Reading this book felt a bit like dreaming, after a while it became like a dream within a dream, soon after it became like full on Inception
Without going into the synopsis in any detail (;) this novel features a drug induced virtual reality, initially with the aid of Ken and Barbie-like dolls in their nicely furnished dollhouse. The VR sessions are called "translations", a very popular past time in the hellish Mars colony. The drug is caled Can-D, later on a new type of drug called Chew-Z comes on the market and immediately make the Can-D drug obsolete by doing away with the dolls and other paraphernalia and allowing any fantasy world to be created by the user. Of course this being a PKD novel things are never what they seem.
The first 50 or so pages are straight forward enough but soon things take a sharp left turn somewhere and the reader goes careening off reality and become more "Lost in Translation" than Bill Murray floundering around Tokyo. Dick is a master of this kind of mind coitus, his stories often makes you wonder where you are, who you are and why is there a fish floating above your head? Interestingly he always manages achieve this weird effect using straight forward prose without ever resorting to any kind of poetry or verbiage.
His characters are seldom well rounded complex individuals but generally I can never guess what a PKD character is going to do or say next. The most interesting character in this book has to be the titular Palmer Eldritch himself. The most interesting thing about him is not so much who is Palmer Eldritch, but who isn't
Palmer Eldritch? The man gives the word ubiquitous not so much a new meaning as a super literal one. If that makes no sense to you then I urge you to read the book and take the trip for yourself.