Don't believe a word of it, Joe. The real problem is...

"He offered to sell them the secret of eternal life. All he asked in return was their souls"



J'ai Lu, pb, ?, ?, ?, ? (?) {Unknown edition, French}

{For the best bibliographic info in French goto: Thanks for the cover pix, Gilles}

" I mean, after all; you have to consider we're only made out of dust. That's admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn't forget that. But even considering, I mean it's a sort of bad beginning, we're not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we're faced with we can make it. You get me?" -- THE 3 STIGMATA, preamble.

FDO-3    4
  Vote for your Fave PKD Story!  "Tough choice. but... First, without doubt is THREE STIGMATA, because it's the most mind-bending time-travel, multi-dimensional, drug-induced (I mean that in terms of the characters, not necessarily the author), reality-questioning, Earth-takeover romp I have ever and no doubt will ever come across." {Geoff Notkin, NJ}

PKDS-2 10

THE 3 STIGMATA was first published Nov 17, 1964.
The Washington Post Book World, 3-27-83, has a review of PALMER ELDRITCH on p12.

PKDS-2 13:

I enjoyed writing all of them...
But this leaves out the most vital of them all: THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH. I am afraid of that book; it deals with absolute evil, and I wrote it during a great crisis in my religious beliefs. I decided to write a novel dealing with absolute evil as personified in the form of a "human". When the galleys came from Doubleday I couldn't correct them because I could not bear to read the text, and this is still true.
{PKD Self-Portrait, 1968}

PKDS-3 7:

Various people have noted that John Lennon once remarked, presumably in a print interview, that he'd like to film THE 3 STIGMATA: if anyone can reference this I'd appreciate it -- I've never seen the quote, though in fact it was me (and Tim Leary) who turned Lennon on to :THE 3 STIGMATA and PKD. {Paul Williams}

PKDS-4 11:

The Missouri Review, Vol.VII, #2 (University of Missouri-Columbia, 1984} has an essay by Douglas Mackey on "Science Fiction and Gnosticism", which includes discussion of THE 3 STIGMATA

PKDS-6 4:

Norwescon Report Gregg Rickman files this report on the PKD doings at Norwescon, 1985:
"Budrys opened by talking about how he had initially seen Phil Dick as a competitor and rival to such contemporary writers as himself, Ted Sturgeon, Robert Sheckley, that his mid-50s, anti-war and anti-technology stories 'began to show us something a little bit different', and by the time of THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, 'I knew I was in the presence of a major writer.' He went on to say that what made Phil Dick special was 'that he was uninhibited... There's a difference between irrationality and lunacy,and his lunacies were rational... (exploring) all the possible ways unreality can creep up on you.'"

PKDS-6 10:

The "slot-eyed masks" of the knights (in ALEXANDER NEVSKY) is reminiscent of the slot-eyed metal face of Palmer Eldritch in THE 3 STIGMATAIs this slot-eyed image a recurring image in PKD's books? Do you know of any of his books besides VALIS and THE 3 STIGMATA in which this "slot-eyed mask" image occurs? {Letter to PKDS from John K. Berner, Oshkosh, WI}
{Paul Williams replies:}
I don't rememberPKD mentioning NEVSKY but maybe someone else does... Our intrepid managing editor {Andy Watson} spent two hours in the library "but could not find any useful photo-frames from Eisenstein's ALEXANDER NEVSKY. Found only one where slot-eyed masks were visible, but they were all blurry and tiny, in the background only... Oh well."

{in reference to the slot-eyed masks see DEUS IRAE; the description of Carelton Lufteufel -- 1997}

PKDS-11 12:


PKDS-12 7:

{From the Mark Hurst Chronology}

Acquired reprint rights to UBIK, THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH and A MAZE OF DEATH for Bantam.

