The Cosmic Puppets — Philip K. Dick (1957)


Publisher: Ace Books

First Ace Edition, 1957

Cover Art: Ed Valigursky

Plot Synopsis (of cover):”Well, honestly, I’m just happy to be dating again,” Petunia said from under the glass. “I figured it’d go a long way if I showed up in by bathing suit. I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?” Milton stared at Petunia silently in reply. Unhindered, Petunia continued, “I mean, let’s face it, there’s so many total losers out there on the internet, wasting their lives away, nerding it up with their blogs and science fiction bologna, I’m just happy to meet someone with a spine, you know?” Milton continued to glare, and Petunia, in an attempt to lighten the mood, went on. “Of course you trapped me under the glass! You had to get to know me better, to see what I would do! And why shouldn’t you? I’d have done the same thing. You’re a really fascinating person. I think this is going really well!” Milton was unfazed, and Petunia’s confidence was beginning to falter. “Come on, Milton!” she finally shouted in exasperation. “I thought we really hit it off in the chat room! Sure, you don’t look EXACTLY like your profile pic, but I didn’t really expect that!” Milton finally replied, “Mmm. Well, I guess I didn’t expect you to look like your photo. But you do.” Petunia smiled and said, “See? Aren’t I pretty as a picture?” “Yeah,” Milton replied, “and to scale.”

Relatively Irrelevant Inside Text: I mean, I’m obviously physically incapable of giving a Philip Dick novel a bad review. I’m a proper Dick Head, so suck it. Cosmic Puppets begins as one of Dick’s more down-to-Earth pieces, and rapidly falls into the realms of the pseudo-religious brainfuckery that are his lineament. I enjoy the mixing of small town nostalgia and grand cosmic significance here. If you are looking for a novel in the same solar system as hard science fiction, however, you’re gonna be disappointed. But fear not! There are strange, exotic fruits to be sampled, served with phenobarbital instead of by a robot.The catch is that this is one of Dick’s weaker novels, though his weakest is still grand. If you’re hankering for old Dick, try The World Jones Made. However, if you’re a completionist like myself, you will find some well-arranged words on a page in familiar themes. Of course, the novel is also completely unfeasible—who actually wants to go back to their childhood hometown?

Rating: 9.2 Alternate Versions Of Me That Died As Children

Questions for Critical Cover-Viewing:

  • Of all the things she should be concerned about right now, why would she be checking her breath?
  • Have they finally built a better spousetrap, or is this just a plate of Pleasant Under Glass?
  • How mentally handicapable do you have to be to require arrows on your shirt to indicate where to put your head?

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3 thoughts on “The Cosmic Puppets — Philip K. Dick (1957)

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