1. This issue of PKDS is a special pamphlet devoted to OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8. It contains the text of the complete outline.

See: The BGSU Papers

BGSU Papers

Handwritten notes for another novel, OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 9. Five sheets of typing paper, folded in half, with writing on the recto and verso, and one sheet of unfolded lined notebook paper numbered 1-9. Ideas, characters and plot lines.

BGSU Papers

Dear Scott,

    I just now received a very nice letter from Don Wollheim, in which he picks up where he and I left off at the convention. At that time I told Don I wanted to do another novel for Ace, and in his letter he asks if I meant that and still mean it. He says: <<... I would like to see you keep on with us, even though report has it you have made pots of money with Doubleday. I don't know about pots of money, but I think we can come to some reasonable accommodation financially if given a reasonable chance.>> I have no new novel in the works, however, because I have been working on A MAZE WITH DEATH, but it occurs to me that if Larry Ashmead doesn't want it, maybe Don might. I am writing Don, and I'm mentioning A MAZE WITH DEATH. Could we try him if Doubleday turns the novel down? (By the way -- Don wants my material presented directly to him and not through Terry Carr. He says, <<... this is for me and would be published under my editorship.>>
    Because of Don's interest I will start as soon as possible on another new novel... but it will take a while. Would he buy an outline and sample chapter? Or does he want the whole thing?

Cordially,

Philip K. Dick

[PKD>Scott Meredith, 10-22-1968] (thanks to Patrick Clark and the PKD Trust}
{note: The second novel PKD mentions here is most likely OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, published by Ace in 1970 -- Lord RC}

BGSU Papers

Dear John,

    Yes, I would be very glad to read STAND ON ZANZIBAR...

{...}

    As far as my own work goes, I have sold a story collection to Ace for a special, then an outline and 3 sample chapters at $2500, then my newest novel to Doubleday... so I have made three book-length sales in less than a month. Now I can pay off all my enormous debts.

{...}

Cordially

Philip K. Dick

{PKD > John Brunner, 7 Dec 1968}
{note: See the correspondence selections under BGSU Papers on the ‘A MAZE OF DEATH’ page.

    Dear Don,

    Great news. Although I am a little late, I have finished the novel, OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, which, as you will recall, I am under contract for (sometime last month it was due). All I need do now is simply type up the final draft; there will be no further revision, that having already been done.

    The novel runs longer than my others. They all came out at about 215 typescript pages; this comes out to 268, which I would estimate as between 70,000 and 80,000 words. I hope that the length is satisfactory to you; i.e. the contract called for 70,000, rather than the usual 60,000, so I assumed you wanted a longer novel; hence this length, which was most carefully planned on my part; it didn't just happen that way.

    Not since EYE IN THE SKY have I so much enjoyed working on a novel. Usually I get up at noon; while writing this I got up at seven a.m. and tottered my way to the typewriter, my mind filled with dialog. There is nothing about reality-versus-illusion in it, no hallucinations, etc. I did depart from the latter part of the outline, but the book remains as the outline described it; I think it is fair to say that it is true to the outline.

    Please write me and let me know if the length is okay. But I really don't want to trim it; I would appreciate it very, very much if you let me leave it at its present length. Okay?

    Cordially, Philip K. Dick {PKD > Don Wollheim, editor, Ace Books, Apr 14, 1969}

SL-38 260

Dear Don,

    I have been stewing and fretting about completing the final copy of OUR FRIENDS. First, when I began typing the final version, I discovered that I had to change some of the material. Then I came down with Hong Kong flu, with complications. And as the coup de grace, my Olympia typewriter broke down and had to go to the shop for repairs {...} typing 80,000 words on this damn {loaner} thing is next to impossible (it's a 1941 Royal). I have to have my own machine, and when I get it back I'll resume the typing of the final draft (which I had gotten well into before the troubles began). I am very sorry and I know the novel is overdue, but the revisions have been made {...}PKD > Don Wollheim, Jun 6, 1969}

PKDS-19  1

   "On November 6, 1968, the Scott Meredith Literary Agency received from Philip K. Dick an outline and four sample chapters (40 manuscript pages) for a novel to be called OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8. This was only a week after he'd sent them the finished manuscript for A MAZE OF DEATH, written under contract to Doubleday. (October-November was typically the most productive time of year for Dick). The Agency immediately sent the FROLIX material to Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books, who purchased the unfinished book for $2500 (half on signing of the contract, half on delivery and acceptance of the finished manuscript). {... ...} This special pamphlet edition of the Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter includes the full text of the FROLIX outline(...}. -- Paul Williams in the Introduction.

