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The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by…

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,261481,692 (3.89)68
Recently added byandomck, mattrero, mstudios, private library, jezrah68, Wolfman08, Albertus21, Thierry1965, dachmatt
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 21
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: The Three Stigmata to me is a forefather of cyberpunk, with it's internal action that questions existence and God. Neuromancer is often credited as the book that made the genre, so I suggest Neuromancer as an interesting book to compare to The Three Stigmata.… (more)

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English (44)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All (48)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
When Jonas read this book he did so with a constant look of incredulity on his face. He was bursting at the seams to talk about it, but not having read it myself, there wasn't all that much that I could do. The moment he finished the book I picked it up, and I am incredibly glad that I did so. Now I can understand his confusion, and more, the sense of wonder that this book elicits. There's weight to this book, and let me tell you, it gets even stranger than the general high strangeness that Philip K Dick is known for...

PKD is an author that I really adore. His intertwining of sci-fi and religious themes speaks to me, and the hallucinatory quality of his books is downright addictive. [b: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch|14185|The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch|Philip K. Dick|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1338461946s/14185.jpg|1399376] delivers on both accounts in spades, surpassing the general undertones of other of PKD's work and making them overt. The themes of transubstantiation and whether it is purely philosophical or literal was fascinating, and even long after finishing the book it still makes me wonder. I wanted to read more, to examine more, to inhabit the world[s] a bit longer after I had finished the book itself.

I honestly can't recommend this book enough, and would be happy as could be to talk to anyone about it. This was just such a cool book. ( )
1 vote Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
I picked this up after reading Dick's short story,"The Days of Perky Pat". It intrigued me enough to give this a shot! It's the future, with space travel and precogs, and extreme global warming - even the mail is delivered at night! (as a letter carrier, that gave me a good chuckle, especially with the recent hot spells here in Northern California due to ... global warming!) Perky Pat is the game obsession of the colonists, played while being high on Can-D! The game, and the drug, make life bearable for over one million unwilling expatriates from Terra. That part of the story I enjoyed! But then it became super confusing with alternate realities, different time lines, and some sort of God-like, or alien, super being. I really had a hard time following it. There was even a cat and steak joke that I could not make heads nor tails of! I'm kind of bummed I didn't like it more, but from about page 94 on I was just bewildered... ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Sep 14, 2017 |
Philip K. Dick is a slippery one, his stories and books almost too elusive to characterize or summarize. [The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch] is probably one of the most elusive, but it was a fun read anyway – with PKD, the journey is always an interesting one.

In this one, an hallucinatory drug is marketed to create an experience using miniature mock-ups of the real world. Taking the drug, you can enter the miniature virtual reality and engage in all kinds of experiences – yeah, there’s some early seeds for The Matrix here. The drugs and miniatures are wildly popular on colonized worlds, where real existence is drudgery and toil. Palmer Eldritch returns from a deep-space exploration with a new drug that surpasses the experience with the current drug. All out corporate war ensues, with much of the action taking place in virtual space that breaks from the miniatures and puts users in the real past or possible futures. Some of those drugs might have been nice to understand what was going on – I’m sure PKD was using something when he wrote this mind-bender.

In the end, the book is a sort of “grab-hold-and-stay-on-for-the-ride” read, even if you’re not exactly sure whether the narrative is part of the virtual or real. Classic PKD world-building here, with an earth scorched, think global warming – he was way out ahead of Al Gore. And classic PKD characters, faced with impossible situations that highlight their interior struggles more than the practical choices or solutions.

Bottom Line: Classic science fiction, if a little elusive – not my favorite PKD, but still a fun read.

3 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
2 vote blackdogbooks | Aug 14, 2017 |
Philip K. Dick's best-known stories are teaming with creativity, implementing psychedelia and paranoia into the narratives long before Robert Anton Wilson or anyone else dared try it. Of his stories I've read, including the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, the stories' ideas and outlines have left a lasting impression, but the writing itself often feels turgid and dry, his characterization marred by dated misogyny and fantasies for young boys.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch fits alongside his classics. The Earth's been decimated by extreme climate change,* and humanity is being stretched thin to satellite colonies throughout the solar system. To escape general misery, people share an hallucinogenic drug called Can-D, which transports their consciousness into a shared cyberspace-like reality.

It's a fascinating concept -- an early prelude to cyberpunk -- and it only gets better: Palmer Eldritch, corporate titan, returns to Earth after vanishing 10 years earlier in an alien star system. He's brought a new drug, Chew-Z, that promises not only the effects of Can-D, but actual immortality inside a person's dreams. By imbibing in Chew-Z, the consumer enters a reality of their own creation in which they can stay as long as they wish; regardless of time spent in this new universe, only a split second passes in the real world.