PKDS-22 1:

(Q:) So why did you go off and write a biography of Philip K. Dick?
It all started in early 1976, when a friend urged me to read THE 3 STIGMATA. It was by this guy named Philip K. Dick who'd just gotten a big write-up in Rolling Stone... I read 3 STIGMATA... I drank 3 STIGMATA down. Gulped it whole.Whoever the hell Philip K. Dick was, he had managed to write a novel in which conventional reality came apart not only for the characters -- there were loads of 'existential' novelists who could handle that dreary chore -- but also for me sitting there in that kitchen. I could see through the grey walls and the grey walls could see through me... {Lawrence Sutin: Confessions of a PKD biographer}

PKDS-22 9:

An article in Locus by the publisher of Apagoremenos Planitis (Forbidden Planet), the only sf magazine in Greece at present, indicates that Dick and Ellison are the foreign authors who have appeared the most in the magazine. His publishing company has already brought out 3 STIGMATA and DO ANDROIDS DREAM in book form, and more PKD titles are planned.

PKDS-22 17:

In France in a poll by Carnage Mondain, from Lyon, PALMER ELDRITCH placed 87th in the top 100 sf books.

PKDS-24 9:

There has been a flurry of activity in PKD futures lately, specifically options on film rights to PKD properties. Two particularly interesting deals have just been completed. One is for  3 STIGMATA, a novel John Lennon once wanted to film. The buyer is Vanguard Films, a New York-based independent film company... Script for THE 3 STIGMATA will be by Howard Rodman.

PKDS-24 20:

John Fairchild spotted the inclusion of THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH in Stephen Jones & Kim Newman's critical anthology Horror: 100 Best Books (Xanadu UK, Carroll & Graf US, 1988). The essay on PALMER ELDRITCH is by Tad Williams, author of Tailchaser's Song. {C1988}

PKDS-26 9:

The next three Vintage trade paperbacks will be A SCANNER DARKLY, UBIK and THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH. All three are scheduled for Dec 1991. ($10)

PKDS-26 11:

In the UK forthcoming is 3 STIGMATA (Grafton?)

PKDS-26 17:

From Britain's Book Collector, May 1990: The highest listed values are for the first hardcover editions of WORLD OF CHANCE (400 Pounds), A HANDFULL OF DARKNESS (250-400 Pounds), and THE 3 STIGMATA (300 Pounds) with half a dozen books in the 150 Pound range.
In similar vein, there's a big PKD story in the Winter 1990 issue of Books Are Everything(#16)... Hal Roberts writes an introductory biographical piece, followed by some very helpful checklists of PKD in US and UK paperback, with serial numbers -- thus we see that 3 STIGMATA was published in paper in the US by MacFadden in '66 and '71 (reprints aren't tracked, only reissues with new numbers), Manor in '77, Bantam in '77, and DAW in '83.

In the miserably high-number conapt building 492 on the outskirts of Marilyn Monroe, New Jersey, Richard Hnatt ate breakfast indifferently while, with something greater than indifference, he glanced over the morning homeopape's weather syndrome readings of the previous day.

IPOV 20:

I awoke abruptly to find myself with my Saviour, and then entered fellowship with God (the dreams of the delighting void). Can it be said that this is the rebirth, accomlished by penetration of the Child by the solar spermatikos? Yes, Firebright, brought to life and sustained Greater Intelligence for me, better health, longer life, even prosperity. A certain facility with life. But most of all I recall what I saw when I awakened: I saw God, smiling in the sunlight of day. Once, during the years of the Terrible Seperation*, I saw Palmer Eldritch in the Sun -- I saw God backward, but sure enough, in the daytime sun; at high noon, and knew him to be a god. THE 3 STIGMATA if read properly (i.e. reversed) contains many clues as to the nature of God and to our relationship with him. I was motivated to flee, then, fearing what I saw, so vast was the breach then. it was definitely a true vision of God, but grown (to my blind sight) terrible; still, it was the beginning of my seeing: that I could see God at all, in the sun, showed that I was not entirely blind, but rather deranged. My 3-74 experiences are an outgrowth of my Palmer Eldritch exprience of over ten years earlier. "Faith Of Our Fathers" shows this, too; I knew Him to be real ...but only in UBIK does he begin to appear as benign, especially then in A MAZE OF DEATH. We were coming back together, as friends in the light-struck meadow or forest... the summertime to greet." ** (From THE EXEGESIS, 1975)

