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EYE IN THE SKY

     Standing there at that point I did some deep thinking. It seemed to me that magazine length writing was going downhill -- and not paying that much.You might get $20 for a story and $4000 for a novel. So I decided to bet everything on the novel; I wrote THE WORLD JONES MADE, and later on, THE MAN WHO JAPED. And then a novel that seemed to be a genuine breakthrough for me: EYE IN THE SKY. Tony gave it the best novel of the year rating, and in another magazine Venture, Ted Sturgeon called it 'the kind of small trickle of good sf which justifies reading all the worthless stuff.' Well, I had been right. I was a better novel writer than a short story writer. Money had nothing to do with it; I liked writing novels and they went over well." {PKD 1968}

     I enjoyed writing all of them. But I think that if I could only choose a few, which for example might escape World War 3, I would choose, first, EYE IN THE SKY... {from PKDS 2-13}

     Two months after completing THE WORLD JONES MADE, Dick dispatched the manuscript of his next novel, EYE IN THE SKY, to his agents in New York, where it arrived on Feb 15, 1955. "I don;t know where I got the dialogue from, it just rolled out of me," he wrote Sandra Meisal in 1970. "It took only two weeks to write the first draft. Ah, but could I do it now! I'm far too tired." {PKD>Sandra Meisal, 8-27-70}

Nine years later he wrote the same correspondent that "the climate of reactionary terror was still very much with us when I wrote it. The FBI still visited me several times a month to se how and what I was doing." {PKD>Meisal, 7-5-79}

     ...{He told Paul Williams in 1974 that he was taking amphetamines} "by the time I wrote EYE IN THE SKY. And I attributed my speed of writing, my rapidity, and my productivity, and my pushing myself, to the amphetamines." {OAR 122} {from TTHC 322}

    The roots of {EYE IN THE SKY} are in the "group mind" of such stories as Damon Knight's "Four In One" (1953), a story Dick is on record as admiring; and Fredric Brown's "What Mad Universe" (1949), a tale of bizarre realities alternate to our own, figments of one man's imagination... Ever the craftsman, Dick told Ed Meskys in the early 60s "how it was important to maintain the pace of the book by making each adventure shorter than the one beforeit." {Ed Meskys "Bumbejimas 3"} Submitted to the agency under the title WITH OPENED MIND, its reader thought it "very odd... Off trail but good of its kind." He suggested trying Ballantine Books first, but they and several other houses passed on it; it didn't sell until its eleventh go-round, and second try at ACE -- after some extensive rewritting. For as we have it today EYE IN THE SKY is a censored text. Not for its political content -- as moderate as that now seems to us -- but for its religious "blasphemy." As Wollheim puts it, upon its first submission "I was very reluctant to do it. I enjoyed it immensely. But paperbacks were in a young state, and we didn't want to offend anybody. Here was a book that would offend religious people -- God enters it, the Eye of God." He feared that the American Legion might object, and other groups. "Wyn read EYE before we published it, and we talked a lot about it. He'd been a socialist in his youth so he took a chance -- if they argue, they argue. No one complained." The major reworking thus came in the earliest part of the book. Originally it was the Judeo-Christian God whose Eye stares at Hamilton and McFeyffe; now it was the god of a minor, imaginary cult. "Yes, it was safer that way," says Wollheim. "God is God, but we weren't going to step on somebody's toes." Ironically, when the novel appeared, Damon Knight took Dick to task for satirising "Back street cults, 19th century prudery, paranoid maiden ladies (and) 1930's parlor pinkery..." {Knight: "In Search Of Wonder."} Knight, an industry insider, did however rap the books "courageous editor" and not the author for the way ACE could "afford to thumb its nose at any Moslems (sic) who by chance should pick up the book.."{Ibid 233} Wollheim did like EYE IN THE SKY enough to it the honour of taking it out of the ACE Double format and publishing it as a single volume. "EYE IN THE SKY was a single." says Wollheim. "It was an unusual book and it was too long and you wouldn't want to cut it." As it was a single and not a double Dick was paid, Wollheim says, a full $1500. {from TTHC 296}

    EYE, JOINT, 3 STIGMATA, UBIK & MAZE are the same novel written over and over again. The characters are all out cold and lying around together on the floor, mass hallucinating a world. Why have I written this up at least five times? Because -- as I discovered in 3-74 when I experienced anamnesis, remembered I'm really an apostoic xtian, & saw ancient Rome -- This is our condition: we're mass-halucinating this 1970s world... {1978} {From IPOV}

    The time is 1953, when anti-communist frenzy --...-- had overwhelmed the United States. Dick will react to this neo-Puritan climate, displaying the same civil committment as the best "social science fiction", in THE MAN WHO JAPED and especially in that gem of SF stories EYE IN THE SKY -- a pretext to ridicule the neurosis of American society in the 50s, but at the same time a reaffirmation of that relativistic vision of reality which was becoming ever more central to Dick's fiction. In so doing, Dick was partly abandoning the objectives of "social science fiction". In Dick, in fact, criticism of American society does not presuppose the faith that evil can be excorsized. His pessimism is not only social, but concerns itself with all of man's existence. Though always based on an analysis of American reality, it is metaphysical and existential. {Pagetti}

     ...That's another thing that indicates that I can't really be said honestly to be a Communist. I parodied and savagely attacked them in EYE IN THE SKY. And Poul Anderson noticed that. Poul said he thought that part where the Communist slogans fall out of the sky, fiery symbols fall from the heavens, and set fire to somebody's house was one of the funniest things he had ever read. EYE IN THE SKY was not only openly attacking the McCarthy witch-hunts, because that was writen during the McCarthy witch-hunt period, but I was also attacking communism too. I was attacking them both. So I don't understand this business [of saying I'm a Marxist]. [PKD]

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