The manufacturers of Can-D aren't too keen on this new drug, however, and not just for potentially ruining their profits: Something is off with the returned Palmer Eldritch and his drug. Eldritch remains mysterious, in hiding, and with his drug comes an uneasy feeling of being watched or *invaded*. Eldritch seems to be showing up everywhere, in every reality; it's near impossible to tell if we're layers deep in a Chew-Z fantasy, time standing still, or really marooned in a dying Martian hovel. Sooner or later, Eldritch seems to slip up, and his presence makes itself known through the three stigmata of the title: Your grandmother, your lover, your friend, your driver -- anyone might suddenly bleed into a metallic and alien persona, someone you don't know or want there.

The creeping paranoia and Lovecraftian horror of the title remain brilliant, but PKD's writing is, I think, as bone-dry and bland as ever. His characters cardboard caricatures. His women ogled as brain-dead objects by the omniscient narration. His philosophizing defined by drugged-out, hippie naivete. Here are, for example, some of the most popular highlights by Kindle readers:

Loc. 278:
She was a redhead and he liked redheads; they were either outrageously ugly or almost supernaturally attractive.

Loc. 1040:
"Who ever heard of a suitcase being dominated by minds from an alien star-system?"

Loc. 2242:
Can't the past be altered? he asked himself. Evidently not. Cause and effect work in only one direction, and change is real .

Loc. 2781:
Something which stands with empty, open hands is not God. It's a creature fashioned by something higher than itself, as we were; God wasn't fashioned and He isn't puzzled."

Even though I'm again blown away by the outline of a PKD novel, I struggled, as I always seem to, through his lifeless prose and the overt misogyny. (This is a boys' tale through and through.) Many of PKD's most famous stories -- the Man in the High Castle, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a Scanner Darkly -- have worked better on film or TV. It's an unpopular opinion, but I feel as long as the themes and feeling remain, butchering the original story seems to improve his work.

*N.B. This was written before global warming or climate change entered mainstream public perception. ( )
  alaskayo | Jun 21, 2017 |
The religious symbolism and concepts are everywhere as Dick takes the reader from competing drug dealers through layer upon layer of hallucinations or alternate realities to direct interaction with God or a god or a devil or ...? The drugged state is compared to “what St. Paul promises ... you’re no longer clothed in a perishable, fleshly body – you’ve put on an ethereal body in its place.” I think I’ll read this one again, there was so much great stuff that I’d like a better look at. One image that stands out for me involves Dick’s deliberate disregard for a writing “rule”; avoid adjective lists. In the midst of an imaginary world consisting mainly of a flat grass plain, an avatar of Palmer Eldritch appears as “a scraggly, narrow, ungainly, white dog.” One of Dick’s best! ( )
  drardavis | May 20, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Next year SF celebrates a fairly significant anniversary. It will be 40 years since JG Ballard published The Terminal Beach , Brian Aldiss published Greybeard , William Burroughs published Naked Lunch in the UK, I took over New Worlds magazine and Philip K Dick published The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch . It was a watershed year, if you like, when SF rediscovered its visionary roots and began creating new conventions which rejected both modernism and American pulp traditions.

Perhaps best representing that cusp, Dick's work only rarely achieved the stylistic and imaginative coherence of those other writers. His corporate future came from a common pool created by troubled left-wingers Pohl and Kornbluth ( The Space Merchants , 1953) or Alfred Bester ( The Demolished Man , 1953). His Mars is the harsh but habitable planet of Leigh Brackett ( Queen of the Martian Catacombs , 1949) or Ray Bradbury ( The Martian Chronicles , 1950). His style and characters are indistinguishable from those of a dozen other snappy pulpsters. Even his questioning of the fundamentals of identity and reality is largely unoriginal, preceded by the work of the less prolific but perhaps more profound Charles Harness, who wrote stories such as "Time Trap", "The Paradox Men" and "The Rose" in the 50s.

So how has Dick emerged as today's best-known and admired US SF writer? It's hard to judge from this book (which was promoted enthusiastically by me and many others when it first appeared).

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abadia, GuyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csernus, TiborCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gudynas, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mohr, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, PaulAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I mean, after all; you have to consider we're only made out of dust. That's admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn't forget that. But even considering, I mean it's a sort of bad beginning, we're not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we're faced with we can make it. You get me?
--From an interoffice audio-memo circulated to Pre-Fash level consultants at Perky Pat Layouts, Inc., dictated by Leo Bulero immediately on his return from Mars.
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His head unnaturally aching, Barney Mayerson woke to find himself in an unfamiliar bedroom in an unfamiliar conapt building.
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Haiku summary
Can-D or Chew-Z
Perky Pat, Palmer Eldritch
All just empty dreams

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679736662, Paperback)

In this wildly disorienting funhouse of a novel, populated by God-like--or perhaps Satanic--takeover artists and corporate psychics, Philip K. Dick explores mysteries that were once the property of St. Paul and Aquinas. His wit, compassion, and knife-edged irony make The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch moving as well as genuinely visionary.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Philip K. Dick's reputation as perhaps the greatest contemporary sf writer has grown steadily since his death. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is, by universal consent, one of his three key novels, and the book in which he first took his perennial interest in the fragile nature of reality to a new level of imaginative intensity.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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