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GALACTIC POTHEALER
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His father had been a pot-healer before him. And so he too healed pots, in fact any kind of ceramic ware left over from the Old Days, before the war, when objects had not always been made out of plastic.

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155

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11-3-67 to 2-28-68

Jun 1969

NICK AND THE GLIMMUNG

THE PRESERVING MACHINE (Col.)

See NICK AND THE GLIMMUNG

FIRST EDITIONS

HISTORY

    The early days of this novel are fairly well documented. The earliest reference we have to an outline for GALACTIC POT-HEALER is a letter from PKD to his agent, Scott Meredith, dated Nov 3, 1967:

    Here are the three signed contracts back, to be given to Berkley Books for their signatures. (The contracts are for the outline called THE GALACTIC POT-HEALER.) Now, I notice that the contracts specify "sample chapter and outline form." They do have the outline, of course, but no sample chapter. Therefore I have written a sample chapter, plus excerpts from other chapters, which you will find included. They total thirty pages and should give Tom Dardis all that he needs.
    However, if Mr. Dardis will sign the contracts without seeing these thirty pages, then let him do so; i.e. you might merely send the contracts back to him, retaining the thirty pages in your own office. Then, if he asks for the sample chapter, send him the thirty pages. My reasoning is as follows: he might not like the thirty pages, so if we can get a signature without them then by all means let's do so. Would you not agree?
    By the way -- thanks from the bottom of my heart for this sale. We are almost out of money and couldn't have made it another month. God bless you. You are the best agent in the world.

    Whether Mr. Dardis requested the sample pages I do not know. However, early the next year Dick again contacted his agent:

    I have finished the novel for Berkley Books, the outline for which is called , THE GALACTIC POT-HEALER. All that is left is doing the final draft, which usually takes me no more than ten days to two weeks. I can't find my copy of the contract with Berkley Books, and I am not sure whether the novel is due on the first of March or the fifteenth or the thirty-first; all I remember is that its due in March. Could you check over your copy of the contract of Berkley's and then let me know. If its due on the first, then ask them for two more weeks or until the end of the month. The novel came out quite well, I think. If Berkley doesn't buy it I'm sure Doubleday would…

    The novel was basically finished, then, by the end of February 1968. It was published by Berkley Books in June 1969 and a hardback edition came from the SFBC in April 1970. UK publication followed in July1971 with the Gollancz hardback edition.

    Perhaps PKD’s letter to his agent that mentioned Doubleday spurred the SFBC edition. Or, perhaps it was Doubleday’s policy to scour recently released paperbacks and buy the best for their book club? Anyway, after these three editions more came out through the 70s and 80s from Pan and Grafton in England and Berkley and Vintage in the USA. Blackstone Audio Books produced a cassette version of the novel in 1989.

    GALACTIC POT-HEALER is another novel about which PKD has expressed negative thoughts:

    One that I vacillate about is GALACTIC POTHEALER. Sometimes it seems funny to me, sometimes it seems...stupid. Stupid. Nothing can be said for it.

    And again in a 1970 letter to Sandra Miesel:

    GALACTIC POT-HEALER is minor, very minor; in fact I wish I hadn't written it. I think, though, it has one good part: the section in which -- aw the hell with it. No part of it is any good (I was going to say the part where the protagonist is reached by telephone while crouched in a packing crate). (I sort of hate GALACTIC POT-HEALER, as well as ZAP GUN plus a few more. Wrrgh.)

    To which PKD’s friend and fellow writer, Tim Powers replies:

    Oh, he says about, for example GALACTIC POTHEALER, that he "just winged it", and didn't think about it twice. Wrote it out fast and was never in control. but in some ways that is one of his very best books.

    And science fiction writer James Tiptree Jr. must’ve agreed with Powers:

    On one occasion she describes taking GALACTIC POTHEALER and mailing it to herself after reading the opening pages, as the only way to force herself to meet a writing deadline (if the book was in the house she would have to go on reading it).

    Although the Glimmung of Plowman’s Planet is a major character in GALACTIC POT-HEALER and first occurred in NICK AND THE GLIMMUNG, the two stories have very little in common. Certainly plot-wise they are far apart.

