Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2014
If you don't know already, Philip K. Dick is among the finer purveyors of science fiction that the U.S. has to offer, but he is so much more than that. To me, his stories take a form something like what I would imagine a counter-existentialist narrative to be like, in that many dilemmas his characters face are of the same stripe as those contemplated by professional philosophers, only Dick is kind enough to close the loop before ending the story.

Lots of nifty little conventions in this novel. When we first meet the protagonist, he carries an android psychiatrist in an electromechanical suitcase which uplinks to a master computer housed elsewhere in the city, call it 'cloud shrink 2.whatever', it was clever.

The novel is set in 2016, where the polar ice caps have all melted due to global warming. That little prediction wound up askew, since only yesterday climatologists observed the largest amount of ice in Antarctica ever for a September since they started monitoring ice masses by satellite in the 1970's, but it hardly detracts from the plot.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that drug culture is examined very closely in the book, particularly that of psychedelics. Off-world colonists consume a hallucinogenic herb, Can-D to make their barren existences tolerable. When Palmer Eldritch, an internationally known industrial magnate returns from a 10-year voyage to other galaxies, and claims to have brought back a superior drug, one that can even grant the user eternal life, the Can-D company's monopoly is threatened, but the steps taken to neutralize him seem to have been anticipated, and encouraged by the now immensely powerful creature who calls himself Eldritch. What does he really want?

The book is a pot-boiler. You won't want to put it down, and it holds up very well under a second reading. Very good character development all around.
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