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In Milton Lumky Territory

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  734 ratings  ·  78 reviews
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 territor
Paperback, 221 pages
Published April 27th 2009 by St. Martins Press-3PL (first published June 1985)
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Kate Sherrod
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So it might surprise folks that In Milton Lumky Territory, a very posthumously published piece of Philip K. Dick's literary fiction, is in many ways the strangest and most uncanny of his works I've ever read. Then again it might not; it's still Philip K. Dick, after all.

What makes it uncanny is the veneer of surreality -- if not unreality -- that the years have lain over its basic story of three characters whose neuroses get in the way of communicating, who are so worried about how they're comin
Bob Fingerman
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had held off on reading Dick's social realist novels for two reasons. The first was I wanted to have something to look forward to, having read 90% of his sci-fi, and the second was I was afraid they might not be good. Oh, me of little faith. I've now read two and both were excellent. Without all the mind-bending trappings of his sci-fi, Dick is left to expand the depth of his human characters (who were always the glue of his sci-fi), and he does to great effect. The characters in this book -- ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this entire book waiting for something to happen ... I had a hunch that PKD wouldn't let me down, and somewhere along the way, all the subtle nuances would make sense in comparison to a climactic finish to the novel ... well, no climax and no tying up loose ends ever culminated. Hmmmmmm, I guess that I should stick to Dick's sci-fi genre reads, because this book just ended up irritating me with how little really happened ... I hate committing to a book only to be let down in the end ... p ...more
Christian Schwoerke
I read this with the idea that it was a late, late work, done after much of his famous science fiction writing, that it was somehow like Shakespeare's Tempest, the work of an author at the end of his life, a late meditation on all that had gone before. Ha! Only after did I learn that it belonged to his pre-SF work, done in the 50s.

As I read, I kept wondering, mistakenly why Dick would locate his novel in the 50s, unless it was to capture something of that time he'd felt he'd lost. This sort of i
Jonathan Norton
One of PKD's early non-SF novels, this didn't get published until 1985. His introductory comment about it being "a very funny book" is misleading - I didn't find anything particularly amusing in it, though I suppose there is a wry satisfaction to be had in the story of a slick young salesman having to learn the limits of ambition, amongst other things.

The world is the mid 50s US, away from the big exciting cutting-edge places. The characters, as usual in PKD realist novels, are all chafing at th
Karl Kindt
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
In finishing this, I finally understand why I like the dialogue in a PKD non-sf novel--it's like listening to my parents argue when I was young. They would fight all the time, as all parents do. They tried not to do it in front of me, but they did, frequently. So why would I like books that remind me of that trauma? I have no idea. Like I have no idea why PKD is my favorite writer. They were my parents. They were my childhood. I could see both sides of the arguments, even if I usually would side ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
review of
Philip K. Dick's In Milton Lumky Territory
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 21, 2012

Philip K. Dick is a great writer. He's a writer that just about every aspiring fiction writer wd love to be. The prose is easy to understand, fluid, engaging, but not banal. The characters are idiosyncratic - they can be 'normal' w/o being stereotypical - they're the product of keen observation of humanity. Dick was married 5 times & one 'has to wonder' whether the marriage depicted here was s
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
that Philip K. Dick was an odd one, wasn't he?

Dick wrote this book in 1958, before he went off on a sci-fi binge for the rest of his life. his sheer skill at characterization, even while it must be admitted that all of his characters are at least a little skewed, is a thing of beauty.

so what is it with these bent characters? no one i've met in his non-sf-fiction is quite normal. Dick tours the reader (or sometimes drags the reader) through each facet of his characters' at-least-slightly grotesqu
Felix Hayman
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many readers think Phil Dick and it's - Minority Report, Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner - basically the films of his stories.Some go further to his great SF works - Ubik, Valis, The Man in the High Castle etc and few, very few go to his mainstream novels. And what a pity they don't, for these novels are possibly the best examples of genre writing of 50's Americana and "Milton Lumky" (all have strange titles by the way) is a great example, for Dick has managed to absorb the paranoia, the fear and t ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm kind of a sucker for the early proletarian salesmen non-sci-fi novels of Dick. I still love the masterpieces most, but these make for kind of soothing late night reads when your brain isn't up to full engagement. Plus it's really intriguing after reading his wild works of loose genius to read these very controlled books about practical everyday guys just trying to get by. I think my favorite of the batch, though, is Voices From the Street. It goes deeper into what kind of emotional sacrifice ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I think I need to read some more PKD. I very much liked his tone/writing style, but the plot of this book was just a bit, er, dull. It's about the business successes and failures of a typewriter store. Some it was interesting to read, but it definitely dragged at times. PKD is very good at characterization with this. None of these characters are particularly likable, but they make sense and they have real tangible issues; I don't know, I just really liked the way he portrayed them. Not my favori ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philip-k-dick
I liked Milton Lumky Territory. This is like when a friend tells you he or she likes a movie that the buzz says is awful. It is the kind of "I like it" where you say "go into the movie with low expectations and then maybe that will free you to like what you see."

