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3.9 out of 5 stars13
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 29 December 2005
This book has just be reissued as part of the SF Masterworks series, and is not among his most well-known works (such as "Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep", "A Scanner Darkly","The Man in the High Castle" and "Ubik"). It was written in 1970 when Dick was undergoing a sort of religious conversion and much of the ideas expresed in the book are as a result of his relationship and discussions with Bishop James Pike.
The book contains the usual Dickisms such as paranoia, hallucination, distintegration of society/environment, heroes in low-grade maintance roles and the recurring one-dimensional portraits of female characters as either selfish, controlling or oversexed.
The book is far from perfect, but, as anyone who loves this author knows, that isn't the point. The point is to enjoy the warped ideas, lunacy and sheer strangeness.
The plot starts off as a murder mystery (one of the lead characters is suprising offed early on) and reads a bit like a SF version of "And Then There Were None" on drugs. It does move into more usual Dick narrative territory as the story proceeds. Not wishing to give away the ending, lets just say that it has overtones of a recent SF blockbuster film. (Even films not based on his books owe a large debt to him)
Enjoy another great addition to the SF Masterworks collection...!
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2007
Possibly Dick's bleakest book. As has been stated elsewhere, this novel begins very much as a murder mystery, but rapidly mutates into something much more frightening. Essentially, what Dick is giving us is a vision of Hell - not the Hell of popular mythology, but the far worse hell of the human spirit trapped forever in an endless cycle of unfulfilled potential, lost hope, suspicion, distrust and fear, and there is little here of the love and empathy that one usually finds in a Dick novel. Even the one brief glimpse of redemption that we get at the end of the novel is clouded in ambiguity. And speaking of the ending, I suspect that many modern readers may find the 'explanation' for what has been going on something of a science-fiction cliche; but without giving anything away it's worth remembering that Dick was one of the first SF writers to take the idea and really run with it. No one before or since has taken it to quite the extremes that he did. 'A Maze of Death' is undoubtedly a dark and disturbing book - you can almost smell the paranoia seeping from the page - but it's one of Dick's most honest and unsparing works and I for one believe it deserves a much higher place in his canon than it currently occupies.
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on 18 May 2015
This was the first Dick book I ever read, and so I have a fondness for it, hence the five stars. Coming from hard-SF writers like Clarke and Asimov, it was a delight to find a writer who got the space journey out of the way in a paragraph and then got on with the story. And what a story it is! It has just about everything - a murder mystery (sort of Then there were none in Space, as another reviewer has pointed out), a detailed acid trip based on one of Dick's own, an invented religion based on the postulate that God exists, a disturbing look at paranoia, the I-Ching, and an ending that still sends shivers down my spine after a few re-readings. It does get a bit daft in one or two places, but it's still one of my favourite of Dick's many weird novels.

The plot is seemingly straightforward - a group of people gather on the planet Delmak-O to make new lives for themselves. But pretty soon they're left stranded, and the murders begin. Who, or what, is bumping them off one by one? The viewpoint switches, and at one point we see the same thing through the eyes of several characters. You never quite know where it's headed; it's like one of those sets of Chinese boxes, where one box contains another. As one puzzle is solved, another appears.

The writing itself is rather terse, abrupt, as though written in a hurry, and probably for that reason this is seen as one of Dick's minor works. But it's deservedly made it to the SF Masterworks series, and is highly recommended.
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on 27 April 2012
This book is very interesting and dark, the problem is that on kindle it is formatted so that there is a large space between every paragraph. This completely spoils the reading exerience. Please dont buy.

ps it is also drm locked so you can't change the formatting.
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on 1 March 2006
A Maze of Death is quite a typical Philip K. Dick novel and is actually an OK introduction to his canon. It might not be one of his best but it is definitely written in his own unique style and is worth a look.
The plot revolves around a group of strangers who are transferred from their respective home planets to a new planet to begin new lives. From here on in it is about how this group of apparent introverts get along with each other and try and work out what to do once they’ve arrived. I won’t say anymore, as anyone familiar with PKD can more or less assume nothing is what it seems.
Criticisms might be that the characters are a little two-dimensional or the archaic opinion of women. Obviously I don’t think this really belongs in the Masterworks and am a bit unsure why there is so much of PKD in this series but I was glad to be introduced to it nonetheless. I wasn’t expecting great things but I was pleasantly surprised. Short and sweet!
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on 29 January 2011
If you like sci fi or you like Philip K Dick this book.

