Yielding to a compulsion he can’t explain, Ted Barton interrupts his vacation in order to visit the town of his birth, Millgate, Virginia. But upon entering the sleepy, isolated little hamlet, Ted is distraught to find that the place bears no resemblance to the one he left behind—and never did. He also discovers that in this Millgate Ted Barton died of scarlet fever when he was nine years old. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that it is literally impossible to escape. Unable to leave, Ted struggles to find the reason for such disturbing incongruities, but before long, he finds himself in the midst of a struggle between good and evil that stretches far beyond the confines of the valley.
"I love Philip K. Dick's earlier books - the more domestic, Twilight Zone or harmlessly sci-fi works. I loved Solar Lottery, I loved The Game Players Of Titan, and I now love The Cosmic Puppets (late 1950s' copyright, all three). It's a short novel (140 pages - approximately 40- to 50,000 words) but one that every lover of horror should read, yeah, I did say horror. This is a proper small-town horror novel with some good bits of quite spaced out sci-fi in it. There are some scenes in the book that are just too gruesome and the revelatory finalé is perfect PKD at his best. It is recommended reading for all lovers of such genre-straddling goodness."
–Mike Philbin, The Zone