Outline for science fiction novel called: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 5 8

   Theme:     Earth is invaded by aliens whom the great majority of people welcome.

    Locus of action:    Earth in 2190

    Situation:    Within the last century two new types of human beings have arisen as sport-mutations desired and preserved until by 2085 they fill the top levels of business organizations -- and, in the planet-wide federal government, all persons who pass the Civil Service tests must be either a New Man or an Unusual.{See above for continuation or See PKDS #19 (Pamphlet), 1989, for complete text}

    Capsule: Written by 6-11-68, ms. Rec’d at SMLA on 11-6-68, pub. 1970. (Other notes have it that OFFF8 was written outline-wise after acceptance of A MAZE OF DEATH by Doubleday in Nov 1968, this ms rec’d at SMLA on 11-6-68 and written between 10-22-68 and 11-6-68. The final ms delivered to ACE soon after 4-14-69 but still not done by 6-6-69. Finally pub. By ACE in June 1970


COLLECTOR'S NOTES

Ken Lopez: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, pb, 64400, 1970. Very slight rubbing along the upper front spine fold; else fine in wrappers. A very nice copy. $50

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, pb, 64400, 1970 (1st). VG. moderate reading stress and store stamp to bottom of first page. $10

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, pb, 64400, 1970 (1st). G+. Solid good reading copy. Binding still tight. $5

Between the Covers Rare-Books: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971. FINE. light rubbed else fine dj. $65

By The Book: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, FINE. $40

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971 (1st hb). NF/VG. clean and tight with only light bumping at the spine ends. The dust jacket is free of chips, rips & tears, but there is some creasing at the spine ends and corners, with some scuffing to both the front & rear panels, and the inner flap edges are yellowed. The dj is covered in a brodart. $45

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971 (1st hb). VG/VG. tight with moderate edgewear, and light bumping at the spine ends. The dust jacket is free of chips, rips & tears, but there is noticeable creasing at the spine ends and corners, with some scuffing to both the front & rear panels. The dj is covered in a brodart. $45

Autumn Winds Used Books: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971. VG/VG. DJ lightly rubbed/faded. Book is clean, in Brodart. $11

Pageant Books & Prints: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971. G/no dj. $7.50

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971 (1st hb). VG/VG. clean and tight with light rubbing along the edges and bumping at the spine ends. The dust jacket has one short closed tear to the lower edge of the rear panel, some light scuffing, but otherwise very nice. $75

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, hb, SFBC, 1971 (1st hb). $35

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, pb, 64401, 1977. VG. moderate reading stress. $8

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Ace, pb, 64401, 1977. VG. moderate reading stress. $5

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Granada, pb, 1984. VG. minor reading stress. $15

Phildickian: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Kinnell, hb, 08-2, 1989 (1st UK hb). UNIQUE "founder’s copy" of first trade hardcover edition (preceded in hardcover only by an American book club edition). Bound-up from the first sheets supplied to the publisher by the printer. This copy was specially bound for the founder of Kinnell Publications Limited, in three-quarter brown Morocco (goat skin) with gold lettering on a maroon Morocco lettering-piece, gold stamping, raised bands, and with top and fore-edge gilt. This copy, and this copy only, has a colophon. This copy, then, is the first copy of the first trade hardcover edition, in a unique and handsome binding. Fine. With a signed letter of provenance from Kinnell’s founder, A. E. Cunningham. WITH an unfolded copy of the dust jacket. $3,000.00

Monroe Bethea Books: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Kinnell, hb, 1989. FINE/FINE. unread and flawless. $25

Robert Gavora: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, Kinnell, hb, 1989. Vf/VF. $50


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