IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY
From The Dragon Press 1985 dustjacket
At the time of his sudden death at the age of 53, Philip K. Dick left unpublished a number of manuscripts and drafts of novels that are not science fiction. From the middle 1950s through the early 1960's Dick completed many works that were circulated but did not find publication (the only exception was the masterful CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST, published later, in 1975). Recently, THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE has been published in a small press edition and a number of other works are planned by various presses over the course of time. But of these, perhaps the most finished, unified and accomplished is IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY. IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY was received by Dick's literary agent on October 8, 1958, sent from Dick's home at Point Reyes Station, California. It therefore precedes CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST (1959), THE MAN WHOSE TEETH WERE ALL EXACTLY ALIKE (1960), and HUMPTY DUMPTY IN OAKLAND (1960) and follows several earlier works, including PUTTERING ABOUT IN A SMALL LAND (1957). In THE NOVELS OF PHILIP K. DICK, Kim Stanley Robinson states that "IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY. . . is probably the best of Dick's realist novels aside from CONFESSION OF A CRAP ARTIST," and goes on to characterize it as a "bitter indictment of the effects of capitalism." Dick, on the other hand, in his foreword, says "This is actually a very funny book, and a good one, too." The story takes place in Boise, Idaho, with some extraordinary long-distance driving sequences in which our hero (young Bruce Stevens) drives from Boise to San Francisco, to Reno, to Pacatello to Seatle and back to Boise in search of a good deal on some wholesale typewriters. He falls under the spell of an anractive older woman (who used to be his school teacher) and Milton Lumky, a middle-aged paper salesman whose territory is the Northwest. And then Bruce and the others slowly sink into the whirlpool of Bruce's immature personal obsessions and misperceptions. A compassionate and ironic portrayal of three characters enmeshing in a sticky web of everyday events, in a tension between love and monney, with a basic failure to communicate, IN MILTON LUMKY TERRITORY stands out among Dick's early works.
From The Gollancz 2005 backcover
Bruce Stevens is a young buyer for a big discount house when he meets the recently divorced Susan Faine. She suggests that he might like to manage her ailing typewriter store and he leaps at the suggestion. Then he realizes that Susan was his teacher when he was in fifth grade. In spite of that, they are married within days. And then the odd compulsions and instabilities start to interfere with their plans. Milton Lumky, the paper salesman in whose area they live, is uneasy about their future...