Now there's competition: a substance called Chew-Z, marketed under the slogan "God promises eternal life. We can deliver it." The question is: What kind of eternity? And who - or what - is the deliverer?
In this wildly disorienting fun house of a novel, populated by God-like - or perhaps satanic - take-over 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 this novel moving as well as genuinely visionary.
©1992 Laura Coelho, Christopher Dick, and Isa Hackett; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Enter into PKD's drug-infused, gnostic future. All his entheogens are belong to us. PKD is at his high point when he infuses his dark futurism with his gnostic explorations and his drug-fueled moral investigations. In 'The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch', Dick entertains that funky zone between religious dogma and drug addiction, while at the same time throwing in some key ideas about evolutionary therapy, evolution, atonement, eternal life, time, God, etc.
There is a precidence in the idea of finding God with the assistance/escape of drugs. There are similarities between the euphoria of worship and the euphoria of drugs. Just look at the Dionysian & Eleusinian Mysteries with their ambrosia, the Bwitists and their root bark, the Kiowa's and their peyote. The Rastafari's smoke a bit of the cannabis, the Vedas have their Soma, the Rus' people have their mushrooms. Hell, some people in Appalachia even get close to God with a little sip of Strychnine and few rattlesnakes. Who am I to judge?
PKD explores the use of two different drugs: Can-D and Chew-Z to explore two dimensions of the God-inducing euphoria. One leads to a greater sense of community, the other leads to isolation. Which is Heaven and which is Hell folks? Or do they both end up being Hell? Anyway, I'm still trying to work out exactly how I feel about it all. Like most of Dick's big (BIG) idea novels they aren't easy to deconstruct and leave me churning for a few days. He drops me off the last page feeling trapped, trying to figure out where I am and who to exactly to believe. He does a fantastic job of disorienting this reader, making me feel both time scrambled and a bit paranoid. Like Ben Harper says, when it's gone: "Some drink to remember, Some to forget"
I'd review more, but I'll have to wait until the drugs stop working and those voices in my head stop talking to me.
The reader strikes just the right tone in PKD's trippy classic. Poetic and bizarre space-noir. A very enjoyable listen.
On the surface, the story is about a bunch of sort of swingin' 60s types on a cooking planet earth, with some corporate intrigue involving the arrival of a new hallucinogenic drug from some other star system, at the hovels of other bored swingers living at the stifling and claustrophobic out-world colonies.
As a dated bit of science fiction, however cleverly imagined, there are incongruities of technology (old phone technologies in the future, that sort of thing). But Dick was a storyteller beyond these superficialities. Listening to this is as close as I can imagine to (1) being unknowingly dosed with hallucinogens, and/or (2) having a sudden onset of major mental illness of a paranoid type, yet sometimes punctuated with things of great mystery or beauty. Or, perhaps, more like having a bona fide religious experience, but kaleidoscopic, not framed so that a clear message emerges. There are plenty of impressionistic suggestions. Yet, the characters (having this sort of experience) manage to be generally petty, calculating, small-minded, horny early 1960s corporate climbers throughout, as if a stupid breed of insect trapped in a more elegant and visionary trap than they can comprehend. Sorry if that doesn't make much sense. But the whole texture of this book is to continuously throw the reader off in terms of what is reliably real, while unfolding various possible explanations. For me, it does what I like art to do.
I think it would be a better read, the story is quite complicated and has many convoluted subplots, it can be hard to keep track of what's going on at times. I definately had to go back and relisten a few times if I wasn't fully engaged.
Vurt; it's very heavily focused on the use of a psychedelic drug that creates a kind of alternate reality/parallel universe, which is why it can be hard to follow. But it was very interesting,
He did an amazing job creating distinction between the many characters' voices. Very good narrator.
It was entertaining, though I'm not sure I had any laugh out loud moments
I very much enjoyed this book, and if you like pkd's unique style, you'll love it. It causes you to constantly second guess what you think you already know. Because it is so intensely cerebral, it does take a significant amount of conscious attention to both pick up on the story line and maintain an understanding of the plot.
Even though the book is occasionally dated and corny, it really has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi about it—a certain exotic, yet familiar flavor that I want more of. In fact, that certain something brought me back to Audible to check out more of Dick's work.
I mention in the title of this review that this book is weird. Yes, it's weird, but mostly not in the ways you might expect. Sure, the multi-levels of consciousness is confusing and intriguing, but not surprising by today's standards. However, the ultra-corny marketing speak that sounded like it was straight out of the 50s ("Can-D is a superior prAHH-duct.") was… well… weird…? Oh god and don't get me started on the comically bad writing of the sex scene.
Great PKD classic admirably narrated. My only complaint is he pronounces Can-D and Chew-Z "candy" and "choosy" instead of underscoring the prescient trashy brand names (think "iPad") by emphasizing the last letters. Other than that, the performance is excellent. I especially liked his voice for the telepathic Martian predator toward the end. Hey, my fingers are turning into electric claws...
"Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch"
Having already read 'Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said' and 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' I found this novel as entertaining as the other two and would recommend it on that basis.
This is essentially an interesting story, but with quite a few major flaws. The characters are cardboard cutouts, especially the women (who are largely described in terms of their breast size). The 'dream or reality' plot angle is hammered at way too long in an overextended second half of the book.
I would certainly recommend trying before you buy, as the narrator adopts the style of a 1930s radio announcer, rushing through sentences then drawling out the last syllable, which I didn't enjoy spending eight hours with.
Amazingly intense in terms of concept. Some themes involving mind bending ideas like for example something similar to super string theory and "drug" induced alternate realities where very real things happen. Like all PKD novels, well written, engaging and acts as a commentator to politics, sociology, subculture and such like. I wouldnt say its an easy or relaxing listen in anyway but well worth the money. Must for Sci-fi fans although I do prefer "Dr.Bloodmoney: and how we got along after the bomb".
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