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Ubik Paperback – April 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547572298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547572291
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nobody but Philip K. Dick could so successfully combine SF comedy with the unease of reality gone wrong, shifting underfoot like quicksand. Besides grisly ideas like funeral parlors where you swap gossip for the advice of the frozen dead, Ubik (1969) offers such deadpan farce as a moneyless character's attack on the robot apartment door that demands a five-cent toll:

"I'll sue you," the door said as the first screw fell out.

Joe Chip said, "I've never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it."

Chip works for Glen Runciter's anti-psi security agency, which hires out its talents to block telepathic snooping and paranormal dirty tricks. When its special team tackles a big job on the Moon, something goes terribly wrong. Runciter is killed, it seems--but messages from him now appear on toilet walls, traffic tickets, or product labels. Meanwhile, fragments of reality are timeslipping into past versions: Joe Chip's beloved stereo system reverts to a hand-cranked 78 player with bamboo needles. Why does Runciter's face appear on U.S. coins? Why the repeated ads for a hard-to-find universal panacea called Ubik ("safe when taken as directed")?

The true, chilling state of affairs slowly becomes clear, though the villain isn't who Joe Chip thinks. And this is Dick country, where final truths are never quite final and--with the help of Ubik--the reality/illusion balance can still be tilted the other way. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The best sci-fi mind on any planet' Rolling Stone --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

A very intruiging story with a plot twist like no other.
Mark Kinsella
If you like a good story that will surprise you all the way to the end, and will also make you question your own reality a bit, try Ubik.
Bob Robinson
UBIK is one of my favorite of PKD's "alternative reality" novels.
David Kleist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Tung Yin VINE VOICE on October 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although "Ubik" wasn't the first Philip K. Dick novel I read (having read just about all of them now, it's hard to remember which was first, but I think it was "Martian Time-Slip"), I would recommend it as the best starting point for someone trying to decide if PKD is your cup of tea. "Ubik" has all of the major elements of the typical PKD novel (to the extent there is any typicality): (1) questioning of the meaning of reality; (2) an almost pathetic sense of humor in the face of the unraveling of reality; (3) an everyman protagonist; and (4) extreme readability despite a somewhat pedestrian writing style.
The plot can be summed up like this: some humans have psychic powers, but rather than being seen as heroes (as is the case in most sci-fi), they're possible sources of invasions of your privacy. Never fear, however, because some humans have developed anti-psychic powers -- they block the powers of the others. A bunch of anti-psychics go on a mission, but something goes wrong and they barely get away with their lives. Almost immediately, they notice that something is not right. Phone directories are out of date, coffee is disgustingly stale, and so on. Time, it seems, is flowing backwards!
For readers who aren't aware, PKD was one of the most influential sci-fi writers, with his reality-warping stories. His interest in this topic can be traced, no doubt, to his youthful experimentation with narcotics -- an experience recounted largely in "A Scanner Darkly."
PKD was an incredibly prolific writer; he wrote something like 16 novels in a five year stretch in the late-1960s, including "Ubik." Many of his best novels were written during that stretch.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ed Lee on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was the first PKD I ever read, so it's got some sentimental value...as it is, it's stood the test of time to remain one of my all time favorite PKD novels.
Supposedly one of the major influences on The Matrix (along with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch), Ubik is about the subjectivity of physical reality, death, advertising, consumerism...
In the first few pages PKD introduces more ideas than most sci-fi (I cringe to pigeonhole him so, but it's the closest comparison) authors are capable of their entire careers.
You can't take this book on face value, it engages the reader so completely with it's energy, style and fiercely challenging ideas. Not to mention the plot twists, which will keep you guessing to the final page (without sounding too horribly cliched I hope).
For PKD vets it's comforting to revisit the world he established in his most blatantly sci-fi phase, with all the standbys like precogs, conapts, talking kitchen appliances, etc.
For PKD newbies Ubik is a perfect choice to start in on the incredible feast that are the novels of PKD - trust me.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By alchemist42 on December 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I finished reading Ubik and I couldn't even start any other books for a week because I had to sit and think about everything that had just happened. I've read several other books by Mr. Dick and, while they are all excellent, this is the best. So far. It has everything that I have come to expect from him. You never quite know where reality is. Then you figure it out only to find that you are wrong. Then another twist comes. It has excellent pacing, a good bit of humour, and - of course - loads of wild ideas about life, death, the future, consumerism, dreams, drugs, psychic abilities, and the human condition.
The first few pages set up the stage for the story in a way that an average author would have required 100 pages of descriptions and explanations. And it all made sense. This is a good book if you have never been introduced to PKD's work, since it is very accessible and well written. It is required reading for any PKD fans who have not yet gotten around to it.
Just remember- it is safe when taken as directed.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Alexandre Avezou on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
With UBIK, Dick wrote a book which is, in the same time, extremely pleasant to read and extremely confusing - quite a feat...
UBIK is a "best of" Dick's obsessions: it contains obvious reminiscences of The Eye in the Sky (the collective nightmare), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (the greedy, almighty, elusive son of a b...), Counter-clock world (time running backwards), The World Jones Made (precognition), Time Out of Joint (the fake world), to name a few. In a way, it is also reminiscent of VALIS (the Godlike entity which communicates with the hero by mystical means), which was written 12 years after UBIK!
How could so many themes be exploited so intelligently in such a short novel? The answer is: thanks to Dick's straightforward style. In UBIK, every word counts. The hero, Joe Chip, races with Death: each passing minute lowers his chances to find a UBIK vaporizer and to save his skin. Through Dick's sparing use of words, the reader understands this message: if Joe Chip rests, he will die. Some of Dick's despisers criticize his so-called "hasty" style: can't they see that, thanks to this style, he could describe the undescribable? When you get rid of the superfluous, you get a chance to grab the true essence of horror. At least, that's what Dick thought; I personnally think he was right and that he should be remebered of today not only for his hallucinatory visions but also for his style.
The style allows Dick to exploit the above themes "intelligently", ie in depth and by intertwinig them. But it will probably not allow the reader to fully understand the book after the first reading, unless he's VERY familiar with Dick's tricks, mainly the different levels of reality.
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