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Nov 27, 2003

Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch 

Science fiction is a territory I tread with caution, because many of the stories dissect and mutilate the same areas as time travel, aliens and the like. After a long time I decided to give science fiction another try and read Philip K Dick's 'Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch'. He is the same author whose story, Minority Report was made into a movie lately, starring Tom Cruise.

Three Stigmata deals with a time when every piece of rock which can support life in the Sol system(solar system) has been colonized by man and the people who live in these places are branded as colonists. Like during the times of Vietnam war, 'drafting' is dreaded word, that means you were drafted to live in one of these space colonies, far from terra (earth) for the rest of your lives. It is an alien narcotic(a lichen that grows in some other galaxy) called Can-D which the colonists use, to have hallucinations of earth, with out these hallucinations, lives of the colonists border almost on insanity. The story turns when Palmer Eldritch, a rich businessman who had traveled to some far-off galaxy and presumed dead for years, returns with a more potent stuff than Can-D, names it Chew-Z and starts marketing it across the colonies and the earth. The story goes on from there..

This novel was written in the early sixties, although not very exact or advanced as depicted in the story, I could draw a lot of parallels between the life in the story and our lives now. We have not colonized solar system yet, but factors like the control of big corporations and media over our daily lives, the virtual reality games like Sims, SimCity etc have all been anticipated by the novel in some way or the other. You'll like Philip.K.Dick's style if you liked the story of Minority Report. Has to give the man his due, all of this, including Minority Report was written forty years ago.

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