*"Terrible Seperation" is a reference to PKD's own sense of the gulf that existed in the 1960s between his own limited human existence and a genuine encounter with the divine as a positive, redeeming force in the universe.
** This final sentence is a paraphrase of the lyrics of one of PKD's favorite lieder by Franz Schubert.

IPOV 75:

STIGMATA portrays the arrogant one, the blind God (i.e. the artifact), which supposes itself to be the one true God & evil delusional worlds are shown: counterfeit worlds. (1978)

IPOV 78:

Isn't palmer Eldritch a kind of parasite, replicating himself or itself using humans as hosts? But my sense about Thomas was of a benign, not evil, intrusion. Still, it was an intrusion into my psyche, a taking over. Are such intrusions always to be deplored? (1978)

IPOV 187:

There is some evidence that the master magician who has us lost in his irreal world where no actual time elapses (called Palmer Eldritch in STIGMATA) is Simon Magus, who lived at the time of Acts, which is to say now. Thus Simon is still alive, and the authentic original early Christian disciples are still alive.
(18 Oct 1978)

IPOV 136:

The Gnostic message in my writing can be seen when we realise that it is a Gnostic revelation that this world is a bungled counterfeit of the celestial world, esp. time as a poor counterfeit of eternity. & Palmer Eldritch equals (is) the Gnostic demiurge creator, spinning out evil & false worlds to feed his drive for power. In STIGMATA the evil quality of the creator is expressed, & man (Leo Bulero) pitted against the False evil cosmos & its evil creator -- a very acosmic novel... (1977)

IPOV 178:

To repeat myself -- all this implies that the intervention re the xerox missive was not just to save me per se from a trap, but to keep my actual identity concealed. Evidently originally I knowingly and deliberately entered this "spurious interpolation" in order to call attention to its counterfeit nature, that I might assist in destroying it. Cold-pac in UBIK, the floor of the Bevatron in EYE. Polyencephalic fusion in MAZE, the fake past in JOINT, but best of all, the Satanic bogus worlds in STIGMATA, because in STIGMATA the correct source/cause is presented. & Then in TEARS the true nature -- not of a -- but of OUR Satanic spurious interpolation is depicted -- as well as its collapse and why (xtianity).

Yes -- in TEARS it is shown, through Felix Buckman's conversion, what will pull down the BIP & allow transfer of authority: xtian conversion (from Power to Love) (agape) this adds to what e.g., STIGMATA has told us; we now know the antidote to the "drug" (i.e., to the cancer-like bogus interpolation).

Xtianity is antidote (to a poison). "We need medical assistance." (1978)

IPOV 179:

3). STIGMATA: Who/what deliberately occludes us: the Yaldabaoth Magician evil deity, spinner of spurious worlds creator of illusion & inhabiting, contaminating (unclean presence in these degraded pseudo worlds) (1978)

IPOV 183:

It's odd that it's mainly in the three Bantam books* that the truth (enough of it, anyhow) is told. Plus SCANNER & stories in the Ballantine collection** -- all well distributed. No time passes, in STIGMATA. Eternity can pass: infinite time. & Eldritch pollutes all the spurious worlds -- due to a person taking a drug (cf SCANNER)

*THE 3 STIGMATA, UBIK, A MAZE OF DEATH were all reissued in 1977 by Bantam Books.

