No one knows for sure exactly when Philip K. Dick’s first novel, Gather Yourselves Together was written. I picked up this First Mariner Books (a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 2012 edition that I am currently re-reading at The Strand in New York City a few years back. In the afterword, Dwight Brown references dates suggested by Lawrence Sutin (between 1949 and 1950) and Gregg Rickman (sometime before 1952). The PKD Fan site seems to have settled on a happy medium and puts the written date at 1951. However, it was not published until 1994.
This first novel (and there is some debate as to whether Voices From the Street was written first instead1) does not fall under the genre of science fiction. Dwight posits it is a semi-autobiographical fiction with Carl Fitter, the protagonist, “clearly an analogue” for PKD himself. Also, he argues, it deals with some of the anxietal maladies that inflicted PKD at the time of his writing this novel (including agoraphobia and conversion dysphagia).
The blog posts that follow will be divided across chapters as they are read. Perhaps at some future date theses posts will be consolidated into one.
Disclaimer: this is an amateur attempt, and I claim no academic or inside knowledge. I am only a fan, and in no way affiliated with PKD. I’ll make sure to credit my sources, but errors will be made, and I will be solely responsible. Feel free to correct me, but please do so with a gentle hand. Let’s talk first.
1Dwight in his afterword offers alternative opinions of other publishers who argue Voices From the Street was PKD’s first novel.