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The Cosmic Puppets Paperback – November 16, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager (November 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006482864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006482864
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,644,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'The greatest American novelist of the second half of the 20th century' Norman Spinrad 'A great philosophical writer' Independent 'The most brilliant sci-fi mind on any planet' Rolling Stone

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'The most brilliant Sci-Fi mind on any planet' - Rolling Stone

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Unfortunately, you don't learn what that excuse might be until long after it would make any difference.
Amazon Customer
Judging this for what it is, a fantasy novel - a work of fiction to be judged by whether it takes you into its world and whether it entertains you - it's a good book.
Scott McFarland
Most of the characters were extremely interesting and I would have loved to read more about them, whether in their own chapters or in some kind of dialogue.
Todd O'Rourke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric San Juan VINE VOICE on October 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Cosmic Puppets is a very interesting Philip K. Dick (most are), in some ways because it doesn't feel quite like most of his other work. This one felt more like an episode of The Twilight Zone than the heady science fiction he is known for. Children with strange powers, things not being as they seem (a frequent Dick theme), and a strange mystery that unfolds into something large beyond scope (again, a frequent theme), as god clashes against god.

The story opens with the main character, Ted Barton, visiting the town he grew up in. Only now ... it's different. Something is wrong. He finds that he NEVER EXISTED in this town's history. Things only get stranger from there.

The Cosmic Puppets leaves you with as many questions as it does answers, but was a very satisfying read. The situation Dick creates is engrossing and fascinating, and the pacing is lightning quick. Probably among the most accessible PKDick books I've read to date, perfect for a casual fan or someone new to this man's startling body of work, The Cosmic Puppets comes highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Engelbach on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
THE COSMIC PUPPETS originally appeared as half of an Ace Double Novel -- those 35˘ paperbacks that contained two complete stories back-to-back. The publisher considered it mere pulp.

But it continued the ironic comment-on-the-genre style that Dick was developing in his early work and that reached maturity by 1962 in what was up to that time Dick's favorite book (he told me so himself in a letter in 1966), THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.

Dick's work has to be taken as a whole. Irony is the theme. If you're looking for witless kicks, avoid Dick and bore yourself with those god-awful space operas that presume to pass for serious sci-fi these days.

Dick is a genius with a highly original voice, one whose evolution can be traced back to Hammett, Hemingway, and Chandler, up through Van Vogt and Heinlein. THE COSMIC PUPPETS, while admittedly not his most fulfilling work, contains many of those fascinating elements that make up his unique signature.

Frankly, I found it hard to put down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve West on October 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Cosmic Puppets can't really be classed as science fiction, it would be more supernatural/fantasy. The story wouldn't look out of place in a Stephen King short story collection. I think it's slightly unfair to charge full price for a half-length novel, I'd recommend borrowing it from a library if it's available. The Cosmic Puppets is more a 'disposable' novel but if you're a PKD fan I'd recommend reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug Mackey on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the only full-lenth fantasy that Dick wrote; the rest are either science fiction or mainstream. But this present-day small-town setting in which magic works has much in common with his many future worlds in which the magic is supplied by altered states of consciousness, time paradoxes, and alien gods. Here a man named Ted Barton returns to his hometown of Millgate, Virginia, for the first time since he was a child, and finds that the streets, landmarks, stores, and people are all different. Although all small American towns are interchangeable to some extent, this goes too far, particularly when he finds an old newspaper record of his death at age nine. Somehow Barton has entered an alternate universe, one in which he is no longer supposed to exist. He becomes obsessed with the need to verify his own existence, and soon discovers himself in the middle of a sort of Armageddon, where the cosmic forces of darkness and light are fighting it out. This is an early Dick novel that prefigures many of the themes of his later fiction, and is consistently entertaining.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Laundy on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anybody who knows Philip K. Dick knows that most of his writing constitutes something of a quest to probe the nature of reality. 'The Cosmic Puppets' is where it all began.
Ted Barton is the seminal Dick protagonist, drifting cynically between earth-shattering events, estranged wives and dark-haired girls, with only slightly more than a casual regard for anything secondary to his central motivation - truth.
Unfortunately it took PKD twenty years (and quite a few short stories and minor novels) before he finally reached his epiphany with 'A Scanner Darkly'. 'The Cosmic Puppets' lacks the literary impact, depth of character and cohesion (Dick did have his own peculiar sense of cohesion)that would later convey Dick's real ambition. However, this book remains a useful starting point for anyone captivated by this brilliant man's unique imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. Hardy on March 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the earlier PKD novels, which initially reads like an original episode of the Twilight Zone (in fact I can think of an episode with a cameo from a young James Doohan which was very like the first half of the book). As usual the tale has a little PKD twist, to help things along.
This final plot-turn was definately an issue he came back to in later novels, possibly most noteably The Divine Invasion, and Valis to a lesser degree.
It is an early PKD, so a lot of the complexity and depth is not so well formed, but it is no less enjoyable for that. An easy one to get into PKD for those not so familiar, and a genesis of ideas for later works for the seasoned fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zadius Sky on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
"The Cosmic Puppets" is a short novel (less than 150 pages), first published in 1957, that takes place in a small town and starts with the central character, Ted Barton, arriving on scene in a hope to re-visit his childhood town. Upon arriving, it immediately dawn on him that the very details of the town were not right - not even close. He felt sure of its location, of its similar landmarks, but he knew that something wasn't right: his memories do not agree with the town's physicality. But, he soon finds himself in the middle of the battleground between good and evil, light and dark, real and illusion, Ormazed and Ahriman. He'd become an important player in contributing to the outcome of the battle.

This is a very short small-town novel that feels to be of a horror genre with bits of sci-fi mixed into it. Some of the scenes seem to be rather gruesome that I had trouble reading through.

The first part of the book is mainly Ted's confusion and shock as he stays in the town and trying to discover the truth of it all and the latter part shifts to the battle between ancient gods with Ted's important involvement. I personally felt that the first part would have been a part that was ripped off of a mystery/sci-fi book and glued to this rather horrific, ancient story of the battle between the gods. I am more inclined to be interested in the first part of the book as it is very much like an "The Twilight Zone" episode (the show that I actually loved to watch) than the latter part. The idea of a town so different, so unreal, that doesn't match with the memories of a man who returns after so many years is intriguing on a psychological level.
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