I shall post a more substantial message later in the day, but I did want to leave hanging those of you who have been contacting me about having received a message from Amazon, canceling your preorders for my memoir, A FAMILY DARKLY: LOVE, LOSS, AND THE FINAL PASSIONS OF PHILIP K. DICK: yes, I got one, too.
Since I have not been able to extract any new information from my publisher on the subject (pretty much everyone in the industry is on vacation until after Labor Day), I’m not sure what to tell you — and given that there is a remote possibility that this situation will land me, my publisher, and the Dick estate in court, I am severely limited in what I can say here about what is going on — or why there are people so desperate to suppress this book.
Someday, I promise, I WILL tell you the story of what has been going on for the past 14 months. But it may have to be in novel form.
Suffice it to say for now: I have NOT been informed that Carroll & Graf does NOT intend to publish the book; the contract could not be canceled without informing the author. I have presented them with enough corroborating evidence that there is not, I think, any question of the book’s not coming to publication for reasons of disbelief. It is my understanding that 100% of the publisher’s reservations are based upon fear of a lawsuit. But they might well tell you different if you asked them directly.
Since the Dick estate’s allegations have changed in each subsequent threat, I am not sure what they would like changed in the book. Apparently, they announced a while back on the estate-owned fan forum that they gave a list of demanded changes to my publisher, but to the best of my knowledge, no such list was ever received. If you are curious about what they want, I can only suggest that you ask them.
As far as I know, the estate only ever made one attempt to suggest actual textual changes (rather than preventing the book from coming out at all): in June, 2005, Philip’s eldest daughter sent me a list of, if memory serves, 22 extremely minor requested changes; I made all that I was able to verify were true. This request included an insistence that I not mention my very serious ethical reservations about the Philip android.
Other than that, it is my understanding that the estate’s objections are not based upon matters in the book that they believe to be untrue, but whether I have the right to publish my views of matters that unquestionably ARE true — or whether Philip’s fans have a right to know certain things about him. I believe they do, and furthermore, I believe that many of his hardcore fans have been aware for years that…okay, I’m running into legally tricky ground again here…that not everything they have been told about Philip, or that he told them himself, was necessarily accurate. I am morally certain that Philip himself cared enough about his fans to want them to be told the truth at last.
This is, of course, only my opinion.
So where does this leave us? Given the lawsuit threats, I cannot tell you either why the book is so controversial or whether there is any reasonable prospect of its coming out this year in any form this year. It is my understanding that the Dick estate would object to this book in any form, simply because of my unique relationship with Philip, and that since they have anointed Larry Sutin’s DIVINE INVASIONS as the “official” PKD biography (and the basis of the forthcoming biopic, evidently), they would prefer that no one ever write a book about Philip again. However, these impressions are derived from statements the estateniks made last year; they may since have changed their minds. Who can say?
As soon as I know for sure what else, if anything, I may say on the subject, I shall establish a page on this site to fill you in further and provide you with regular updates. Many, many thanks to those of you who pre-ordered the book, as well as to all of you out there who have been sending me messages of support over the last year. I know this has been frustrating; I know that this must all seem very confusing from the outside, not to mention disheartening for other writers to see.
Trust me: I will find a way to tell this story, as well as the genuinely fascinating and complex corollary saga of why the book is not yet gracing the shelves of your local bookstore. It just may take a while.