Radio Free Albemuth (2010)
Frequently Asked Questions
RFA (then titled "Valisystem A") was Dick's first attempt to turn his "pink beam" experiences of February and March of 1974 into a semi-autobiographical novel. Mark Hurst, his new editor at Bantam Books, liked the manuscript but suggested it could benefit from additional story elements. Dick agreed enthusiastically, and their 1977 correspondence about potential revisions ("The Zebra Papers") has been printed in Dick's Selected Letters (Volume 5) and appears in the collection Vintage PKD. But Dick never attempted the rewrite. Instead, he conceived of an entirely new (and much more autobiographical) approach to novelizing his experiences, which resulted in the novel VALIS. (The plot of Valisystem A was cannibalized as the plot of the movie "VALIS" that the characters in the novel VALIS see.) After Dick's death in 1982, the existence of the earlier novel was not quite forgotten, as Dick had described it in some detail in an October 1976 interview in the sf 'zine Science Fiction Review. But a few years passed before his literary estate obtained a copy of the manuscript (one he had given to to a friend). The book was given its current title (to avoid confusion with VALIS) and published in 1985. A lengthy article about RFA appeared in the August 2014 PKD Otaku 'zine, along with a review of the film by Dick's widow.