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Writing Date

Pub. Date





<Jul 9, 1979


The Exit Door Leads In

Strange Memories Of Death

MS title: "The Man Who Knew How To Lose"



    Soon after completing "The Exit Door Leads In" Dick wrote another short story, "Chains of Air, Web of Aethyr."

    With the manuscript title "The Man Who Knew How To Lose" this story reached the SMLA on July 9, 1979, a month after receipt of "The Exit Door Leads In." How it found a home at Stellar #5 as "Chains Of Air, Web Of Aethyr" in 1980 I’m not sure. PKD had established good relations with Judy-Lyn Del Rey, editor at Ballantine, and perhaps the Agency sent it directly to her.

    The story was used by PKD as the first part of his novel to follow VALIS. Originally called VALIS REGAINED, this novel was eventually titled THE DIVINE INVASION on publication by Simon & Schuster in 1981.

    This story tells of isolated communications technicians living in domes on the planets of far-flung stars. Leo McVane’s job is to transmit weather reports and the music of Linda Fox to other galactic outposts. He likes being alone. But his nearest neighbor , Rybus Rommey, is sick and wasting away in her dome. McVane reluctantly visits her out of a minimum of human compassion and helps her get well. But, once involved with Rybus, McVane is stuck with her -- and her destructive personality.

    Linda Fox is based on one of PKD’s favorite singers: Linda Ronstadt. The character of Rybus Rommey, in slightly altered form as Rybus Romney, is reprised by Dick in THE DIVINE INVASION, the novel that he would write in 1980.

    A difficult story "Chains of Air, Web of Aethyr" receives

Other Magazine and Anthology appearances

1981   THE DIVINE INVASION {Expanded into novel}     
1985 ihisas3a.jpg (4598 bytes) I HOPE I SHALL ARRIVE SOON, Doubleday, hb, 19567-2, July 1985 {Ed. Mark Hurst and Paul Williams}  


PKDS-8    9

"Chains of Air, Web of Aethyr" served as the basis for the first few chapters of THE DIVINE INVASION; it was definitely written before Phil submitted the outline and got a contract for that book (so novel follows story rather than vice versa). The original title was "The Man Who Knew How To Lose."

PKDS-2 5

"Chains Of Air, Web Of Aethyr" (Stellar #5, 1980)... was written into THE DIVINE INVASION but has quite a different flavor on its own.

See also:

  • DI 266

Collector’s Notes


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