Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Philip K. Dick

Tor Books

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The first US paperback edition of this classic Philip K. Dick novel

Set in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1950s, Humpty Dumpty in Oakland is a tragicomedy of misunderstandings among used car dealers and real-estate salesmen: the small-time, struggling individuals for whom Philip K. Dick always reserved his greatest sympathy.

Jim Fergesson, an elderly garage owner with a heart condition, is about to sell up and retire; Al Miller is a somewhat feckless mechanic who sublets part of Jim’s lot and finds his livelihood threatened by the decision to sell; Chris Harman is a record company owner who for years has relied on Fergesson to maintain his cars. When Harman hears of Fergesson’s impending retirement he tips him off to what he says is a cast-iron business proposition: a development in nearby Marin County with an opening for a garage. Al Miller, though, is convinced that Harman is a crook, out to fleece Fergesson of his life’s savings. As much as he resents Fergesson he can’t bear to see that happen and—denying to himself all the time what he is doing—he sets out to thwart Harman.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter 1
As he drove, Jim Fergesson rolled down the window of his Pontiac, and, poking his elbow out, leaned to inhale lungfuls of early-morning summer air. He took in the sight of sunlight on stores and pavement as he went up San Pablo Avenue at a slow pace. All fresh. All new, clean. The night machine, the whirring city brush, had come by, gathering up; the broom their taxes went to.
At the curb he parked, turned off the motor, sat for a moment lighting a cigar. A few cars appeared and parked around him. Cars moved along the street. Sounds, the first stirrings of people.

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Praise for Humpty Dumpty in Oakland

Praise for Humpty Dumpty in Oakland:

“A grim portrait of a luckless used-car salesman and his bigoted landlord in Oakland that seems at first to share little with the hallucinatory sci-fi works for which Philip K. Dick is best known. But both men slip into paranoid spirals that will be familiar to any fan of Dick’s later masterpieces. Offers a fascinating glimpse into how Dick’s uniquely warped perspective evolved.”
--Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)

"Fans of the late SF icon Dick who have yet to discover his obscure genre works will be pleasantly surprised by this profound—and perplexing—1986 posthumous tragicomedy.… This paranoid and ambiguity-filled exploration into the psyche of the small businessman showcases not only Dick’s wild imagination and sardonic wit but also, and most notably, his mastery at intertwining perception with reality.”
--Publishers Weekly


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About the Author

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick’s stories have been adapted often for the screen, including the classic film, Blade Runner. Prior to his death in 1982, Dick lived in California.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

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Available Formats and Book Details

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
Philip K. Dick

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Tom Doherty Associates
Tor Books
September 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780765316912
ISBN10: 0765316919
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 256 pages
$16.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Tom Doherty Associates
Tor Books
September 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466837515
ISBN10: 1466837519
256 pages
$7.99
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