In The Novels of Philip K. Dick, Kim Stanley Robinson states that In Milton Lumky Territoryis probably the best of Dicks 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, says in his foreword, This is actually a very funny book, and a good one, too.Milton Lumky territory is both an area of the western United States and a psychic terrain: the world and worldview 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 (who used to be his school teacher) and Milton Lumky, a middle-aged paper salesman whose territory is the Northwest. And then Bruce and the others slowly sink into the whirlpool of Bruces immature personal obsessions and misperceptions.A compassionate and ironic portrayal of three characters enmeshed in a sticky web of everyday events, in a tension between love and money, with a basic failure to communicate, In Milton Lumky Territory stands out among Dicks early works.
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