    No edition of GALACTIC POT-HEALER is especially valuable. The SFBC edition from 1970 would be desirable (and easily found) as would the Gollancz edition from 1971.

    P. Schuyler Miller reviewed GALACTIC POT-HEALER in Analog in 1970:

    No, Waldo… Mr. Dick is not urging a "pot" centered society upon us. The pots that Joe Fernwright "heals" are the things that grandma used to call "crocks" when she made pickle in them, and Aunt Sophie called "vahses" when she used them for bouquets, and archeologists use to support vast hypotheses of human and cultural flux. Joe just fixes pots – better than new – in a crazy future Welfare State. Then a vastly ancient shape-changing monster from far, far, far beyond anywhere hires him and a shipload of other specialists to raise a pagan temple out of the sea on a bizarre world.

    The whole thing is fascinating in a surrealistic sort of way, but never as believable as -- for instance – Samuel Delaney or Avram Davidson would make it. The pot healer and other technicians never get a chance to do their stuff, so there is never any logic to their having been selected. They do serve another purpose, but that seems to be pure luck. If there is deep significance anywhere, I missed it.

    For once we can agree with Mr. P. Schuyler Miller and rate GALACTIC POT-HEALER with


footnotes (also see NOTES below)

SL-38 227. PKD > Scott Meredith, Nov 3, 1967

SL-38 229. PKD > S. Meredith, Feb 28 1968

GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Blackstone Audio Books, cassette, 3499, 1989.

TDC 79

SL-38 285. PKD>Sandra Miesel, Sep 8, 1970

PKDS-8 4. Tim Powers and Jim Blaylock in conversation, 1985.

PKDS-15 8. James Tiptree Jr. was the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon (d. 1989). In 1969-70 she corresponded with PKD while she was starting her own science fiction writing career.

Analog, Mar 1970, p105. PKD OTAKU # 6, Sep 2002, p10.


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


FOREIGN EDITIONS:


"Hello, there," a cheerful dream-voice declared. "Tonight's dream was written by Reg Baker and is called In Memory Engraved."


NOTES

PKDS-2 10:

    Publication date: May 26, 1969.

PKDS-5 9:

    The Castel Of Babel (Japan) is a book about PKD's work -- a collection of essays, editor unknown -- published by Hokuso-sha on Dec 25, 1983. 265pp. Containing several dozen different essays on widely varying topics... {one is} "The Afterimage of a Certain Deconstructor" (or, alternately, "What's Left After The Autopsy"), apparantly about gabble, kipple, Existentialism and the Form Destroyer of GALACTIC POTHEALER

PKDS-8 4:

    (JB:) Even the weaker novels are worth reading, because they're so obviously PKD novels. I mean, the things the characters say and the way they're drawn, and the funny prose style and all.
    (TP:) Oh, he says about, for example GALACTIC POTHEALER, that he "just winged it", and didn't think about it twice. Wrote it out fast and was never in control. but in some ways that is one of his very best books. {Tim Powers & Jim Blaylock 1985}

PKDS-15 8:

{James Tiptree, jr. (Alice Sheldon) died May 19, 1987} was another admirer of Dick's writing -- she corresponded with him for a while in '69-'70, when she was just beginning to be published as an sf writer., waxing eloquent and extremely enthusiastic about each new Dick novel she read. On one occasion she describes taking GALACTIC POTHEALER and mailing it to herself after reading the opening pages, as the only way to force herself to meet a writing deadline (if the book was in the house she would have to go on reading it).

TDC 79

(PKD:) One that I vacillate about is GALACTIC POTHEALER. Sometimes it seems funny to me, sometimes it seems...stupid. Stupid. Nothing can be said for it. Another one I'm not sure of is A MAZE OF DEATH...

