One of Dick's earliest books, only published after his death, this is the story of four people's lives, loves and families crashing into each other, with traumatic consequences.
Written in the late 1950s but unpublished until after his death, this is one of Dick's greatest realistic novels.
When Roger and Virginia Lindhal enroll their son Gregg in Mrs Alt's Los Padres Valley School in the mountains of Southern California, their marriage is already in deep trouble. Then the Lindhals meet Chic and Liz Bonner, whose two sons also board at Mrs Alt's school.
The meeting is a catalyst for a complicated series of emotions and traumas, set against the backdrop of suburban Los Angeles in the early 1950s. As Roger, Virginia, Chic and Liz orbit each other in ever-decaying circles, their lives threaten to run out of control.
This is a realistic novel filled with details of everyday life and skilfully told from three points of view. It is powerful, eloquent, and gripping.
The fascination of the novel lies in spotting the themes that Dick would later develop and make his own: the malleability of perceived reality, the imposition of the fake on the real and the struggle between good and evil. THE COSMIC PUPPETS may be a minor work, but is nevertheless interesting
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was born in Chicago but lived in California for most of his life. He went to college at Berkeley for a year, ran a record store and had his own classical music show on a local radio station. He published his first short story, 'Beyond Lies the Wub' in 1952. Among his many fine novels are THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, TIME OUT OF JOINT, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? and FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID.