The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

Book, 1965
This is the first Philip K Dick book I ever read, so you’ll have to indulge me in coming to terms with the basics of such an essential author. And anyway, if you’re mad at me about that, you probably have a ponytail. I always thought Dick’s stuff was going to be wilder at a basic craft level. The legend of the man himself, one of visions and fantastic beliefs, led me to believe that the way his brain worked was going to produce something more foreign to conventional perception. So imagine my surprise when Palmer Eldritch turns out to be a breezy, pleasant, downright linear affair. It makes sense; the man’s ever increasing popularity and profound influence on his chosen genre could only have been achieved by something with wide appeal. This conventionality, however, ends up being used against you. When the plot turns wild and reality starts warping, the plain dressing serves only to magnify the mind bending nature of the proceedings. But things never get too weird. Anything truly not understandable is usually explained within the next five pages. What that leaves us to spend our time deciphering then is the themes. This book came out in the 60s and is about corporations’ god-like intrusion into our lives through media. This immediately confirms everything that I’ve always heard about Dick; that his themes were ahead of his time and his method shaped the future of the genre. Dick.