A beautiful/sad story stayed with me ever since I read it all those years ago........
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on 26 January 1999
This tells the story of a group of people who for various reasons travel to another planet to make a new start. Soon after their arrival, however, they find themselves stranded. As they struggle to find a way out, a series of murders begins. Who is responsible? What begins as an SF detective story along the lines of Agatha Christie soon develops into something far more freaky. This is Dick at his wildest, complete with a detailed acid experience of his own thrown in. As the characters are killed the survivors begin to question why they are there, and is the fact that they are all disturbed a coincidence? Definitely recommended.
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on 29 May 2016
When it comes to alternative realities, Philip K Dick is the master!
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on 17 October 2006
I really do love more or less every PKD story I have read, and looking over my collection I have realised I have quite a bit of his work. Maze of death however is possibly my least favourite book I have read by him.

Dicks stories have always had very - as other reviewers have put it - 2 dimensional characters etc. This for me has always been a positive aspect of his novels, adding to the hollowness and meaninglesness of the realities that he spins, yet Maze of Death, whilst having all the qualities that his books usually posses (which can be veiwed as positive or negative dependant on your perspective) failed to hit the standard that his other books had set for me. This book felt too slow and didnt have enough excitement and mind shattering ideas in it, the kind that usually leave me questioning my own sanity after reading. I would suggest for a first time reader of PKD to go for something else. I would suggest the Three Stigmata, Now Wait for Last Year, Ubik, A Scanner Darkly, Time out of Joint etc. This book is good but just not as good in my opinion as his others
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on 14 March 2011
" When fourteen people arrive to colonize the otherwise uninhabited planet of Delmark-O, they quickly discover that their bizarre new world is more dangerous - and much, much stranger - than they could ever have imagined. The colonists have nothing in common and no idea why they've been sent there. All they know is that there's no way to leave and one by one, they are being killed..."
-- from back cover

Written in 1968 and published in 1970, A Maze of Death (Dick's twenty-sixth published novel) explores a number of themes Dick had an abiding interest in, most specifically the nature of reality and aspects of the human condition (what it is to be human). One of Dick's darkest novels, this work starts out as a murder mystery but soon becomes more 'PhilDickian'.

As with all PKD's works this novel makes you marvel at his imagination but also (if you are of a philosophical turn of mind) brings you to question and consider the themes he raises for yourself. PKD also creates characters that I at least find believable.

"[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
--Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

"The most consistently brilliant SF writer in the world,"
--John Brunner

"Dick quietly produced serious fiction in a popular form and there can be no greater praise"
--Michael Moorcock

"One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction, Philip K. Dick made most of the European avant-guarde seem navel-gazers in a cul-de-sac"
--Sunday Times

If you are new to Philip K Dick's work I would also recommend the following novels (which generally seem to be regarded as among his best):

The Man In The High Castle (S.F. Masterworks)
Ubik (S.F. Masterworks)
A Scanner Darkly (S.F. Masterworks)
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (S.F. Masterworks)

That said, though some of PKD's works are better than others, to my mind they are all well worth reading. I would also recommend his short story collections:

Beyond Lies The Wub: Volume One Of The Collected Short Stories
Second Variety: Volume Two Of The Collected Short Stories
The Father-Thing: Volume Three Of The Collected Short Stories
Minority Report: Volume Four Of The Collected Short Stories
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale: Volume Five of The Collected Short Stories

Also of interest may be the fine biography of Philip K Dick by Lawrence Sutin Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (Gollancz S.F.)
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