Arbor House 1985, 214 pages, $14.95, hard cover
SFBC 1986, 214 pages, $4.98, hard cover
Avon 1987, 212 pages, $3.50, paperback
Vintage 1998, 224 pages, $12, trade paperback
From the dust jacket of teh Arbor House edition
"Dick was probably the best science fiction writer of the past 35 years." - Publishers Week(y
"In Radio Free Albemulh we have Philip K. Dick's final novel, a story of political repression, reality shifts. theological speculationall of those elements which he wove so maddeningly well." -Roger Zelazny
At the time of his death in 1982, at the height of his powers, Philip K. Dick was coming into his own as perhaps the greatest science fiction novelist. The film Bladerunner was about to be released, as was the final novel of the Valis trilogy. He left behind a large amount of unpublished material but not, it was believed, any science fiction. But recently discovered among his voluminous papers was a full and completed Valis novel. Radio Free Albemuth is a separate and distinct work, dating from his mature period, circa 1976, a truly significant addition to the canon, and an important event in SF publishing. ,Radio Free Albemuth. set in an alternate contemporary U.S.A., an environment of anti-Communist political repression, poses the problem of how to treat a friend whose life is being directed by a being from outer space. Nicholas Brady works in a record store in the San Francisco Bay Area when he gets his big break. He's hired by a record company in L.A., as an A&R man, to screen new talent. But he has begun to have strange waking dreams that consist of messages from a space satellite, Radio Free Albemuth, on his radio. A benevolent force out there is using existing mechanisms to intervene in his life. Nicholas tells his friend Phil Dick, the SF writer (and a major character in the book), who makes a running commentary. And Nicholas is in a lot of trouble, because U.S. President Fremont, an ultraconservative anti-Communist, has organized the clean-cut youth of America into a pervasive counterspy organization, to ferret out Communists everywhere and to make everyone, through fear, report on everyone else. They suspect that Nicholas is trying to plant subliminal anti-American lyrics in his pop records. Nicholas has to hide the fact of his communications from Radio Free Albemuth from them or be ruined - so he must work for them. Trapped either way, the strange dilemma of Nicholas Brady is a typical Phildickian existential situation. Radio Free Albemuth. in the context of the last great works of Philip K. Dick, can be read as an introduction and key to his magnificent Valis trilogy (Valis, The Divine Invasion. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer). But this book stands alone as an accomplishment in itself, a complete and structurally contained investigation of the themes that were to occupy Dick in the last years of his career.
"It strikes me as good enough to stand in the top ten or twelve PKD SF novels." - Michael Bishop
IN PRAISE OF RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH
"Unmistakably Dick...tantalizing cosmic vistas-and something new, an unabashed strand of cosmic love. Lovers of Dick must read it." -James Tiptree. Jr.
"It's a fine addition to the Dick canon. It's more lucid and politically alert tban Valis. and more readable too. It's also more immediate, scary and believable." -[an Watson
"The novel has all the virtures, idiosyncracies, and paranoiac invention that a reader automatically expects of a Dick novel, along with the kind of coherent and controlled storyline that often eluded him in his more manic novel-length forays...it gives us a chance to reflect on just how grippil)g a novel by Dick could be and just how much he gave American letters by writing as powerfully as he did." -Michael Bishop
"It seems to me the master volume that established the relationship among Valis. The Divine Invasion. and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Radio Free Albemuth authenticates the other three books and makes a coherent quartet of them and itself. It is definitely a good book and an importan! one." -Richard A. Lupoff ....
From the back cover of the Vintage edition
IN THE LATE 1960's a paranoid incompetent has schemed his way into the White House and convulsed America in a vicious war against imaginary internal enemies. A struggling science fiction writer named Philip K. Dick is trying to keep from becoming one of that war's casualties. And Dick's best friend, a record executive named Nicholas Brody, is receiving tronsmissions from an extraterrestrial entity that may also happen to be God-an entity that apparently wants him to overthrow the President.
In this, his last novel, philip K. Dick morphed and recombined themes that had informed his fiction from A Scanner Darkly to VAUS and produced a wild, impassioned work that reads like a visionary alternate history of the United Stoles. Agonizingly suspenseful, darkly hilarious, and filled with enough conspiracy theories to thrill the most hardened paranoid, Radio Free Albemuth is proof of Dick's stature as our century's greolest prankster-prophet.