IPOV 185:

STIGMATA is a Satanic Bible: the novel describes the Pattern proliferating itself in, on & through humans. By a study of STIGMATA one can understand transubstantiation, which was my source & theme (my intent). It's even stated in the novel that Eldritch is the xtian God.
You get a good deal of the story by combining UBIK & STIGMATA.
But this is not an occluding, toxifying "virus" -- it is an antitoxic, de-occlusive. (1978)

Leo was dumping the entire problem in his lap. It was the first time he had seen his employer collapse; imagine, he thought. Leo Bulero baffled by the first competition that he had ever experienced. He simply was not used to it.

TDC 79

(PKD): Somebody has told me that I had to see that film (LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD). Anyway... I don't like DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? at all; I really loathe that book.
(B): Oh good. I have to tell you I detest it.
(PKD:) Yeah, there are certain books of mine I wish I could shovel under, and that's one of them. An interesting one is THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, as far as I'm concerned. I have read that and have the distinct impression that it was an extraordinary book -- so extraordinary that it may have no peer. It may be a unique book in the history of writing --nothing was ever done like this. And then I've read it over and thought it was completely crazy, just insane; not about insanity, it is insanity. God, it's a weird book.
(B:) If I were to pick a favorite of mine from among your books, that would be it.
(A:) Right, same here. It is certainly in a class by itself. That's the book that should probably be pointed to as your major work.
(PKD:) I think if anything I write is to be retained within the cultural flow that THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH stands a very good chance. Either it will eventually be consigned to oblivion as a bizarre excersize in madness, or it will be considered a breakthrough book. I have a very strong feeling that UBIK, too, contains some important ideas.

Vote for your Fave PKD Story! THE 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH.   Truly a masterpiece of confusion, paranoia, unreality and drug-induced psychosis. I first read it when I was about twenty (shortly after it came out), and I was deeply moved by it, as it related to the drug culture of the 60s. --David Anonymous, CA

TSR 58

(PKD:) Religion ought never to show up in SF except from a sociological standpoint, as in Gather Darkness [a novel by Fritz Leiber]. God per se, as a character, ruins a good SF story; and this is as true of my own stuff as anyone else's. Therefore I deplore my PALMER ELDRITCH book in that regard. But people who are a bit mystically inclined like it. I don't. I wish I had never written it; there are too many horrid forces loose in it. When I wrote it I had been taking certain chemicals and I could see the awful landscape that I depicted. But not now. Thank God. Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi [Lamb of God who lifts the sins of the world]

TSR 206

(PKD:) In my novel THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, which is a study of absolute evil, the protagonist, after his encounter with Eldritch, returns to Earth and dictates a memo.This little section appears ahead of the text of the novel. It is the novel, actually, this paragraph; the rest is a sort of post mortem, or rather, a flashback in which all that came to produce the one-paragraph book is presented. Seventy-five thousand words, which I labored over many months, merely explains, is merely there to provide background to the one small statement in the book that matters. (It is, by the way, missing from the German edition.) This statement is for me my credo -- not so much in God, either a good god or a bad god or both -- but in ourselves. It goes as follows and this is all I actually have to say or want ever to say:

I mean, after all; you have to consider, we're only made out of dust. That's admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn't forget that. But even considering, I mean it's a sort of bad beginning, we're not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we're faced with we can make it. You get me?

This tosses a bizarre thought into my mind: Perhaps someday a giant automated machine will roar and clank out, "From rust we are come." And another machine, sick of dying, cradled in the arms of its woman, may sigh back, "And to rust we are returned." And peace will fall over the barren, anxiety-stricken landscape.

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CSVol4    377

    {... ...}

    There I went, one day, walking down the country road to my shack, looking forward to 8 hours of writing, in total isolation from all other humans, and I looked up at the sky and saw a face. I didn't really see it, but the face was there, and it was not a human face; it was a vast visage of perfect evil. I realize now (and I think I dimly realised at the time) what caused me to see it: the months of isolation, of deprivation of human contact, in fact sensory deprivation as such... anyhow the visage could not be denied. It was immense; it filled a quarter of the sky. It had empty slots for eyes -- it was metal and cruel and, worst of all, it was God.

