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Ubik Paperback – April 17, 2012
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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 Phone directories are out of date, coffee is disgustingly stale, and so on.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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Published in 1969, Ubik describes a world of pre-cogs who can divine your intent and telepaths who can listen in on your most private thoughts. Read morePublished 13 days ago by T.Rob
Some sci-fi can be too all over the place/unbelievable etc... This Story touches on fragments of Real Life in a way to make it both very amusing and perhaps depending on your state... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Nate
I liked some things about this book. Others, I didn't.
Likes: imaginative and broad-thinking, with some interesting little philosophical byplays thrown in here and... Read more
There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe Philip K. Dick's mastery of his craft. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robby M.
Good writing with great sci fi elements, how much of it will come true only God and Time knows...Published 1 month ago by Bill Miller
A short and peculiar and pleasantly wild tale that had me curious through the end. Frankly the ending left me more curious than the beginning, but such is the way with Ubik. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Steve Goslin
Growing up a teenage boy reading Philip K Dick books from the library, I avoided Ubik for its rather silly cover of a spray can. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joe
Book is as decried. I'm very happy with purchase and surprised in the super fast shipping. Thank you so much.Published 2 months ago by Imelda Rodriguez