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The Cosmic Puppets

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,649 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Yielding to a compulsion he can't explain, Ted Barton interrupts his vacation in order to visit the town of his birth, Millgate, Virginia. But upon entering the sleepy, isolated little hamlet, Ted is distraught to find that the place bears no resemblance to the one he left behind--and never did. He also discovers that in this Millgate Ted Barton died of scarlet fever when ...more
Published (first published 1957)
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Go into an old friend’s house. Look on the walls, in pleasant frames on end tables and on the kitchen counter. You see someone who looks like your friend: younger, taller, more hair, broader of shoulder and smaller of waist. See the younger self, not older nor wiser, but green, full of kinetic energy and verve.

This is how I read Philip K. Dick’s 1957 publication, The Cosmic Puppets. Phil was only 29 when this was released by Ace Books as a double, the other novella being Sargasso Of Space by And
While not among PKD's best, this is a fairly decent read. It combines several of his perennial obsessions: alternate realities, uncertain identities and Manichaeism.

Another frequent obsession here seems to be ... uh ... boobs. PKD takes the time to mention just about every female character's breasts. They almost seem to have an active life of their own: sweating, heaving, glowing and sometimes just being "thick." I wasn't sure if PKD was feeling poorly weaned when he wrote this novel, of if he
Tra i primi romanzi di Dick, sviluppato dallo spunto di un racconto precedente, La città sostituita è un romanzo profondamente dickiano, pur non essendo di vera e propria fantascienza. Direi più surrale, con una punta di horror. Quel genere di roba che ama tanto Stephen King, ecco.
La trama è tipicamente dickiana, per almeno due motivi: uno velatamente autobiografico, l'altro tematico. Come reso chiaro dalla splendida e immancabile prefazione di Pagetti, il protagonista Ted Barton non è altro che
Hertzan Chimera
What are Ted and Peggy Barton doing in Millgate, VA? Does the place even exist?

Well, it exists in some half-forgotten form; it certainly doesn’t exist in the form that Ted Barton remembers. On his arrival in Millgate, he spends the first few hours looking for shops that no longer exist on streets that no longer exist, parks that no longer exist and people who no longer exist - not people who have died, but people who have never lived. There’s strong speculation from the inhabitants of Millgate t
Charles Dee Mitchell
If written today, this could have been Dick's foray into YA fantasy fiction. He would have needed to change to protagonist into a plucky teenager instead of a full-grown man, but other than that all the elements are in place. On a road trip to Florida with his almost estranged wife, Ted Barton wants to stop off at Millgate, the Virginia town he left as a young man eighteen years before, They find the town, but everything about it has changed. (Cue the Twilight Zone theme music here.) Street name ...more
I will admit its been a while since I have read any Philip K Dick (PKD) and I guess I had forgotten how much fun (and strange) his work can be. Even more so when you consider this book was originally written in the late 50s.
Dont get me wrong - I think his work has an amazing ability to portray small American towns - or at least paint vivid pictures of them (having never experienced them for myself) - in one paragraph it feels like I am reading an ageing national Geographical edition and then ne
May 04, 2008 Raven rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction lovers
Shelves: sci-fi
Even though I enjoyed this enough to read the whole story and I liked the way the concept was delivered (a concept that has been used time and time again) there were some things that irked me.
For starters the writing style I found to be frustrating, lacking proper description and fluidity.
Then there is the fact that the main character accepted certain reasons behind what was going on so quickly. I honestly can't accept that any rational human being however open minded could accept something so o
A fairly straight-forward (as far as Dick goes) shorter novel that touches on a lot of Dick's more familiar themes, though perhaps a bit more shallowly than his own acclaimed work. Written in the '50s for one of Ace's double-novels and Dick's 2nd or 3rd published novel, it shows in both the prose and plot which is— schlockier, pulpier, trashier, more B-movie like, choose according to preference— than the works Dick produced once he was more established.

It's enjoyable enough for what it is, but i
Aaron Gallardo
Yet this nouvelle being one of his early and minor works, the execution of the story and the way it's told made me think of a magnum opus, a watermark of the genre. The Cosmic Puppets is filled with delightful scenes, unconventional ideas and twists -even for sci-fi, although I think this is closer to fantasy-, and such an enjoyable prose (especially at the beginning of the chapters). Unfortunately, it had also a handful of topic, dull, efectist characters, as well as the ending. I'm expecting m ...more
Por mais que adore Philip K. Dick, esta obra em especial deu-me a sensação de estar a ler não uma obra de ficção científica mas sim o que poderia passar por um livro de fantasia para jovens adultos... era só o personagem principal ser Peter ou Mary, em vez de Ted Barton, e faria certamente parte dessa categoria caso tivesse sido escrito recentemente.
Aplaudo a descrição das cenas mais violentas (aquela primeira morte, então... senti uma tremenda necessidade de me sacudir toda enquanto lia a descr
Philip K Dick is an excellent writer and creator of new ideas, his mind is spasmodic and undulating it reaches to the most hidden recesses of creation and ingenuity. This, however brilliantly designed book, doesn't hit the mark as far as I am used to in Dick's work.
The basic story is of a man from a small town called Millgate, who is returning to find rediscover himself in his childhood. When he gets there the town in changed, nothing is as he remembered and no one remembers the Ted Barton he t
Jack Stovold
The Philip K. Dick Project #4

Originally published as a novelette “Glass of Darkness”, this is basically Dick’s first science fiction or fantasy novel (although this one is pretty firmly in the fantasy camp). Although I enjoyed Voices from the Street, I was excited to get into more genre territory, and this didn’t disappoint. The tone of this novel shares much more in common with Dick’s short stories than Voices.

In fact, the economy of the writing and the quick pacing make this feel a lot like
Веднага се превърна в любимата ми творба на Филип К. Дик. Това е уникална смесица между хорър и фентъзи, направлявана от безграничното въображение на Дик. Ето кой е повлиял толкова много на Стивън Кинг.

Млад мъж заминава със съпругата си в провинцията, където живеят родителите му. Но когато пристига забелязва промени – градчето се е променило. Хората също. Самата тъкан на реалността се е разпокъсала и силите на злото са проникнали и разпрострели на повърхността.

Може да изглежда като симплистична
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
It has been going on since the beginning of time. The battle between forces of darkness and light. That's the plot here,the battle lasting billions of years. As a part of it,an entire village is hidden and replaced by another one. And many lives get caught in that change. An interesting plot. And the part of sending God's daughter to live on earth. That's one fine twist. Altogether a wonderful read. PKD stories combine science with philosophy. It makes you see reality from different dimensions.
This is Dick's first really good novel (and has a lot of similarities to his first great novel, Time Out of Joint). Ted Barton goes back to his hometown of Millgate, Va., to find it totally changed, with a history where he died at 9, and impossible to escape. This was written in 1957, which feels like a surprising milieu for PKD with its rundown small town and Ted driving around in a Packard. In a much cooler alternate universe, this would have made into a movie in 1957. With Dana Andrews as Ted ...more
The book begins in the courtyard of Mrs Tipping's boardinghouse, with four children making clay puppets in the courtyard, and one watching them intently but not joining. When it is time for the Doctor and his daughter to go, the players are one short, but are immediately joined by the other boy, Peter, who shaped the clay into homuncluii and imbues them with life.

That is when things started getting a little weird.

I had started reading this book because of two reasons : (1) it was a Philip K. D
Ted Barton decides on a whim to return and visit the town of his birth, Millgate. When he gets there he finds it it completely different to how he remembered it.Non of the streets have the same name, the shops are different, and no one remembers him. A little further investigation reveals that some one of his name died of scarlet fever around the time he left the town. It is all very strange, and when he tries to leave, he finds that he can't.

As he reluctantly stays in the town, he see ghostlike
Chris S
A'Twilight Zone'-like premise that just gets daft towards the end. Early PKD and has the usual wooden writing and characterization... but... some themes in this book are developed more successfully in later novels, so kinda interesting to see how these themes (ie: the nature of reality) are handled in this early effort.
A light, fun story. Like an episode of the Twilight Zone; not overly deep, but I definitely had to think a little bit. It also gets a point for originality. If books were food, this one would be an after school snack. Definitely less convoluted than a lot of Dick's other books.
Coral Davies
This is the first Philip K Dick I have ever read and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by the style. Poor grammar and sentence structures made it feel a little lazy.

Although I enjoyed it (it was easy to read and interesting enough) the story was a little predictable; God and the devil go to war, God wins with the help of his daughter Mother Nature pitching in. I also found the acceptance of the main protagonist of some incredibly bizarre and disturbing revelations a little hard to sw
Scott Holstad
Well, The Cosmic Puppets certainly isn't Philip K Dick's best work, but it's among his earliest, so perhaps he was just getting his feet wet and hadn't established the maturity he displays in later works. The book is a story about a 27 year old man named Ted Barton who takes off on a side trip (while on a vacation with his wife) to his hometown of Millgate, VA. He moved away from there at age nine and hasn't been back since, living in New York. He seems strangely driven to get there, anxious to ...more
Although this is one of PKD's earliest novels, I was startled by how much it had in common with his last several novels. The writing style is different, of course, but The Cosmic Puppets features some of the same spiritual themes Dick would later develop in novels like Valis and The Divine Invasion. In The Cosmic Puppets, we have a somewhat hapless and confused protagonist who discovers the universe has split between light and darkness (although here PKD uses Zoroastrian terminology, rather tha ...more
Roddy Williams
‘Millgate Virginia – It should have been the sort of town where nothing changes…

As Ted Barton is driving through Baltimore, on vacation with his wife, he is seized with an irresistible urge to head into the Appalachian Mountains and visit the town where he was born – Millgate, Virginia.

But when Barton finds his way into the little valley he grew up in, he is in for a deep shock. The town called Millgate is there all right: but it is a town he has never seen before.

It is a town where Ted Barton h
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Philip K. Dick is like the original Steven King... perhaps a bit more in the sci-fi realm, though we all know the King-meister likes to dabble there as well. And, well, I love Steve King's stuff, I think it's amazingly creative, but then I'm twisted... we all knew this. Except 'Cell'... that book is straight up shat. I mean if you've seen 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' where they make fun of Kristen Bell for doing a movie about cell phones that kill... well there are my sentiments on 'Cell'. It's o ...more
decently good early period Dick, from 1957. Not really science fiction, or horror, or fantasy... but if I had to chose a genre for this, I'd choose "Cosmic Horror" or perhaps "Weird Science Fiction" as it definitely belongs on the same shelf as HP Lovecraft. A very fun and pulpy novel that you can easily imagine being a Twilight Zone episode, and for those familiar with later Dick, already showing hints of what was to come. However, no huge plot twists like he would later explore. Better than mu ...more
If you have ever moved away from an area you've grown up in, particularly as a child, then returned some years later you will know that mix of the familiar with the unfamiliar as you recognise some things but also see other things have changed. For Ted Barton it's a little different, on returning to the town he grew up in he doesn't recognise anything; all the buildings and people are completely different from what he remembers. The Cosmic Puppets follows Ted Barton as he tries to uncover the my ...more
Matthew Lloyd
Some time ago, for no readily apparent reason, I decided that I would aim to read at least one Philip K. Dick book each year. As December dawned this year I still hadn't, and with a lot of work going on I'd spent over two months on the last book I was reading, Saturn's Children by Charles Stross. But I am currently (one of the) wardens of the Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group's library, which includes a few Dick books (surprizingly few, to be honest). The first one I grabbed happened ...more
Felix Zilich
Тэду Бартону - 27 лет. Однажды вместе с женой он решает посетить провинциальный городок Миллтаун, где много лет назад появился на свет и провел первые девять лет своей жизни. Стоило Бартону въехать в пределы этого сонного захолустья, как он сделал страшное для себя открытие – это совсем не тот Миллтаун, который он знал много лет назад. Другие улицы, другие дома, другие люди. Вдобавок к этому, каждый прохожий уверял Тэда, что за последние полвека город ни капельки не изменился. В местном архиве с ...more
Liam Day
Phillip K Dick is a big name in science fiction books, and while many of his books are good and get made into successful movies (Blade Runner, Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, etc.) they can be somewhat repetitive. They almost always deal with an incorrect view of reality, often as a result of narcotic use. They typically are dark, cynical, and in parts, overly- violent. I'm happy to say that Cosmic Puppets is not at all like this, and the fact that it's such a departure from what Philip K Dick ...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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