As a writer of imaginative literature, Walker Percy devoted himself exclusively to the novel. However, he also wrote more than fifty reviews and essays on many of the same topics that inform his novels: existential philosophy, language theory, modern scientific method, contemporary American culture, the South, and literature. With one or two exceptions, the most important of these essays are collected in The Message in the Bottle (1975), which has as its peculiarly Percyean subtitle How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other. An indispensable book, The Message in the Bottle not only clarifies the author’s major concerns as well as his commitment to that most basic philosophical question, “What is man?” but also details the formidable intellectual foundation on which his fiction so unpretentiously rests. That unpretentiousness is especially evident in Lost in the Cosmos (1983), ironically subtitled The Last Self-Help Book, in which Percy employs satire and semiotics in an effort to clarify the human being’s social and more especially spiritual predicament as a uniquely “lost” creature needing the good news of the gospels but all too often willing to settle for the insights of scientists and talk-show hosts.