Mary Kay Bray’s Copy of Time Out of Joint

I just cracked open the copy of Philip K. Dick’s Time Out of Joint that I requested via interlibrary loan for my PKD exam. I noticed that it arrived at the Kent State Library from the Watson Library at Wilmington College in Wilmington, OH, but I didn’t register where I had heard of Wilmington before. It has a colorful cover by Roy Colmer that portrays Phil Dick sitting with book in hand next to an old radio and eclipsing a distant planet in the background, but the real treasure was just inside the front cover:

This copy of Time Out of Joint used to belong to Mary Kay Bray, the science fiction scholar who was active in the Science Fiction Research Association and whose name is honored with her memorializing SFRA award: the Mary Kay Bray Award for Best Feature, Essay, or Review in the SFRA Review. She taught at Wilmington College. After her death in 1999, her close friend Professor William L. Andrews of UNC, Chapel Hill funded this award in Bray’s name. I was honored with the 2007 award for two reviews I wrote: one on Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and one on Ian McDonald’s Brasyl. Since then, I have served on the awards committee two years. See the other award winners here.

I was already looking forward to reading Time Out of Joint, but I am even more eager to do so now knowing that this particular copy of the novel belonged to a distinguished scholar and teacher with many friends in the SFRA. I only wish that I had had the chance to meet her in person. As it is, we are connected through time by science fiction.

Published by

Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.