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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 29 June 2017
Book arrived in perfect conditions, brand new.
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on 9 March 2011
"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."
-- Philip K Dick

"The worlds through which Philip Dick's characters move are subject to cancellation or revision without notice. Reality is approximately as dependable as a politician's promise."
--Roger Zelazny in Philip Dick: Electric Shepherd (1975), Bruce Gillespie, ed.

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

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?: The novel which became 'Blade Runner' (S.F. Masterworks)
Ubik (S.F. Masterworks)
A Scanner Darkly (S.F. Masterworks)
The Man In The High Castle (S.F. Masterworks)
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (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
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on 9 April 2016
I was recommended this book by one of the contributors of the Journey Planet fanzine. It is one of P K Dick's most accessible books, but it also works on many levels, one of those books that really makes you question how society works, and your place within it.

It's incredible (and slightly unnerving), to think that such an insightful, and prescient narrative was written in the sixties, and yet is so pertinent to the time we live in, with the comparisons of Virtual Reality, drugs and religion.

I think this is a great introduction to Philip K. Dick, and a banner for the visionary style and thoughts of such an influential writer.
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on 14 December 2013
This book is set in a future where Earth is too hot for the inhabitants and people are (rather dubiously) having to 'evolve' to be trendy and seen as important and score business contracts. Instead of people receiving psychiatric help to make themselves better, people instead receive it to make themselves 'unfit', so they don't have to go and live in 'hovels' on Mars, where religion and hopelessness go hand in hand. Set against this backdrop, two drugs are competing and trying to win the most 'users' - these drugs are Can-D and Chew-Z. One drug is illegal and can be taken in a communal manner, with a 'layout' and 'minned' props for the fantasy, and the other drug appears to have UN sanction but works on an individual basis (with Eldritch able to inhabit the realm also)....

Sometimes an author tries so hard to be ambitious that the heart of the story sinks in the process, like a disastrous souffle that had all the right ingredients and went into the oven for the correct amount of time, but somehow came out soggy and collapsed despite the diligence. Happily, this book is not one of those books - it is rich and complex through and through and, for those that like that sort of thing, you could happily analyse it until the cows come home. Indeed, even when the book slips into a hearty chunk of character led exposition at the end, it is done in such a layered and textured way that despite certain key symbols being given to the reader (e.g. what constitutes the three stigmata), more questions are only opened up as a result.

A novel about sanity, despair and religion. A masterpiece.
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on 22 March 2017
A journey through time & space, or, should I say, spacetime! Thoroughly enjoying Dicks work, & slowly getting through his books.
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on 9 February 2012
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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on 14 January 2013
This Novel is dark, and after finishing it I was overwhelemed with a horrible feeling. Perhaps I was having a bad day, but this book is errie towards the end.

The Kindle version is not so great because of the constant spaces after 3 or 4 lines, (most of the time) so get paperback :).

Tbh the props of the story, for me, I found difficult to paint an image, but then again I have only read this once. And to be honest, it is not vital when losing yourself to this awsome book. I struggled getting my head around the layouts and its role with the drug "Can-D" but maybe on a second read i'll understand.

The main character is called Barney Myerson, who is obviously in Dick's likeness, as this was written during his marriage issues. You are reading the works of a man trying to deal with hurt, but also feuding with his stuborness of his own ego. That is just one of the main characters, the scene when he takes Chew-Z and goes into past and interacts with his ex wife really took me back, and was my favourite part of this novel. I too have gone through similar experiances, with feelings of regret and constant thoughts. Hence why this struck a nerve with me . . . but overall great read. Just be warned, it is dark.
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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2011
This is one of those books that deserves a very thoughful review. Phillip's books are often some of the more complex in Science Fiction with numerous twists and turns.

The story is one of an earth which is heating up causing humanity to colonise the solor system. The imagery is evoked of settling the west and the harsh lives that are lived. Against that the escapism of drugs and new realities that can be experienced.

This delves into difference senses of reality, religious themes as well as the state of time. Read it.
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on 14 August 2017
One of Dick's finest. A complicated world that has you questioning what is real, and yet I found it to be more coherent than some of his other works. Highly recommended
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on 31 July 2010
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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