» » The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
ISBN: 0879978104
ISBN13: 978-0879978105
Author: Philip K. Dick
Book title: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Other Formats: doc mbr rtf azw
Publisher: DAW; First Thus edition (March 1, 1983)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1418 kb
Size ePub version: 1934 kb
Size fb2 version: 1855 kb
Category: Science Fiction

Palmer Eldritch returns from a journey to another galaxy with a strange drug, which creates a complete fantasy world for the user

Books reviews
Dick is renowned for his strangely compelling stories, but this is certainly one of his strangest. Set in a future that takes elements of 1950s cocktail-party morals and "Minority Report" Minority Report [Blu-ray] precognition, mingled with a global-warming meltdown expected a scant 50 years in the future; Palmer Eldritch then takes a nose-dive into the 1960s’ to find salvation and damnation in an alien mushroom.

Barney Mayerson is a fashion pre-cog, working for Leo Bulero, the head of “Perky Pat Layouts.” Perky Pat and her “boyfriend” Walt are dolls whose materialistic lifestyle is supported by fashionable miniatures of cars, stereo systems, furniture, clothing, and everything desirable to the teeming millions who live on Earth.

The problem is, there are too many people on Earth to allow everyone to have this abundance for real, so random people are “drafted” to become colonists on Mars. There, they use the illegal drug Can-D to become, temporarily, Perky Pat or her boyfriend. The quality of this experience (the only escape available to the colonists) is believed to be dependent on the up-to-date fashion of the miniature layouts they create for their Pat and Walt dolls.

Belief is an important factor in this equation—in fact, religions have grown up around the drug experiences of the colonists. Some believe that the Can-D “translation,” the apparent entry of the women into Pat, and the men into Walt, actually takes them to an Earth before the time when it was suicide to be outside in the unshaded noontime sun, or to a less-than-eternal Heaven. Some liken the taking of Can-D to the wine and wafer of communion; the men commune together in the persona of Walt, the women in Pat. A few cynics believe neither, but welcome the easing of restrictions. After all, it’s Pat’s body that joins with Walt’s, so it can hardly be adultery, right?

The acquisitive, free-love society that has ruined Earth is thus miniaturized on Mars. The other requisite element in this scheme, the drug Can-D, is also manufactured by P-P Layouts (quietly, as contraband), and sold at top dollar to the colonists. Colonial authorities look the other way, because without the drugs, colonies quickly descend into cabin fever, then flash over into murder and mayhem.

As the story begins, Palmer Eldritch, legendary explorer to Proxima Centauri, has returned to the Solar System, bringing with him a new drug, an alien fungus marketed as “Chew-Z.” Unlike Can-D, Chew-Z needs no layout. And its translation brings the user into a world that seems really eternal, Heavenly—complete with an audience with God. The only problem is, sooner or later God, and all the other characters everyone encounters in the Chew-Z universe, take on a distinct resemblance to Palmer Eldritch.

When Barney Mayerson is drafted to Mars, he plans to take the new drug along with a toxin supplied by P-P Layouts, then sue Eldritch to convince the authorities that this new drug is worse than Can-D. As a pre-cog, though, he knows that his boss, Leo, will be charged with killing Palmer Eldritch in the near future. And neither Barney nor Leo realize that, once you’ve taken Chew-Z, Palmer Eldritch resides in your mind.

The tone of the story is psychedelic, with confusing chronology and a distorted sense of wonder and awe. Elements that seem to be important to the tale as it begins are abandoned, without apology, when something newer comes along. Earth’s ecological disaster is implied, but never explored; the aliens of Proxima are discussed once, then dropped. Can-D religions are sketched in the barest terms sufficient to contrast them with the Chew-Z experience.

In the end, "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" feels something like a drug trip; one is left with the sense of having had a revelation, but its details are lost in the haze.

This is one Dick novel that will never be made into a movie. I hope.
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!
Global warming has scorched the Earth, where only a few hours of daylight each day can be permitted. Certain persons who are "drafted", will get to go to one of many colonies in the sol system, Mars in this case. So what do the colonists do in their spare time? Take a drug called, Can-D, and you will be whisked away to a mini adventure as a barbie sized doll in a Perky Pat layout. Mars is that boring.
But "TTSOPE" is more than just a game. That is until a new drug, called Chew-Z, which promises realistic hallucinations, and eternal life.
Dick's trademarks are all here: unreality vs reality, drug usage, who am I?.
"TTSOPE" is exceptional Dick material, in line with his other books, such as "UBIK", "A Scanner Darkly", and "A Maze Of Death"
Like your mind boggled? You'll enjoy this one.
PKD wrote a short story entitled "The Days Of Perky Pat" earlier in his career, in which he has taken some of those elements and transferred it to this book.
You can find the short story in, "The Minority Report and other classic short stories". See my review.
This book is a definite head trip. The first 2/3rds of it are easy to follow, the story of a materialistic society, degradation of the earth, colonists using hallucinogens to escape their dreary lives, with some other colonists (mainly only mentioned) turning to religion. The industrialist Palmer Eldritch has returned from an extra solar space trip with a new drug, one that promises a better experience, claiming that one can become a God in during their hallucination, or at least experience the divine. Naturally, the makers of Can-D want to stop Palmer and preserve the market, and this drives the story forward. The latter 1/3rd of the book is more ambiguous, as often in his works, it can be interpreted in different ways, but to say anything more would spoil the story too much. The story itself is definitely thrilling--it had me glued to the point where I read most of it in one sitting.
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