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The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 13 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (13 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074804
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Really excellent entertainment’
Daily Telegraph

‘An elusive and incomparable artist’
Ursula LeGuin

‘My literary hero’
Fay Weldon

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Philip K. Dick is the bestselling author of MINORITY REPORT and BLADE RUNNER.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M Jenkins on 9 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"In the overcrowded world and cramped space colonies of the late 21st century, tedium can be endured through the use of the drug Can-D, which enables the user to inhabit a shared illusory world. When industrialist Palmer Eldritch returns from an interstellar trip, he brings with him a new drug, Chew-Z, which is far more potent than Can-D, but threatens to plunge the world into a permanent state of drugged illusion controlled by the mysterious Eldritch."
-- from the back cover

Written in 1964 and published the following year, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (Philip K Dick's sixteenth published novel), deals with a number of the themes that dominate his work (pre-cognition, the nature of reality, drugs etc..). As with all PKD's works this novel is packed with ideas that make you marvel at his imagination but also (if you are of a philosophical turn of mind) bring you to question and consider the themes he raises for yourself. PKD also creates characters that I at least find believable. As Ursula Le Guin has said "There are no heroes in Dick's books, but there are heroics. One is reminded of Dickens: what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people." PKD's characters always strike me as in some way authentic.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965.

"I am afraid of that book [The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch]; it deals with absolute evil, and I wrote it during a great crisis in my religious beliefs. I decided to write a novel dealing with absolute evil as personified in the form of a "human." When the galleys came from Doubleday I couldn't correct them because I could not bear to read the text, and this is still true.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sunsoul on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Firstly, this book is easy to pick up and read. Some reviewers suggest that you should try other works first, but I don't see why this should be the case. The story is quite involving and complex (as an idea), but the actual writing style and explanation is clear and very well described. Eldritch is coming back to earth and quite what he has with him, and whether he is still human is up for debate.

As you read this book, you almost go through all of the deadly sins and their impact on human life - someone is trying to upgrade their beauty or their intelligence (vanity), a co-worker is trying to take your job (envy), the boss is sleeping with the consultant (lust) - Dick plays out the story against a backdrop of impending doom, with the present-day prophet of the universe about to set up a new world based on his own self, a self that is alien, obnoxious, and without a true soul. The interesting twist to the story is the fact that we are all a part of this monstrosity, and perhaps Dick was ultimately trying to lay out the process by which the mind loses itself. I read somewhere that Dick could never actually read this story again, and never checked the final draft as it scared him.

For such a doom-laden book, it is remarkably upbeat, and the central figures have a lot to like in them, and a distinct sense of purpose even in the most trying of times. Towards the end the fight against Eldritch mounts, and the all-knowing nature of the new god is put into question. Everything is a question with Dick, and all is never lost.

This is classic sci-fi, and highly recommendable.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sarcosuchus on 31 July 2010
Format: Paperback
One of the finest of Dick's 1960s works, "Palmer Eldritch" is a book brimful of superb ideas. Some are bitingly satirical (future colonists will relieve the excruciating boredom of their lives by entering the ideal world of Ken and Barbie analogue Perky Pat, making dolls and doll accessories the most prized items in the solar system). Some are sad (humans undergo a cosmetic process to accelerate their evolution, but sometimes the process goes awry). And some are just plain terrifying, particularly those ideas surrounding the evil messiah Palmer Eldritch, who returns from Proxima Centauri with a divine sacrament that just might grant eternal life.

Unlikely ever to be filmed, (though John Lennon and Timothy Leary reputedly tried to secure the rights), and unlikely to appeal to hardcore sci-fi fans on account of its playful treatment of religious themes, "Stigmata" is nonetheless a brilliant, thoughtful novel about the slippery nature of reality and the untrustworthiness of those who claim to be experts on the subject. The fact that it's so often overlooked is understandable, but for those who can be bothered it will more than reward your patience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Electronic Listener on 9 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this wonderful masterpiece, and as with so many other of Philip K. Dick's novels it left me both enlightened and confused, happy and sad, courageous and frightened - all at once.

"The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" deals with many subjects but the most important ones seem to be the nature of reality and the nature of pure evil - two subjects not as separate as one might think. This is especially true in a story where an alien drug, known as Chew-Z, is brought to the Solar system by Palmer Eldritch, an industrialist who has spent many years in a far away star system. Especially tempting to colonists who live a rough and laborous life, the drug allows the user to enter an illusory world where one's desires and wishes can "become true". When the drug is first introduced, the distinction between reality and illusion is blurred especially when one begins to learn about the nature of the power that infiltrates every illusory world.

If you've seen Inception and you became intrigued by its metaphysical side, then you will love this book. It is easily one Philip K. Dick's most sinister yet magnificently brilliant books.
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