SL-38 227

Dear Scott,

    Here are the three signed contracts back, to be given to Berkley Books for their signatures. (The contracts are for the outline called THE GALACTIC POT-HEALER.) Now, I notice that the contracts specify "sample chapter and outline form." They do have the outline, of course, but no sample chapter. Therefore I have written a sample chapter, plus excerpts from other chapters, which you will find included. They total thirty pages and should give Tom Dardis all that he needs.
    However, if Mr. Dardis will sign the contracts without seeing these thirty pages, then let him do so; i.e. you might merely send the contracts back to him, retaining the thirty pages in your own office. Then, if he asks for the sample chapter, send him the thirty pages. My reasoning is as follows: he might not like the thirty pages, so if we can get a signature without them then by all means let's do so. Would you not agree?
    By the way -- thanks from the bottom of my heart for this sale. We are almost out of money and couldn't have made it another month. God bless you. You are the best agent in the world.

Cordially, Philip K. Dick. {PKD > Scott Meredith, Nov 3, 1967}

SL-38 229:

    {...} Second, I have finished the novel for Berkley Books, the outline for which is called , THE GALACTIC POT-HEALER. All that is left is doing the final draft, which usually takes me no more than ten days to two weeks. I can't find my copy of the contract with Berkley Books, and I am not sure whether the novel is due on the first of March or the fifteenth or the thirty-first; all I remember is that its due in March. Could you check over your copy of the contract of Berkley's and then let me know. If its due on the first, then ask them for two more weeks or until the end of the month. The novel came out quite well, I think. If Berkley doesn't buy it I'm sure Doubleday would. {...}
{PKD > S. Meredith, Feb 28 1968}

SL:38 285

Dear Sandra,

    {...}{...}

    GALACTIC POT-HEALER is minor, very minor; in fact I wish I hadn't written it. I think, though, it has one good part: the section in which -- aw the hell with it. No part of it is any good (I was going to say the part where the protagonist is reached by telephone while crouched in a packing crate). (I sort of hate GALACTIC POT-HEALER, as well as ZAP GUN plus a few more. Wrrgh.)

    {...}{...}

    Take care, {PKD>Sandra Miesel, Sep 8, 1970}

PKDS-16 5

(...) In late '67 or early '68 Dick wrote an adult sf novel called GALACTIC POT HEALER, in which the Glimmung of Plowman's Planet is a major character. No part of the story or text of GALACTIC POT HEALER is taken from the earlier book, however. {Paul Williams}


COLLECTOR'S NOTES

Abebooks: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, pb, X1705, 1969 (1st). FINE. unread book with bump at heel of spine. $8

Steven Temple Books: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, hb, SFBC, 1970. VG+. Black boards, yellow topstain. Small soil spot to lower page edges, else a fine copy. Jacket very lightly rubbed to folds, else fine. $20

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, hb, SFBC, 1970. VG. light bumping to the spine ends and light edgewear. There is some staining/spotting to the bottom page edges with the owner's name penned on the first endpaper. Internally the pages are clean and the binding is still sound. The dust jacket is lightly chipped at the upper spine end, rubbed at the lower spine end, has a stain to the rear panel, lightly chipped along the top edge of the rear panel and the edges of the inner flaps. The dj is covered in a brodart. $15

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, hb, SFBC, 1970. VG/VG. $20

Farringdon Books: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Pan, pb, 337-8, 1972. VG-. $6.71

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, pb, 02569, 1974. VG. moderate reading stress. Binding still tight. $15

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, pb, 02569, 1974. VG. $8

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Berkley, pb, 02569, 1974. G. some creasing, and the pages are lightly browned, but this is still a sound copy. $7.50

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Pan, pb, 334-8, 1977. VG. Solid very good copy with moderate reading stress. Binding still tight. Store stamp on first endpaper. $8

Biblion: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, BlackStone AudioBooks, Cassette, 3499, 1989. VG+/NEW. $38

Powells: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Vintage, tp, 297-8, 1994. NEW. $12

The Good Book Store: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Vintage, tp, 297-8, 1994. NEW. $17.46

23rd Lane Books: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Vintage, tp, 297-8, 1994. FINE. $15

Phildickian: GALACTIC POT-HEALER, Vintage, tp, 297-8, 1994. NF. $10


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