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SOLAR LOTTERY
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"If that's protine," Benteley said to her, "it's the best job of adulteration I've smelled."

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81

5   <3-23-54 May 1955       ACE

VOICES FROM THE STREET

WORLD OF CHANCE

Alt. Title: WORLD OF CHANCE
  

FIRST EDITIONS

HISTORY

    Philip K. Dick's first true science fiction novel has a complicated publishing history, appearing in two versions; one called SOLAR LOTTERY in the United States and one called WORLD OF CHANCE in the United Kingdom. Originally Dick had named the novel QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL but this was changed by ACE Books… Well, let's trace the history out.

    The manuscript of QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL reached the Scott Meredith Literary Agency on March 23, 1954. An employee of SMLA wrote on the Agency's record card that "I had the author do some rewriting to give it depth."

    The original manuscript, at 63,000 words, was then revised by Dick: "...I had about 45 characters in the original version. My agent made me throw most of them out."

    On its return to SMLA the revised manuscript was sent to Ballantine Books, the top-of-the-line sf paperback publishing house, where it was rejected, as it was at two other publishers before the Agency sent it to ACE Books. Don Wollheim, editor at ACE, liked it. But he wanted some changes and sent it back to Dick for what PKD called "major revisions." Dick told Rickman that "ACE Doubles were very, very precise as to how long these books were ... It had to be exactly 6,000 lines long. That was a marketing thing and I understood that."

    But, in the same passage in which this quote was found in Greg Rickman’s To The High Castle, Wollheim says to that: "Bullshit! Baloney. That was never true of us. We had a certain page-range -- 320 pages to begin with. You knew lengths by rule of thumb."

    According to SMLA's file the revision that was sent to ACE in December 1954 was "cut to 60,000 words." But whether this revision was the first one requested by the Agency employee or that by Wollheim is not clear. Wollheim himself doesn't remember asking for a rewrite.

    Nevertheless, ACE published the newly retitled SOLAR LOTTERY in May 1955 as one half of an ACE Double. Presumably the decision to change the title from Dick's original QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL was made sometime after Jan 10, 1955 when the Oakland Tribune noted that PKD had a "forthcoming pocket book novel, QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL, readied for Fall, U.S. publication."

    The decision to change the title was made by A.A.Wyn, publisher of ACE Books. Wollheim: "Wyn insisted on doing the titling. He had a pulp mind, so I gave him a whole long list of titles and he picked that one (SOLAR LOTTERY)."

    Wollheim says he himself wrote "most all" of ACE's ad copy. 'First Prize Was Earth Itself!' was the line used for SOLAR LOTTERY. He also instructed the art director in the matter of cover art: "The covers are definitely supposed to illustrate the book. Wyn personally supervised them."

    Dick was promptly paid by ACE, Wollheim: "We paid $1500 for a Double, split in half. The author got $750 and half of the royalties..."

    Dick was grateful for this, crediting Wollheim with his continuing as a sf novelist after Wollheim's acceptance of SOLAR LOTTERY:

Don was the only editor who risked buying SOLAR LOTTERY; no one else would take it, and if Don hadn't, you wouldn't have been able to identify me as a novelist at all. Had SOLAR LOTTERY not sold, I would have abandoned attempts to write novels, and would have gone back to the stories.

    And now this publishing saga gets even more complicated. During the SMLA's dealings with Ballantine, the other publisher's and ACE, a copy of the original manuscript was sent to England where it was picked up by Rich & Cowan, a hardcover sf publisher. Dick had worked with Rich & Cowan before when they published his first anthology, A HANDFULL OF DARKNESS. But before Rich & Cowan were ready to publish it they wrote to SMLA asking for a rewrite. But Dick, having gone over the manuscript twice already and not wanting to do it again, wrote to Scott Meredith on May 16, 1955 that "they can have a copy of the ACE edition, which will be out in a day or so. They can print from that."

    Apparently though, from Rickman's research, they didn't. Rickman believes that they edited down the original first manuscript of QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL themselves, butchering it in the process. But this may not be correct. In an interview with Richard Lupoff Dick says,

They bought SOLAR LOTTERY, my first novel, and brought it out as WORLD OF CHANCE. But they brought it out in a truncated form. They insisted that a great deal be deleted from it. I did, in fact, make a different version of SOLAR LOTTERY for them. It's quite different from the U.S. version.

