A Maze of Death

New York: Doubleday, 1968-70. Archive of material relating to the final editing and printing of Philip K. Dick's 1970 novel, "A Maze of Death." Included in the archive is a ribbon typescript of the novel with substantial editorial corrections, notes regarding printing and typesetting, and several brief corrections and changes by Dick. Also included are examples of three different galley proofs and correspondence between editors at Doubleday and Dick.

Manuscript material of any kind for Philip K. Dick is rare on the market, with the bulk of his papers residing in the Special Collections Library at California State University, Fullerton, donated by the author in 1972. Another, smaller collection is held at the Browne Popular Cultural Library at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, including a manuscript draft preceding this one, with the working title "The Hour of T.E.N.C.H." No other manuscript material, galleys, or correspondence relating to "A Maze of Death" appear in OCLC.

An important and often overlooked transitional novel in the author's bibliography. "A Maze of Death" is set among a small group of colonists on a mysterious and unexplored world, but with a typically Dickian twist on the true nature of that setting. Dick states the idea for the novel came from an attempt "to develop an abstract, logical system of religious thought, based on the arbitrary postulate that God exists." It is perhaps his darkest and most violent novel, one that, according to author Kim Stanley Robinson, represents "a black attempt to 'kill off' the cast of characters that had been haunting him since the beginning of his career" and move away from science fiction into the overtly theological writing that would mark his final phase as a novelist. The introduction to the third Library of America collection of Dick's writing, which contains "A Maze of Death," describes this phase as one where "religious revelation, always an element of his fiction, became a dominant and irresistible theme," and that "A Maze of Death" "foreshadows Dick's final novels."

The corrected typescript of the novel included here, likely a final draft produced just prior to publication, contains numerous holograph corrections and notations. The complete text of the novel is present, with prelims in both ribbon copy type and mimeograph sheets, a publisher's dummy of the title page executed in holograph pencil, and a style sheet. Page 131 of the typescript contains a "revised" header, indicating it was a later addition to the script--intriguing given the discussion of that page's contents in the letters in the archive and the subsequent changes reflected on the revised page of the published book.

Holograph annotations to the typescript are in three different hands. The first set of annotations are editorial, executed in holograph pencil, and appear on nearly every page, dealing with layout and design (font, font size, em dashes, page inches, etc.), and proofreading (spelling corrections, punctuation, word changes, etc.) The second group of notations, executed in red pencil, deal predominantly with layout but also include occasional proofreading corrections. The final, and most important, dozen corrections were made by Dick himself in blue ink. Five of these are changes in word choice, including two significant changes on 173 and 218, with the remainder split between corrections to typos or spelling and brief notes regarding layout.

In addition to the typescript, there are three letters discussing changes to the novel suggested by editors at Doubleday. The first is a copy of a letter, dated November 14, 1968, from legendary editor Larry Ashmead to Dick. Ashmead calls the book "one of [Dick's] best to date" and confirms Doubleday's commitment to publishing it. Ashmead makes five detailed corrections and suggestions for changes to the manuscript, the most significant regarding a "racy" scene on page 131.

The second letter is from Doubleday editor Judith Glushanok to Dick, dated December 15, 1969. Glushanok reiterates Ashmead's suggestions (the inference being that Dick never responded to the original) and makes four additional questions and suggestions regarding the novel. The letter notes the enclosure of a copy of Ashmead's letter (the same one included in the archive), as well as copies of manuscript pages relating to the proposed changes (including the original page 131), with holograph ink notations, presumably by Glushanok. Significant are six brief holograph ink notations to the letter in Dick's hand regarding the suggestions.

The final letter is Dick's reply to Glushanok, dated December 28, 1969, containing his replies to her editorial suggestions. It includes an explanation of interplanetary travel and his reasoning for declining to change the explicit material on page 131. The latter is especially interesting given the revised page 131 in the typescript, which contains several changes to words and imagery from the original. Enclosed with the letter are a typed copy of the dedication page and a revision of page 23, rewritten at the behest of Ashmead to correct a continuity conflict with a later chapter, with the revised page also appearing in the typescript. Also included with the letters is the original mailing envelope from Doubleday's New York offices to Dick's home in San Raphael, California.

Finally, the archive contains three different galley proofs of the novel, each with holograph notations, labeled Original Galley proof, Page proof, and Final Galley proof respectively. The Page and Final Galley proofs are complete, with 71 leaves, containing both the front material and full text of the novel. The Page proof is broken into pages and contains interior blanks, while in the Final the text is only broken by chapter headings, and page breaks and numbering are indicated in holograph pen. The Original Galley proof is 21 leaves, containing front material and incomplete text, with pages numbered.

Each proof has numerous holograph annotations and corrections, predominantly dealing with layout and typesetting, each with occasional proofreading corrections as well. Notations are in different hands and in different colored pencils or ink, indicating that the proofs were used as working copies during the final stages of before printing. Included with the proofs is a memo from James A. Brenner to Larry Ashmead dated June 13, 1970 noting the return of the proofs as they are "no longer needed for production."

Letters and associated pages Near Fine, without chips or tears. Typescript pages vary from Very Good to Near Fine, with several of the outer pages with tears or chipping, the bulk of the interior typescript pages Near Fine. Galley proofs are generally Very Good plus or better with minor wrinkling and nicking to the edges and some light soil.

Complete collation available on request.


[Book #131227]

Price: $28,500.00