Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (1986)Humpty Dumpty in Oakland was written in 1960.
- Tor Books, 2007, 256 p, 24.95, hard cover
- Tor Books, 2008, 256 p, 14.95, trade paperback
- Gollancz 1986, 199 pages, £9.95, hard cover
- Paladin 1988, 199 pages, £3.95, trade paperback
|Gollancz, 1986||Paladin, 1988||Tor Books, 2007||Tor Books, 2008|
From the inside flap of the 1986 Gollancz edition
Like in Milton Lumky Territory, this novel was written over twenty years ago but not published until now. Set in San Francisco in the late 50's, it is tragicomedy of misunderstanding among used car dealers and real estate salesmen: the small-time, struggling individuals for who Dick always reserved his greatest sympathy. Jim Fergesson is an elderly garage owner with a heart condition, who is about to sell up and retire; Al Miller is a somewhat feckless mechanic who sublets parts of Jim's lot and finds his lively hood threatened by the decision to sell; Chris Harman is a record company owner who for years has relied on Fergesson to maintain his cars. When Harman hears of Fergesson's impending retirement he tips him off to what he says is a cast iron business proposition:a development in nearby Marin County with an opening for a garage. Desperately anxious to prove himself a sharp businessman, able to close a good deal, Fergesson is hooked. Al Miller is a crook, out to fleece Fergesson of his life's savings. Much though he resents Fergesson he can't bear to see what happen and - denying to himself all the time what he is doing-he steps out to thwart Harman. Humpty Dumpty in Oakland is full of the sharp observation and characterization which typified Philip Dick's incomparable sf novels, and evokes vividly its bygone American milieu.