    So anyway you look at it we cannot be sure at the moment which draft was used for WORLD OF CHANCE and who, if anyone other than Dick, did the butchering. As to exactly how this was done we must refer the reader to PKDS#21: "What The Quizmaster Took," by Gregg Rickman. In this special issue of the Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter Rickman does an involved study of the differences between the British WORLD OF CHANCE -- for such did Rich & Cowan title it on its publication in 1956 -- and the ACE SOLAR LOTTERY. These differences are sometimes extensive as well as significant.   

   There is a lot going on in SOLAR LOTTERY. Ted Benteley, the protagonist, has been fired from his job with one of the industrial giants and he signs on with the present quizmaster not knowing that the ‘bottle’ is about to twitch another man into power. But the quizmaster doesn’t wish to be deposed and by invoking the legalized principle of assassination he attempts to kill his successor.

    But how does he get around the Telepathic Corps whose job it is to protect any quizmaster? Add in a sub-plot wherein a group of ordinary workers seek the mysterious tenth planet called the Flame Disc and much palace intrigue and we do, indeed, have a novel in which PKD threw in everything he could think of.

    All in all, SOLAR LOTTERY was a very successful first science fiction novel for PKD. It’s also one of my favorites and I give it

See: SOLAR LOTTERY by Barb morning Child      


"Fragile Earthmen, venturing out here, go back to your own system! Go back to your little orderly universe, your strict civilization. Stay away from the regions you do not know! Stay away from darkness and monsters!"


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

FOREIGN EDITIONS


NOTES

(QUIZMASTER TAKES ALL) written in 1953/1954, ms. Rec’d at SMLA on 3-23-54, revised in 12-54, pub. ACE 5-55.

WORLD OF CHANCE: a revision of SOLAR LOTTERY based on an early draft of SL rec’d by Rich & Cowan in England before 5-16-55, pub. by Rich & Cowan in 1956.

The following is a summary of the SOLAR LOTTERY manuscript situation [Lord RC]:

  1. Original ms of QUIZMASTER TAKE ALL sent to the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, Mar 23 1954.
  2. Sent back to PKD for revisions.
  3. Revised ms sent to Ballantine and two other publishers: rejected by all.
  4. Revised ms sent to ACE.
  5. ACE sends revised ms to SMLA who return it to Dick for "major revisions."
  6. 2nd revised ms sent by Dick to SMLA in Dec 1954 and forwarded to ACE. (Cut to 60,000 words from 63,000)
  7. Meanwhile, the first revised ms (or the original?) sent to Rich & Cowan in England.
  8. Rich & Cowan call for revision in "Spring 1955," returning the first revised ms to SMLA.
  9. In May 1955, Dick refuses further revisions, telling Rich & Cowan to print from the ACE editions, "which will be out in a few days."
  10. May 1995, ACE publishes SOLAR LOTTERY
  11. 1956: Rich & Cowan publish WORLD OF CHANCE in UK.

PKDS-4 8

Figures are not available on SOLAR LOTTERY, but Phil used to say it had sold over 150,000 copies, which then allowed him to say that his first book was his most successful and it had been downhill from there. (SOLAR LOTTERY benefited from being published at a time when fewer sf books were published and print runs were larger)

PKDS#22 19:

Here I am, almost forty years old. Seventeen years ago I sold my first story, a great and wonderful moment in my life which will never come again. By 1954 I was known as a short story writer; in June 1953 I had seven stories on the stands, including one in Analog, Galaxy and F&SF, and so on down. Ah, 1954. I wrote my first novel, SOLAR LOTTERY; it sold 150,000 copies of itself and then vanished, only to reappear a few years ago. It was reviewed well, except in Galaxy. Tony Boucher liked it; so did Damon Knight. But I wonder why I wrote it -- it and the 24 novels since. Out of love, I suppose; I love science fiction both to read it and to write it. We who write it do not get paid very much... {PKD: from: Notes Made Late At Night By A Weary SF Writer.}

PKDS#26 17:

Kevin Thacker and someone else supplied copies of a feature article by Mike Ashley from Britain's Book Collector, May 1990, entitled "Cult Sci-Fi Novelist Philip K. Dick." ... The 9-page piece includes a decent summary of Dick's life and work, and then some pages of juicy discussion of prices and variant first editions, etc. The highest listed values are for the first hardcover editions of WORLD OF CHANCE (L400), A HANDFULL OF DARKNESS (L250-L400), and THE 3 STIGMATA (L300), with half a dozen books in the 150 pound range.

