"Alien satellites circle the Earth -- and man's only hope is a mad cartoonist!"




{For the best bibliographic info in French goto: Thanks for the cover pix, Gilles}

The KVB man turned his head. Like solemn owls all four men stared at Lars.
"I'm on drugs," Lars explained. "I thought KACH had told you that, God. I take them hourly!"

PKDS-1 4:

In 1984 Bluejay has scheduled trade paper editions of THE ZAP GUN.

PKDS-2 10:

Publication dates are needed for THE ZAP GUN (book says Jan 1967 -- if this was written simultaneously with THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH, as PKD says, it must have been written at least three years before publication). {note: See below. The manuscript for THE ZAP GUN was received at SMLA on April 15, 1964 -- Lord RC}

PKDS-2 13:

I enjoyed writing all of them... Then THE ZAP GUN and THE PENULTIMATE TRUTH, both of which I wrote at the same time... {PKD in Self Portrait, 1968}

PKDS-3 6:

THE ZAP GUN to come from Bluejay in early 1985.

PKDS-6 4:

Bluejay has issued two more PKD titles in their quality paperback reissue series. DR.BLOODMONEY and THE ZAP GUN. THE ZAP GUN includes an Afterword by Maxim Jakubowski, which defies normal marketing wisdom by quoting the author to the effect that this novel "is a turkey... the first half is totally unreadable"... PKD was in a peculiar mood that day that Rickman interviewed him about his earlier books, and readers and future scholars would be well-advised not to pay much attention to his evaluations of his own work.

PKDS-6 12:

The intent is not sufficient to guarantee a good result. Some of the worst books I've written -- like THE ZAP GUN-- are books I've labored over... {PKD to Apel & Briggs, 1977}

PKDS-20 16:

In Japan, THE ZAP GUN was published by Sogensha in July (June?), a few months after NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR; translated by Nozomi Ohmori.

PKDS-24 16:

...There's one in my own experience with him. When I interviewed Phil in 1981 I told him THE ZAP GUN seemed like a self-parody to me; when we discussed the book again he brought up the 'self-parody' idea (which he didn't like) and attributed it to a writer he was then irritated at. {Letter to PKDS from G. Rickman}

PKDS-26 11:

THE ZAP GUN is in print from Carroll & Graf. The Bluejay edition has been remaindered.

PKDS-16 1:

THE ZAP GUN. Being an outline written in November 1963 for the purpose of securing an advance from Pyramid Books for an unwritten novel.
[Pt.Reyes Station, California, November 1963: PKD received the following note from his agent, Scott Meredith, dated Oct 31 --

Dear Phil:
I'm happy to report that we have a novel assignment for you from Pyramid Books. We had a meeting with Don Benson, the editor over there, and he has an idea for a science fiction novel entitled THE ZAP GUN.
Of course, you'll recognize the zap gun as the old Buck Rogers standby. Don wants to do a book that would be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but about the serious possibility of a real "blaster". The blaster seems much more a possibility today because of the experiments with the laser beam.
Don has agreed to contract on the basis of a detailed outline from you and will pay an advance of $1500: $500 on signature of contract, $500 on completion, and $500 on publication.
I hope this idea interests you, and I'll look forward to an outline from you shortly.
In the meantime, all the best. Scott.

Records at the SMLA in New York indicate that the outline, published below, was received by the Agency Dec 5, 1963 (one day after the recorded receipt of the ms for NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR
The manuscript for THE ZAP GUN (which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the plot outline here) was received in New York on April 15, 1964 (Dick had turned in three other novels in the meantime). The novel was finally published by Pyramid Books in 1967; presumably Dick had a long wait for his third $500.
The ms of the outline consists of nine double-spaced typed pages. Paragraphs, underlining and capitalization below are exactly as in Dick's original typescript)
{We won't run the ZAP GUN Outline here. See: PKDSN 16}

Psychotic #21   Nov 1967:                                                  The PSYCHOTIC review

Dear Psychotic,

    Thanks for the very interesting review of THE ZAP GUN in PSYCHOTIC. I'm glad you liked it, to the extent that you did anyway. The origin of the book was interesting: my publishers have a strong preference for "real science fiction" titles for S-F books -- hence the retitling of Raymond Jones' RENAISSANCE, which we put out as MAN OF TWO WORLDS; many other books, especially originals, had this happen. Naturally, I got bugged, losing arguments on this point all the time, and decided to start with "real science fiction titles" nobody could fault. {I m}ade up two, SPACE OPERA and THE ZAP GUN, and I found writers for them, Jack Vance and Phil Dick. Curiously enough, I had at the last minute, trouble with these titles, one representative of Management saying: "SPACE OPERA -- that doesn't sound like science fiction...

{Donald R. Benson, Editor-in-Chief, Pyramid Publications, Inc. > Psychotic zine (A Richard. E. Geis zine?, 1967?}
{GSM xerox collection}

Vote for your Worst PKD Story!  "My least favorite is THE ZAP GUN. It is just too pointless for words. For once, Dick just took the nuttiness and improvised plotting too far, and, unlike most of Dick's books which just zip along, this one is really quite lackluster in treatment. Although THE BLUE CEPHALOPOD MAN FROM TITAN comic book made me laugh. {...} -- I.J.Horne via Paul Rydeen in FDO 6

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