April 17, 2004

Palmer Eldritch

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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Hrm. Sounds bleh to my tastes.

Terry Prachett's "Guards! Guards!" is having me break out snorting or giggling or laughing every few pages. B keeps looking at me funny, because normally I don't read stuff that makes me laugh out loud or slap my thigh with mirth.

Good stuff.

Posted by: Humbaba on April 17, 2004 06:53 PM

So you haven't read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"? I'm surprised. It bears only passing similarity to the movie Blade Runner (which is losely based on it).

As for Terry Prachett, I don't think that I've ready anything from him that I have not enjoyed.

Oh, and in case you haven't read any of his stuff, I would definitly suggest (for both tastes, PKD and Prachett) that you give Neil Gaimon a shot. "American Gods" and "Good Omens" are both entertaining and (at least compared to my reading list) novel ideas.

Posted by: Seattle Astronomer on April 19, 2004 12:09 PM