Torn in a Small Town : Philip K. Dick – “The Cosmic Puppets”

“First I find out I was dead, that I never lived to grow up. Then those two goddamn luminous people come walking through the porch. Then that damn kid goes around looking for bees. And he shows me a guy fifty miles high. With his head made out of an electric light bulb.”

That’s a sampling of the strange on-goings at the heart of Philip K. Dick’s “The Cosmic Puppets.” It begins as a Twilight Zone episode: All-American Ted Barton revisits the small town of Millgate, Virginia, only to realize that it has been replaced by a DIFFERENT small town of Millgate, Virginia. It ends as a Zoroastrian battle between Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) and Ormazd (Ahura Mazda). The path from A to B is full of needle-wiedling clay golems and gross episodes involving rats, snakes and spiders. FUN! PKD is very good at linking small town life with universal struggles, as he did in “Dr. Bloodmoney”.

Here’s a sampling of covers:

RATING : I find it pointless to rate individual Philip K. Dick novels. He’s a “body of work” kind of guy. They all tend to be “GOOD ENOUGH” to “GREAT!” building up to a cumulative “MASTERPIECE!!!”


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