Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cover of the Day

An old friend found this hardcover edition of Lies Inc for me on a recent trip to Russia. At least I think it's Lies Inc because the only English words on the back of the novel are "Unteleported Man" and Erik seemed to think one of the words in the title was 'Inc' (interesting to wonder how Russians conceive of words like 'incorporated' - a word intimately connected to the free market, but then again this edition was published in 2005 and from what I hear the economy is pretty free over there these days, perhaps a bit oligarchical, but free, kinda like America).

Erik writes in an email:

"I bought it in St. Petersburg at a place called дом книги (dome kineegee) which means "book house" in Russian. It was a 3-story affair and it looked magnificent from the outside, gargoyles and all. Inside, the staff was friendlier than almost every other store I went to in Russia, probably due to the many tourists who go there to buy books in English. The PKD books they had there were a bit on the random side but there were plenty - he had about 3 feet of space on the shelf. The bookstore is the most popular one in the city and it's located on the most famous street in Russia "Nevsky Prospect." You can probably find a picture of the place online."

Good suggestion. Here's a couple of images from the store's website (or it appears, at least, to be a website about the store):

In case that doesn't look quite Russian enough for you, here's an older photograph:

Now cue the proletariat:

I know PKD took great lengths to try to collect royalties due to him from Russian translations. I've heard that in his later life he talked about defecting so he could live like Kubla Khan in Georgia where the food was good.

Here's a scan of the book's cover, spine, and back (click to enlarge):

I'm sure all of you know this already, but Lies Inc was PKD's attempt to expand the novella-length Unteleported Man into a full-length novel by taking the story in a new direction, adding a detailed description of an acid trip (modeled upon Dick's infamous 'Libera Me, Domine' LSD experience with Ray Nelson). I think he worked on the expansion in the Lyon St apartment in 1964. But PKD never finished the expansion. John Sladek filled in a few gaps and the expansion was eventually released posthumously. I tried to read it a few years ago and couldn't get past the part where everybody's name suddenly changed. Read more about the long strange history of Lies Inc here.

Thanks Erik Seidl!

Update: In the comments section reader Robert Cook points out I don't really know what I'm talking about. Sladek filled in some minor gaps in the novel after a few pages were found to be missing but they were eventually located and integrated into subsequent editions of Lies Inc. Did anybody else have the experience where everybody's name changes about midway through the book? I read it several years ago when I wasn't quite as big a Dick-head; did I miss something?


Robert Cook said...

Actually, unless I'm mistaken, I believe Dick did complete the expansion, but a few pages were lost in the expanse of Dick's effects after his death. Sladek, who had written the brilliant Dick pastiche Solar Shoe Salesman, was enlisted to fill in the few missing (brief) sections. After LIES, INC. was published with Sladek's contributions, Dick's original pages were found and subsequent editions--I believe--have been published with Dick's material interpolated where it should have been.

Or else I hallucinated this whole sequence of events.

Robert Cook said...

Actually, I didn't hallucinate anything...the details I related are described in the book's history that you linked to!

Ragle Gumm said...

Thanks for the correction.
I think in the blogging world linking to an article removes any responsibility I might feel to read it.

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