Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Phillip K. Dick[1965]

Not actually the cover of the one I read Blurb
In the near future, life on Martian colonies sucks. The only escape to be found is the use of the drug Can-D, which "translates" its users into the bodies of collectible dolls and accessories in a powerful shared hallucination. When Palmer Eldritch returns from Proxima Centauri with a new drug that is poised to supplant Can-D, the Perky Pat Layout company must uncover the hidden truth behind his claims of everlasting life to those who take it.

Like a good number of Phillip K. Dick's works, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch toys with ideas of realities layered under, over, and in between the "real" world and each other, in this case with the fictitious future drugs of Can-D and Chew-Z, powerful hallucinogens capable of creating shared realities. These shared hallucinations, which may be more than just that, are woven throughout the plot, to the point where it can be difficult to tell which scenes are taking place in the hallucination world, which are taking place in reality, and which are taking place in a future accessible via the hallucination world. While this may sound convoluted (and it initially kind of is), the layering and interweaving of realities lends a pleasant quality of trippiness that draws the reader into a similar experience as that of the characters on the hallucinogens. It also gives depth to perhaps the most important character in the book: reality itself.

Of the two Phillip K. Dick books that got nominated in the Nebula Awards' inaugural year, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is probably my favorite, and is certainly a head above most of the other nominees. If you enjoyed the reality bending nature of Stigmata, then another PKD novel, Ubik, comes highly recommended.

In Short
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is probably a close approximation to what reading a Salvador Dali painting while on acid would be like. Ok, maybe not quite, but it's still a damn good read if you're looking for something that'll make you think about the nature of reality.


Greetings also! I'm the writer for this nebulog who is not Fern. You know, in case the abrupt change in style didn't clue you in already. I'll likely end up posting less frequently owing to laziness, so I figured I'd at least get a leg up on writing the first review.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Welcome to the flagship post of the Nebulog, wherein we shall be reading, reviewing, and providing a manageable number of spoilers to all of the Nebula Award for Best Novel nominees and winners. (Unfortunately for me, the efficient subheader already stole my thunder.)
Yes, all.
Since The Nebulog hopes to be more efficient than only posting 6 times a year, despite the valiant efforts of the 1975 committee (wherein a whopping 18 books were nominated in all), we will eventually run out of books. However, this is likely a ways away. In fact, knowing us it is very likely a ways away.
Moving on.
The breakdown will be as follows:

-A Picture of the Book's Cover/Covers: While we will try our best to find the most epic (read: ridiculous) covers to you, the reader, this will probably only happen with editions that were printed before or around the 1970's. If we're lucky, as late as the 1980's.
But Fern, you may ask, what if I don't have any epic covers of my own?
Take heart! In just a few years, today's normal covers will have magically transformed into epic covers our children and our children's children will one day come to revere. Frighteningly, it'll happen sooner than you think. Oh, you're laughing now, but one day you'll wake up to find out that 2000 was ten years ago and there are people walking around who don't remember the fact that you couldn't use the internet the same time someone needed to use the phone. Ah, dial-up... I digress.

-A Review of Some Sort: Spoilers will be inevitable, though we will try to keep them to a minimum. We'll include a "This might be your cup of tea if you liked:_______________" near the bottom that will also double as a list of recommendations if you enjoyed the reviewed book. (Or non-recommendations, in the opposite case.)

-A TL;DR: For those readers who don't spend staggering amounts of wasted time on the Internet, this stands for "Too long; Didn't read". If you're in a hurry, not-so-interested in the reviewed title, or can't bear to keep reading because you think we're full of crap, we will include at the very bottom, this small "In Summary" section for today's impatient and time-pressed youth.

No, we will not be reviewing books chronologically since variety is the spice of life! (Really, we might not get to cracking these reviews as quickly as we like and being trapped in the '60s is the quickest way to prevent more reviews from ever seeing the light of day.) So welcome, and happy reading!


TL;DR: Welcome! We will non-chronologically review a Nebula Best Novel nominee or winner in each post.