This month’s book chosen by the group is the Philip K Dick novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. It’s a favorite of a couple of our members and we’re looking forward to diving in. Escapism, drug empires, mysterious industrialists, and much more in store with this story from Dick in his prime. A solid description of the novel can be found here for fantasyliterature.com.
Three Stigmata is a wild ride through the looking glass. Initially published in 1965, it artfully blends together the themes that were dominating the day. Namely Dick investigates rising consumerism and explores the inner workings of the advertising and big business while still using the narrative as an allegory for the draft and drug use as an escape mechanism. He employs interesting technology of the time and tries to cast his mind forward to how it would evolve in the future (didn’t QUITE make the jump to laptops, but he did get to a briefcase robot doctor, pretty damned close). It’s also prescient in addressing global warming before most people were really thinking about what impact humanity was making on the environment.
Once the building blocks of the novel are in place, the story loops in on itself so many times it’s hard to know where the drugs end reality begins. And that’s exactly where the author wants us. It can be both frustrating and incredibly engaging but overall the Club gave this month’s book 3.5 pills out of 5.
The story is well worth your time and is intriguing as a glimpse into the developing psychosis that would come to rule Philip K Dick’s life. His inability to separate reality from extreme visions mirror the escapist drug trips that drive the story. Interested in learning more about the enigma that is Philip K Dick and the issues that haunted one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers? Check out the 2016 book The Divine Madness of Philip K Dick by Kyle Arnold.
Book of the Month: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Author: Philip K Dick
Available at Amazon, Audible,the Strand or your local books store
Next Meeting: Sunday, January 20th
Location: Woods and Ales – 234 W 14th Street, New York, NY