Best 1957 Adventures (7)

By: Joshua Glenn
August 1, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1957 adventure novels. Happy 60th anniversary!



Philip K. Dick’s Golden Age sci-fi adventure The Cosmic Puppets.

On a visit, with his wife, to his hometown — sleepy, isolated Millgate, Virginia — Ted Barton discovers that you can’t go home again. (Because your hometown is different in important particulars than you remember — shops, parks, even people no longer exist — and apparently, it always already was different. Also, a child with your name died in that town, years ago.) What’s going on? Has the town been caught up in an illusion — or are Ted’s memories false ones? Why does the town drunk remember the town the way Ted does? Who are the incorporeal Wanderers haunting the town? And why can’t Ted escape from Millgate? Although he struggles to make sense of these eerie incongruities, before long Ted finds himself in the midst of a cosmic struggle stretching far beyond Virginia or even Earth. SPOILER: The Zoroastrian demigods Ohrmuzd and Ahriman might have something to do with all this. Is Ted… a messiah figure? Stranger things, indeed.

Fun fact: The novel is a revision of Dick’s 1956 story “A Glass of Darkness,” which appeared in Satellite Science Fiction. The title refers to a Bible passage (First Corinthians 13:12) which the author would deploy again, for perhaps his best novel: A Scanner Darkly.



Let me know if I’ve missed any 1957 adventures that you particularly admire.


Adventure, Lit Lists