I finished Philip K Dick's "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" last week. Like the other PKD books that I've read ("Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" and "The Man in the High Castle"), this one was a very interesting idea, but I didn't really enjoy the execution.
The setting is a very hot future Earth, so hot that you can't go outside while the Sun is out without essentially wearing a spacesuit. Many inhabitants are now colonists on places like Mars. But life is so dreary there that most of the colonists use hallucinogenic drugs to recreate an idealistic Earth setting using actual minitiature props (layouts) to help. There are also precogs (like in "Minority Report", also based on a PKD novel) who can sort-of forsee future possibilities, an idea for which I really liked the development.
Into this mix comes a rich guy (Palmer Eldritch) who is returning from the first journey ever to another star system, where he has returned with a new, more powerful drug that he's going to try to get everyone to use. The drug is like a communal virus, where everyone experiences the god-like Eldritch in their dreams (which are hard to distinguish from reality, a usual PKD device) and some even begin to take on Eldritch's features in real life.
Very weird. Lots of potential, and I'm sure at the time it was released, many enjoyed this groundbreaking work. Not really my cup of tea, but sometimes I'm in the mood for something weird like this.Posted by Observer at April 17, 2004 11:05 AM
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