PKDS-29 7

"... The problem is that I am bogged down in work, right now; I'm completing a long novel that has had me tied up off and on for several years; this final revision at my agent's request has been on my work desk for nine months. I'm hoping to get it out of the way once and for all..." {PKD to Mr. Hass, Sep 16, 1954}


Benteley slowly followed the party, the copper taste of horror thick in his mouth. He knew, now. It was being shrilled on all sides of him, screamed out by the excited mehanical voices of the public newsmachines.


TTHC 267

When he reviewed Dick's first novel, SOLAR LOTTERY, the very influential Damon Knight had to remind his readers just who he was talking about: "Philip K. Dick is that short-story writer who for the past five years or so has been popping up all over... with a sort of unobtrusive and chameleon-like competence... Dick creates a blurred impression of pleasant, small literary gifts, coupled with a near-sighted canniness about the market -- he writes the trivial, short, bland sort of story that amuses without exciting, is instantly saleable and instantly forgettable."

TTHC 286ff

...SOLAR LOTTERY has several fathers: Dick's own talent leaping into flame, of course, but also the advice given him by Will Cook, and the examples of other novelists. A.E.Van Vogt's influence has been widely remarked; Thomas Disch says simply that SL was "Van Vogt's best novel." {fn:ibid}... Brian Aldiss says "Dick began as a smart imitator of Van Vogt and ended up as a wizard. Most careers in SF flow the other way about." {Aldiss: "A Whole New Can Of Worms."}

Another less recognized influence on Dick at this time was Kurt Vonnegut. Dick considered the young Vonnegut "smarter than me," and while he was repelled by his later work, Vonnegut's first novel PLAYER PIANO (1952), greatly influenced him... He told Paul Williams in 1974, "I thought it was a masterpiece, and nobody knew who Vonnegut was."...

When in 1974 Dick spoke to Paul Williams he told him that Van Vogt was not his model in writing SOLAR LOTTERY (a flat contradiction to what he was to tell me in 1981); instead "what I really based it on was the French realistic novels I was reading, and Maupassant, the short stories, not on science fiction at all."
"It's a slice-of-life thing. I had about 45 characters in the original version. My agent made me throw most of them out. I wanted to do Dos Passos' USA right off the bat, see?" The manuscript of Quizmaster Take All {Dick's original title for SL} reached the SMLA in March 1954. A note on the novels green card says "I had the author do some rewriting to give it depth," implying the revisions Dick spoke of.

The Agency then sent the revised manuscript not to ACE but to the most prestigious sf paperback house, Ballantine Books. It was rejected, as it was at two other houses before it landed on Don Wollheim's desk. Dick wrote in 1969 that "Don Wollheim was the only editor who risked buying SOLAR LOTTERY; no one else would take it, and if Don hadn't, you wouldn't have been able to identify me as a novelist at all. Had SL not sold, I would have abandoned the attempts to write novels, and would have gone back to stories."...
"I had no contact with him (Wollheim)," Dick told me in 1981, "until my agent sent SL to him. And then he sent it back for major revisions." He told me {Rickman}, as he told others, that "ACE Doubles were very very precise as to how long those books were... It had to be exactly 6,000 lines long. That was a marketing thing and I understood that." Wollheim, asked about this, denies it: "Bullshit! Baloney. That was never true of us. We had a certain page-range -- 320 pages to begin with. You know lengths by rules of thumb. After a few years (ACE doubles were made up of) one book of 50-60,000 words, the other 35,000-45,000 words, perhaps a novella in a general sense. Or you could pace it out with a short story collection, which we did many times." {see: IHOW}

According to SOLAR LOTTERY's green card the books original version was 63,000 words long, while the revision the Agency received and sent on to ACE in December was "cut to 60,000 words." This certainly sounds like a book that was "6,000 lines long, " a cut of 3,000 words, although the cut could well have consisted instead of the revisions the Agency wanted -- the record is unclear. Kleo remembers reading different versions of the book. Wollheim says he doesn't remember requesting a rewrite.

...

