A Fine Early PKD Novel,
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This review is from: The Cosmic Puppets (Gollancz) (Paperback)" When Ted Barton follows an inner compulsion and returns to Millgate, Virginia, the isolated, sleepy town of his birth, he is troubled to find that the place bears no resemblance to the one he left all those years before. It's even more alarming to realise that it never did. And when Ted discovers that in this Millgate Ted Barton died of scarlet fever at the age of nine, he knows there's something seriously amiss. Imprisoned there by a mysterious and unseen barrier, Ted attempts to find the reason for the disquieting anomalies, only to become enmeshed in a desperate and epic struggle of cosmic importance."
- from the back cover
Written in 1953 and published in 1957, Cosmic Puppets (Dick's fourth published novel) is possibly his shortest novel. It explores a number of themes Dick had an abiding interest in (and would bring out more fully in later novels), most specifically the nature of reality and the impact on people when reality as they understand it starts to unravel around them.
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.
"[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
"I see Dick as a major twenty-first century writer, an influential 'fictional philosopher' of the quantum age."
-- Timothy Leary
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.)