{... ...}

"… Isolation generated the novel and yearning generated the story; in the novel a mixture of the fear of being abandoned and the fantasy of the beautiful woman who waits for you – somewhere, but God only knows where; I have still to figure it out. But if you are sitting alone day after day at your typewriter, turning out one story after another and having no one to talk to, no one to be with, and yet pro forma having a wife and four daughters from whose house you have been expelled, banished to a little single-walled shack that is so cold in winter that, literally, the ink would freeze in my typewriter ribbon, well, you are going to write about iron slot-eyed faces and warm young women…"

    Reaction to THE THREE STIGMATA was mixed. In England some reviewers described it as blasphemy. Terry Carr, who was my agent at Scott Meredith at the time, told me later, "That novel is crazy," although subsequent to that he reversed his opinion. Some reviewers found it a profound novel. I only find it frightening. I was unable to proofread the galleys because the novel frightened me so. It is a dark journey into the mystical and the supernatural and the absolutely evil as I understood it at the time. Let us say, I would like Perky Pat to show up at my door, but I dread the possibility that, when I hear the knock, it will be Palmer Eldritch waiting outside and not Perky pat. Actually, to be honest, neither has shown up in the seventeen or so years since I wrote the novel. I guess that is the story of life: what you most fear never happens, but what you most yearn for never happens either. This is the difference between life and fiction. I suppose it's a good trade-off. But I'm not sure.
{PKD 1979}{For the complete text of this note see: "The Days Of Perky Pat"}

SF EYE #14, Spring 1996, p.38

(PKD:) Yes, well, we touched on another topic in the interview I had with those people and that was my attitude toward drugs. They said, isn't there an affinity between you and Timothy Leary's attitude toward drugs? And I said, well, actually a scrupulous reading of my novels that deal with drugs such as 3 STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR, Faith Of Our Fathers, and A MAZE OF DEATH show the possibility -- again we get into the area of possibility, not certitude -- that there are really just a whole number of things happening in 3 STIGMATA and in NOW WAIT FOR LAST YEAR, The drug is destructive, it's addictive, it's used as a government weapon as a matter of fact.

SF EYE #14 Spring, 1996 p46.

(PKD:) I took amphetamines for years in order to get energy to write. I had to write so much in order to make a living because our pay rates were so low. In five years I wrote sixteen novels, which is incredible. I mean, nobody, I don't think anybody's ever done it before. And without amphetamines I couldn't have written that much. But as soon as I began to earn enough money so I didn't have to write so many books, I stopped taking amphetamines. So now I don't take anything like that. And I never wrote anything under the influence of psychedelics. For instance, PALMER ELDRITCH I wrote without ever having even seen psychedelic drugs.

(A & F:) In Germany the book was titled LSD ASTRONAUTEN.

(PKD:) I know, Franz Rottensteiner did that.

SL:38    186

Dear Scott,

        {...}  I wasn't able to register my car for '65, and the Highway Patrol gave me two citations, which, if I  can't pay -- as well as registering my car and fixing the muffler -- I'm going to be jailed on April 7th {...} But I can't see borrowing any more, even though the advance  from you is down now to $750. What I'm holding out for is the Jonathan Cape* money from the  U.K. Do you think it'll be coming through soon? I think that good  news about that would really cheer me up.  That is really quite a lot of money,  when you think about it.
        I guess if the J.C. money won't be in for a while I'll have to consider trying to borrow some more. Keerist. How dismal.
        If something extremely good happens you can reach me by phone again: not my own, since the Bell people took it away, but my girl's phone:{...-..._....} That's a bit less dismal.
        I'll hope, then, to hear from you as to the U.K. sum.


        Philip K. Dick

{PKD>Scott Meredith, undated 1965} { * note: Probably written between March 22 and April 6, 1965. See also OH TO BE A BLOBEL for more from this letter. This letter almost certainly refers to THE 3 STIGMATA, Cape, hb, , 1966, 278pp, 21/- }

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