Why were Phil's books accepted by ACE, supposedly the low-brow pulp house, and rejected by the up-market Ballantine? ... Wollheim admits that Dick's work was "a bit of an innovation" for ACE. "I don't know if Ballantine ever saw the Dick novels. He came to us. Basically Dick told a good action story as well as clever stunts, and I think Wyn appreciated it."

Once ACE had bought a book its author was promptly paid. Wollheim is quite proud of this policy. "We paid $1500 for a Double, split in half. The author got $750 and half of the royalties. In those days that was good money -- $3,000 in today's money." Once bought and paid for ACE copyrighted the novel in its name, and began its packaging. Wollheim says that while "he did all the reading, Wyn insisted on doing the titling. He had a pulp mind, so I gave him a whole long list of titles and he picked that one (SOLAR LOTTERY)," a title which replaced Dick's original Quizmaster Take All. ...

SOLAR LOTTERY was issued in a different form in Britain, as WORLD OF CHANCE (1956). The Meredith Agency apparently circulated a copy of Dick's original manuscript to Rich & Cowan, in England, and when they accepted it they wrote Meredith asking for an overhaul. Dick wrote back pridefully, in May 1955, "They can have a copy of the ACE edition, which will be out in a day or so. They can print from that." {PKD-Scott Meredith, May 16, 1955} {...}

Once published, SOLAR LOTTERY received excellent reactions: from fans, from critics and from readers. We have seen how the novel seemed to readers of Dick's short stories a miracle of literary growth. Damon Knight's rave review noted its liveliness, tension, and the way it was like a Van Vogt novel in its inventiveness but unlike a Van Vogt novel "miraculously made sense." (Knight: "In Search Of Wonder", 228)

The book, says Wollheim, "sold very well. We printed 100,000 or more." ... "SOLAR LOTTERY or something like that sold 85,000 - 90,000 copies. We didn't get the figures." ACE books were marketed so that if they got only 10% of the books back from the dealers, who couldn't sell them, it "was utopia. We had a break-even figure of 60%-70% on the Doubles. These days a 50% return is break even. The standard is 30%. If you sell 40% you're making money. In those days you did big printings and you sold them. It was quite a time to get into. As things went on, as paper changed and prices went up and other people got in the business, it slowly grew more and more difficult."
"I didn't have access to sales records. Once a year A.A.Wyn would tell me which books had barely covered their costs. We never lost money. That's incredible. The standard printing order was 90,000 - 100,000. We don't print that many these days.

TTHC 297

He (PKD) told James Blish in 1958 that JAPED was written in part to dispel the notion that SOLAR LOTTERY had been written from "an extreme left position," referring to some response he'd received to it in Berkeley. Twenty three years later he was still making this point, asserting that Thomas

(in his Foreword to SOLAR LOTTERY) had called him "the only Marxist science fiction writer there is," but that "anyone who understands... MAN WHO JAPED would never make the error of thinking that I was a communist or Marxist. Because there is a very, very sincere attempt to show the very dangerous trends in Communism, the communist state." {see: IHOW 128}

{Disch's actual statement is that "SOLAR LOTTERY, along with most of its successors (in Dick's oeuvre) may be read as self-contained social allegories of a more-or-less Marxist bent." (Disch: Toward The Transcendent)}

DI 35ff:

... from 1954 on, there was a distinct shift: From this point, Phil would devote his main energies to writing novels. In his 1968 Self Portrait he confessed:

"With only a few exceptions, my magazine-length stories were second rate. Standards were low in the early-50s. I did not know many technical skills in writing which are essential... the viewpoint problem, for example. Yet, I was selling; I was making a good living, and at the 1954 SF World Convention I was very readily recognized and singled out... I recall someone taking a photograph of A.E. Van Vogt and me and someone saying, "The old and the new." But what a miserable excuse for "the new"! {...} Van Vogt in such works as THE WORLD OF NULL-A, wrote novels; I did not. Maybe that was it; maybe I should try an sf novel.
"For months I prepared carefully, I assembled characters and plots, several plots all woven together, and then wrote everything into the book that I could think up. It was bought by Don Wollheim at ACE Books and titled SOLAR LOTTERY. Tony Boucher reviewed it well in the NY Herald Tribune; the review in Astounding was favorable, and in Infinity, Damon Knight devoted his entire column to it -- and all in praise.
"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..."

