1st.EDITION: Ziesing, hb, 0-x, Jun 1984, 223pp, $15.95 (Dell Harris)


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

Vote for your Fave PKD Story!   TEETH I loved because it was the first of PKD's mainstream novels I ever read & the way he simply presented a slice of life really thrilled me a lot. It was simple and extremely well done. --


THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE was written by Philip K. Dick in the winter and spring of 1960, in Point Reyes Station, California. It was written on commission for, but not published by, Harcourt, Brace and Company in New York. Like the ten other mainstream (non-science fiction) novels Dick had written in the previous five years, it went unpublished at the time it was written.
        In the sequence of Dick's work, THE MAN WHOSE TEETH was written immediately after CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST; the next book Dick wrote after THE MAN WHOSE TEETH was THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, the Hugo-Award-winning science fiction novel that ushered in the next stage of Dick's career. {Paul Williams, Literary Executor, Estate of Philip K. Dick}

PKDS-2    4

{...} This 1960 PKD mainstream novel takes place in Point Reyes Station, California, and is about Leo Runcible, "a brilliant, civic-minded liberal Jew living in a rural WASP town in Marin County, California." The quote is from PKD, circa 1981, the year in which he reread TEETH and decided it was "a masterpiece" and asked his agent to try again to find a publisher for it. {Paul Williams}

TTHC 354:    Sometimes he would include things just out of spite. "We had marvellous discussions," Anne says, "building theories together. One argument we had for months, was Neanderthal man a vegetarian or a meat-eater? I collected a lot of data showing that he was a meat-eater. Phil was furious, and wrote THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE, promulgating the theory that Neanderthal man was a vegetarian!" -- which even in 1959 was bad science, as some reviews pointed out when it was finally published in 1984.

TTHC    359:    Phil Dick's follow-up to CONFESSIONS, which meredith received in May 1960, was also "the wrong kind of avant-garde." This book, THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE, was usually cited by Dick in later years as his second favorite literary novel, and with this endorsement was the first to be reprinted after his death; Dick had in fact initiated efforts to have it published prior to his death.
    TEETH is thus one of Dick's most read literary novels, and perhaps more than the others tends to baffle his fans, from Kim Stanley Robinson to the Dick fan who asked me while I was writing this chapter "What the hell is it about?" Eleanor Dimoff of Harcourt, Brace read it and rejected it in July 1960 with this note

    At some point, the relationships between Phil's couples become so crystalized into a nasty, inhuman quarreling (or such a dead end) that somehow the characters become interesting only in a clinical way.10

{...}Leo Runcible, Dick wrote his agent, Russ Galen, in 1981, was in fact based on a man Dick knew in Point Reyes, "a brilliant, civic-minded liberal Jew acting as a real estate broker and trying heroically to bring a small rural town into the 20th century." {...}11  (Anne confirms the existence of Runcible's model, she says, "I can practically see him standing there.")
    His book, Dick wrote in 1981, "reads like a fusion of Nathanial West and F. Scott Fitzgerald"; he compared Leo Runcible to Gatsby.12

{fn10: < Eleanor Dimoff, 7-14-60
fn11:    PKD>Russell Galen, 8-23-81
fn12:    PKD>Larry Ashmead, 8-25-81}

To the Novels page

Return to