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A Maze of Death Paperback – April 16, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Vintage paperback, 1994
Previous ISBN: 978-0-679-75298-1

From the Inside Flap

Fourteen strangers came to Delmak-O. Thirteen of them were transferred by the usual authorities. One got there by praying. But once they arrived on that planet whose very atmosphere seemed to induce paranoia and psychosis, the newcomers found that even prayer was useless. For on Delmak-O, God is either absent or intent on destroying His creations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547572441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547572444
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is definitely in my top ten list of PKD's best. Here's the basic storyline: An odd group of people find themselves on a planet called Delmak-O. Just as they're about find out what they're there for, the satellite that's supposed to tell them does something strange, leaving them in the dark. Now, clueless as to their reason for being here, they try and find a way to regain communication. But then something else happens. Slowly, they start dying off, and no one knows who is killing who. It sorta reminded me of the movie CLUE. At first you might think that this is just a murder-mystery in space. WRONG. The ending was EXTREMELY unpredictable, but EXTREMELY brilliant. This story could only have come from one of SF's masters, PKD. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but his character development is good enough that you can tell who's who most of the time. I can't believe that this book didn't win an award or something, it's really great. If you find it, read it and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
This probably has to be the easiest novel about everyone being doomed I've ever read.

It occurs to me, reading Dick's novels sporadically over the past few years, that the man wasn't so much out of his mind (well, maybe in his last years, but his last novel is surprisingly coherent and touching considering it was written by a man who was "nuts") as constantly aware of the questions we sometimes ask about existence. Questions such as "what is life?", "what is death?", "what is the nature of God and reality and how do they relate?" . . . most of the time if we consider these things it's only for a second because the potential answers are so harrowing that nobody really wants to deal with them. Dick looked those questions straight in the face and didn't flinch, for better or for worse, because sometimes when you ask the hard questions, you may find that the answers aren't very pleasant.

"Maze of Death" feels like the extrapolation of one of those questions, a gently brutal way of leading you to the conclusion that the Universe is very much not on your side and if God does exist the best you can hope for is that he just doesn't care, because otherwise it means he really dislikes you. It's not a book that delivers a grand shock that will rock you to the core as much as instill a quietly creeping unsettling feeling that maybe the book is right: we're all living in a reality we've created and unfortunately we've created a reality in which we're all doomed and there's nothing anyone can do about it, as the only options are suffering until you die or just getting it over with fast. And neither option is all that good.
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By A Customer on July 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
See where Hollywood got the idea for "The 13th Floor." This book, and "Ubik" more or less created the genre of psychedelic science fiction. It is one of his most cohesive books, among the most genuinely paranoid, and very much predates Jack Chalker's recent (good) Wonderland trilogy. These are some of his better characters, all trapped on a pathetic planet and trying to figure out what is going on before they die. Now, with all the Hollywood copycats, the ending might seem clichéd. But remember, that he was in that genre first and "Maze of Death" is still champion. Personally, Dick inspired me. I know of no one else who so masterfully writes of that strange domain where psychology, philosophy, theology, and mythology intersect.
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Format: Paperback
Realistic characters (all human this time), genuine suspense, a strange and oddly familiar view of religion and a really well handled twist at the end - for those reasons A Maze of Death is one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels. It's a short book, but packs in a lot of insight about perceptions, the shifting nature of reality (of course), human interactions, paranoia and hopeless cases. I notice that the tone here is more dismal than Philip K. Dick usually offers, but (as always with his stories) reading it is an eye-opening and memorable experience.
While many authors have expanded on themes in this story, written in 1970, I don't think that anyone's improved on his presentation of them. Read it with your mind open to all possibilities.
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Format: Paperback
Maze presents the common PKD theme of one ersatz reality, the one in which we believe we live, giving way to another. Invariably this is traumatic, such as in Ubik. In this case, however, all hope is lost as to a solution. Dick's metaphor of the doomed spaceship (being Earth) is gloomy indeed, and it is no surprise that this book was written at a time in Phil's life where he had no hope. The only hope is the mystical removal of Morley at the end, but this could be interpreted as an escape into death. This is not a happy novel.
Nevertheless, as others have said, Maze is possibly the fastest PKD read you will encounter. I have read this book but once, and I was astounded at the time. I rate this extremely highly as a work of fiction, although I suspect that further reading will confirm what others have said - that is that the soul is not there, Dick no longer believes in what he is writing.
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