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The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Paperback – October 18, 2011
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Previous ISBN 978-0679736660
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Industrialist and drug smuggler Leo Bulero has a problem. Mutilated cyborg Palmer Eldritch has returned unexpectedly after a ten year absence in space. Now he's threatening to undercut Bulero's business: providing a sort of commodified communion for colonists on Mars. With the elaborate playsets built around his Perky Pat dolls and with the aid of the narcotic Can-D, Bulero offers groups a pharmacological return to the Earth they've been exiled from and that is now burning up for unknown reasons.
But Eldritch's Chew-Z offers a different, longer lasting trip, and one more solipistically seductive. But is Eldritch a man or the spearhead of an alien invasion?
As with some of Dick's best work, the story feels oddly up to date whether it's the climatically changed Earth, the obsession with spotting commerical trends via pre-cognitives, a corrupt UN, or the talking suitcase that also happens to be a psychotherapist.
Even if you're not quite sure what to make of the ending, this is one of Dick's very best novels.
Palmer Eldritch, a character based on an hallucination that Dick himself once experienced, is a wealthy industrialist with metal eyes, a metal hand and a metal jaw. In character and action he seems to this writer to resemble the "crippled man" of German expressionist movies and literature; who is himself physically crippled, but has almost a supernatural control over others. Examples of such characters in movies include the Professor in "Metropolis", the title character in "Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari", and the title character in Fritz Lang's "Dr Mabuse" films. More recent examples may include the title character in Kubrick's "Dr Strangelove", and the stammering, limping Dr Schreber in Alex Proyas' "Dark City".
The character of Eldritch is the unforgettable centre of the novel, and is truly a terrifying presence.
The effect of Eldritch's drug Chew-Z is to cause the user to enter a hallucinatory reality, apparantly of his or her own choice. However, in these realities the user is alone - no one else can enter their hallucinations except, apparantly, Palmer Eldritch. The contrast between the two drugs may be seen as an analogy of the difference between the "soft drug" marijuana and the hard drug heroin. While marijuana may be taken in company, heroin is taken alone, and the user becomes withdrawn.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Looking for the meaning in life with drugs and materialism. Fast paced plot with bizarre and funny wrapped in. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bryan
Dick is renowned for his strangely compelling stories, but this is certainly one of his strangest. Set in a future that takes elements of 1950s cocktail-party morals and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by DrPat
Wild concept. Definitely needs a second read thru to fully understand the complexitiesPublished 4 months ago by Tom C.
Philip K. Dick was a strange one, for sure. I've read a number of his novels and short stories, but can't say I'm a huge fan of the man. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Stevec50
Its not as good as some of his other books, and I wouldn't pick it as the first book to offer a newcomer to the author. Read morePublished 9 months ago by JWB
This has the weakly hard-boiled style and thin characters of mid-20th century sci-fi. To me it felt tired and retreaded. Read morePublished 9 months ago by W. Handy
I get the feeling it's me, not PKD. I would re-read it but the first time through didn't motivate me to try and understand further. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lucas J. Nihlen