Delmak-O is a dangerous planet. Though there are only 14 citizens, no one can trust anyone else and death can strike at any moment. The planet is vast and largely unexplored, populated mostly by gelatinous cube-shaped beings that give cryptic advice in the form of anagrams. Deities can be spoken to directly via a series of prayer amplifiers and transmitters, but they may not be happy about it. And the mysterious building in the distance draws all the colonists to it, but when they get there each sees a different motto on the front. The mystery of this structure and the secrets contained within drive this mind-bending novel.
©1970 Philip K. Dick (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
The beginning of Dick's later God novels, but still predating his 2-3-74 pink beam episode and his later VALIS Trilogy (Gnostic Trilogy [God Trilogy]), 'A Maze of Death' is a philosophical SF novel that explores the nature of God, religion, and the way we as both individuals and a society try to deal with the various levels of reality and the inevitability of death.
Reading this, it was hard not to see huge chunks of this novel that were cribbed by LOST (good tv borrows, great tv steals). The marooned crew, experiments, theological mash-ups, insanity, dream-like fugues, paranoia, etc., all float around in the same dreamy, frenzied universe as LOST. JJ Abrams you are a book thief.
Welcome to planet Delmak-O where danger and confusion lurk
behind every corner and reality is constantly shifting out from under you! Science Fiction Grand Master Philip K. Dick guides you on a surreal trip down the rabbit hole as 14 eccentric characters find themselves the sole colonists assigned to a fledgling outpost on Delmak-O, a strange and hostile planet inhabited by mechanical bugs, gelatinous tenches that answer questions based on the I Ching, and a sinister building which appears different to everyone who approaches. Offbeat god-figures manifest at various times to help and advise to the settlers. Death stalks the colonists as one by one they are killed off by each other or mysterious unknown forces. By way of a forward to the book, PKD acknowledges that this work found inspiration in LSD experiments and his interest in Eastern religion. This is an enjoyable listen for those who appreciate science fiction which explores metaphysical and surreal themes. The narrator does a good job with the various voices, male and female alike.
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