So Phil Dick the sf writer became Phil Dick the sf novelist. The above account includes the usual Phildickian inaccuracies and omissions: The Meredith Agency had received the manuscript for SL in March, before the 1954 WorldCon and Phil's meting with Van Vogt. But the essence is true. From 1954 on it was novels that he wrote and as a novelist that he identified himself.

DI 292

... The 1955 British hardcover, titled WORLD OF CHANCE differs slightly in form due to editorial changes... Until DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, retitled BLADE RUNNER, was reissued as a tie-in to the movie, SOLAR LOTTERY -- at over 300,000 -- was Phil's biggest seller...

TDM 147:

"I got married when I was nineteen, and it wasn't until a little later when I really began to write. I got married again when I was twenty-one. A point came when I began to feel that science fiction was very important. Van Vogt's THE WORLD OF NULL-A -- there was something about that which absolutely fascinated. It had a mysterious quality, it alluded to things unseen, there were puzzles presented which were never adequately explained. I found in it a numinous quality; I began to get an idea of a mysterious quality in the universe which could be dealt with in science fiction. I realize now that what I was sensing was a kind of metaphysical world, an invisible realm of things half seen, essentially what medieval people sensed as the transcendent world, the next world. I had no religious background. I was raised in a Quaker school -- they're about the only group in the world that I don't have some grievance against; there's no hassles between me and the Quakers -- but the Quaker thing was just a lifestyle. And in Berkeley there was no religious spirit at all.

"I don't know if Van Vogt would agree that he's essentially dealing with the supernatural, but that's what was happening in me. I was beginning to sense that what we perceived was not what was actually there. I was interested in Jung's idea of projection -- what we experience as external to us may really be projected from our unconscious, which means of course that each person's world has to be different from everybody else's..." {PKD in interview with Charles Platt}

OAR 6:

1954: Twenty eight stories published. Sells first novel, SOLAR LOTTERY. (finished in March, sold in December). Attends SF convention, August.

OAR 80:

Phil had a pat story about why he started writing novels -- by the time he related it to me it was like a parody of his own story: "In '54 I went to my first convention. And they said, 'You oughta write novels!' You'll never make it writing stories.' (because the financial return was so small; novels brought in more income for the time and effort involved) "So I says, 'Oh? Is that how you do it? And they say, 'Yeah. Have a martini.' And I say, 'What's a martini?'"

In fact Phil had already completed SOLAR LOTTERY before he went to that convention. And he had written a fantasy novel earlier, THE COSMIC PUPPETS, but he thought of it as a long story and his agent was trying to sell it to the magazine market...
But Phil's awareness of himself as a sf novelist began when SL was sold at the beginning of 1954, and it had a dramatic effect on his short story production. On just over 3 years, from November 1951 to the end of 1954, Phil Dick had written eighty two short stories. In the next eight years, 1955-62, Phil wrote exactly four stories, two in 1955 and two in 1958. When he made the decision to change forms he didn't look back.


IHOW 66:

(GR:) Was SOLAR LOTTERY your first contact with him?
(PKD:) The first science fiction magazine I read was a Donald Wollheim magazine, Stirring Science Stories. But I had no contact with him until my agent sent SOLAR LOTTERY to him. And then he sent it back for major revisions.
(GR:) You followed his advice?
(PKD:) (laughs) Listen, he was the only market. That was it.
(GR:) How did he change it?
(PKD:) Oh, I don't remember now. Except it had to be exactly 6,000 lines long. But that was a marketing thing and I understood that. ACE Doubles were very very precise as to how long those books were. But he did want a lot of changes made in that book, and a lot in THE WORLD JONES MADE, and we had a lot of fights about that. He wanted that to be much more commercial. I put in some of what I call literary elements.
(GR:) Like characterization.
(PKD:) Characterization! All the good things. He couldn't see any point in that...
... And he retitled most of them, SOLAR LOTTERY, WORLD JONES MADE...

