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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
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on 9 June 2011
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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on 8 January 2006
Another quirky, clever, emotional ride for over-active minds.....shooting off on many possibilities and plans, but centering around the usual Dick themes of drug translation, addiction/dependence and the meaning behind life.
It's impressive with the possibilities it presents for the characters within the scenarios.....how much do they know themselves? They don't seem to know until they are presented with their realities.....Palmer Eldritch....an enigma....another simple but advanced lifeform permeating itself through false realities....the hollowness of worlds....the need for a shared reality presents itself...through the hand, the teeth, the eyes... Identity is transcended by this strange lifeform......
Its ideas and its characters grow weaker, but this work is still significant food-thought to chew on, not obvious to digest but it is digestable....and bleak.
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on 5 May 2013
How can you describe a book of such brilliantly imaginative genius that it can't rellay be brought to life in words?If a book is so fantastic that it can't be conveyed in ordinary language,that this must be it.Like most of Dick's stuff is non-generic in nature and could appeal to a wide audience.
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on 21 January 2017
This, in my opinion, is one of PKDs better novels, it made me think of Flow My Tears The Policeman Said, which also deals with drugs with the capacity to effect reality/the external world as opposed to simply the mind/internal world of the user, and Our Friends On Frolix Eight, which included a plot about alien super intelligence returning to earth with a returning explorer (although the alien being in both stories are markedly very different, more obvioulsy malevolent in this one whereas it is a more open question in the other book).

This really, really is an excellent book and I recommend it to fans of PKD or readers new to PKD alike, the pacing is perhaps a minor issue, the novel, I felt, had a bit of a slow start, dealing with a lot of more prosaic details about earth's colonisation of mars, the plight of martian dwellers and how they have become dependent upon substances and paraphernalia (resembling dolls houses and figures), the companies involved in the traffic and their political battles with the authorities which prohibit their trade domestically but tolerate it in the colonies.

Following these more prosaic "landscaping" chapters there are some very odd chapters which take some figuring out, in retrospect this is an excellent depiction of someone experiencing a mind altering trip and being unable to recover from the experience/experiencing flash backs and ultimately doubting what is real and what is not. There are then some sequences involving, depending on what you choose to think about it, delusions or flash forwards and flash backs, displacement in time, I loved all of this and I think PKD has always made really, really good use of the "unreliable narrator" something which has only recently become seriously voguish in the mainstream with novels such as Girl On The Train.

There is some excellent character development in this novel too, with key characters moving from the background to the foreground and experiencing personal crisis and growth in the process. An absolutely great reading experience. On a par with the other novels by PKD which I mentioned and better than some others, such as the more famous Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? more famous for its screen adaptation Bladerunner.
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on 28 September 2014
By far the best book of Mr Dick. Raises some interesting concepts and is a must read for any Dick fan or someone who is seeking to explore his work for the first time, as it gives you a rich taste of his style.
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on 27 September 2002
Stigmata deals with a number of Dick's themes: identidy, what is reality, drugs. I read this book a couple of years ago, and I bought it for about 80 pence in a second hand book stall. It was one of the best investments I've ever made. The pages that deal with the Perky Pat playsets are particularly memorable , revealing Dick to be a thoughtful , witty writer.
In a nutshell, buy it, borrow it , steal it...just do what you have to do to read it
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on 21 June 2014
I really enjoyed this. I liked the complex fast moving plot. It's the future, of course or A future, if you like, on a dangerously warming Earth or Terra. There are pre-cogs; intellect enhancing but risky medical procedures and an entire industry dedicated to providing distractions for off world colonists, drafted to go and seed any slightly viable planets in the solar system. It's a dreary life and the central theme revolves around the rivalry of the suppliers of an established but illegal hallucinogen can-D and a newer product, chew-Z, probably also illegally brought in from outside the system by Palmer Eldritch. But who or what is Palmer Eldritch? And what is really happening when the first people try the new drug? The nature of reality, time and God are called into question and, as you might expect if you have read any other P. K. Dick, you won't really be sure what's going on at all, not even when you get to the end! Modern sci-fi in all it's formats, owes a lot to PKD but nothing else messes with your mind in quite the same way as this author's work. Love it.
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on 25 August 2014
Excellent first half exposing the unique talent of the author, it gets crappier and crappier moving toward the ending.
Absolutely worth reading but, if I knew it before, I would have stopped reading after about 140 pages of 240 to avoid what, to me, appeared as the mental degradation of a rare genius.
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on 19 March 2014
My brain melted upon finishing the end of this book.
I couldn't stop thinking about it for many weeks afterwards - something
few books achieve.

This makes most modern science fiction plots seem simplistic and dull,
it is (probably) my favourite book of all time.
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on 18 December 2004
This is a very good book and must be read by every person who loves Phillip K. Dicks novels. Be warned this is one of Dicks harder books to follow. The multiple dimensions of reality that Mayerson experience in novel will leave you scratching heads trying to figure out what's happening and if this is the real reality or an illusion. But This is good as it makes you think about the novel more and so come close to understanding what Dicks Talking about...
If you are a first time reader of Dicks novel i would suggest that you read Do Android Dream Of Electric Sheep as it is contains the same sort of theme but is alot more accessible...
This is a really good book and should be read by any Science Fiction Fans.... A Must Buy!!!!!
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