The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick

“You learn to get by from day to day," Sam Regan said sympathetically to him. "You never think in longer terms. Just until dinner or until time for bed; very finite intervals and tasks and pleasures. Escapes.”

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a sci-fi novel by Philip K. Dick, first published in 1965. The story revolves around Palmer Eldritch, an industrialist, who came back to the solar system from the distant Prox system. From his long journey, he brought back Chew-Z, a new hallucinatory drug, more powerful than Can-D, the current most popular one in the space colonies. Trying to stop Eldritch from ruining his Can-D business, Leo Bulero and his subordinate, Barney Mayerson, tried to stop Palmer Eldritch and discovered that Chew-Z is not an ordinary drug and Eldritch might not have been the same man that he used to be before his intergalactic trip.

This is one confusing book. Maybe because I'm not really familiar with the religious ideas that inspired the story, which is the true nature of God in Christianity (I guess?). At the end of the book, I just feel like something is missing and I don't get the message that the author was trying to convey if there is any. There are some plot lines that I could understand, but the main one was just ungraspable.

Besides that, the setting is what I like the most about this book. An overcrowded space civilization that resorted to hallucinatory drugs and some Barbie-like doll set to escape their boring and sad lives. That's some ridiculously horrifying thing to imagine. And despite that, the book somehow managed to leave some hopeful notes. Not a lot, but it's better to have some positive things here and there instead of just throwing around the negatives all the time.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Philip K. Dick
First Published
January 1965