IHOW 84:

(PKD) You've got to realize that they [most of his literary novels] were written before TIME OUT OF JOINT, they were written before that. They came around the time that I wrote THE WORLD JONES MADE [and dating back to his first plunge into writing in 1951]
They're really very early novels, and I had no control over viewpoint then. I only got control over viewpoint because of a chance remark, a friend of mine, a Western writer named Will Cook...
But he found out that I varied my viewpoint, and I didn't even know of the concept "viewpoint". I was so naive and so amateurish. So I asked him what my viewpoint was, he says, sometimes its third-person interior, something like that. It's like suddenly being equipped for the first time with such concepts as ontology. And I said, "Gollee!" I just fathomed what he was saying. So I said, well, are there any other kinds of viewpoints? He said, Oh, yeah! there's first-person, you know, and he explained to me all about viewpoint.
And I really just memorized everything he said. I thought "Goddamn! This is really great! I can do all kinds of things I didn't know." In SOLAR LOTTERY, there's a scene in the first chapter, where I could not fathom how to handle the viewpoint. I literally did not know about interior third person versus omniscience. So I was having a hell of a time. So he clued me in to all that stuff.
So once I got into the viewpoint problem as a problem, I decided to explore all the possible viewpoints that might exist, not just the ones that were conventionally used. Like he said, there's just three viewpoints, really. There's third-person omniscient, there's first person -- there's actually first person interior, like James Joyce did in ULYSSES. I knew that. Like you’re almost getting down in the unconscious. And then there's third person interior, versus third-person external. And he explained the difference to me... ...

IHOW 112

(PKD): {SOLAR LOTTERY} was my first novel. No it wasn't, it was my first published novel. Yeah, I had written a bunch before that. It was my first science fiction novel. I had written unpublished literary -- allegedly literary, what I thought was literary -- novels.
    When I wrote SOLAR LOTTERY, I modeled it on A.E.Van Vogt, and I modeled it deliberately on Van Vogt, and I have no shame, because he was my hero as a writer and as a person. I wrote a Van Vogtian novel. I was not an original writer at that time. I was a very derivative type of writer. I had heroes, and I tried to write like they wrote. he was my ide fixe as far as a writer.
So it does resemble a Van Vogt novel, which Damon Knight pointed out. When you read it now -- when Tom Disch did the Gregg Press novel, he really couldn't see anything good in this novel [Disch wrote the Introduction to the Gregg Press hardcover edition of SOLAR LOTTERY in 1976]
    But Tom is forgetting the time in which it was written... 1954. Well, shit! There was nothing good then. There was one novel, one science fiction novel that had been written that was good. And that was Bester's THE DEMOLISHED MAN    (1952). And I cribbed from that, the Telepathic Corps.
    I mean Disch doesn't have to live those pulp years. It's really easy in the late 70s and early 80s, to talk about quality. But if he thinks that he could sell a quality science fiction novel in 1954, he doesn't realize that there was one market and one market only, and that was ACE Books. And that books were "Doubles", two novels for 35 cents. And that you had no latitude. It had to be 6,000 lines and it had to be an adventure novel. There was no latitude. You were told exactly what to write. And if we didn't write it for Don Wollheim, we didn't sell it.
    I really cannot take responsibility for the state of the art. Science fiction was rapidly devolving into very poor stuff. By 1959 the total readership had shrunk to 100,000. And when you consider that SOLAR LOTTERY had sold over 300,000 copies you realize what a commercial success it was. The readership wasn't even there for SOLAR LOTTERY and it sold very well.
    I'm very defensive about SOLAR LOTTERY. In terms of the field at the time it was a hell of a good novel. And Damon Knight saw it as what he called an architectural plot in the structure [see Knight's In Search Of Wonder (1967), for his review] But in relationship with later stuff, it sucks. But I was a novice.
    I'm shouting. I'm becoming hysterical [laughs]. I'm defending my first novel. PLAYER PIANO (1952), was a masterpiece, and mine wasn't. He's smarter than me...

IHOW 121:

    In many ways I was an anti-capitalist, but that didn't make me a Marxist. I was very, very suspicious, terribly suspicious of totalitarian states, whether right or left wing. I would say the real enemy, the enemy which to me is the paradigm of evil, is the totalitarian state, and it can be religious, it can be left wing, it can be right wing. I was just horrified at what I saw during the Eisenhower period in this country, at what appeared to me to be a great movement toward a totalitarian state in the United States. A right wing totalitarian state. Where anybody who is a dissenter is labeled a traitor. That is of course the mark of a totalitarian society, when any dissent is regarded as treason.
    The moment you know dissent is regarded as treason, you know right away you've got totalitarianism, and then its incumbent on you to dissent your ass off. Just protest everything. At that point a really moral person, once he notices that trend, of the equating of dissent and treason, has a moral obligation to oppose the authorities.
    My real stance was opposing authority. And I opposed the Communist authorities as much as I opposed the American authorities...