The characters are well drawn. The hero is likable. It is a lot like a John Updike novel.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
PKD litfic
No aliens or mindfucks

Review Haiku for Those with Short Attention Spans
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of PKD's realist novellas. It lacks the sci-fi or drug-induced weirdness of his more famous books, but is essentially asking the same probing, uncomfortable questions about identity and maturity.
Maura Heaphy Dutton
I picked this up from a remaindered book table because of the magical name "PKD." And as I am having a big clearout of my books, I decided to "read and release" when I realized that it was one of Dick's lesser known output -- a mainstream novel, and one that was unpublished during his lifetime. Knowing something of Dick's life and career, I know that he yearned, all of this life, to be taken seriously as a writer, and not-so-secretly considered his SF work to be an obstacle to that serious recog ...more
Nathan Davis
Phillip K. Dick starts off this book with the line, “This is actually a very funny book, and a good one too, in that funny things happen to real people who come alive. The ending is a happy one. What more can an author say? What more can he give?”

I wouldn't call this a funny book by any means. Interesting, sure, but not funny. I’m not entirely sure why he described it as funny, but the question of “What more can [an author] give?” is beautifully raw and intimate.
It’s wildly dated to read a stor
Cliff Jr.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was good.

My first impression of Philip K. Dick's non-sci-fi work was that he was much more readable with big sci-fi concepts to wrap your head around. His characters are often moody, selfish, cynical, and/or downright malicious. Without the robots and aliens and alternate realities, I found these characters tough to endure. That was how I felt about Confessions of a Crap Artist in particular.

But this one was really amazing. The two main characters were full of the same sort of flaws I
Richard Clay
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I wonder why Dick would think that this was a funny book, as he states in the preface. A good book perhaps, one of the most easily read of his "realist" ones. But the characters are quite flat and their motivations are never explained, the "why" of some decisions seems to be predicated on contradictory impulse, calling for more suspension of disbelief than Ubik's psi wars and half-lives. Everything that happens is all quite uncalled for, narratively disjointed, unjustified and with breaches of c ...more
I finished reading this book and the first thought I had was how weird it was. I wasn't sure quite what to make of it. Dick claims it as comedy which, to me, is his way of saying that life is funny when we take a step back and look at what we struggle to do. Like a single ant carrying a whole chip by himself across the kitchen floor. It's humorous from above and we see the fruitlessness of it's efforts, but that ant must be beaming with pride at his accomplishment. I don't believe this is a bad ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
Amazingly, I haven't read many of Dick's Sci-Fi works. I read "Voices from the street" last year and enjoyed it so picked up this one in my Library the other day and found myself entranced.
There is something about Dick's realist work which draws you in. Despite some quirks of behaviour and detachment from the society he wrote about (reading it many decades after and not being American) ultimately people are strange creatures and his exploration of human life experiences is to me very interesting
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoilers: One of Dick's more pedestrian, non sci-fi novels. Bruce Stevens, purchasing agent for discount big box store, in the days when that was a novelty (1950s) drives from Reno to Boise making purchases. Runs into feared 5th grade teacher and marries her. Runs into Milton Lumky, a traveling salesman. Stevens marries teacher, who runs a typing business. Stevens buys typewriters, on advice of Lumky. Japanese electric typewriters turn out to have Mexican keyboard layout, which causes falling ou ...more
I really enjoyed this book. If only I knew what it was about.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 01, venustas, audio, pkd
I found the struggle between Susan and Bruce compelling, but the ending was hard to place
Ben Brackett
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
PKD's non sci-fi books are sometimes more unsettling than his usual outings.
Jack Stovold
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Philip K. Dick Project

Entry #15 - In Milton Lumky Territory (written Oct. 1958, published posthumously Jun. 1985)

Well, this is an odd and unexpected little book from Philip Dick. Dick moves the action from his California comfort zone into the areas around Boise, Idaho, although a large portion of the book follows Bruce Stevens as he drives all over the American West trying to jumpstart his and his wife’s little typewriter store. This book differs from all of Dick’s straight novels I’ve read
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another of PKD's non-sf novels similar to "Voices in the Street." The main character, Bruce Stevens, is in sales too. This time it is traveling sales and the Milton Lumky of the title is another traveling salesman.

Bruce works for a large discount chain in Reno and when he visits his home town in Idaho he meets a woman who inspires his dream of becoming his own businessman. The woman, Susan, owns a failing business and typewriting supply and transcription store that she wants to sell. Bruce move
This is one of those books that I want to give two ratings to. To the Philip K. Dick fan who has an intimate knowledge of his sci-fi novels, themes and obsessions, this book is a four. It is certainly probably rated somewhat higher on Goodreads then it should be because as a posthumously published realist novel it is unlikely to be read by non-Dickheads. But that really holds true for most novels, with most of its ratings being made by at least their intended audience, and in this case that bein ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of a handful of Philip K. Dick's non -sci-fi novels. When you take away all the the sci-fi trappings, you get a closer look at the author. There is a kind of deliberate ordinariness about Skip Stevens's life. His dreams are low-gear. He marries his fifth-grade schoolteacher and goes into business with her in Boise, Idaho, at a typewriter store.

In the process, he meets a traveling salesman from a paper company who had done business with his wife, Susan. Milton Lumky, the salesman,
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In Milton Lumky Territory" is a strange tale in many ways - it's about an ambitious 25 year old who is reacquainted and starts a relationship with his 5th grade school teacher. She's a single mother who is ten years his senior. The premise is quite domestic, interspersed with scenes of dysfunctional and explosive relationship dynamics. This includes the titular Milton Lumky, who acts as both a positive and negative force in the novel.

The novel is strange in that Philip K. Dick is famous for his
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Philip K Dick: How do you interpret "In Milton Lumky Territory"? 9 20 Feb 07, 2012 08:42PM  

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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more

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