Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Pre-order now Shop Men's Shop Women's

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

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
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
22 comments| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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
0Comment| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 December 2015
Another mind blowing story by the great Philip k dick. He's was one of the most original authors in sci-fi and all his books I've read in the masterworks series thoroughly deserve to be called just that. Loved it
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 July 2003
A lot of text indicates that this book is one of Philip K. Dick's 3 key works. Not surprisingly then it deals with many of the author's reoccurring themes, most obviously, identity and drug abuse.
At first I wasn't convinced by the world described, but the more I read the more I was drawn into the world of PP Layouts and Chew-Z, like the hovelists described on Mars. The sheer imagination and vivid description makes it almost cinematic and the creepy aura Dick creates around the mysterious Palmer Eldritch is quite incredible - an unnerving presence as he is for those who are introduced to the Chew-Z narcotic.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!!!!!
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse