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A Maze of Death

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,602 ratings  ·  498 reviews
Fourteen strangers come to Delmak-O. Thirteen of them were transferred by the usual authorities. One got there by praying. But once they arrived on that treacherous planet, whose very atmosphere seemed to induce paranoia and psychosis, the newcomers tound that even prayer was useless. For on Delmak-O, God is either absent or intent on destroying His creations. At once a wr ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1994 by Vintage (first published July 1970)
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Ivy Good question. I totally forgot about the table of contents. I think it's just Dick being Dick.

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Glenn Russell
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"A million stars burst into wheels of light, blistering, cold light, that drenched her. It came from behind and she felt the great weight of it crash into her. "Tony," she said, and fell into the waiting void. She thought nothing; she felt nothing. She saw only, saw the void as it absorbed her, waiting below and beneath her as she plummeted down the many miles. On her hands and knees she died. Alone on the porch. Still clutching for what did not exist.”
― Philip K. Dick, A Maze of Death

If you ar
Kevin Kuhn
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: serious sci-fi devotes
Disclosure, I haven’t read much PKD. A few short stories and one other novel, I believe. I am, however, still a follower. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies and there is no ignoring his impact and influence on the science fiction genre. I personally don’t love his writing style, but there is no denying his originality and creativity. He was also an intriguing character himself, complex, suicidal, prone to hallucinations (often drug induced), and unfortunately abusive. In his works, he exp ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Philip K. Dick was to theological science fiction as James Brown was to funky R&B music: its spiritual godfather, its benchmark practitioner and a source of influence whose ever widening ripples expanded out into other genres and our culture as a whole.

A Maze of Death, published in 1970, was one of his better novels, combining thought provoking science fiction with an introspective search for truth that was a central element in much of Dick’s later fiction.

Behind Ubik, this was his work most fr
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, sci-fi
"Shall we go to bed?" Susie said.
"What?" he said.
"I'm interested in going to bed with you. I can't judge a man unless I've been in bed with him."
"What about women?"
"I can't judge them at all. What, do you think I go to bed with the women, too? That's depraved."

If you never read any PKD before you would probably think that is some damned awkward dialogue, but PKD veterans are more likely to think “Yay! It’s PKD!”. A Maze of Death is, for me, classic PKD, it has all the unique PKDesque things
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A Maze of Death is one of Phillip K. Dick's most aggravating books. It is almost unbearably dark and loaded with insensitive protagonists who often act like spoiled brats. And just as you think you figured it out, it becomes even more nihilistic and disorganized.

It is also one of Dick's best novels.

It starts out like a science fiction version of a horror novel where the characters are sure to get picked off. I kept thinking about Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None for it has a similar id
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, american, 2013, fiction
The beginning of Dick's later God novels, but still predating his 2-3-74 pink beam episode and his later VALIS Trilogy (Gnostic Trilogy [God Trilogy]), 'A Maze of Death' is a philosophical SF novel that explores the nature of God, religion, and the way we as both individuals and a society try to deal with the various levels of reality and the inevitability of death.

Reading this, it was hard not to see huge chunks of this novel that were cribbed by LOST (good tv borrows, great tv steals). The ma
Strange, metaphysical sci-fi murder-mystery where Dick's incipient theological ideas are mashed, a little awkwardly, with his pulp-fiction sensibilities. The set-up is a bleak planet called Delmak-O, which has a population of just fourteen human colonists. None is very likeable and they don't get on with each other well; soon after their arrival, someone or something starts killing them off one by one. Meanwhile, they have odd visions of a mysterious building somewhere nearby on the planet's sur ...more
Arkapravo Bhaumik
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip K. Dick's sci-fi take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None is nicely set up and has a fulfilling ending. The story is a mish-mash of various genres, science fiction, murder mystery, cyber punk, space opera, futurism and dystopia. Philip K. Dick blends in human emotions, survival instincts with a weird landscape of an unexplored world. The novel broadly progresses in dialogues and is not very vivid, except where particularly required. Physiognomy of the alien being, Tench at Delma ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pkd-rb-rm
I don't know if it was the translation, but I found the writing, the dialogues mostly, somewhat amateurish. So much so, that I thought it was one of his earlier works, until I found out it wasn't. Once more, Dick blends sci-fi with theological and sociological concerns and, although his talent in doing that is more than obvious, A Maze of Death is somewhat weaker in the details than his other novels. That said, the story flows effortlesly and the final twist serves as a starting point for though ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I enjoyed the most about this one may be the theology with Specktowskty’s Bible How I Rose From the Dead in My Spare Time and So Can You, which reconstructs the christian trinity in Jung-like archetypes, in the guise of the Mentufacturer, the Form Destroyer, the Intercessor, and the Walker-on-Earth.

- Na Koja Abad, an exoplanet in Unreal II

Matching Soundtrack :
A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd


Ce que j'ai le plus aimé dans cette histoire folle : le Livre de Specktowsky, a
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this is a very dark and cynical PKD. In a strange future where the existence of god, or gods, has been proven real, a group of "flawed" strangers converge on a desolate alien planet to meet their fates. Paranoia and a high body count ensue, as it seems that god is busy doing other things that day. It's hard to see this as anything other than Dick poking a stick at the notion of god, or at least people's conception(s) of and faith in god, and perhaps the concomitant resigna ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philip-k-dick, sci-fi
A Maze of Death [1970] – ★★★★

“People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth” [Roberto Bolaño, 2666].

“...we’re rats in a maze with death; rodents confined with the ultimate adversary, to die one by one until none are left” [Philip K. Dick, 1970: 97].

In this curious short novel, Philip K. Dick blends Agatha Christie’s infamous And Then There Were None premise with his own colourful world and perception ideas to produce an engaging story of fo
Angus McKeogh
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved this one! Engaging throughout. A sort of intraplanetary murder mystery with a bunch of castaways on a far off planet. Some very intriguing religious elements stirred into the mix. Great character development. Delmak-O was spooky and mysterious. Strange space creatures. A past shrouded in fog. And a gut-wrenching ending. I’m putting this at the front of the stack of Dick novels I’ve read thus far.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2017
It's like PKD redesigned the game Clue while on acid.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Riona by: Caleb Lowrey
This book should be called "And Then There Were Gelatinous Replicating Cubes". It's kind of a Dick take on Agatha Christie style whodunit -- a locked planet mystery, if you will. Fourteen people are reassigned to a small settlement on a planet known as Delmak-O without being told why or what their mission is. Pretty soon, they start dropping like flies. And because it's PKD, it gets a little weird after that.

This is definitely one of Dick's philosophy/religious exploration novels, so it's a bit
Sean Lockley
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Largely dialogue-driven and microcosmic in its execution, A Maze of Death is reminiscent of the more mind-flaying episodes of the The Twilight Zone. Complete with a double-twist ending, this novel highlights Dick's stubborn refusal to release the reader's mind back to a state of blissfully ignorant status quo.

The thing I like about Philip K. Dick's novels is that they grab the brain and toss it into a paranoid muck, where it can stew for a while in despair. If you have a sneaking, cynical suspic
Bar Reads
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ubik meets And then there were none, meets LSD
Tom Bensley
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Indeed it’s a bad one to start with. A Maze of Death gets right into the mind of Philip K. Dick and right to the core of one of a seriously ambitious experiment. Dick’s mind is a very odd place, particularly because of the characters born there. It’s often hard to tell if Dick is actually creating characters who stand on their own with their attributes taken from himself and the people whom he knows, characters who could fit into any scenario because of how real they seem, or characters as funct ...more
Rui Mateus
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, own
It's actually a very good book. But there's something about it that didn't feel right. The end is kind of amazing
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Philip K. Dick's 25th science fiction novel, "Ubik," a group of a dozen people is trapped in an increasingly bizarre world, in which objects revert to their previous forms, reality itself is suspect, and the 12 bewildered people slowly crumble to dust, murderously done in, "Ten Little Indians" style, by an unknown assailant. In his next published novel, "A Maze of Death," Dick upped the ante a bit. Here, we find a group of 14 people, seemingly marooned on a very strange planet, while a murder ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
My main reaction to this is “…bwuh?” The basic plot idea — the mysterious assignment to a mysterious planet, the mismatched and out of touch group of people who assemble there, the weirdness of the world they have to explore, all of that’s pretty cool. The problem is, the religion stuff was, at best, uninteresting to me, and at worst totally baffling. I’ve had this feeling with Dick’s novels before: people just seem to stumble around, pinging off each other, with no meeting of minds, no communio ...more
Tuncer Şengöz
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm already a PKD fan but if I weren't, I would be, after reading this book. Every time I read a PKD novel I feel like that he has a brilliant idea to write about, but he does not know how to handle the story. So he starts writing from the scratch and as the story unfolds, he changes his mind about the fates of his protagonists frequently and so, most of his novels end up in a mess. But it is always such a lovely and exciting mess that, you are not disturbed when you finish the book.

When I bega
Miloș Dumbraci
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weirdest PKD I've read so far (which is good), no schizophrenia here, but endless paranoia(which is different), but with the most disappointing end (which is bad, therefore my first and only PKD not getting 5/5).
Review in Romanian here:
Cathal Kenneally
After reading The Man in the High Caste I felt I had to read more of this guy’s work. It’s too short hence the four stars. Other than that it’s a great sci fi read from someone way ahead of the game. I think a lot of other sci fi writers have read a lot of his books.
Scary to imagine being sent to a seemingly abandoned planet;or is it?
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'One day,' Babble said, 'your pills are going to hatch, and some strange birds are going to emerge.'
'What an odd thing to say,' Betty Jo said.
'I meant that they look like coloured birds' eggs.'
'Yes, I realise that. But it's still a strange thing to say.'

14 people.
A hostile planet.

While A Maze of Death initially sets its premise up as 'cut off from the outside world by a communications failure, a group of settlers must band together to survive in an alien environment,' it very quickly reve
I am coming to Philip K. Dick later in life, after my science fiction phase in the teen years, and after many, many recommendations. I see the appeal, but I experience the frustration of the "maze of self" as I've been calling it in casual conversation with poet-blogger friends.... I understand, from the plots, the reason for this lack-of-escape-from-the-maze-of-self condition and no doubt it has a lot to do with the personality and psyche of the author, in whom I am now interested, but I find t ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
As usual, PKD plays with his characters', and his readers', perceptions of reality. Written from the points-of-view of several characters, neither they nor we are really sure which, if any of them, is experiencing what is actually happening.

A group of strangers dissatisfied with their former lives are transported to a colony world in one-way spaceships with a promise of finding fulfillment. Depending on what information can be believed, the colony has been set up by God, ultra-intelligent aliens
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
So here we go.
Philip K Dick is an odd duck - to me. I really enjoy the concept of this novel but I didn't enjoy the writing and the parts where a psychadelic experiences of the characters. That put me off, as I said, to me.To other people I bet they would enjoy it... it's no wonder that he won several awards in his lifetime. But reading a book is like that. You might win a nobel prize in it and still half the people who read it deslikes it and add some criticisms.

Some Spoilers
I really enjoy th
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
A later PKD book that is essentially a further development of previous ideas but with the element of his own personal brand of religious interests added to it. I loved the book and the overall concept very much. Maze is an under appreciated, or rather, missed or even perhaps, a lost classic SF novel.

It was published in the third of three omnibus collections by "The Library Of America" which "helps to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping in print, authoritative editi
Love of Hopeless Causes
"In the beginning was the deed." --Faust. Phil consulted the I'Ching about this book as well as, "High Castle." Is this why the Chapter Contents seem unrelated to the actual contents? It opens with Tallchief getting a transfer, yet Chapter One's contents are: "In which Tallchief wins a pet rabbit in a raffle."rr
Phil predicts the movie version of, "Lord of the Rings," on page 5. All that existed in 1971 was a ten minute animated short from 1966 (IMDB.) nerdherder

View the Deadliest Maziest review--evah. (vi
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Philip K Dick: A Maze of Death - initial thoughts (no spoilers) 23 81 Jun 11, 2018 08:05PM  

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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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“Let me sleep," he said, and shut the door; it clicked in her face and she felt animal terror - this was what she feared most in life: the clicking shut of a man's door in her face.
Instantly, she raised her hand to knock, discovered the rock... she banged on the door with the rock, but not loudly, just enough to let him know how desperate she was to get back in, but not enough to bother him if he didn't want to answer.
He didn't. No sound, no movement of the door. Nothing but the void.
"Tony?" she gasped, pressing her ear to the door. Silence. "Okay," she said numbly; clutching her rock she walked unsteadily across the porch toward her own living quarters.
The rock vanished. Her hand felt nothing.
"Damn," she said, not knowing how to react. Where had it gone? Into air. But then it must have been an illusion, she realized. He put me in a hypnotic state and made me believe. I should have known it wasn't really true.
A million stars burst into wheels of light, blistering, cold light, that drenched her. It came from behind and she felt the great weight of it crash into her. "Tony," she said, and fell into the waiting void. She thought nothing; she felt nothing. She saw only, saw the void as it absorbed her, waiting below and beneath her as she plummeted down the many miles.
On her hands and knees she died. Alone on the porch. Still clutching for what did not exist.”
“Forty-two. His age had astounded him for years, and each time that he had sat so astounded, trying to figure out what had become of the young, slim man in his twenties, a whole additional year slipped by and had to be recorded, a continually growing sum which he could not reconcile with his self-image. He still saw himself, in his mind's eye, as youthful, and when he caught sight of himself in photographs he usually collapsed ... Somebody took my actual physical presence away and substituted this, he had thought from time to time. Oh well, so it went.” 4 likes
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