In yet another sign that Philip K Dick has hit the literary mainstream, a new companion book is on the market. Written by Lord RC, aka Lord Running Clam (Chuck Rittersdorf's neighbor in Clans of the Alphane Moon), aka David Hyde (webmaster of David Hyde's PKD Web), Pink Beam: A Philip K Dick Companion promises a 'chronological look at PKD’s writing career covering all his novels and short stories including details of their compositional and publishing history.'
With a list price of close to $30.00US this book is for the PKD fan who wants an absolutely complete collection. After all, there are cheaper guides to Dick's irv: Andrew M Butler's PKD Pocket Essentials ($20US) and Paul Williams' Only Apparently Real ($12US), so what do you get for $30? According to the book's introduction (which you can read here) Lord Running Clam has, 'made a survey of the most of the principal books, interviews and articles about PKD, as he is known, and...selected and collated these notes into a chronological account by which the fan and student may come to know more about this history of Dick's stories; how he came to write them, when he wrote them, and how they came to be published.' Hyde promises short summaries of each of the 120+ short stories and 50+ novels (bet that took a while; if this bibliography is well done it could easily be worth the $30 cover price on its own).
Later in the introduction Lord RC writes that in 1974 '...PKD saw God frontward' (6). The lack of quotation marks around "saw" and "God" trouble me greatly. Even after going over the experiences of 2-3-74 endlessly for eight years, PKD seemed uncertain about exactly what had happened to him. I worry that this guide book might do more to cement Dick's reputation as a literary nut-job than to illuminate the complex, often contradictory, ideas that populate Dick's life and work, but I guess I'll have to shell out $30 bucks to find out.
But if Pink Beam is like many of the other reader guides dedicated to PKD, you might want to pick up a couple of copies as earlier efforts have recently become quite valuable:
Hazel Pierce's Starmont Reader's Guide $70
Philip K Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations by Umland $120.oo
The Novels of Philip K. Dick by Kim Stanley Robinson $50.30
Mind in Motion: The Fiction of Philip K Dick by Patricia Warrick $65.00