A Sci-Fi Icon's Novel Slant on Midcentury Reality The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike
By Philip K. Dick
268 pages; Tor
If literary history has an undertow in the form of neglected works, then the undertow of the undertow is unpublished writing: How many hundreds of interesting novels live only in attics? Yet how could we ever lay hands on such material, let alone sort it for value? During his lifetime, Philip K. Dick's wrenching and hilarious science fiction novels earned him cult status. After his death in 1982, his work leaped into the pantheon of American literature, bringing with it biographies, letters, dissertations. Now comes The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike, one of a staggering 11 naturalistic novels Dick wrote and shelved from 1955 to 1960, before turning completely to genre writing. Set in Marin County, California, the book is a gently savage minor-key comedy of small-town manners, against a backdrop of middle-class malaise and real estate values. At a time when our culture seems transfixed by yearning projections of '50s life—Mad Men and the slick adaptation of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road—here's an uneasy tonic brew of the real thing.