IHOW 125:

    In SOLAR LOTTERY the captain of the spaceship is black. That was deliberate on my part, because Heinlein had said somewhere that all the races had their place in the future. The blacks would serve the food, you know, and the Chinese would do the laundry, the whites would be in the control room. he had a caste system with a descending order of intelligence, with the blacks at the bottom. I was just furious about that, and I had a black guy be the Captain of the space ship. Just as an answer to Heinlein...

OnPKD

    The novels before 1962 are approximates to such a technique of multi- focal narrative. It's lower-limit case and primitive seed, the one-hero-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. SOLAR LOTTERY has two clear foci, Benteley and Cartwright, with insufficiently sustained strivings toward a polyphonic structure (Verrick, Wakeman, Groves). Similarly, there are half a dozen narrative foci in TIME OUT OF JOINT. {Darko Suvin}

OnPKD 11

    This characterology is not yet clear in the earlier novels, which deal more with the Ibsenian theme of social deceit vs. individual struggle for truth than with the theme of destruction vs. creation. Of SOLAR LOTTERY's two heroes one, Benteley, is a classical "cadre", a biochemist, and only the other, Cartwright, is an electronics repairman and human being with a conscience. {Suvin}

OnPKD 154

    But if Dick was appreciated by his fellow writers, what did the critics think of him? From 1953 to 1973, Dick published 32 novels and short-story collections and had 110 reviews in SF magazines. These reviews covered first editions and re-editions separately in all cases but two: CLANS OF THE ALPHANE MOON and OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8. From 1974 to 1979, Dick got 95 reviews of 25 novels and collections. SOLAR LOTTERY, for example had 5 reviews in 1955, 1 in 1968, and 8 more when it was reissued in 1968; FLOW MY TEARS was reviewed 16 times: A SCANNER DARKLY, 13... {R. Bozzetto}

OnPKD 159

    Curiously, Dick found himself following the traces of another writer who had a great influence on French SF: A.E. Van Vogt. THE WORLD OF NULL-A had the same kind of impact in France as UBIK and SOLAR LOTTERY subsequently enjoyed... {Bozzetto}

Twilight Zone (TZ)

June 1982, p51:

"By the year 1959 the sf had totally collapsed. The readership had shrunk down to 100,000 total. Now, to show you how few readers that is, SOLAR LOTTERY alone had sold 300,000 copies in 1955." {PKD interview with John Boonstra}

SF EYE

Vol.1, #2, Aug 1987, p48

(PKD:) "In June of 1953 I published 27 stories and about as many the next year. In June 1953 I had seven short stories on the stands simultaneously, but no American publisher had approached me to do a collection. This was before I had done any novels and Rich & Cowan in England approached me with the idea of putting out a collection of stories."

                (RL:) How did they contact you? Did they come through your agent?

(PKD:) Yeah, through Scott Meredith. They bought SOLAR LOTTERY, my first novel, and brought it out as WORLD OF CHANCE. But they brought it out in a truncated form. They insisted that a great deal be deleted from it. I did, in fact, make a different version of SOLAR LOTTERY for them. It's quite different from the US version. But they just simply contacted me through Scott, which was easy enough." {PKD interview with Richard Lupoff}

TDC 20-21

(PKD:) "Ya know," he drawled, "I've never met Leigh Brackett. People think that when you work in a small community like science fiction writing that everybody knows everybody. But I never met her, and I've always admired her work. Do you guys think. . .uh, would you mind if I tagged along? I mean, I won't get in your way or anything; I just want to meet her and then I'll go get my drink. I'll behave myself; I promise. I won't go rushing around the room drinking up all the booze and gibbering like an idiot and telling her the truth about you guys..."
{...} Phil behaved himself, exactly as he'd promised. We introduced him to Leigh, they exchanged a few words of mutual admiration, and then he bowed out gracefully.

