Credits    Navigation      www.philipkdickfans.com     Novels    Short Stories     References

MARY AND THE GIANT
aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes) aaPinkBeam.GIF (249 bytes)

Num

N S

Writing Date

Pub. Date

Previous

Next

Notes

94

9   Late 1954 - Early 1955 Apr 1987

EYE IN THE SKY

A HANDFUL OF DARKNESS

 

FIRST EDITION

HISTORY

    MARY AND THE GIANT is another early PKD mainstream novel about which little of its history is known. On the basis of textual clues, Sutin estimates it as being written between 1953 and 1955. Certainly, by May 1955 it was under consideration at Julian Messner Publishers as an editor there wrote a letter to PKD which discusses MARY and suggests a rewrite.

    A look at the calendar in 1955 shows a three month gap between mid-Feb and the end of April during which Dick was working on a revision of WORLD OF CHANCE for Rich & Cowan publishers. To me, this is the likeliest time for Dick to have been working on a final draft of MARY AND THE GIANT.

    In a 1957 letter to Anthony Boucher, Dick mentions having nearly sold MARY AND THE GIANT:

    {…} In fact we had an oral okay over the phone from the editor-in-chief of a reputable hardcover house. They held the MS for six months and then -- as I stood waiting for the contracts, still keeping faith at my end -- they returned the MS with a short note. Personally, I believe they couldn't get a pre-publication softcover house to go along with the book to underwrite their costs. {... ...}

    No luck, then, for MARY at Julian Messner’s. By Jan 1956 the story was being rejected again at Crown Publishers; the excuse being that it lacked "sales potential."

    All in all, according to Rickman, MARY AND THE GIANT was rejected by twenty-five publishing houses. The novel would not be published until David Hartwell at Arbor House decided to publish it in 1987.

    The story about a good-looking young girl in over her head in the nighttime world of Jazz was daring for its time, dealing as it did with interracial relationships and sex between the generations. MARY rates

    See "The Unreconstructed M"


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


FOREIGN EDITIONS:


NOTES

SL 38 35

    Tiresome as all this is, there's worse to come. I have ceased to write either s.f. or fantasy, Tony; I stopped writing short stuff for magazine publication back in May of '55; since then I've done only novels, both s.f. and what I call straight contemporary serious quality fiction about non-myth type people, and in the last year its been just the latter, the non-s.f. I have five of these novels in circulation (...) We damn near sold one of them (called MARY AND THE GIANT). In fact we had an oral okay over the phone from the editor-in-chief of a reputable hardcover house. They held the MS for six months and then -- as I stood waiting for the contracts, still keeping faith at my end -- they returned the MS with a short note. Personally, I believe they couldn't get a pre-publication softcover house to go along with the book to underwrite their costs. {... ...} -- {PKD>A. Boucher, June 3, 1957}

PKDS-13 14

    {...} The editor responsible for MARY is David G. Hartwell, who was also Phil's editor on THE DIVINE INVASION, THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER, RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH, and IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY, and shared responsibility for the publication on THE GOLDEN MAN and CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST.

PKDS-28 6

    {...} The editor I worked best with was Millen Brand. He once wrote me that he felt I had worked better in response to him than any other writer he could remember. [Brand never actually published Dick; Dick did revise MARY AND THE GIANT for him -- one can't be certain whether Dick is saying that he was pleased by how the novel came out after Brand's input, or just that he was pleased by Brand's praise for his responsiveness. -- {Paul Williams}] {...}{PKD>Diane Cleaver, 9 Apr 1973}

TTHC 304.

MARY AND THE GIANT was rejected by 25 publishing houses.

TTHC 308

While Dick was, in 1954-55, writing the four novels of the "sf quartet" that opened his published career, he was at the same time completing his third mainstream novel, MARY AND THE GIANT. Two of the rejection notices it received in 1955-6 survive. An editor at Julian Messner Publications, Edwin Fadiman, Jr., sent Dick a long letter in June 1955 describing the novel as "a property much as a jumbled pawn shop up for sale is a property. It’s full of valuables scattered over hell and gone." Fadiman considered MARY valuable enough that he wrote up a long list of suggestions Dick followed for a rewrite (deletion of a long flashback, providing a positive ending, and most crucially making Paul Nitz – Mary’s eventual choice – white instead of a black cripple… while dick did substantially rewrite the novel, following Fadiman’s cues, it was rejected. Crown Books wrote him in Jan 1956 that they would have published it had they not thought it lacked "sales potential." {Edwin Fadiman Jr. to PKD, Jun 2 1955}

TTHC 308

Millen Brand to SMLA, Jan 3 1956. Brand, the editor at Crown publishers, was, PKD said later, the editor he worked best with: "He once wrote me that he felt I had worked better in response to him than any other writer he could remember…" (See: PKDS-28 6. PKD in a letter to Diane Cleaver, 9 Apr 1973)

DI 291

{Sutin estimates MATG} "as 1953-4" on the basis of textual clues.

See DI 294

Gillespie on MARY AND THE GIANT

    Let me refute Robinson by looking at the novel that least resembles the science fiction novels. According to both Robinson and Sutin, Mary and the Giant is one of the very first of Dick's non-sf novels. To me it is the best. Like all the non-sf novels and some of the best sf novels, it tells of ordinary people living in a small town that is big enough to feel like a city, but which is basically only a commuter suburb of San Francisco. The time is mid to late 1953. The main character is Mary Anne Reynolds, described here in what is perhaps Phil Dick's best paragraph:

In the tired brilliance of late afternoon she walked along Empory Avenue, a small, rather thin girl with short-cropped brown hair, walking very straight-backed, head up, her brown coat slung carelessly over her arm. She walked because she hated to ride on buses, and because, on foot, she could stop when and wherever she wished.

Here is a girl with no special talent or features except she is good-looking and has a spiky sense of humour. She has a certain independence and flair, a need to run her own life in a small town where everybody else just obeys the rules. Mary Anne is young, restless, clever but not very well educated. She is, in short, the first of the young dark-haired girls who became the main obsession, both of Dick's fiction and his life, during later years…

from THE NON-SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS OF PHILIP K. DICK (1928–82) A talk written by Bruce Gillespie for the October 1990 meeting of the Nova Mob.First published in brg, No. 1, October 1990,for ANZAPA (Australia and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association) This essay can be found on www.philipkdickfans.com.


Collector's Notes

Phildickian: MARY AND THE GIANT, Arbor House, hb, 1987. VF/VF $45

Phildickian: MARY AND THE GIANT, Gollancz, hb, 1988. $40


Credits    Navigation      www.philipkdickfans.com     Novels    Short Stories     References