In The Novels of Philip K. Dick, Kim Stanley Robinson says that "In Milton Lumky Territory . . . is probably the best of Dick's realist novels aside from Confessions of a Crap Artist," and calls it a "bitter indictment of the effects of capitalism." Dick, on the other hand, in his forward, says "This is actually a very funny book, and a good one, too."
Milton Lumky territory is both an area of the western USA and a psychic terrain: the world and world-view of the traveling salesman. 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 Pocatello, to Seattle, and back to Boise in search of a good deal on some wholesale typewriters. He falls under the spell of an attractive older woman, and of 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 enmeshed in a sticky web of everyday events, who have a basic failure to communicate, In Milton Lumky Territory stands out among Dick's early works.
Praise for In Milton Lumky Territory:
"Beautifully drawn and poignantly persuasive."
--New York Magazine
"It's easy to sense . . . Dick's unmistakable concern for his poor, clumsy characters, who try their best to understand the implications of their actions, who never mean to hurt anyone, even when they are engaged in deceit, and who live their lives as pawns in worlds they never made. Rather than ridiculing or even patronizing these characters, Dick seems to envy them. . . ."