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The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

de Philip K. Dick

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
4,393712,707 (3.9)83
On Mars, the harsh climate could make any colonist turn to drugs to escape a dead-end existence. Especially when the drug is Can-D, which translates its users into the idyllic world of a Barbie-esque character named Perky Pat. When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch arrives with a new drug called Chew-Z, he offers a more addictive experience, one that might bring the user closer to God. But in a world where everyone is tripping, no promises can be taken at face value. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is one of Philip K. Dick's enduring classics, at once a deep character study, a dark mystery, and a tightrope walk along the edge of reality and illusion.… (mais)
  1. 21
    Neuromancer de William Gibson (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: The Three Stigmata to me is a forefather of cyberpunk, with it's internal action that questions existence and God. Neuromancer is often credited as the book that made the genre, so I suggest Neuromancer as an interesting book to compare to The Three Stigmata.… (mais)
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This one is a bit of a head-spinner. It starts 'realistically' enough as a futuristic drama centred on a human civilisation in which a hallucinogenic drug is used to allow miserable planetary colonists to escape the drudgery of their lives and provide untold riches for the corporation supplying it. There's some human drama alongside, as couples involved in various ways develop their own relationships. So far, an easy read with some interesting world building, and extreme global warming.

However, about two-thirds of the way through, Philip K Dick's story takes a turn into a more philosophically ambiguous and complex narrative, in which the characters dissolve into each other across time and space, inhabited - perhaps - by a common alien presence. Or - given all the religious references and allusions - by a god. 'Palmer Eldritch means' - at one level - 'Unearthly Pilgrim'. And of course, it is the crucifixion story that brings to the Christian world the idea of stigmata.

With confusing shifts in identity, timeline and hallucination/reality, the last third of the book very nicely conveys something of the characters' experience in the queasy experience of reading the book. Dick seems to be making some attempt at playing with ontological themes - of identity, of being, of immortality, and of the divine - but in the end, like the ending of this remarkable fiction, his conclusion is opaque. ( )
  breathslow | Jan 27, 2024 |
This novel was originally published in 1964 when the year 2016, when it is set, was sufficiently far ahead for its futuristic elements to be credible. Reading it now, it is an odd mixture of what never came to pass such as interstellar travel to Proxima Centuri, and technology now regarded as old hat such as casette tapes. But the essential weirdness remains. Rather than try to frame the complicated and interwoven plot, I'll confine myself to some comments about themes, characters and setting.

In this alternative 2016, global warming, or perhaps the destruction of the ozone layer, has resulted in temperatures of 180 degrees (presumably Farenheit), and human life is possible only by staying inside buildings with powerful air conditioners, and travelling in air conditioned taxis between them. The solution produced by the world government, an extrapolation of the United Nations, is to conscript people to resettle on Mars and various asteroids and moons throughout the solar system. However, life in such places is hard and miserable, and the colonists resort to an illegal drug called Can-D ('candy') to relieve the monotony and hopelessness. Despite its illegality, the company which produces it manages to legally sell the 'mins' required to make use of Can-D. Mins are miniature furniture and furnishings, cars, etc to go with a doll called Perky Pat and her boyfriend Walt. Sitting around a PP min layout while taking the drug with other colonists in an aptly named hovel results in a gestalt experience where the men inhabit Walt's character and the women Perky Pat's, and they live out a virtual reality experience (years before the term was coined) in which they can vicariously enjoy the life of PP etc - set in a past prior to the high temperatures - using the trappings provided in the min layout. The downside for the user is the short duration of the experience.

The situation is changed by the introduction of Chew-Z (pronounced as the British zed, this means nothing in particular, but as the US pronunication is 'zee', this would be 'choosy'). The eponymous industrialist of the title has recently returned from Proxima Centuri with a fungus from which the drug is derived: unlike Can-D, it requires no mins and instead isolates each user within a hallucinatory reality - but one which always contains Eldritch with his three stigmata: steel teeth, artificial metal hand and artificial eyes. And unlike Can-D, Chew-Z seems to cause a blurring between reality and the hallucination so that the user doesn't know when they are back in the real world, and/or parts of the hallucinatory one bleed through.

