Alternative realities are always a tough log. An ad infinitum of ifs, variable after variable, unique to each fray of an activity—down to the minutest division of time, as such is the untimability of events. Their susceptibility to utilization as the answer ton a time travel paradox leaves them as an area of exploitation and manipulation. If, for example, a grandfather paradox is solved using alternative reality, the invaded alternative universe is set amok at the expense of the tentative universe. This is a rob Peter to pay Paul scenario, where in fiction, these universes have interminable laws with actual consequences—somewhere between the doppelgänger, twin team bail-out.
In The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, realities are sold by the skin. For the benefit of an experience on the average city’s hithertos, pushers have been pushing Terra‘s common setting for pleasure to Mars colonists via Can-D. A drug whose effectiveness is realized with a few requirements—Layouts: miniature (mins) representations of earth’s life, and where available, partners in partaking. Mins being life-sized objects that underwent mining. These little objects are sold by a monoploy, Perky Pat Layouts—also the commercial name for the products.
One Barney Mayerson is a precog. the types with precognitive ability. A Pre-Fash talent and skill. Foresight that can realize what items will be fashionable in a time to come—ceramics, pot (cannabis) or neckties (The Werner simulated-handwrought living tie)—, advise their employers on such—P.P. Layouts in this case—, buy, min, sell to colonialists for escape. Though he disliked Can-D for its bad taste and experience, which wouldn’t make much sense to a normal Terran, his perceptions are disfigured once he partakes in Chew–Z, a competitor drug. The reaction one gets to Can-D depends—varies with—their imaginative-type creative powers. Around the building blocks of P.P. Layouts. Time spent in the illisionary Terra under a Can-D influence, termed an essence, is longer than the more outward manifestations of places and objects involved to simulate Participants sharing essence along gender affiliation.
Like a lot of topnotch precogs, Barney sees the future so well the past is a hazy recollection. It is after foreseeing his bosses’ killing of Palmer in the homeopapes, among the alternate futures, that Barney and Leo encounter Chew-Z. The drug from Proxima that the multi-industrialist Palmer has brought to take over the P.P. Layouts market. Funnily enough, Palmer also foresees his downfall from the varrious futures he crafts under the influence of Chew-Z, and the motive for selling the drug becomes to counter Leo from offing him. The drug’s user being a chooser.
Chew-Z‘s translations are of longer duration and intensity. A far superior drug, because a chooser—even from a lifetime of translation—returns shortly, even instantly in terms of timeflow in the world. In one of Leo’s encounters, he translates centuries into a future of old Terra. On the moon of planet Sigma 14-B, meeting two highly evolved creatures resembling Terrans who are guards to the monument of Palmer’s downfall—Leo’s underworking. They assume he has come back to haunt the place for historical importance—acknowledging him. But if he’s from the past, he can’t have possibly came back, or it could be a second coming for him after his own time—inhabiting two timelines at once, and other religious overtones.
. . . psychedelic warps ensue.
Chew-Z produces time-overtones.Occupying a locus years after death. However, as a chooser, one can determine universes, create them, unlike Can-D‘s that are P.P. Layouts and Terra mins restricted. A magnification of Can-D‘s imaginative-type creative powers. The worst aspect of Chew-Z is the solipsistic quality. And terrible things like turning humans into walking corpses, once you wish them unfathomables beyond their Terra life-years. Leo falls into an addiction where he tries to correct the past through the illusionary drug. in the end, fatalism prevails, which contorts the thin line and a muddied timeline between running into future self and being a future self.
Since a phantasm, the dead Palmer Eldritch, can go anywhere it isn’t bounded by time or space, and all Chew-Z experiences are a haste to give him one last shot at, right, at redemption. It is more a case of the past and the future converging from different timelines to obtain a present. In an interplanetary system of planets; Terra, Mars, Venus, and moons; Luna, Io, and Ganymede. One devoid of Palmer. An ADD’s dream plot beyond shortened words.