TDC 41

(PKD:) Yeah. Like, I remember in June of 1953 I went to... to...wherever it was I bought my SF... and there were seven magazines which were carrying stories of mine simultaneously. So I was doing nothing but writing stories. Then in 1954, I met an editor t the '54 WorldCon, and he said, "Novels." I said, "Huh?" He said, "Novels. Write novels." I said, "How come?" He said, "You'll make more money." I said, "How come?" He said, "Well, Astounding will print them as a serial, and then you can sell it later in book form. So you can sell it twice." I said, "That's terrific. I never thought of that. I'll write a novel!" So I went home and wrote SOLAR LOTTERY. And it didn't work out the way the editor had said. Nothing that I wrote for any of my early novels got bought by any magazine. They just went into Ace Books, and the revenue was not any greater than if I had written a whole lot of stories. Ace Books paid $1000.

TDC 70

(PKD:) First of all, Donald Wollheim said, "I will buy it if it is exactly 6,000 lines long. I did not say 60,000 words, I said 6,000 lines. I don't really care what's in it, as long as there are not too many characters and it's not too complicated." That was SOLAR LOTTERY, and he bought it

Hour 25: A Talk With Philip K. Dick hosted by Mike Hodel

KPFK-FM, North Hollywood, California. June 26, 1976. Click here for the Hour 25 Web Site

Transcribed and edited by Frank C. Bertrand

(Interviewer:) What about the first novel you sold?

(Dick:) That was SOLAR LOTTERY. That's been in print off and on for about twenty years, and I've made about fifteen hundred dollars off of it.

(Interviewer:) That's what I meant about Kilgore Trout--a man who is virtually unparalleled in the field. Nobody knows you; you could, if you pardon the hyperbole, be starving to death in the field, but you're damn good, you're still gonna be making fifteen hundred bucks.

(Dick:) I got a thousand dollars advance on the book, and then when they reprinted it ten years later, they gave me another five hundred. But that's the last I ever saw of any money off that book. And it's still in print. I could walk over there and pull a copy out of the bookcase, and it'd still bear the original publishing date. There's no second, third or further printing date. It still says, "Copyright Ace Books, 1954" or whatever, and it almost borders on the illegal for them to copyright it rather than give me the copyright. It means I can't get a reversion, whereby I'd get title again, because I never had the title. They took copyright out in their name, and they just recycle that book all over the world. People find it in Hong Kong, and the royalty sheets show that no copies have been sold since 1954.

SL:38 34

Dear Scott,

I'm sorry but I can't sign these contracts; so here they are back exactly as they arrived.

For the chicken-feed sum of $184, Rich & Cowan expects me to perform a major overhaul on the novel. There'd have to be another decimal to that figure to make it worth it.

I might add in passing that the particular revisions suggested are unworthy of my time and labor; and by no possible stretch of the imagination could be described as "in the interest of the book."

Tell Rich & Cowan that they can have a copy of the ACE edition, which will be out in a day or so. They can print from that.

Very truly yours

Philip K. Dick

{Letter to Scott Meredith, May 16, 1955}

SL-38 122

{...}(where would PKD be today if Marty Greenberg, in 1954, hadn't talked him into trying a novel -- it was SOLAR LOTTERY, which Ace printed, and which sold around 149,000 copies; so there).

{PKD > Terry & Carol Carr, Nov 11, 1964}


"That's why teeps forced us to take up Minimax," Moore put in. "You can't have a strategy against telepaths: you have to act randomly. You have to not know what you're going to do next. You have to shut your eyes and run blindly. The problem is: how can you randomize your strategy, yet move purposefully toward your goal?"


OTHER REFERENCES:

More Noted here: SOLAR LOTTERY 2: Notes

Four part essay on SOLAR LOTTERY by Lord RC


Collector's Notes

Phildickian: SOLAR LOTTERY, MacMillan, 1990. FINE $15

Phildickian: SOLAR LOTTERY, Ace, 77411, 1975 VG+ $15

Phildickian: SOLAR LOTTERY, Arrow, 905770, 1972 G $6

Phildickian: SOLAR LOTTERY, Ace D103, 1955 VG $75

Phildickian: SOLAR LOTTERY, Ace, G718, 1968 VG $8


 Verrick pointed to his great barrel chest. "There are no sissy-kissing charms hanging around my neck. No rose petals and ox dung and boiled owl spit. I play a game of skill, not chance and maybe not strategy, when you pin me down. I never did go by a lot of theoretical abstractions. I go by rule of thumb." He displayed his thumb. "I do what each situation demands. That's skill. I've got it."


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