It takes time for the UN to realise this, so Chew-Z is legalised, putting the future of the organisation which produces Can-D at risk. Several characters who represent that organisation are therefore drawn into the action as opponents of Eldritch who try to prevent him taking over the whole solar system.

The Chew-Z experience is compared to the spiritual transports offered by religion and perhaps to the whole life after death experience. It is also not clear if Eldritch is possessed by the beings from Proxima, or something else between the stars that he encountered on his travels, or even something which could equate to God. As in many of the author's works, the question of human identity and what makes a person who they are is one of the themes, as is the nature of reality and unreality. And of course drugs are a prominent feature of other Dick novels such as A Scanner Darkly.

The plot is rambling, and the characters are dilatory with no real characterisation, as the themes are the important aspect, but there is also a satirical side to the story: Perky Pat and her boyfriend could perhaps be another incarnation of Barbie and Ken, for example. Other almost throw away ideas include artificially accelerated evolution and telepathic Martian lifeforms. Despite the dark humour and interesting themes, given the lack of any really sympathetic characters and the often muddled plotline - the ending is also rather inconclusive - I can only rate this at 3 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Familiar PKD ground. Precogs, failed marriages, drugs and shitty jobs. The central idea of Palmer Eldritch is interesting but doesn't make up for the poor execution. PKD returns to some of these reality building ideas in his Exegesis so if you're all in on Dick it's worth having read. ( )
  A.Godhelm | Oct 20, 2023 |
Great ideas, but as usual for PKD, the writing can't support the grandiosity of his vision. ( )
  dogboi | Sep 16, 2023 |
En un futuro no muy lejano, lo único que hace soportable la vida a los seres humanos son las drogas. Obligados a huir del planeta Tierra, los colonos de Marte viven bajo el dominio de Bulero, propietario de la compañía que administra el alucinógeno ilegal (Can-D) que les permiten evadirse. El monopolio de Bulero se ve amenazado cuando Palmer Eldritch regresa con una droga nueva y legal (Chew-Z).
  Natt90 | Feb 14, 2023 |
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Next year SF celebrates a fairly significant anniversary. It will be 40 years since JG Ballard published The Terminal Beach , Brian Aldiss published Greybeard , William Burroughs published Naked Lunch in the UK, I took over New Worlds magazine and Philip K Dick published The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch . It was a watershed year, if you like, when SF rediscovered its visionary roots and began creating new conventions which rejected both modernism and American pulp traditions.

Perhaps best representing that cusp, Dick's work only rarely achieved the stylistic and imaginative coherence of those other writers. His corporate future came from a common pool created by troubled left-wingers Pohl and Kornbluth ( The Space Merchants , 1953) or Alfred Bester ( The Demolished Man , 1953). His Mars is the harsh but habitable planet of Leigh Brackett ( Queen of the Martian Catacombs , 1949) or Ray Bradbury ( The Martian Chronicles , 1950). His style and characters are indistinguishable from those of a dozen other snappy pulpsters. Even his questioning of the fundamentals of identity and reality is largely unoriginal, preceded by the work of the less prolific but perhaps more profound Charles Harness, who wrote stories such as "Time Trap", "The Paradox Men" and "The Rose" in the 50s.

So how has Dick emerged as today's best-known and admired US SF writer? It's hard to judge from this book (which was promoted enthusiastically by me and many others when it first appeared).
 

» Adicionar outros autores (31 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Philip K. Dickautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Abadia, GuyTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Csernus, TiborArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Daniels, LukeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gudynas, PeterArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mohr, ThomasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Moore, ChrisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pelham, DavidArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pennington, BruceArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pepper, BobArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Weiner, TomNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Williams, PaulPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I mean, after all; you have to consider we're only made out of dust. That's admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn't forget that. But even considering, I mean it's a sort of bad beginning, we're not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we're faced with we can make it. You get me?
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On Mars, the harsh climate could make any colonist turn to drugs to escape a dead-end existence. Especially when the drug is Can-D, which translates its users into the idyllic world of a Barbie-esque character named Perky Pat. When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch arrives with a new drug called Chew-Z, he offers a more addictive experience, one that might bring the user closer to God. But in a world where everyone is tripping, no promises can be taken at face value. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is one of Philip K. Dick's enduring classics, at once a deep character study, a dark mystery, and a tightrope walk along the edge of reality and illusion.

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