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GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER
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< June 1952

1994 June

THE EARTHSHAKER

VOICES FROM THE STREET

Rejected, 1-17-54

Withdrawn by 10-55

FIRST EDITIONS

FOREIGN EDITIONS:


HISTORY

    In his book TO THE HIGH CASTLE critic Gregg Rickman discusses whether GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER was written before VOICES IN THE STREET in 1952. In discussing the book with Kleo Mini (Philip K. Dick’s wife at the time) he determines that GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER was the first of these to be written. There is no record of reception of the manuscript at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency but, following Rickman, the story was probably completed before June 1952.

    The SMLA did circulate the manuscript for GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER in the 1950s. Rickman mentions a letter from Scott Meredith to PKD dated January 17th, 1954, which states that Crown books – a major mainstream publisher – had not yet reached a decision on publishing GATHER.

    Crown never did publish GATHER and it wasn’t until 1994 that Andy Watson at WCS Books published this novel. (WCS Books, hb, 05-7, Jun 1994, 291pp, $40.00, (James Kibo Perry) 1-878914-05-7)

    Here Watson describes the novel:

    In 1952, a young Philip K. Dick wrote one of his first novels: GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER. He'd had success selling numerous SF short stories, but this was a serious, mainstream novel -- a steamy, claustrophobic tale of two men and a woman isolated by circumstance, and alienated from each other by their pasts. Set in 1949 amongst the evacuation of American businesses from mainland China, middle-age Verne Tilden and half-his-age Barbara Mahler are forced to put aside the lingering resentments and frustrations of a previous, stateside love affair in order to do the job they've been assigned, preparing a factory compound for transfer to the approaching communists. Carl Fitter is the unsuspecting young man who finds himself unknowingly embroiled in their tensions, and around whose sexual awakening with Barbara the novel is structured. Never before published, this is a competent early novel that reveals Philip K. Dick's obvious talent and skill in a manner quite unlike any other book he was ever to produce.

   For me GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER was a heavy slog. The story just never caught my interest. I'll give it out of the kindness of my heart.


NOTES:

PKD xerox collection:

GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER: A Previously unpublished novel by Philip K. Dick

    In 1952, a young Philip K. Dick wrote one of his first novels: GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER. He'd had success selling numerous SF short stories, but this was a serious, mainstream novel -- a steamy, claustrophobic tale of two men and a woman isolated by circumstance, and alienated from each other by their pasts. Set in 1949 amongst the evacuation of American businesses from mainland China, middle-age Verne Tilden and half-his-age Barbara Mahler are forced to put aside the lingering resentments and frustrations of a previous, stateside love affair in order to do the job they've been assigned, preparing a factory compound for transfer to the approaching communists. Carl Fitter is the unsuspecting young man who finds himself unknowingly embroiled in their tensions, and around whose sexual awakening with Barbara the novel is structured. Never before published, this is a competent early novel that reveals Philip K. Dick's obvious talent and skill in a manner quite unlike any other book he was ever to produce. {Andy Watson}

TTHC   283:

   When Phil Dick sat down to write what became SOLAR LOTTERY he had already written and failed to sell two straight, literary novels. Paul Williams' authoritative chronology in Only Apparently Real dates VOICES FROM THE STREET as the first of these but several pieces of circumstantial evidence leads me to say that GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER was written first. There is no "green card" for either of these books in the SMLA files; but the agency did circulate one or both of them to publishers in the mid 1950s. We know this from the SMLA card clipped to the surviving manuscript of GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER; from a letter from Meredith to Dick dated January 17, 1954 (well before any of Dick's novels reached New York) telling him that Crown books, a major house and not an sf publisher, had not reached a decision yet; and from Don Wollheim's memory of reading the first few chapters of a manuscript "about a record shop" -- which describes either VOICES FROM THE STREET, or the rather later MARY AND THE GIANT.
    Kleo believes GATHER came first. It is cruder than VOICES, seemingly less personal, and it makes the never-repeated amateur's mistake of setting the bulk of the action in a place Dick never visited (China), a place he could hardly know as intimately as he would the locales of his later realist novels. Dick joined the Meredith agency so that they could circulate the manuscripts of his harder to sell items, it will be recalled; GATHER was probably what Dick had on hand, in mid-1952, for Meredith to sell. There's no doubt in my mind that Dick was writing what I believe to be his second book, VOICES FROM THE STREET, in June 1952; the book is set right at that time, and is dedicated "To S.M."

See TTHC 283-4

‘S.M.’ would be PKD’s literary agent, Scott Meredith, who he contacted first in May 1952. In Paul Williams’ ONLY APPARENTLY REAL, VOICES FROM THE STREET is given chronological priority. Lawrence Sutin in the ‘Chronological Survey and Guide’ (DI 290ff) dates GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER to 1949-50.

See SL-38 41

PKD in a letter to James Blish, February 10th, 1958.


COLLECTOR'S NOTES

   At a guess a copy of the first edition of GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER in the shape of the one pictured above (practically new) will run $100 - $150 in 2003.

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