The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

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Philip K Dick explores the theme of mind-controlling drugs in this inventive and hugely entertaining novel. Part satire and part metaphysical drama, it stands as one of Dick's finest. When shady businessman Palmer Eldritch returned from a distant galaxy, he claimed to have brought a gift for mankind. Chew-Z was a drug capable of transporting people into an illusory world, a world they could linger in for years without losing a second of Earth time. For the lonely colonists living out their dreary term on Mars, ...

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Taruno V

Feb 7, 2015

Good as most of his work!

I had read only a couple of his novels and these last 4 novels also live up to his reputation.
Haven't read yet "Time out of joint", but I'll come back to tell you if it was as good as the rest.

Joe Z

Dec 6, 2012

Superb reflection on reality

This is one of Dick's best, a disturbing but also funny reflection on the nature of what is real and what is not. With Ubik, Do Androids Dream and Eye in The Sky, among the best novels about what constitutes reality in a complex universe where perception can be manipulated and what we believe can be subtly altered by forces we do not control.

Emrys

Jun 20, 2009

Convoluted and Unconvincing

Even by PKD's standards, this is a convoluted novel. Dick himself wrote in reference to it, "I not only cannot understand the novel, I can't even read it." Understandable, considering that the story revolves around drugs that project the user's consciousness into illusory "realities," and the characters aren't always sure whether they're currently stoned. It starts out straightforward enough - promising, even - but eventually takes a downturn into psychedelia from which it never recovers.

Convolution aside, Dick does a much poorer job than usual here of making his "science" credible. That there are drugs that produce fully realized and realistic illusions I can accept readily enough, but that toking them is a group experience and that they require physical dollhouse props into which they somehow project the user's consciousness is stretching things a bit far. That alone I could handle, but there's also the matter of what Dick calls "E-Therapy," which is described as being a treatment that accelerates the process of evolution. Dick's idea of evolution, however, is not the genuine scientific theory, but the sort of half-formed notion that one might expect a very young child to get out of an explanation of the term: evolution, according to Dick, is a linear, predictable process that progresses not as mutations occur in the reproductive cycle, but as mutations occur in individual organisms over their lifetimes. Even the explanations of precognition aren't as believable as they are in Dick's other precog stories.

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